How to file for disability, Filing for SSI
Disability Requirements, Disability Status
How long is the wait?, Disability Application
The Social Security List of Impairments
Qualifying for Disability, Mental Disability
Disability Lawyer Info, Disability Back Pay

Tips and Advice for Social Security Disability and SSI Claims

This is a list of eight tips that are designed to assist individuals who have not yet filed a claim for SSD or SSI benefits. Following this list is a group of tips and advice pages that may be helpful for claimants whose cases are pending at the initial application level, the reconsideration appeal level, or the disability hearing level.

  1. Be ready for your disability application before the process even starts
    Interviews with claims reps at field offices can be intimidating and a little nerve racking.

  2. Getting your medical records together yourself could help jumpstart your case
    You may wish to consider getting your medical records together and submitting them when you apply for disability.

  3. Get your pain symptoms on record so that Social Security can take this into consideration
    If you have pain, absolutely mention it when you apply and get it included as part of your disability application.

  4. Never minimize your pain or other symptoms because this can be used against you
    Do not try to minimize your symptoms, your conditions, or how they affect your ability to do normal daily activities

  5. Always list every one of your medical conditions, physical or mental
    Disability cases are almost never won on the basis of one single condition. They are usually won on the basis of several conditions which most people usually have when they apply for disability.

  6. Also list all your various symptoms on your Disability Application
    A person's various symptoms can go a long way toward establishing just how functionally limited they are.

  7. A "proper" statement from your doctor can have a dramatic effect on your disability case
    Your doctor knows what's wrong with you but do they know how it affects you and your remaining functional capacity, i.e. ability to work?

  8. Strengthening your disability case by providing the details of your work history
    I have pointed out many times the fact that most claimants understand the importance of their medical records in reaching a determination on their disability claim, yet simultaneously very few claimants understand the true importance of the information contained in their work history.

More tips and advice

  1. Tips for filing a SSDI Reconsideration
    Make sure you are properly rested before testing if you have to go to a psychological exam for Social Security.

  2. Tips for Social Security Disability Psychological and mental testing
    Make sure you are properly rested before testing if you have to go to a psychological exam for Social Security.

  3. How to answer questions at a Social Security Disability CE examination
    The last thing you want to do at a physical consultative exam is exaggerate your condition. At the same time, don't minimize your pain or other symptoms.

  4. Avoiding Mistakes to get your Disability Claim Approved
    Once your disability case is at the state disability agency, there are some things that you need to do to prevent your disability claim from being denied for non-medical reasons.

  5. What is the difference between Social Security Disability and SSI?
    More differences between Social Security Disability and SSI -- The SSI disability program has no required waiting period; SSI disability beneficiaries are potentially eligible to begin their disability benefits with the month they filed for disability.

  6. Tips to Prepare for Filing for Social Security Disability or SSI
    In preparing for a disability hearing, an attorney will typically attempt to obtain a medical source statement from your treating physician (essentially verifying that you have limitations to the extent that you are unable to engage in work activity that provides a substantial and gainful income).

  7. Filing a Social Security Disability Application - How to File & the Information that is Needed by SSA
    When should you file a claim for disability benefits with SSA?, How do you file for Social Security Disability or SSI?, What kind of information does Social Security need from your medical treatment history in order to process your disability application?

  8. What types of information is Social Security Disability looking for?
    What types of information is social security actually looking for in the claimant's medical records and work history? With regard to the work history, social security is first looking for relevancy.

  9. Proving a Social Security Disability Case Often Means Getting a Statement from Your Doctor
    To approve a disability case, the examiner will need to be able to find sufficient information in the claimant's records to show that their current physical and/or mental limitations will not allow them to engage in work activity at a substantial and gainful activity level.

  10. Social Security Disability Tips — how a claim gets worked on
    In addition to current medical treatment information, your disability examiner needs to have information about your ability to function in daily life to make their disability decision.

  11. Tips for Getting Disability Approved When you File with Social Security
    Be sure to provide treatment information as far back as you can recall. Make sure to do this at least as far back as you are alleging that your condition, or conditions, began.

  12. When You Apply For Disability, write Down Everything That Is Wrong With You
    It is important to mention ANY mental conditions along with the physical impairment you have. Why? Because mentioning them may enable a disability examiner to rule out your ability to perform a past job that was not physically challenging but required you to stay on task, concentrate, perform complex tasks, remember instructions, etc.

  13. How do you find out if a Social Security Disability claim has been approved or even denied?
    Just a quick reminder: decisional notices are just one of several reasons that you should keep Social Security appraised of your current mailing address. If you move while you are awaiting a decision, you should notify both the disability examiner working on your case and the local Social Security office where you began your claim.

  14. Social Security Denial - What should be done if your disability is denied?
    There have been cases in which a claimant sent in an appeal and did not follow up the receipt of the appeal, having just assumed that it was received and processed...and then found out, months later, that it had never been received.

  15. If I Get Denied Twice For SSD or SSI Disability, What Do I Do?
    The trick to getting your disability claim approved if you are denied at the initial level (i.e. the disability application level) is to get to an administrative law judge disability hearing.

