When you need to file for Social Security benefits, your Atlanta disability attorney can assist you with understanding the application process for disability benefits. However, if you are applying for regular retirement benefits or Medicare, you may be able to process the applications yourself. The following tips will help you file for regular Social Security benefits and provide you with information that you will need if you are applying for disability benefits.
Filing for Social Security Benefits
If you are filing for Social Security benefits, you can complete the application online or on the telephone. However, it is not unusual to have to go to a local Social Security office during the application process either to submit supporting documentation or for interview purposes. If you feel more secure applying in person for benefits, you can locate the nearest Social Security office by either visiting their website and entering your zip code into the search box, or checking the local phone book under the government section.
Necessary Documents for Filing for Social Security Benefits
There are many different documents that you will need to submit to the Social Security office to claim your benefits. Your Atlanta disability attorney will explain to you how many, if not all, of these documents will be the same ones that you need to have to file for disability. Your Atlanta disability attorney will also explain that many of these documents are very important documents and may not easily be replaced. When possible, only submit supporting documents that are a copy of the original. If you must submit an original or certified document, make sure it is a replacement document and not the original that you own. You will be required to submit:
- The Social Security Administration application for benefits. This form is available online or in the office.
- Your original birth certificate or other proof of birth.
- Naturalization or citizenship papers if necessary.
- A copy of your DD-214 Military service discharge papers.
- A copy of our W-2s from the prior year or your self-employment tax statement for the previous year.
In addition to these documents, the Social Security office may also require you to provide:
- Date and place of your birth and your Social Security number.
- The name and address of your current employer or any employers for the previous year.
- If you are filing between the months of September and December, you will need to provide an anticipated income for the following year.
- Proof of income for the previous year.
- If you served in the military prior to 1968, you will need to know your dates of active duty.
- The name, age, and Social Security number of your spouse and any of your former spouses. You will also need to provide divorce or death dates of former spouses.
- A copy of your Social Security Statement. This statement can be obtained from the Social Security website.
- Your bank routing number so that your benefits check can be electronically deposited.
- Additional information may be requested based on your individual circumstances.
Be prepared to submit whatever supporting documents that may be necessary to complete our application within the timelines set by the Social Security office. Failure to make submission deadlines can cause your benefits to be delayed.
Applying for Adult Social Security Disability Benefits
In addition to the regular application for Social Security benefits, your Atlanta disability attorney will explain to you that you must also complete the Adult Disability Report. This report can be completed online or in person. When you complete a disability report the Social Security office will require you to come in person to an office for an interview. During this interview, you will most likely be asked for the following information:
- The name and address of all doctors, clinics, hospitals, or emergency care centers that you have been seen at due to your disability.
- Patient ID numbers from different doctors.
- Dates of service for each doctor.
- Medical records that are in your possession at the time of the interview.
- If the disability is a result of a work related injury, you will need to provide all of the information from the workers compensation claim.
- Social Security numbers of your spouse and any dependent children.
- Information on the types of jobs and the companies you worked for over the last 15 years before becoming disabled.
It is also very important that the Social Security office has a valid phone number and address where you can be reached at all times. Disability claims can be denied or have the case closed if the Social Security office cannot reach the claimant to answer questions.
When to File for Social Security Benefits
If you are nearing retirement age, you should begin to make plans to file for benefits. By starting three months prior to your qualifying age, you should begin to receive benefits right about the time you qualify. It is also very important to decide when you take your benefits. Applying for benefits at age 62 can greatly reduce the income you receive. Applying at age 65 or 67, depending on your birth year, will entitle you to larger benefits. If you wait until 70, you can receive the maximum amount of benefits that you are entitled to under the program.
Applying for Medicare
If you qualify for Social Security benefits, you will also qualify for Medicare. You should begin the application process for Medicare three months prior to your 65th birthday. You can apply for these benefits at this time even if you are not going to receive retirement benefits until a later date.
Contact an Atlanta Disability Attorney Today
If you are applying for Social Security disability benefits, you should contact the Law Office of Louis B. Lusk at 404.250.7000. The Social Security disability program can be complicated and confusing. Avoid the hassles of being denied disability benefits by having a qualified attorney process your claim. An Atlanta disability attorney can help you file a claim or fight a denial of benefits as your legal representative.