The Social Security Administration (SSA) prefers that you apply for Social Security Disability online instead of in person. This is mainly due to the fact that the SSA is understaffed and would have a hard time handling all applicants if everyone applied in person.
Many Social Security attorneys recommend that you apply for disability benefits in person. When you apply in person you will have the opportunity to ask questions and make sure that you are informed about the application process. If you apply online, there is still a good chance that a Social Security employee will contact you to ask you more questions about your claim. So it might be most beneficial if you just skip the online application and apply in person.
There are some situations where you are unable to apply on line and you must apply in person. For example, if you have never worked, you are probably not eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), and you must apply for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) in person (SSI cannot be applied for online). If you are applying for a child, most of the application must be done in person. If you are a young adult, disabled before the age of 22 and you want to apply for SSDI child benefits (based on your parent’s work record), then you must apply in person.
There are times when it might make sense to apply or appeal online. For example, if your initial application for Social Security Disability was denied, and you are nearing the end of your 60 day appeal window, you may want to apply on line to make sure you meet the deadline. Or, if you live far away from a Social Security office, it might make sense for you to apply on-line.
In most cases, applying in person will be the best option because it will give you a chance to ask questions and make you better informed of the disability application process. Applying online is quicker than applying in person, but chances are good that even if you apply online, you will eventually need to talk to a Social Security employee at some point during the application process. Applying for Social Security Disability can be a time consuming and stressful process; you should consider hiring a Social Security Disability attorney to help you with your claim, or at least take advantage of a free consultation.