What will you be asked in your application for Social Security disability?
There are several ways to apply for Social Security disability benefits. By phone, in-person (though in-person applications have been restricted during the COVID pandemic), by mail, or most commonly - by applying online. Whether you are applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Insurance (SSI) or both, the process and the questions are basically the same.
Identifying information - Social Security documents you need to provide
To apply for either SSI or SSDI, Social Security needs to know who you are. Obviously, they’ll want your Social Security number - but also be prepared with your date of birth, marital status, and prior names. The items that tend to trip people up the most are questions about marital history, a former spouse’s birthday, and other similar identifying information for an ex-spouse. Think about it ahead of time, but if you don’t know the information, your application can still proceed.
How much work history do you need to qualify for Social Security disability?
Social Security will want to know your work history. Be ready to list ten years of work history: who you worked for, when you started, and when you left your job. If you are applying for SSDI, Social Security will want to be sure that you “qualify” meaning that you have worked approximately 5 out of the last 10 years. This can sometimes be an issue for the self-employed. If you are self-employed, be sure you are filing taxes and paying your self-employment tax.
Do you qualify for Social Security disability? What medical conditions qualify for Social Security Disability?
Of course, if you have a disability claim it is because you have severe medical issues. Be ready to list each of your medical issues separately - both your physical and mental health ailments. If you’ve been treated for it, list the ailment - even if it’s not the most serious or most disabling of your conditions. Sometimes if no one medical issue qualifies you for Social Security disability, you can qualify for disability based on a combination of ailments.
What are your qualifying conditions for Social Security disability? What doctors have you seen and what’s coming up?
The way Social Security decides your claim is based on your medical records. They will request copies of your medical records - and if you get to a hearing you should too. So, be ready to list all of the doctors you’ve seen for the last five years or so. Be ready to list what tests you’ve undergone and by whom. Be ready to identify what medications you’re taking and who prescribed them.
It’s likely that you won’t know all the information they ask for. That’s OK. The important information will be found in your medical records. Therefore the most important part is to list all of the doctors and medical providers you’ve seen.
Want help with your application for Social Security disability?
Disability Alabama helps claimants apply for Social Security disability, both SSI and SSDI claims. Contact Disability Alabama for help with your disability application. We only get paid if we win your case, and Social Security pays the fee directly out of your accrued back benefits.
If you choose to file on your own, check out Social Security’s guide to applying. If you are denied, contact Disability Alabama for your hearing or appeal.