  16. How do you prove your disability case if you have a mental condition?
    Something, however, that both the disability examiner and the examiner's unit psychological consultant will be particularly attentive to will be evidence of episodes of decompensation.

  17. A Social Security Medical Exam usually offers little to your case--nonetheless, do not miss the appointment
    The most important thing to remember about a consultative exam is that it is a tool used to further the purposes of the Social Security Disability agency (i.e., closing cases, denying claims) rather than those of the claimant (receiving benefits).

  18. Will the income of a Spouse Affect My Disability Benefits?
    Excerpt: If you are receiving Supplemental Security Income, a.k.a. SSI disability, your spouse’s income may affect the amount of your monthly disability benefit...If your spouse has income it will not affect your Social Security Disability amount.

  19. Getting Social Security Disability Help for your Case
    Excerpt: Many disability lawyers and non-attorney representatives offer their services only after a claimant has filed and been denied. Some, however, will represent a claimant throughout their entire disability case beginning with the initial claim.

  20. Will my disability case be reviewed after I have been approved for disability benefits?
    Why are disability benefits ususally continued following a review?

  21. Advice for a Social Security Disability Continuing Review
    If you have engaged in any type of work activity, be prepared to give details as to the length of time you worked, how many hours per week you worked, your hourly pay, and what your job duties were, or are.

  22. Can I get my Social Security Disability Hearing Request Expedited, Speeded up?
    If you choose to try to get your hearing request speeded up, however, you will need to demonstrate that one of the following situations applies to your particular case...

  23. Speeding up the Request for a Social Security Hearing - Documentation that is needed
    A request to speed up, or expedite, a disability hearing will often go to a hearing office director. But in many situations, it will simply be sent to the hearing office director because the case has not yet been assigned to a specific ALJ (administrative law judge).

  24. Dire Need and Getting a Social Security Disability or SSI Case Speeded Up
    Unfortunately, dire need requests typically have zero effect at the disability application and reconsideration appeal levels. This is because there is usually nothing to expedite, meaning that disability examiners cannot make the process go any faster than it does.

  25. Financial Help When You Are Filing For Disability
    If you are considering filing for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits, you are likely suffering from a medical condition that is seriously compromising, if not outright inhibiting your ability to perform tasks associated with work.

  26. How does a Disability Lawyer prepare for a hearing?
    Most applicants for disability benefits are not aware of the fact that, although the social security administration will gather medical records to develop a claimant's case when it is being processed at the first two levels of the system (application and reconsideration), SSA will not gather records for a disability hearing.

  27. Why does Representation increase the win ratio at a Social Security Disability or SSI Hearing?
    Disability representatives, whether of the attorney or non-attorney variety, will usually employ time-proven, systematic techniques for establishing the credentials of a case.

  28. Using a lawyer at a hearing to speed up the case
    Back to the speed aspect, however, having a lawyer for your administrative law judge appeal may make the disability process faster by requesting the judge make a decision on the face of the record, or on the record. What is this?...

  29. How do you get Disability Approved when you file with Social Security?
    Correctly, or incorrectly, matching the job title in the DOT with the information provided by the claimant when they apply for disability is critical--because even similar jobs (such as various truck driving jobs) can have very different skill and exertional requirements.

  30. What Can I Do to Improve My Chances of Winning Disability Benefits
    You may be able to help your case simply by going down to your doctor’s office and picking up the documents yourself, then hand-delivering them to the state disability determinations office.

  31. Tips to shorten the length of time for a disability decision
    Some disability claims take longer to process due to a variety of reasons, which may include a lack of current medical evidence, an inability to contact the disability claimant, and missed medical or psychological exams which have been scheduled by Social Security (these are known as consultative exams).

  32. How to File for Disability - Tips for filing
    You should have documentation of your birth, citizenship or alien status; Your work history; The names, addresses, phone numbers, and treatment dates of all the physicians, clinics, and hospitals that have treated you during your illness...

  33. More Advice on filing for disability
    The ideal situation, then, is for a claimant to have their disability application approved quickly by the disability examiner at the first level of consideration, the state disability determination agency. This is indeed a rare occurrence, but it does happen, and at any rate you can help speed up the process if...

For the sake of clarity, SSDRC.com is not the Social Security Administration, nor is it associated or affiliated with SSA. This site is a personal, private website that is published, edited, and maintained by former caseworker and former disability claims examiner, Tim Moore, who was interviewed by the New York Times on the topic of Social Security Disability and SSI benefits in an article entitled "The Disability Mess" and also by the Los Angeles Times on the subject of political attempts to weaken the Social Security Disability system.

The goal of the site is to provide information about how Social Security Disability and SSI work, the idea being that qualified information may help claimants pursue their claims and appeals, potentially avoiding time-consuming mistakes. If you find the information on this site helpful and believe it would be helpful to others, feel free to share links to its homepage or other pages on website resource pages, blogs, or social media. Copying of this material, however, is prohibited.

To learn more about the author, please visit the SSDRC.com homepage and view the "about this site" link near the bottom of the page.