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Applying for Disability

An application can be made at the nearest Social Security office near you. In Boulder, the offices are at Suite 101, 4949 Pearl East Circle.

To qualify for a disability claim as an adult, you must show medical evidence of impairment in addition to work details.  A claims examiner will look at the impairment, work history and the ability to get a new job.

If you are applying for a child, you must show that the impairments limit the child’s ability to participate in activities which other children of the same age are doing normally in studies, sports and so on.

Your application is forwarded to the office of Disability Determination Services (DDS) for processing. The DDS makes an assessment of the disability. To be considered eligible, there must be medical evidence showing;

  • The claimant has a medically determinable physical or mental impairment or both. The impairment should have lasted for more than a year, or be forecasted to last for more than one year.
  • The impairment must be shown to limit the claimant’s ability to work. The limitation is rated according to residual capacity to function (capabilities remains with the claimant that can enable some work). It must be shown that the impairment is preventing the claimant from having work that can bring in sufficient income for basic needs. The claimant must show that he/she has been unable to continue working at a past job, or will be unable to work at a job for which they qualify, on account of the impairment.

After Application

Your application is assigned to an examiner who will collect medical and non-medical evidence to support your claim. The examiner will send out requests for your medical records to all the medical providers you have listed as having handled your health case. The examiner heavily relies on the accuracy of this data to make decisions on your impairment. It usually takes under 4 months to get an answer to your application.


If your application is rejected, you can appeal. The case will be assigned to experts specialising in disability matters. The review will take about 2 months. If it is rejected, you can take the appeal to the office of Disability Adjudication and Review and get a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge. An appeal before an ALJ takes longer as there are many such cases.

If you are in Boulder city the ODAR office to go to would be the one in Colorado Springs located at Suite 701, 121 S. Tejon Street.