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.
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.