There are three ways that a person can apply for Social Security Disability Benefits: 1. in person at a local Social Security Field Office, 2. by phone or, 3. on line. Any of these three methods is perfectly fine. Here are some helpful hints and recommendations regarding the initial Social Security Application process, with particular emphasis on some of the issues faced by claimants who use the online system in the State of Connecticut.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) seems to have an ongoing media campaign encouraging applicants to use the online system. www.SSA.gov This electronic system seems to be working relatively well for most applicants. In addition, the SSA is constantly working on improving its online system and has been adding new features to its web page on a regular basis. I must confess that, at times, it is hard to keep up. One of the most common issues with respect to the online system, is that not all aspects of the Social Security process can be conducted in an electronic format. Despite these limitations, the SSA is working at a very fast pace towards a paperless electronic system and, pretty soon, practically every aspect of the process will be conducted in an electronic format. One example of this problem was the fact that applicants could do the entire initial application and adult disability report online but then, had to mail a separate form to the SSA giving the agency authorization to look at their medical information. However, just today, the SSA came up with a new electronic Authorization Form to Disclose Information to the SSA (Form SSA-827). Now applicants can provide an electronic signature to disclose their medical information, instead of using the traditional "wet ink" signature that our civilization has used for more than two millenniums.
Another difficulty with the current online system is that it can only be used for SSDI applications. Applicants for SSI still have to apply in person or by phone. This causes some confusion, since most Social Security Disability Lawyers advise their clients to simultaneously apply for SSI and SSDI. However, this apparent problem is easily solved by completing the SSDI form online and then calling the local office to do the SSI application by phone. Another easier way of resolving this issue is by stating in the SSDI online application that the claimant also wishes to apply for SSI. The online application specifically asks whether the applicant also wants to apply for SSI. If the online applicant clicks on the "yes" button, someone from the SSA will contact the claimant to complete the SSI application on the phone.
Another issue particular to Connecticut is that applicants from the Bristol area, who apply on line, receive a statement indicating their case is being handled by the Hartford Field Office instead of the Bristol Field Office. This can be a bit confusing but, I suspect, is no big deal. The Hartford Field Office seems to be handling cases from the Bristol area due to budget cuts. However, even though the Hartford Field Office is in charge of the case, claimants can still go to the Bristol Field Office to submit any necessary paperwork that cannot be delivered by mail or online. For example, this week, one of my clients from Bristol was told that she had to show proof of citizenship to the SSA in person. Since she is disabled, driving long distances is difficult. She thought that she had to appear in person in the Hartford filed office to show her passport. She was a bit overwhelmed and was making arrangements to have a friend drive her to downtown Hartford. Fortunately, I was able to talk to her before she got in the car with her friend and explained that she could present her passport to the Bristol Field Office (which happens to be very close to her house) even though the Hartford Field Office is the office which is formally in charge of her application.
Another important piece of information is that now, Social Security Field Offices close at 3:30 PM. The early closure of the Field Offices is also due to budgetary constraints. For your convenience here is a list of the Social Security Field Offices in Connecticut.
Apply for Social Security Disability Benefits - Connecticut Social Security Office Phone Numbers and Addresses:
|Ansonia Social Security Office
|307 Main Street
|Bridgeport Social Security Office
|3885 Main Street
|Bristol Social Security Office
|225 North Main Street
|Danbury Social Security Office
|131 West Street
|East Hartford Social Security Office
|478 Burnside Avenue
|Hartford Social Security Office
|960 Main St
|Meriden Social Security Office
|One West Main St
|Middletown Social Security Office
|425 Main Street
|New Britain Social Security Office
|233 Main Street 2nd Fl
|New Haven Social Security Office
|150 Court St 4th Fl
|New London Social Security Office
|2 Shaws Cove
|Norwalk Social Security Office
|24 Belden Ave
|Norwich Social Security Office
|101 Water Street
|Stamford Social Security Office
|2 Landmark Square
|Torrington Social Security Office
|147 Litchfield Street
|Waterbury Social Security Office
|95 Scovill St
|Willimantic Social Security Office
|1320 Main Street