“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” – Benjamin Franklin
Benjamin Franklin’s words are good advice for life, and good advice as you prepare to apply for social security disability as well. The success of your Social Security Disability application process has as much to do with the information you provide as it does with your disability. Providing the wrong information, or even the correct information in the wrong format, can cause your application to be delayed or even denied, leaving you with two options – start the process over or appeal.
Collecting the necessary documents and reviewing the required forms before meeting with the disability examiner (or applying online) not only increases the chance that your application will be approved early – and thus get you benefits sooner – but can also alleviate stress and make the process run much more smoothly.
To help with the process of applying for Social Security Disability benefits we’ve compiled a list of the forms and other information you will need to apply for SSD benefits. Some of the forms you’ll complete with the disability examiner during your interview; however, it is still a good idea to review the forms before your appointment to familiarize yourself with the questions you will be asked and, if necessary, get the answers you’ll need.
Documentation required during the Social Security Disability Application Process
Disability Report. The disability report gives the Social Security Administration information about you, your medical condition, treatment you have received, your treating physicians, your education, work and training history, and the impact your disability has on your ability to perform both your job duties and functional tasks, such as lifting, walking and standing. If you apply in-person, the disability examiner will complete this form with you.
Medical and Job Worksheet. This worksheet details your medical history (including names and addresses of any physicians who have treated you, medications and treatments), and the five most recent jobs (if that many) you’ve held in the previous 15 years. You won’t submit this form to the SSA, but you must bring it to your interview with the disability examiner. If you are applying online, completing it ahead of time will save time by preventing you from having to search through your papers for the requested information.
Medical Records. You should obtain copies of all documents from your medical record that support your disability, including, but not limited to: X-rays, CT scans, MRI or other imaging; lab tests and reports; list of medications taken, including any notes on why treatment was suspended, and; notes from every physician who has treated you for the condition. If possible, your treating physician should complete a medical source statement for your specific disability.
Authorization to Disclose Information. The disclosure allows the SSA to obtain information regarding your medical condition from your treating physicians. It is always better to obtain the necessary documents and provide them to the disability claims examiner yourself, rather than leave it to them.
Other Benefits. Award letters, pay stubs, settlement agreements, or other proof of temporary or permanent workers’ compensation-type benefits you may receive, whether related to your disability or not.
Other Documents. The SSA may request copies of one or more of the following: birth certificate or other proof of birth; U.S. military discharge papers (for those in service prior to 1968); W-2 forms and/or self-employment tax returns for the year prior to application, or; information on your spouse (and former spouse(s), if any) and children.
Resources Available Online During Your SSD Application Process
The SSA has a disability checklist that you can refer to and keep track of the required documents as you go through the application process; there is also an online disability checklist, should you choose to apply online. If you do choose to apply for SSD benefits online, the system will run you through the forms, though it may be helpful to print a copy and complete prior to starting the online application. You must still submit your medical records and other required documentation.
In some cases, there are advantages to completing the application in your local SSA office with a disability examiner versus applying online. Our office can help you decide which option right for your particular case.
As always, the best chance to ensure that your application goes smoothly and you are completing all documentation correctly and efficiently is to seek expert legal counsel. If you are applying for benefits or have been denied benefits consider the Good Law Group for your legal representation.
Call us toll-free at #866-352-5238