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Step 1: You should have printed the application checklist and gathered all of the information and checked each item off of the list.
Step 2: You should have read through the “Tips for Using the Social Security Website” document which is available in the Resource section.
There are a few ways to apply for disability but the fastest and easiest way to file your claim is online at Social Security’s website.
You can gather all of the information you’ll need before you start the application. It is much less stressful to have everything organized and ready before you begin. You can work at your own pace and take as much time as you need to think about your answers before you enter them.
Social Security is looking for specific information…. and they want you to present it in a very specific way. Before you begin your application please watch this entire video. It will give you everything you need to present your claim to Social Security in the best way possible which will greatly increase your chances of being approved.
We recommend having the course open and this video available as a reference on a separate page from your online application. This will make it easier for you in the event you have questions, you can pause the online application and watch this video before moving on.
The first thing you will need to do is log on to the Social Security website at www.socialsecurity.gov.
At the top of the screen near the middle is a tab labeled Disability, click on that tab.
On this page you’ll see directions on how to file your claim. In the first video you printed the checklist and you should have gathered all of the information and checked each item off of the list. If you don’t complete all of the steps your claim will not be filed and it will stay in a pending status until you complete everything.
The second step is to complete the online disability benefits application.
Representmyself.com will walk you through how to complete the online application with special focus on the areas where people often make mistakes. We’ll show you what you need to pay special attention to so you don’t make mistakes which can hurt your claim.
Often it’s not what you answer but how you answer these questions that will make a difference between being approved and being denied. So, we share tips on the best way to answer questions and give you examples to follow.
If at any point you need to pause or stop working on your online application Social Security will issue you an application number. This will allow you to sign back in and complete the application at a later time.
Social Security needs to know if you are applying for yourself or for someone else and whether or not you’re a blind or visually impaired. Select the appropriate answer and then click on the tab Apply for Benefits.
The Contact Information Page is important because Social Security will need to contact you periodically during the process of your claim. If Social Security is unable to contact you, they will not be able to get the information they need from you and your claim may be denied.
At the bottom of this page you will be able to let Social Security know what language you prefer. Social Security will make every effort to have a person who speaks your language contact you for any further information. This is a very sensitive and emotional period for you and your family and you want to make sure that you understand everything Social Security needs from you.
On the Birth and Citizenship Page you will need to tell Social Security if you are a US citizen and where you were born. You will need to prove your citizenship by submitting a birth certificate to Social Security. If you do not have a certified copy of your birth certificate, please refer to the Resource Section for instructions on how to obtain one.
Print this page and file this with your Disability Documents in a folder. If you lose this number and have not completed the application you will have to start the process over. Social Security employees do not have access to these Application Numbers.
On the next page you will need to tell Social Security if you have any additional names or Social Security numbers. You have now completed the Identification Section.
The next Section is called General which deals with Family Details, Military, Earnings and When To Start Benefits. There are several parts of the Family Details section you will need to pay close attention to.
The first is regarding your current and prior marriages, if any. If you have never been married you will be able to continue. If you are or have been married in the past you will need to answer additional questions before you can save and continue.
For any previous marriage you will also need to provide how the marriage ended (divorce, annulment, death) as well as the date, city and state where the marriage ended.
Be as accurate as you can. If you are not exactly sure of the dates you can put an approximate one. However, you will need to explain that these are just approximates dates at the end of the application in the remarks section.
Remember that you will be able to answer most of the questions in the application on your own. This video is a tool to help you focus on the areas where people often make mistakes so you can successfully submit your online application.
It covers Benefit Information, Disability Questions, Ability to Work, Disability Payments, Dependents and Authorization.
You’ll be asked about your disability and your ability to work. Make sure you list every illness, injury or condition that limits your ability to work.
List all of your diagnoses from your doctors, not just the ones you think are relevant. It is important that this list be as detailed as possible. Don’t lump any of them together.
