Although individuals applying for Social Security disability benefits have the right to representation, they can submit applications without a lawyer's assistance online, by phone or in person, reports the Social Security Administration. If the claim is denied for medical reasons, an applicant can gather needed documents and file an appeal.
To file a claim for Social Security disability benefits online, go to the main page of the Social Security website, click on Benefits in the toolbar at the top of the page, select Apply Online for Disability, scroll down to the bottom of the page, and click on Apply for Disability. You can use the online application if you are at least 18 years old, do not currently receive Social Security benefits, and cannot work because of a medical condition lasting at least 12 months or likely to result in death, according to the Social Security Administration. Be prepared to provide details about your citizenship, place and date of birth, marital status and children.
It's important to gather medical records from doctors, hospitals and other health care providers to document your medical condition. If you apply for disability benefits by phone or in person, have original documents ready to send or show to substantiate your claim, advises the Social Security Administration. Needed documents include your birth certificate, proof of citizenship, military records, employment records and medical records. Social Security employees help applicants obtain any missing documents.