Documentation - What You Will Need
The process of applying for disability is far more complex than simply filling out an application and waiting for your check. Your application is just the very beginning of a very large amount of documentation that you will be required to submit to the SSA in order to prove that you have been disabled.

With such a high rate of denials, it is important to make your initial application as thorough and complete as possible. This will increase the likelihood of a favorable judgment, or in the case of a denial, simplify the process of an appeal.

Medical Documentation

The SSA relies heavily on your medical records to determine the eligibility of your disability claim. It is important that you provide a complete medical history with your application. The priority in your medical records should be placed upon the condition that you are claiming has disabled you. The hospitals, clinics, doctors, therapists, and counselors you have visited will have your medical records. Copies of these records are typically sent to your primary physician, so check with your doctor first to see how complete your records are. You must obtain copies of these records and organize them in such a fashion that is logical and easy to read. Your records should document any medications you have taken or are taking, any previous medical conditions or ailments you have suffered from, and any lab reports, x-rays, or other clinical diagnostics that provide evidence of your disability. It is important that you do not omit any health care that you have received.

Work History

A typical application documents the past fifteen years an individual has worked. This documentation includes the location and name of previous employers, the duration of employment, and the type of work that you performed in each position. The SSA requires a current W-2 form to be submitted with this work history (for self-employed applicants, a copy of your Federal Tax Return is submitted.

Other Documentation
Along with the basic application form, be prepared to also submit the following:
  • Documentation of benefits or public assistance you are receiving
  • Marriage Certificate, Certificate of Divorce
  • An Official Birth Certificate
  • Social Security Number
  • Military Service or Discharge Records
  • Documentation of Child Support Payments
  • Documentation of Dependents
Experienced attorneys recommend that applicants maintain a daily dated journal to document the ailments they experience as a result of their disability. The journal should also include the limitations or changes in your life that have been caused by the disability. In addition, doctors visits, medical treatments, tests, and medications should also be documented to provide further evidence of your disability. Professional SSD/SSI attorneys regularly recommend this practice to make a case more convincing. The ability of an applicant to provide specific details regarding their condition to a judge or the SSA is the best evidence of a legitimate disability.

It is extremely important for a disability applicant to retain copies of all documentation submitted to the SSA. Develop a well-organized system for filing all of your paperwork so that it is easily accessible and immediately retrievable. Document the dates, times, and names of the SSA employees and officials with whom you communicate. Finally, continue to maintain and make any necessary additions to this documentation once your application or appeal has been filed. Should you need assistance with filing, we are available to make the process simpler and more successful.

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