They must be listed separately, starting with the most disabling. For instance, if you have diabetes and symptoms related to diabetes such as numbness in the hands and/or feet, known as neuropathy, severe headaches, vision problems and fatigue, you should list these as five separate conditions. Make sure all the diagnoses are listed even if you do not feel they are relevant, a combination of diagnoses can add strength to your claim.
Enter any explanations here for approximate dates of unknown answers from your application. If you were not sure about a marriage or divorce date, please explain that answer here. This section is to explain any answer that may not be perfectly clear from your application.
Social Security will summarize your complete application on this page and give you the opportunity to make any changes to the information before you submit it.
Make sure you review this page closely. If there is any information that is incomplete you will see a note on your review form in red and you must correct those areas before you can submit the form. You may also print this summary page for your records.
After you submit your online application you will have an option to save and continue with the next step later or you can begin to fill out the Adult Disability Report.
In this part of the video we will show you how to fill out and complete the Adult Disability Report online. You should have printed the form before you started this video. However, you can pause this video and print a copy from the Resource Section now.
Identification, Medical, Work/Education, Remarks and Review. Take your time and answer the questions in detail. You’ll use this information to complete the online Adult Disability Report.
The first page is General Information that Social Security needs from you in order to determine if you can file this portion online or whether it would be better to speak with a Social Security representative.
Once you have completed this section Social Security will assign you a reentry number that is used to access only the online Adult Disability Report. This number is different from the application number you were previously given.
Make sure you print this page and file it with your other Disability documents.
After you get your reentry number the next page asks you to fill out information about a Contact Person. Give the name of someone, other than your doctors, Social Security can contact who knows about your medical conditions, and can help you with your claim.
The next section is called Medical Conditions. It covers Conditions, Doctors, Hospitals and Clinics, Tests, Medicines and other records.
You will be asked to list all of your medical conditions, both physical and mental, illnesses and or injuries in the spaces provided. You will need to include all conditions, including any learning disability that would interfere at all with your ability to work. You can list 10 conditions and if you need more room you will be able to add more later in the Remarks section.
The next section is where you will tell Social Security about the doctors and healthcare professionals you have seen about your disability. You will need to add each doctor separately.
Fill in the name of the doctor and the clinic where they work, complete the contact information including address and phone number. You will need to list your first, last and next scheduled visit if you have one. If the doctor has ordered tests, you will need to list each test and the dates they were performed.
Next enter the name and reason for each medication you are taking from that doctor.
In the next section you will have the chance to explain to Social Security what medical conditions were treated or evaluated by this doctor.
You can write a more detailed description of how your disability affects your daily life in the Remarks section which comes at the end of this Report.
The next section is where you will provide the information on what medical treatment you received from this doctor.
Next you will be asked to list the hospitals and clinics where you have been treated.
If there are any tests or medications that you have not previously listed you can click on that section and add anything additional.
If there is any other place that would have your medical records, such as a school or rehabilitation facility, you can list them here.
There will be a question asking if you are currently working. Once you answer the question you will directed into the section about your work activity.You will need to add when you stopped working and the reason why.
Next you will be directed to the Job History section. You will need to fill in the title, type of business, start date and end date, Month and Year, days and hours per week that you worked and the rate of pay. Do not skip any of this information. Don’t overstate job responsibilities or work experience, if you do it could negatively affect the outcome of you claim. It is a natural instinct to present your work history in the best light possible, and we often exaggerate.
Remember this NOT a job interview. You must think of it as the opposite of a job interview. What you need to do is be honest, but to understate, not overstate your experience.
Let’s take a look at a real life example. Sally worked as a receptionist and occasionally printed and mailed letters for her boss. Instead of stating in her job history that she was a receptionist, she said she was an Administrative Assistant. Do you know what happened to Sally? Social Security determined that she had developed skills as an Administrative Assistant that could transfer to many other jobs and her claim was denied.
Just remember that less is more when describing your work history. Don’t claim you can do more than what you really can do.
