how to file a social security disability claim

Understanding how to file a disability claim can often be as challenging as managing the disability itself, especially when you are dealing with a chronic medical condition, acute illness, or a serious injury.

This guide is designed to demystify the complexities of filing a disability claim. We will walk you through each essential step, offering the critical legal insights needed to navigate this process effectively.

Whether you are facing a short-term setback or a long-term change, our commitment is to ensure your rights are protected, and your financial needs are comprehensively met.

What Is a Disability Claim?

A disability claim is a formal request for income protection benefits submitted by individuals who cannot work due to a medical condition or severe injury, either temporarily or for the foreseeable future.

These claims are critical for securing financial support when health issues prevent employment. Understanding the nuances of these claims is the first step towards ensuring you receive the compensation you deserve.

What are the Types of Disability Claims?

Disability claims vary significantly depending on the type of insurance and the source of benefits. Here is an overview of the most common types:

  • Short-term Disability Insurance: Provides benefits for a shorter period, typically three to six months, bridging the gap until you can return to work or transition to long-term disability benefits.
  • Long-term Disability Insurance: This covers part of your income if you cannot work for an extended period due to illness or injury. These claims can be complex, requiring detailed medical evidence and legal expertise.
  • Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI): A federally funded program for those who have contributed to the system and are now unable to work due to disability.
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI): This program assists individuals who are disabled and have limited income and resources, regardless of work history.
  • Private Disability Insurance: Policies purchased privately through an agent, which typically offer more flexibility and coverage options than public or group disability benefits.
  • VA Disability Claim: For veterans suffering from service-connected disabilities, providing compensation for injuries or illnesses that occurred or were exacerbated by military service.

Each type of claim has specific criteria and processes, making it crucial to have knowledgeable legal support, like Aaron Engle Law, to guide you.

How to Prepare Your Disability Claim

Proper preparation of your disability claim is crucial to its success. This section breaks down the essential steps to ensure that your claim is processed efficiently and gives you the best chance of approval.

Gather Documentation for Medical Evidence

The foundation of a strong disability claim is solid medical evidence. Collect all relevant medical records, including diagnostic tests, treatment details, and other pertinent medical documentation that clearly outlines your condition, symptoms, and the reasons you cannot work.

This compilation should comprehensively represent your health status and the challenges you face due to your disability.

Importance of Healthcare Providers

The support of your healthcare providers is instrumental in getting your claim approved. Obtain detailed statements from your treating physicians that explain the nature of your illness or injury and its impact on your ability to work. It is best if your providers not only discuss your diagnoses and symptoms but also how they prevent you from doing the material and substantial duties of your job.

These statements are crucial as they provide expert insights into the severity of your condition and are often pivotal in the decision-making process of your claim.

Seek Professional Assistance

Navigating the complexities of disability claims can be daunting. Consulting with a disability attorney like Aaron Engle Law can significantly enhance your claim prospects.

Our legal experts are skilled in preparing claims with meticulous attention to detail, ensuring that every aspect of your situation is considered. By leveraging our expertise, you maximize your chances of a favorable outcome, from initial filing to potential appeals to litigation if necessary.

How to File a Disability Insurance Claim: Pros & Cons

Filing a disability claim is a significant step that comes with its own set of benefits and challenges. Understanding these can help you navigate the process more effectively.


  • Financial Support: Successful claims provide essential financial assistance, replacing a portion of your income when you cannot work.
  • Legal Recognition: Filing a claim formalizes acknowledging your disability, which can be crucial for accessing other benefits and services.
  • Access to Resources: Many disability programs offer or facilitate additional support, such as health insurance contributions, rehabilitation services, and job retraining.


  • Long Processing Times: Disability claims can take significant time to process, during which financial and emotional pressure can increase.
  • Invasive Procedures: The process often requires detailed scrutiny of your medical history, which can feel invasive and stressful.
  • Risk of Denial: Many disability claims are initially denied, requiring an appeals process that can be lengthy and demanding. If your claim is denied, you should get an attorney.  The disability company will not help you appeal, and it is in their best interest if you do not properly do so.

Understanding these pros and cons can help you prepare for the process and set realistic expectations. It’s also why seeking professional legal assistance from firms like Aaron Engle Law is crucial—they can help streamline the process and improve your chances of a successful claim.

Review the Claim Process

Understanding and reviewing the disability claim process, whether your claim is initially denied or successfully moves through to the appeals process, is essential. This review helps you identify areas requiring additional documentation or further clarification to strengthen your case.

In the event of a denial, a thorough review is crucial for preparing a robust appeal. It can also provide valuable insights into the workings of the claim procedure, enabling you to navigate future claims more effectively.

Engaging a specialized attorney, such as those at Aaron Engle Law, can offer significant advantages in managing this review and ensuring your appeal is meticulously prepared. We do not recommend that you appeal on your own. 

Can I File a Disability Claim Online?

In today’s digital age, many disability claims, including short-term and long-term disability and Social Security Disability Insurance, can be filed online. This convenient option streamlines document submission and accelerates initial steps.  However, it is still important to remember that it is your burden to prove that you meet the definition of disability, which can vary by policy and program. 

At Aaron Engle Law, we guide you through the basics of filing, ensuring your application is complete, accurate, and timely. Trust our expertise to simplify and support your claim journey.

How to File a Social Security Disability Claim?

To file a Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) claim, begin by collecting detailed medical evidence and employment history to demonstrate your inability to work. You can submit your application online, by phone, or at a Social Security office.

Ensure all documents are thoroughly reviewed to prevent delays or denials. For expert guidance and to enhance your approval chances, consider consulting a disability attorney specializing in Social Security claims.  We can point you in the right direction for an SSDI attorney who knows the process.  Many LTD insurance carriers will refer you to their national vendors, who may not know the local Judges and will not be able to work as effectively with your treating physicians.  That is why we recommend that you use a local SSDI attorney. 

Aaron Engle Law Is Your Attorney for Group and Individual Disability Claims!

Navigating how to file a disability claim can be complex and overwhelming. That’s where Aaron Engle Law can help. With deep expertise in disability law, we can guide you through each phase of your claim, ensuring every detail is handled precisely.

From gathering documentation to filing appeals, we are here to advocate for your rights and secure the support you deserve. Ready to get started? Contact Aaron Engle Law today and take the first step towards managing your disability claim with confidence.