The Social Security application process can be very overwhelming and confusing. Most people do not even know where to begin or which benefit programs they can qualify for. Your best chance for having your Social Security application approved is to have it filed by an expert. The list below provides Do’s and Don’ts for people looking to take the first steps for their initial application on their own and I hope that it helps provide a road map for you.
DO gather as much information as possible to prove your condition meets Social Security’s criteria for disability, whether it be a compassionate allowance Compassionate Allowances Website Home Page (ssa.gov), listing Listing of Impairments – Adult Listings (Part A) (ssa.gov), or other definitions of disability.
DO provide medical records from all your medical sources that show your diagnoses, severity and impact of your conditions. These can include functional capacity evaluations which show your physical restrictions, psychological testing, imaging reports, and letters from your doctors discussing your symptoms, treatment, medication and side effects.
DO provide records from non-medical sources such as special education records, former employers and third-party witness statements to help strengthen your case.
DO timely respond to requests for information and complete forms such as the Adult Function Report and Work History Report, as Social Security uses these to make findings about your capabilities.
DON’T withhold information from Social Security. By not giving them information about medical providers or mental health providers, you are hurting your chances to receive benefits.
DON’T be vague when filling out the Adult Function and Work History Reports. Although these forms may seem long and inconsequential, Social Security relies on the information in these forms, and if you do not provide thorough and detailed answers, this can hurt you in the long run.
DON’T rely on Social Security to obtain all of your medical records. While you sign a medical release for Social Security, they may not request important medical records. It is up to you to make sure they get important reports from your doctors.
DON’T GIVE UP! Most cases are denied at the initial application and require appeal.
If you are denied, DO remember, the best way to ensure that you receive benefits is to have the help of an expert. I am paid on a contingency basis and am always available for consultations. You can email me for help at firstname.lastname@example.org for any questions you might have or call at 503-908-1702.