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Posted By : Butterflake - 8/10/2012 3:44 PM

SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY

I completed my Social Security disability application online and had it approved within three months, so I thought some of you might find my application process helpful. I never had to see a Social Security physician or hire an attorney, but I basically completed Social Security’s work for them.

Prior to applying for benefits you will find it helpful to keep a daily calendar and track all of your appointments, tests, symptoms, ability to function and effects of treatment. Also, try to keep copies of all your medical records current.

Social Security defines disability as the “inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than twelve months.” You must have quit work before Social Security will take your medical information.  By the time I quit work, my employer had given me every reasonable accommodation they could, including working from home, to keep me employed. Finally I became so ill that I could not walk without a walker and I quit work. I was very weak, in pain, and couldn’t think clearly yet I still had to finish gathering information, make copies of everything, and complete the forms.

To be approved, you will need the cooperation of your physicians. Consult with your physicians and explain how your illness is interfering with your normal daily life and sustained work activity and ask them if they will support your decision to apply for disability.

The most important thing you can do to speed your application is to obtain all of your medical records from every physician, hospital, and clinic you saw since your symptoms began. Each agency will charge you for your records. This is a fee per page set by your state.

Call each agency and ask for a complete copy of your medical records. To get your records the agency will need your written authorization. Once you receive a records request form from one office, you can use that as a template to fax to all the other agencies. Next, call each agency and tell them that you are faxing a request for your complete medical records. Follow-up! If you do not receive the records within a couple of weeks, call the office. If you still don’t get the records, pay the office a personal visit. If the office pays another company to copy their records, call the company. Always be very polite.

As you receive your records, make a copy of every page for the Social Security office.

While you are collecting records, go to the Social Security web site http://www.socialsecurity.gov/applyfordisability/ , review the “Adult Disability Checklist” and gather all the information you will need to complete your application.

I found it helpful to read the “Complete the Disability Benefit Application” and the “Complete the Adult Disability Report.” You will be submitting both of these documents online to Social Security and they may use the date you started your report as the application filing date. Because of this, I started a notebook while reading the forms and I wrote my answers and edited the notebook as needed. If you begin this notebook before you quit work it will not only make completing the forms much faster, but will also be easier on your health.

Upon starting your Application, you will be given a confirmation number that you must use each time you return to your Application, so write it down. Each page of these forms has a 25 minute time limit, but you may return to your forms at any time.

The online Adult Disability and Work History Report contain seven sections: Overview, Identification, Medical, Work/Education, Remarks, Review, and Submit. You must be very detailed in each response you give. For example, they request the name of each medical test, when and where it was done, and who ordered it. You will need to list all the types of jobs you held in the last 15 years before you became unable to work. Social Security will want the names, addresses, and dates of treatment for all your doctors and hospitals in case they have questions regarding the medical records you submitted.

For each answer I gave, I went above and beyond what Social Security requested. I submitted the forms online and then went to the local Social Security office before they called me. I piled copies all of my medical records, requested forms, documentation, physician’s letters, and anything I thought they might need on my rolling walker and waited for my number to be called. The very nice woman I spoke with pulled up my application and report on her computer, reviewed the paperwork I gave her and said it was the most complete application she had ever seen.  The following week she called me at home twice with additional questions.  

On October 27, 2008 I submitted my paperwork at the local Social Security office. My Social Security Disability Benefits started February 1, 2009.


Posted By : FW - 8/10/2012 9:21 PM
Thank you! I am bookmarking this.
Take care, Fran

Dx: Lupus, sjogren's, celiac, severe allergies.
Daily Meds: Plaquenil, Zyrtec. Aciphex, Nasacort, Prozac, Ambien CR, CellCept, Zantac, Bactrim
Daily Supplements: Calcium, B-100 Complex, Daily Vitamins.
As Needed Meds: Epinephrine, Benadryl, Proventil, Xopenex, Tylenal, Vicodin, Prednisone.

Posted By : Butterflake - 8/12/2012 8:50 PM
Hi Fran. I hope you're not the only person who finds this useful. It took a few hours for me to write it and I really believe the steps I took in 2008 expedited my disability approval. I was completely exhausted and barely able to walk by the time I completed my application and report. On the other hand, during that last year of working all I could do was work, bathe, eat, sleep, go to medical visits and take pills. Still, if I had it to do over again, I would have started that notebook much, much sooner. Another tip: an attorney gets 25% of your first disability check. This first check includes all of your back pay since you quit work. Even though there's a cap on what the attorney can be awarded, it is to the attorneys advantage to drag out the time it takes for you to be approved until he/she reaches that cap. I'm hoping our moderator will want to include this in our resources as an additional method to apply for Social Security disability. Love, Butterflake  

Posted By : NanaBee - 8/13/2012 2:46 PM
Thanks, Butterflake, for this information. I am going through the process right now. The paperwork they have you do is absolutely crazy. My husband even had to fill out an 8 page packet.

I do not have a lawyer as of yet. I haven't gotten a determination yet, either. I went to their doctor last week and have a Psych eval next week. I am having those doctors send their notes to my rheumatologist so I know what they are saying about me. (Hopefully, not that I'm crazy.)

I am keeping a journal also of how I feel most days, good and bad, what I can and can't do.

I think it would be a great idea to have a forum just for people who are going through the Social Security Disability adventure. It sure would help to be able to talk to people who have been through and be able to encourage people who are new to the process. I actually emailed the healing well moderator, Peter, and suggested it, but didn't hear back from him.

Take care,
Mary Ann

Posted By : Butterflake - 8/15/2012 10:22 AM
Hi Mary Ann. I've been wanting to write this for a while, but reading that you're having a rough time with SSD prompted me to write. Remember that you should have a copy of all your medical records just for yourself. It think it would be great to post this as a resource. Let's see what our moderator says. I know all the trouble you're having certainly makes your stress level jump to new heights.  Love, Butterflake
 

Posted By : NanaBee - 8/15/2012 11:36 AM
Thanks, Butterflake. I know I'm not the only one facing this daunting experience. You are right about the stress level, some days it is unbelievable. I am going to ask my doctor for a copy of my records so that I have them. That is a great idea.

Thanks again,
Mary Ann

Posted By : couchtater - 8/18/2012 8:44 PM
Check into the Fibro forum they have dedicated three threads on the SSD forms.
Joy
When life throws you lemons....
Pick them up and throw them right back at them! :))

Posted By : Butterflake - 8/21/2012 11:40 AM
Hi Joy. I just glanced at some of the SSD info on the other forums. One comment stressed that you must get a copy of your SSD file. I didn't need to do that because I provided social security with my file. I personally gave them everything they needed (I gave them their file).
 
I want to read more of the other forum's SSD info. Maybe I can compile the info and we can ask Peter to post it for all the forums. I want to thank you for the tip! I wouldn't have looked at the other forums. Love, Butterflake aka Donna

Posted By : Lily Silver - 4/14/2017 2:22 PM
fantastic post!!!

thank you

Posted By : Lily Silver - 4/14/2017 2:26 PM
butterflake, I don't know if you are still reading here.

I have a blog where I am collecting stories of people who got themselves approved. especially people who got approved early and without lawyers.

I wonder if I could include your story?
<3 Lily

<Link removed, inappropriate. Perhaps you should email Butterflake if you want her response.>

Post Edited By Moderator (Lynnwood) : 4/14/2017 2:33:18 PM (GMT-6)


Posted By : Lily Silver - 4/14/2017 5:46 PM
thank you lynnwood. why was the link inappropriate?

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