Start a claim
How It Works
A User-Friendly Guide to the SSDI Journey


Securing Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits can feel like a daunting task, but breaking down the process into manageable steps makes it more approachable. Here's a user-friendly guide to navigating the SSDI journey.

Eligibility Check:

Start by determining if you meet the basic eligibility criteria. To qualify for SSDI, you must have a disabling medical condition expected to last at least 12 months and have earned sufficient work credits.

Application Submission:

Fill out the application form with detailed information about your personal background, work history, and your medical condition. Accuracy is crucial to avoid delays.

Initial Review by the SSA:

After submission, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will review your application to verify eligibility and basic criteria. Be responsive if they request additional information.

Evaluation by DDS:

The Disability Determination Services (DDS) assesses your medical evidence. This includes a review of your medical records, treatments, and other relevant documents to determine the impact of your condition on your ability to work.

Additional Information or Medical Examinations:

If necessary, the DDS might request more information or medical exams. Promptly respond to these requests to avoid delays.

Initial Decision:

The SSA makes a decision on your initial application – approval, denial, or a request for more evidence. If denied, don't worry – you can appeal.

Appeals Process:

Initiate the appeals process if needed. There are four levels: reconsideration, a hearing with an administrative law judge, a review by the Appeals Council, and federal court review.

Hearing by a Judge:

If denied at the reconsideration stage, request a hearing with an administrative law judge. This allows you to present your case in person, possibly with legal representation.

Appeals Council Review:

If the judge denies your claim, you can appeal to the Appeals Council. They review for legal errors and may affirm, modify, or reverse the decision.

Federal Court Review:

As a last resort, seek a federal court review if the Appeals Council denies your claim. The court examines the case for legal errors, providing a final chance for a favorable outcome.


Navigating SSDI might seem complex, but understanding these user-friendly steps empowers you through the process. Patience and diligence are key – remember, each step is a building block toward securing the support you need.