Get Going on Your Disability Application

If you or someone you know recently became disabled and have been thinking about applying for Social Security disability benefits, […]

If you or someone you know recently became disabled and have been thinking about applying for Social Security disability benefits, there’s something you can do to get the process off to a good start.

Visit the “Disability Starter Kit” at www.socialsecurity.gov/disability. It will help you prepare for your disability interview and guide you through the application process.

The starter kit takes some of the mystery out of applying for disability benefits. It gives general information about the disability programs and about the process we use to decide whether or not you qualify for disability benefits. The kit also provides guidelines about the specific information and documents we will ask you for during the interview.

Each disability starter kit contains: a fact sheet that answers most questions people ask about filing for disability benefits; a checklist of documents and information we will request; and a worksheet to help you gather and organize the information you will need. The fact sheet provides the Social Security definition of “disability” and explains how we decide whether your condition is severe enough to meet the eligibility criteria. It also gives tips on steps you can take to speed up the decision-making process.

The checklist provides a list of the information we need for most disability claims. That includes documents such as your birth certificate, latest W-2 form and military discharge papers, and information such as the names and addresses of all the doctors and other health professionals who have treated you.

The worksheet is designed to reflect many of the most important questions we ask during the disability application interview, such as a description of your impairment(s) and the date you became disabled. In addition to the information about your treatment sources as outlined in the checklist, it also asks you to list the medications you take and the medical tests you have had. And it asks for information about the kinds of jobs you have held.

Take a look at the disability starter kit now at www.socialsecurity.gov/disability, or call 1-800-772-1213, TTY 1-800-325-0778 and ask that a kit be mailed to you.

When you’re ready to apply, the most convenient way to do it is online at www.socialsecurity.gov/applyfordisability

The authors are from the Social Security Public Affairs Office in Minneapolis

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