How to file a Social Security Disability Claim
If you have been injured on the job and developed a disability as a result, you may be entitled to Social Security Disability Benefits (“SSD Benefits”). If you decide to explore your options and see if you are eligible for SSD Benefits, you should first ask yourself a few questions. Is your disability severe? Does your disability limit your daily life? Has your condition/disability lasted for longer than twelve months? Do you have a doctor that will support your position? If you answered yes to all of these questions, you may be eligible for SSD Benefits. However, you should first be aware of the process because it can be quite tedious.
There are three ways to file your initial claim for SSD Benefits.
First, you can apply in person at the Social Security Office. Second, you contact the Social Security Administration (SSA) by phone. Third, you can apply online at the SSA website at socialsecurity.gov. Any of these three ways will begin the process.
Once you have completed your application in person, via phone or internet, you should keep in mind that your claim will need to be supported by medical records. That is a must. You can include any of the following medical records in support of your disability:
▪ Records from doctors, hospitals, clinics, and therapists
▪ Reports from doctors from whom you are presently receiving treatment
▪ Laboratory tests, x-rays, and other records of diagnostic testing; and
▪ Lists of all the medications that you are taking
You should provide copies of all medical documents to the SSA office that is assigned to you and as soon as possible. In addition the SSA will have you fill out a Form SSA-827 that allows the SSA to contact your medical providers directly so that it can obtain any additional information that may be missing from your file.
Even with the submission of medical records, you will likely have to complete a few additional forms, such as:
1. Adult disability report: This is where you tell the SSA why you are disabled. Do not hold back, include all the relevant information and explain in detail why you are disabled.
2. Daily activity report: This where you explain what your daily activities are and how your disability affects those activities. Be very specific.
3. Work activity report: You will only have to fill this out if you are currently employed. This is where you explain how your performed your job and what the requirements are.
4. Third-party activities questionnaire: Sometimes the SSA will have a third party who is close to you or familiar with your life fill out information about your daily activities from a third party point of view.
This process can be confusing. However, the most important thing to remember is that if the SSA contacts you or asks you for additional information, you must reply promptly. Delaying contact will just prolong the entire process and possibly prevent you from receiving SSD Benefits.