If you become disabled, you should apply for benefits immediately, as the application process and waiting period could take some time depending on your individual case. Usually, the wait for a decision on your case will take 3 to 4 months, but an initial rejection can tack on an additional 4 months, if you decide to pursue a reconsideration.
To apply, you must call or visit your local Social Security Office, which you can find by calling 1-800-772-1213, or using the online SSA office locator. Once you meet with Social Security representatives, they will determine whether you qualify for SSI or SSDI.
Frustratingly, 60% of disability applications are denied the first time, but appealing the decision is possible if the request is submitted within 60 days of receiving the denial letter.
Since the application process could take a while, you can hasten it by gathering the following documents beforehand. Having a wealth of information to give to a representative will also help your chances of being approved for benefits.