You should apply for disability benefits as soon as you become disabled. If you are ready to apply now, you can:

  • Complete your application online.

  • Call our toll-free telephone number 1-800-772-1213. If you are deaf or hard of hearing, you can call us at TTY 1-800-325-0778.

  • Call or visit your local Social Security office.

    Important: If you want to apply in person, please call and make an appointment before you visit your local office.

If you wish to help another person apply for disability benefits, please read "Helping Someone Apply Online."


Claims for disability benefits take more time to process than other types of Social Security claims -- from 3 to 5 months.

You can help shorten the process by having certain information and documents with you when you apply, and by helping us get any other medical evidence you need to show that you are disabled.

Here is the kind of information you should have:

Information About You

  • Your Social Security number and proof of your age;

  • Names, addresses and phone numbers of doctors, caseworkers, hospitals, and clinics that took care of you and the dates of your visits;

  • Names and dosages of all the medications you are taking;

  • Medical records from your doctors, therapists, hospitals, clinics and caseworkers, that you already have in your possession;

  • Laboratory and test results;

  • A summary of where you worked and the kind of work you did; and

  • Your most recent W-2 form or, if you were self-employed, a copy of your federal tax return.

Information About Family Members

  • Social Security numbers and proof of age for each family member who may qualify for benefits; and

  • Proof of marriage, if your spouse is applying for benefits, as well as dates of prior marriages if applicable.

Important: The documents you may need to show us must be original documents or copies certified by the issuing office. You can mail or bring them to Social Security. We will make photocopies and return your original documents.

If you don't have all the documents you need, don't delay filing for benefits. We will help you get the information you need.

More Help For Filing Your Claim

Our Disability Starter Kit will help you get ready for your disability interview or online application. Starter kits are available in English or Spanish for adults and children under age 18.

The online Application for Benefits also includes links to information that will help you complete the form.

After we review your application and the information you provided, we may decide you do not meet the qualifications for disability benefits.

If you disagree with our decision, you have the right to ask us to look at your application again. The notice you receive from us that says you don't qualify will explain how to appeal our decision and the time period in which you must make the request.

If we decide you don't qualify: