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Which Alternative To Use Start A SSDI Claim


Claims for SSDI start with an interview with a Social Security representative in a local field office. The interview can be conducted in person or over the telephone.

You can obtain the appointment for the interview by calling, by going on line, or just by showing up at a local office, on line. If you prefer, or can't do it yourself, you can appoint a representative to do the interview for you.

The preferred way is to call for the appointment, either yourself or through a representative.

Whether you start the process with an appointment or just by showing up at the SSA office, it is advisable to avoid an appointment or showing up on:

  • A Monday or Friday
  • During the first week of the month, or
  • The day before or just after a holiday.

If you just show up without an appointment, go early in the morning. Be prepared to wait.

The Alternatives

  • Telephone: Call 1.800.772.1213

    • The operator will set up an appointment with a Claims Representative at the office nearest your home. If you prefer another office, tell the scheduler and she or he will accommodate your request.
    • If you are in need of immediate cash be sure to tell the scheduler you want to apply for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Presumptive Disability as well as SSDI. A person applying for SSI who meets the SSI eligibility criteria such as limited income and assets, who has a very severe disability, can be called "presumptively disabled" or "presumptively blind." If you qualify, you can get payments for up to six months while the state agency determines if you are disabled or blind. These payments will not have to be paid back if you're found not to be disabled or blind. See Supplemental Security Income.
  • Go to a local Social Security office and request an appointment. You can locate your local office by clicking on Security-7004.html offsite link or by calling 1.800.772.1213.
    • If you show up at a Social Security office without an appointment, you'll have to wait your turn. You may find that everyone is busy, and all that you accomplish is getting a future appointment.
    • There doesn't seem to be any time of day that is less busy than others.
    • The shortest wait time may be for people who arrive at the office at least one half hour before it opens.
    • If you have difficulty getting to the Social Security office, ask Social Security to send someone to help you. Ask if a Social Security representative will meet you wherever you are (your home, hospital, nursing home etc.)
  • On line at offsite link
    • Any answers you complete in the on-line forms will become part of your file and can be used against you.
    • Unless you prepare worksheets ahead of time, it is likely you will leave out important facts, and/or not state them in the manner most likely to get your claim approved.
    • For the above reasons, we discourage you from applying for Social Security Disability online.
  • Appoint a family member, friend or professional representative and have him or her do the interview for you
    • If you decide to use someone to help you, such as a family member, caseworker or a professional representative, that person may contact Social Security on your behalf. You'll need to complete Social Security's Form SSA-1696-U4 (4-95) Appointment of Representative. You can obtain the form at offsite link.
    • You may wish to consider hiring someone to represent you. See Hiring A Representative.

NOTE: Before you go to the interview, be sure to read Before Filing Your Claim, and Filing Your Claim.

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