Be ready for your disability application before the process even starts

Tip 1:

Get prepared before you have your disability application interview and file your claim. Interviews with claims reps at field offices can be intimidating and a little nerve racking. That said, you need to understand that the CR (claims representative) who takes your claim at the Social Security office does not actually work on the medical processing aspect of your claim. They only get your file started so it can be sent to a disability examiner to work on.

Once the examiner starts working on your claim, you may possibly never hear from them. However, it is often the case that they may contact your regarding your ADLs (activities of daily living) or regarding your medical history or work history.

That is why it is so important to get all the necessary information turned in from the very beginning of your claim. What is that information? Let's put it this way. Everything that will be used to decide your case.

That means information regarding your medical treatment and info regarding all your jobs. But it also means all your symptoms and your daily activities.

SSA (the Social Security Administration) is essentially looking for the reason "why" you are disabled. And that translates to the functional limitations that you possess as a result of your condition, such as a reduced ability to concentrate, remember, sit, stand, walk, bend, stoop, balance, reach, lift more than a certain amount of weight, or whatever your specific limitations might be as a result of your condition, or conditions.

To make your claim more successful, you should ideally write down all your medical treatment sources in advance of your interview appointment. This should include every facility you've been treated at, the names of all treating physicians, all of your diagnosed conditions, as well as all your various symptoms.

You will also want to provide addresses for your treatment sources to maximize the chance that the disability examiner who is assigned to your case will be able to obtain all your medical records, and in the shortest time possible.

You should also write down in advance your work history going back for the 15 year period prior to becoming disabled (this is the time period that Social Security is concerned and it is referred to as "the relevant work period"), focusing on job titles, descriptions of the work performed for each job, and the dates worked for each job.

Compiling a list of your work history and medical treatment history before the interview will help ensure that crucial information is not accidentally left out and will help to make the application process less stressful.

Terms discussed:

  • Social Security Disability SSI and Activities of Daily Living
  • What Happens During A Social Security Disability or SSI Interview?
  • How Does A Disability Examiner Determine a Person's Functional Limitations?
  • What happens if the examiner cannot find all my medical records?

    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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