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Originally published Monday, October 18, 2010 at 7:26 PM

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Social Security Q&A

Applying online for disability benefits offers several advantages.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

Q: I need to apply for disability benefits. Where do I start?

A: Start online at www.socialsecurity.gov/applyfordisability. Applying online for disability benefits offers several advantages. You can start your disability claim immediately. There is no need to wait for an appointment. You can apply from the convenience of your home or on any computer. You can use the online application to apply for benefits if you are age 18 or older, have worked and paid Social Security taxes long enough to qualify, you have a medical condition that has prevented you from working or is expected to prevent you from working for at least 12 months or to end in death, and you reside in the United States or one of its territories or commonwealths. Get started now at www.socialsecurity.gov/applyfordisability.

— — —

Q: My application for disability benefits was denied. What do I do if I disagree with the decision?

A: You can appeal the decision at www.socialsecurity.gov/onlineservices. This website is the starting point to request a review of our medical decision about your eligibility for disability benefits. There are two parts to this Internet Appeal process:

Part 1: An Appeal Request Internet form; and

Part 2: An Appeal Disability Report that gives us more information about your condition.

You can complete both forms online. To appeal online, the only form you must submit is an appeal request (Part 1). However, we encourage you to submit an Appeal Disability Report (Part 2) because it will give us more information about you and help us in processing your appeal. We estimate it will take an average of 19 minutes to complete Part 1, and an average of 30 minutes to complete Part 2. To get started, visit www.socialsecurity.gov/onlineservices.

— — —

This column was prepared by the Social Security Administration. For fast answers to specific Social Security questions, contact Social Security toll-free at 800-772-1213.

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