How Does the Social Security Administration Determine Disability?

Disability Attorneys in Tulsa on Qualifying for Social Security Benefits

The process for determining Social Security eligibility for disability benefits can be long and complicated. However, disability law is all the attorneys at Troutman & Troutman, P.C. do. We have broken the process of qualifying for Social Security down for our clients to make it easier to understand.

If you are considering filing for Supplemental Security income (SSI) or Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) benefits, contact our Oklahoma disability law firm to ask how we may be able to assist with your application. Improve your chances of a successful disability benefits case by scheduling a free claim review with us today.

How Do I File for Disability?

One of the most important steps in gaining disability benefits is filing the initial application. To file for disability in Oklahoma, you can obtain the paperwork in three different ways:

  • Online at and select the option to “Apply for Disability”
  • Go to local SSA office near you. The Social Security office in Tulsa is located at 4750 S Garnett Road. It is best to call ahead to make an appointment before visiting in person.
  • Call the Social Security Administration toll-free at 1-800-772-1213 or 1-800-325-0778 for deaf or hard of hearing applicants. An SSA representative will make an appointment for a phone interview at a later date or an in person SSA office appointment for you to complete your disability application.

How Do I Fill out My Disability Paperwork?

After you start your claim, the next step is to answer the disability application questions. The application for disability benefits requires claimants to answer a series of questions truthfully that gauge the extent of their ability to work and complete tasks.

How you answer disability application questions you believe are only simple “Yes” or “No” questions may actually benefit from more explanation, better wording and supportive medical documentation.

A simple question you answer “Yes” to, such as, “Do you shop for groceries?” may be better addressed with an answer that includes important details, including, “Yes, I shop for groceries with the assistance of a caregiver and a motorized shopping cart.”

The bottom line is that how you answer the disability application questions must prove your need for disability benefits, and our Social Security lawyers can help you do this.

What Happens After I File My Disability Benefits Application?

Once the Social Security Administration receives your application, the SSA will attempt to get your medical records from treating doctors and hospitals. The SSA may also schedule a consultative examination with a doctor, psychologist or psychiatrist. After the necessary records are obtained, the Social Security Administration provides you with a decision as to whether you are disabled.

However, only the most obvious cases gain disability benefits after the initial application. This is one of many reasons why your answers on the initial application are crucial to your claim. Your answers will be taken into consideration and follow you throughout the initial application, reconsideration, Administrative Law Judge hearing and Appeals Council process – even if you dismiss and restart your disability claim.

Do I Need an Attorney to File a Disability Claim?

Legally, a lawyer is not necessary to submit an initial disability benefits claim or request for reconsideration. However, having the support of an attorney who only handles disability law cases from the beginning of the filing process may save you from having to ask for reconsideration.

If you do decide you need an advocate by your side in the disability process, you should know that the fee for gaining the support of an experienced Tulsa disability attorney is the same as hiring a non-attorney representative. The SSA governs how much any representative of a Social Security disability claim can be paid, lawyer or not. This fee is awarded from your past due disability benefits. All benefits going forward are 100 percent yours.

There are no upfront costs when we take a disability case. Our disability attorneys only receive payment if we successfully gain you benefits. If we feel that your claim can be successful without our help, we will tell you. Our disability attorneys do not want to waste your time; we just want you to get the disability benefits you deserve as quickly as possible.