Your illness or injury has left you with many challenges. You may be in pain, unable to sleep and struggling with basic tasks during your day. On top of everything else, you are unable to work because of your disability. No income means you can’t pay your bills, never mind covering your medical expenses.

Fortunately, the federal government offers financial support for people with disabilities. You may be eligible to receive assistance through Social Security Disability Insurance if you worked a certain amount of time and paid into the system through your employer. You must also meet the qualifying criteria, which means having a medical condition that the Social Security Administration has approved for benefits.

Getting started

To apply for SSD, you must complete a number of important steps. It is not always easy to obtain benefits even if your condition is approved by the SSA. This is why it is important that you follow the instructions for applying as carefully as possible and provide ample documentation about your medical condition.

Your first step is to obtain a starter kit, which is available as a free download on the SSA website. These pages give you information and checklists to help you determine your eligibility and prepare your application. Since SSD benefits do not begin until you have been disabled for six months, it is wise to begin the application process as soon as possible to allow time for appeals if the SSA denies your first request, which happens often.

Applying for benefits

You can apply by mailing your application, using the online form, calling or visiting the Texas SSA office closest to you. It is important to have the checklist from your starter kit close by to help you answer the questions an agent will ask you. Your documentation about your condition will be critical to making your case, so you will want to include evidence of the following:

  • Dates of any doctor appointments
  • Dates when you went to the emergency room or spent time in the hospital because of your condition
  • A list of medications you are taking or have taken in the past
  • Evidence of any medical tests doctors or specialists have ordered for you
  • Your employment history for the 15 years prior to your disability
  • A log of how your condition affects your day-to-day routine, especially how it relates to your ability to work

The application process is tedious and can be difficult for someone who is struggling with a medical condition. It may be even more exhausting if the SSA rejects your initial application since you will then begin the appeals process. Having a legal advocate throughout the application process can improve your chances of meeting your goals.