What do I Bring to a Social Security Disability Application Interview in Texas

I've posted before about what you need to bring when applying for disability in Texas. However, I came across a claimant's description of what she brought along with her when she visited her local social security office in Texas to do her interview and I can't help but think she was more prepared than most. Here's a partial list of what she took with her to her appointment:

Note: this page lists much of this information plus some additional information: What Happens During A Social Security Disability or SSI Interview?.

1. Her original birth certificate (this can be problematic for some as copies are not acceptable).

2. Her social security number card.

3. Information regarding any life insurance, stocks, mutual funds, or other investments she might have. (This would not be an issue for a Social Security Disability claim but SSI claims look at assets).

4. A list of her physicians, including their addresses, phone numbers, and fax numbers. This can assist the examiner who needs to obtain medical records.

5. A list of her current medications.

6. A list of her current limitations that exist as a result of her impairments. For example, difficulty bending, crouching, reaching, handling objects, lifting more than a certain weight, etc.

7. Her medical records. Records are requested by disability examiners but bringing them when you apply can sometimes speed up the process.

Related: What to bring to a disability interview

This individual came well-prepared for her disability interview. She not only brought what was required, she also brought information that would make the interview and disability application process easier for both her and the field office claims rep that was interviewing her. And, she smartly brought along her medical records.

Regarding medical records, let me state the following. If you apply for disability in Texas and are able to obtain and submit your past and most recent medical records at the time of application, this may greatly speed up the processing time of your disability application. Why? Because the largest part of the time required to process a Social Security Disability or SSI disability application has to do with the disability examiner having to wait on requested medical records. Cases, however, that are assigned to a disability examiner with the medical records already in the file are basically ready to go.

It's important to point out, however, that if you decide to submit records with your application for disability in Texas, you need to make sure that you obtain all the records for each medical treatment source, i.e. old and current records. If you don't submit the older records which are needed to established a medical onset date (when your disability began), or you don't submit the current records (needed to establish that you are currently disabled), then the examiner will still have to send off for records, meaning that your efforts, with regarding to gathering records, will have been wasted.

Another point is this, which I have recently addressed in another post: when you bring your records to the social security office, don't expect them to make a copy for you to take home. If you do that, there's a good chance that the social security office will only copy 10-15 pages of what you bring in. They will send these 10-15 pages to the disability processing agency and will then give you back your originals (this information comes directly from several social security field office claims reps).

Why do they do this? Well, because they don't have time to copy people's records all day long. Of course, it doesn't make a bit of sense to copy anything if you're only going to copy 10-15 pages, but that seems to be the current SOP (standard operational procedure).

So, if you want the disability agency and the disability examiner who will be assigned to your case to actually get the records that you bring with you to your interview, don't ask the social security office to make you a personal copy of the records you bring in. Instead, make a personal copy yourself before you even visit the social security office. Then, when you visit the social security office simply give them a copy of the records without asking them to copy anything at all.

About the Author: Tim Moore is a former Social Security Disability Examiner in North Carolina, has been interviewed by the NY Times and the LA Times on the disability system, and is an Accredited Disability Representative (ADR) in North Carolina. For assistance on a disability application or Appeal in NC, click here.

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These pages provide answers to basic questions about pursuing disability benefits

What to Prove to Qualify for Disability Benefits
Applying for disability benefits, SSI and SSDI
What Disabilities Qualify for SSI and Social Security Disability?
How does back pay for Social Security Disability work?
Social Security Disability And SSI Qualifications
Permanent Disability Qualifications for SSD and SSI
Status of your Social Security Disability or SSI case
Disability lawyer representation, finding lawyers
What is qualifying for disability based on?
How to qualify for disability, qualifying for Benefits
Qualifications for Disability Benefits
How long does it take to get disability after applying?
Disability application, how to file in Texas
Texas disability requirements
Eligibility and qualifying for disability in Texas
What are the qualifications for disability in Texas?
Will I Qualify For Disability Benefits in Texas?
Getting a Texas disability lawyer, attorney, or advocate