As of September 2012, more than 250,000 Rhode Island residents received monthly Social Security benefits, according to the Social Security Administration (SSA). Many of those were in the form of Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income.
Filing an application for Social Security disability in Providence is the first step in securing much-needed income to pay for things like rent, groceries and transportation expenses. Below is a guideline for disabled Rhode Island residents who are unable to work because of a medical or mental impairment.
Where do I go to file for disability benefits?
You may file your application for Social Security disability benefits online or in person. To file online, visit the official Social Security Administration’s website at ssa.gov. There, you may:
- apply for disability benefits;
- return to a saved application;
- check your application status;
- review a saved disability report; and
- appeal a recent SSA decision.
Not comfortable using the online application process? You may visit your nearest Social Security office to apply in person. Rhode Island offices include:
- Providence (380 Westminster St., Room 318);
- Pawtucket (4 Pleasant St.);
- Newport (130 Bellevue Ave. First Floor);
- Warwick (30 Quaker Lane, First Floor); and
- Woonsocket (Pavilion Plaza, 2168 Diamond Hill Rd.).
Applications for disability benefits will be accepted at any of the above-listed offices. The medical decisions are made in-state by the Disability Determination Services located in downtown Providence.
Who do I talk to if I go to the local Social Security field office?
The Social Security Administration staff will guide you in who to speak with during the initial application process. You will not go before an administrative judge during this phase of the application process.
Note that beginning January 2013, all Social Security field offices close at noon on Wednesdays. The Providence office closes at 3 p.m. all other days, except Saturday and Sunday, when it is closed. You may reach the Providence field office by calling (877) 402-0808.
What do I need to bring with me in order to file for Social Security disability?
There are certain materials and records you will need at your disposal, whether you are applying for benefits online or in person. This list includes:
- Social Security number;
- work history for the past 15 years (particularly relevant if you are applying for Social Security Disability Insurance);
- medical records that support your claim of an impairing medical condition;
- doctor statements that verify your medical condition and its impact on your ability to perform substantial gainful activity;
- details about financial resources (if applying for Supplemental Security Income); and
- personal and witness statements as to how medical or mental conditions impair your day-to-day functioning and activities (such as, “Cannot walk for more than 20 yards without feeling winded; cannot sit for more than 10 minutes at a time without experiencing debilitating pain).
Your chances of a successful application increase with a thorough, well-documented application. That said – it is not unusual for a first-time application to be denied.
How long does it take to apply?
The application process itself may take at least an hour, based on estimates from the Social Security Administration. Starting online may help cut the time it takes to apply. The SSA estimates a three- to five-month waiting period for a decision on an initial application. That timeframe will depend on how long it takes to access the necessary medical records and the Providence office’s current backlog of applications.
What can I do to improve my chances of a successful application?
You have the option to hire a Social Security disability lawyer to help you with your application or appeal. Learn more during a free case evaluation with Rob Levine & Associates – (866) LAW-SSDI (866-529-7734) or complete our online contact form.