When you apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, it is essential that your application is accurate, complete and that it properly highlights key facts about your unique situation that makes you eligible for disability benefits. You should know that:
- It is difficult to apply for benefits on your own and do it well.
- Submitting a less than perfect application could delay the approval process.
- SSA denies 63 percent of first-time SSDI applications.
- You may face months of waiting through the Appeals process before getting approved for SSDI.
Your application requires a lot of details about you, your family, the jobs you’ve had, and, most importantly, the strong medical support that proves how your disability impacts your daily life and meets SSA’s definition of “disability.”
The SSDI Application Package
Here is a list of the forms SSA requires from you:
- Disability Technical Application:
You must provide details about you and your family; work history; earnings statements; medical history; and other benefit sources.
- Adult Disability Report (ADR):
This is a more comprehensive report about you, your medical condition, work history and education. You must provide personal information; detailed descriptions of your illnesses, injuries or conditions that limit your ability to work; explanations of how your condition limits your ability to work; details about your work history including your work skills; and how much education you have completed. The report requires very specific medical information.
- Appointment of Representation:
This is the official agreement notice required by SSA if you choose a representative, such as Freedom Disability, to help you throughout the disability application process.
- Authorization to Disclose Medical Information to SSA:
You must give SSA authorization to obtain medical records, education records and any other information related to your ability to perform tasks. This form must be provided for each source contacted for information.
- Consent for Release Information:
This form is required if you authorize SSA to give information or records about you to a third party (doctor; insurance company; etc.)
- Function Report:
You must describe how your medical condition limits your daily activities and your ability to work. You receive this form from Disability Determination Services (DDS) the state agency that determines if your medical condition meets SSA’s definition of “disability.”
- Work History Report:
You must provide details about the kinds of work you have done, and what the physical and mental requirements were for each job you had in the 15 years prior to being unable to work because of your medical condition.
- Statement of Claimant or Other Person:
You have the opportunity to provide a personal essay that explains anything you think will help support your disability case.
- Work Activity Report (Self-Employed) or Work Activity Report (Employee) :
Whichever form is applicable, you can provide more information that helps to further explain how your condition has interfered with your ability to perform job duties.
- Pain Questionnaire or Impairment Questionnaire
These are forms that are provided by your state’s Social Security Disability Determination Services (DDS) agency. The number of impairments you have determines how many forms you will have to fill out.
It is strongly recommended that you use a disability advocacy group like Freedom Disability to help you prepare all this paperwork. An Advocate works on your behalf to expertly put together your information into a complete package. A first-time denial of benefits can lead to a long appeals process before winning the benefits you deserve.
The Appeals Package
Should SSA deny your application, it is a good idea to appeal that decision. Many disability claims that were initially denied do get approved through appeals. These are the forms required when you appeal SSA’s decision:
- Request for Reconsideration:
The Request for Reconsideration is the first step in the Appeals process and provides you with the opportunity to explain why you are dissatisfied with SSA’s denial decision. You have 60 days from the date of your first denial to make this written request.
This is a crucial time for getting help from an Appeals expert like a Freedom Disability Advocate if you want to avoid the risk of a second denial.
- Adult Disability Report for Reconsideration Appeal :
You must fill out a second ADR report to accompany your Request for Reconsideration. You have the opportunity at this point to update information on your medical condition and provide information that was not included in your first-time application.
- Request for Hearing by an Administrative Law Judge:
If your claim has been denied at the Reconsideration level, you can request a hearing with an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). You have 60 days from the date of your second denial to make this written request.
A Freedom Disability Advocate knows how to make sure you are prepared for your hearing. This step could be your best chance of getting approved for benefits.
- Claimant’s Recent Medical Treatment:
The Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR) will request that you provide more recent medical information on your condition.
- Claimant’s Medications:
ODAR will request that you provide information on all medications.
- Claimant’s Work Background:
ODAR will request that you provide information on your work history.
You Have the Right to Disability Representation to Help You Win
It takes a lot of work to put together a well-prepared application for disability benefits. You certainly have the option to apply on your own on the SSA Web site. However, considering the high rate of disability claims that SSA denies at the initial level, we recommend that you get expert help.
Freedom Disability improves your chances of approval with your first disability application on through appeals of a denial decision. Our experience, knowledge and advocacy efforts have helped thousands of claimants win the disability benefits they are entitled to receive.
Find out more about getting started on a winning application with the help of Freedom Disability.