Applying for Social Security disability benefits requires completing a variety of different forms. Social Security will help you complete the forms (or fill them out for you) if you apply in person or online.
The disability forms involved in a typical application for Social Security benefits are:
SSI. You have to get the SSI application (SSA-8000-BK) directly from the Social Security Administration (SSA). Social Security doesn't provide this disability form online because the agency doesn't want you to fill it out yourself—you have to set up a phone or in-person interview appointment with Social Security to complete it. So to obtain the SSI application form, you'll need to contact Social Security in one of the following ways:
SSDI. Where can you get the Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) forms? You can download the SSDI application, the Adult Disability Report (also called the "function report"), and the Work History Report from Social Security's website. You also have the option to skip some of the paper disability forms and apply for SSDI online.
If you're going to fill out the disability forms yourself, make sure you're using a current version of the form. Each form should have a revision date in the bottom left-hand corner. If the revision date isn't within the last year or two, or you're unsure if you have the correct form, contact your local Social Security office.
Yes, you can fill out the Social Security forms on paper if you'd like. You'll need to take the following steps:
If you're filling out the forms by hand, print your responses neatly. Your answers must be legible. You should complete the disability forms using either black or blue ink.
Some Social Security offices might require you to go into the office so that a field representative can record your answers on the application form. These offices won't give you a form to complete at home.
You can have a friend or family member assist you in completing the disability forms, but make sure that all of the questions are answered as if you (the person applying for the disability benefits) are answering the questions. And note that you must fill out the Adult Disability Report form yourself—your doctor shouldn't complete it for you.
Can you ask your doctor to help you complete any of the disability forms? Doctors are generally too busy to help you fill out your disability application. But you should ask your doctor (or psychologist) to fill out a Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) form (also called a medical statement) for you. Your doctor's RFC is a critical part of your disability claim.
If you'd like professional help with your application, you can try to arrange a consultation with a disability lawyer or advocacy form. An SSDI lawyer or firm can help you complete your initial application for benefits in a way that's accurate but persuasive.
Applicants who complete their disability forms on their own sometimes make mistakes that are difficult for their attorneys to undo—from underestimating their physical limitations to overestimating their prior work responsibilities. Plus, your lawyer or advocate can help you choose a disability onset date that holds up to scrutiny while maximizing your benefits.
Learn more about getting help completing your disability forms.
You should be aware that completing Form SSA-827, Authorization to Disclose Information to the Social Security Administration, will give Social Security the right to retrieve all pertinent medical and educational records that could support (or undermine) the validity of your claim for disability benefits.
This release form is a blanket authorization that will help disability claims examiners evaluate whether or not you still have the ability to perform job-related tasks, given your current medical condition. Social Security won't process your claim unless you sign this form.
If you file online for SSDI, you can either print out and send this form in or sign it electronically.
Part of the disability application process is filling out the Adult Disability Report (Form SSA-3368-BK) and the Work History Report (Form SSA-3369-BK).
Be sure to include all details about your prior job duties in the work history section, including how much you were required to:
If you apply for SSDI online, you'll fill out the "Work History Report" and "Adult Disability Report" with the main part of the application. For more information on filing, see our article on how to file an application for disability.
For some people, applying online can be the quickest way to get the disability process started. Others prefer to get help over the phone or in person. For more information, read our article on the easiest way to apply for Social Security disability benefits.
Updated May 10, 2023