Applying For Disability Benefits - Be Sure You Provide All Necessary Information
If you've never done it before, applying for disability benefits can be daunting. However, your claim can have a much better chance of being approved if you and/or your medical provider have kept thorough records documenting your condition and how the symptoms affect your daily activities and ability to work.
As soon as possible, begin using a calendar or daily planner to take notes about how you feel and how your condition has affected your daily activities. Don't forget to note the presence of any mental or emotional problems caused by the illness. If you lost your job because of the injury or illness, keep records that explain how the condtion was responsible. Make sure your doctor also tracks the progression of your illness and keeps a complete record of any symptoms such as fatigue, loss of memory or depression that might be difficult to prove at a later date.
When you're ready to apply for Social Security disability benefits, visit your local SSA office. While appointments are usually not necessary, they are advisable. Upon arrival, inform the counter clerk that you're there to apply for disability benefits, and they'll schedule an interviewer to help you with the application. Be sure to make note of the interviewer's name, because it will greatly simplify matters should you need to call for advice after leaving the office. If the nearest Social Security field office is too far away, or if you are unable to travel because of your health, you can apply for disability benefits over the phone. Call the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213.
As we said before, doing some basic preparation ahead of time can greatly speed up the application process. The responsibility for providing the evidence to back up your disability benefits claim falls upon you. If the examiner feels you have a valid claim, but you have not provided him with the proof he needs, he will deny your claim, which will mean that you will have to appeal. So be sure to provide the SSA with all the documentation that they request when you request disability benefits payments.
Don't assume that you need to go it along when it comes to filling out the application for disability benefits. The SSA offers many types of assistance. They will provide an interpreter if necessary. If a claimant can't read or write, they'll provide help. Social Security also has a list of local agencies that offer specialized assistance - so don't be shy about mentioning your requirements to the claims rep.
Here are some of the types of information you will need to provide when applying for disability benefits: Social Security number, birth certificate, complete medical records, employment information, and school records if applying for a minor. If you are appling for Supplemental Security Income because you cannot qualify for Social Security disability payments, then you will also need to privide income and asset information.