You will be asked to enter the highest grade of school completed and the year completed. You must enter the year completed in order to continue. Again, if you are not sure of the date, enter a date to the best of your knowledge. If you can’t remember the date of your high school graduation, the average age of a high school graduate is 17 years old. You will be asked if you had any special training, trade or vocational school. Special training does not include on the job training at your uncle’s flower shop and anything other than formal training from a recognized organization or school. Keep your answers short and to the point and don’t overstate anything.
If you choose yes on any of the questions you must explain those answers to Social Security.
You may enter any additional information that you feel social security will need in order to make a decision. Here are a few examples of what could be included in this section.
If this is a psychiatric case, include any symptoms that you may have like paranoia, you’re afraid to go outside, you cannot be in crowds, or you have feelings of suicide or have made a suicide attempt.
If this is a physical case, you can include things such as the use of a cane, inability to complete activities of daily living such as cooking, cleaning, shopping or showering due to your pain or limitations. Understand that there are many other people applying for benefits and you will need to make yourself stand out from the rest, show Social Security what it is like to walk in your shoes. Please include any and all the symptoms or limitations that you may have.
It is important to take the time and explain your symptoms to give Social Security a complete picture of how your disability affects your daily life.
I was diagnosed with diabetes 6 years ago and my doctor put me on insulin 1 year ago, in October 2010. At least 3 days a week, I wake up with very low blood sugar, a severe headache, blurred vision and fatigue.
About 4 months ago, I noticed that my blurred vision was lasting all day and I have developed tingling and numbness in my hands and feet. Even with the insulin I have had a great deal of difficulty controlling my blood sugar throughout the day.
As a result of my diabetic condition, I must avoid extreme heat and cold. I seem to always tire easily and I can’t walk more than 40 yards before I have to rest for 5-10 minutes.
I also find that when I stand for more than 10 minutes, my feet grow numb and I can’t feel them. I can sit for about 30 minutes, but I have to stand up and move around every 5 minutes to keep my circulation moving.
At least 3 times a day, when my blood sugar is low, I become disoriented and then have difficulty speaking. My social activities are very limited and I find that I am becoming more and more depressed and anxious over my diabetes worsening and I frequently experience anger fits and crying spells.
You must also include an explanation of any dates that you were not absolutely sure of. Any dates that are not exact must have an explanation so Social Security does not assume that you were being misleading by not having a correct date.
Social Security will summarize your complete Adult Disability Report on this page and give you the opportunity to make any changes to the information before you submit it. Make sure you review this page closely. If there is any information that is incomplete you will see a note on your review form in red and you must correct those areas before you can submit the form.
Print the Review Page for your records.
The final section is where you will print the cover sheet, print, sign and date the medical release form and electronically submit the disability report.
There will be instructions about how to mail the appropriate forms to your local Social Security branch office.
Don’t get frustrated and give up. If the process becomes overwhelming you always have the option to log off and come back to the Application or Adult Disability Report at a later time using your Application or Reentry number.
DO NOT FORGET TO PRINT THE APPLICATION AND RE-ENTRY NUMBERS. If you do not have these numbers you will not be able to log back in and continue where you left off and you will have to start the process over from the very beginning.
Do not overstate your abilities or understate your limitations. However, when you are answering questions about your disability, concentrate on how you function on one of your bad days. It is important that you focus on what you are no longer able to do.
Obtain any medical records you can and submit a copy of them along with your paperwork to Social Security. Social Security will attempt to obtain your medical records based on the information you have given them but they are more likely to have a complete set of records if you supply them with one.
Never send Social Security any form, medical record or any type of documentation without making and keeping a copy for yourself in your files.
Make sure you complete the Application and Adult Disability Report. Continue until you reach the “SUBMIT” button and click on it. Your application is not complete until you click the “SUBMIT” button and Social Security will not start processing your claim until your application is complete.
Contact Social Security within seven days to confirm they have received your application and all of the backup documentation.
In the next section we will show you what really happens behind the scenes at Social Security and we will give you practical advice about how you can influence Social Security’s decision about your application.