To receive Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income, you have to fill out a lot of forms. You can do this online, over the phone, or in person at your local Social Security office. If you do it over the phone or in person, a Social Security representative can help you. However, knowing how to answer questions on disability forms is not always straightforward.
You can work with a disability lawyer to fill out your application and gather supporting documentation. Given the low approval rate for first-time disability applicants, it can be a bog help to have an attorney go over the forms with you and help you put together the most compelling claim possible, backed by strong evidence.
Regardless of how you choose to apply, it is essential to fill out the disability forms correctly and not omit any critical information. Here are some of the major items you can expect to encounter when applying.
Questions About Your Disability
The main Social Security disability form, called the Adult Disability Report, will ask a lot of questions about your disability itself. You should be as clear and thorough as possible when answering these questions. The more accurate information you give, the better your chances of approval.
The Date You Became Disabled
You need to know the date you became disabled. This is important for accuracy’s sake and because it may determine the date your benefits officially begin. That is, once you get approved for disability, you may be eligible for back pay starting from the date you became disabled. You want this date to be accurate, so you get all the benefits you deserve.
Other Benefits You Are Receiving
You will be asked about any other benefits you are receiving. These may include:
- Workers’ Compensation
- Civil Service Retirement
- Federal Employees’ Retirement
- Federal Employees’ Compensation
- State Disability
- VA Disability
The form includes a lengthy section to describe your medical records, including your diagnosis, medical tests you have undergone, and doctors’ observations. It is important to fill this out thoroughly and to attach supporting documentation to back up any claims you make. Your lawyer can help you collect the medical evidence you need to supplement this section.
Questions About Your Employment History
You will also need to answer a number of questions about your employment history. Social Security disability is granted only to people the SSA believes are incapable of working due to their disability. That is why it wants to know about your employment history: so it can decide if you are capable of returning to any job you have done before.
List of Jobs You Have Held
The Adult Disability Report asks not only about your most recent job, but about the last five positions you held over the past 15 years. If you have not been in the workforce for 15 years, you will need to list every job you have ever had.
Make sure to compile this list carefully and include every job (up to 5), even those you held for only a short time. If you do not list it and the SSA happens to discover it, that can reflect poorly on you.
Education and Training
In addition to your work history, the SSA also wants to know about the education and job training you have received. With this information, the SSA can match your skills to available jobs it believes you can do even with your disability.
What If You Get Confused or Do Not Know How to Answer?
If you get stuck on a question when filling out a disability form, you are better off consulting with a lawyer than trying to guess how you should answer. One erroneous or insufficient answer may be all it takes to sink an otherwise solid application.
Supporting Documentation You Need to Submit With Your Disability Forms
The SSA requires you to submit a number of supporting documents with your claim. This list will get you started, but is by no means exhaustive:
- Birth certificate or proof of birth
- Proof of U.S. citizenship or legal alien status
- W-2 or self-employment tax forms from the most recent year
- Medical evidence: diagnoses, doctors’ statements, lab test results, and so forth
- Proof of workers’ compensation or other disability benefits you have received
For a Free Consultation, Call the Disability Advantage Group at 865-566-0800
The disability attorneys at the Disability Advantage Group can help you apply and get approved for Social Security disability. We will go through the application process with you, make sure your claim is thorough and compelling, and help you gather and submit all the evidence you need.
For a free case evaluation with a member of our team, call us at 865-566-0800.