You apply immediate. You apply the day after you stop working. You apply online at the ssa.gov website.
Expect to be denied the first time [70% cases are declined Round 1].
Hire an attorney to handle case after first denial.
If you have under $2000 in the bank, your SSD application will automatically review you for SSI...while your SSDI case is pending.
The process will take 18 months to 2 years or more..be prepared for this.
The key to winning is DOCUMENTATION.
The fact that I was taking 8 oxycodone pills a day did not win my case. I was denied x2 even when we talked about driving DUI etc..that angle did not work.
The angle that worked was, my ARD made me UNRELIABLE to show up at a job, stay all day, or if I left early no telling when I would come back to work. I would have to take a slew of "un-scheduled breaks", and who would hire me on narcotics 24/7?
I had several specialists put it in my Doctors note, I would be UNRELIABLE. My primary Doc wrote this, my colon-rectal surgeon wrote this, my psychiatrist/psychologist wrote this.
My constant pain [back when I could not get pain management] gave me PTSD [post traumatic stress syndrome] and made me suicidal/depressed from chronic lack of pain management. I was hurt over and over by Docs that would not believe me. I shut down, became house reclusive...my world got very small due to my un-managed ARD disease.
To win SSDI...all they care about is documentation that helps them understand WHY/HOW your disease keeps you from being employable. They get that fact your in pain and have ARD disease...they do not understand how it keeps you from holding a job.
So, you need documentation from professionals [the more the merrier] to why you cannot hold a job. Note - being on narcotics is not strong enough to carry the entire case.
These were my key points my Docs documented:
a) Multiple unscheduled breaks. b) Unreliability [bowel obstructions episodes come on with no notice] c) Narcotic medication [Oxycodone 240 pills a month] d) Pyschological Depression/PTSD [anger will lash out at healthy ppl]
* reclusive, does not integrate well socially, outcast...
All the above is true, I was at wits end, and contemplating taking my life until an angel landed on my shoulder and I turned myself into psychiatry. THEY turned it all around, and got my medical Docs to believe me, and then I was given pain management and I came back to life!
Note - ALL my medical tests came back normal until 2004, I failed a barium small bowel follow thru. I had sneaky fistula's that hide. They repeasted this test the same day and it came back normal...fistula's are sneaky...but the one abnormal test, got my Docs to believe me as well...and it was a fluke the fistula showed up, it has never before in 15 years.
Even if I did not have this positive finding, psychiatry got the medical team to support me for my ARD and I was NO LONGER labeled a drug seeker!
My email is firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions.