Applying for Social Security Disability Benefits is a complex process that requires many different forms of documentation that the Social Security Administration review in order to determine whether or not they believe you are eligible to receive benefits.
Those applying for Social Security Disability are encouraged to apply online and review the basic requirements before beginning the application process.
Applicants must be 18 years old or older, not receiving social security benefits on their own behalf, be unable to work due to a medical condition that will last at least a year, or is expected to result in death.
They must not have been denied benefits in the last 60 days. Those who have been recently denied should begin an appeal process, rather than submit a new application.
Although most applications are initially rejected, people who have complete documentation and all the forms correctly completed have a better chance of experiencing fewer setbacks than those who are missing forms or don’t have them filled out correctly.
The Basic Forms and Documents include
- Birth Certificate
- Proof of Citizenship or lawful alien status for those born outside of the U.S.
- U.S. Military discharge papers for service prior to 1968
- W-2 form(s) and/or self-employment tax returns for the previous year
An Adult Disability Report detailing your work history as well as any illnesses, injuries, or other medical conditions that you believe should qualify you for benefits
Any medical evidence in your possession including doctor’s reports, medical records, and recent test results
Income information, including award letters, settlement agreements, pay stubs, worker’s compensation benefits — either temporary or permanent
In most instances, the Social Security Administration will want to see original documents rather than photocopies. Exceptions are made for W-2 forms, tax returns, and medical documents- not including your birth certificate. Originals of these must be sent, and they are returned after the SSA looks them over and considers your case.
The Social Security Administration issues a checklist in order to help applicants verify that they have provided any and all applicable information that the SSA needs to look at in order to properly consider an application.
Social Security Disability Checklist
- Birth and Citizenship Information
- Marital Status Information
- Information about dependent children
- Information about military service
- Employer information for the current year, and the two years prior to the application. This does not include self employment
- Self-Employment Details for current and previous two years, the nature of your business and net income
- Bank Information
- Complete contact information (name, address, and phone number) of a person who knows about your condition
- List of medical conditions
- Information on hospitals, clinics, doctors, and other healthcare professionals. This information should include:
- patient ID numbers,
- names, addresses and phone numbers,
- dates of examinations and treatments,
- names of all prescription and non-prescription medications, reasons that they are taken, and the person prescribed them.
- Details on job history, before and after the onset of the medical condition. This includes
- the date when your medical condition began to affect your work,
- a listing of up to 5 jobs you held during the 15 years prior to your inability to work and dates that these jobs were held.
- The duties performed in your job, and the longest stretch of employment.
- Information on how to obtain other medical records not included. These may be held by a lawyer who handled a worker’s compensation case, the public welfare system, a vocational rehabilitation program, or a prison or jail.
- Information on Training and Education you received including Highest completed grade and date of completion.
- Dates of specialized job training, trade or vocational school enrollment and completion date if applicable.
- Information on any other special education received including the name and location of the school and date of completion.
Even when all the disability forms are filled out to the best of an applicant’s ability, the initial application is normally denied, and the initial appeal is often denied as well. If this happens to you, it is important not to get too discouraged.
The Social Security Administration can be very picky when it comes to defining a person as disabled. Their main focus is not the physical condition of a person, but their perception of whether that person can earn a living comparable to before the disability. Sometimes this can seem possible on paper, when in reality it is not.
Often it is not until the third attempt when a lawyer and judge are involved that an application can finally be approved.
If you need help with your Social Security Disability application process, contact Paul Giannetti Attorney at Law in Albany NY to schedule a free consultation.