How to Fill Out an Initial Application for Disability Benefits

There is no doubt about it: the Social Security Disability claim process is anything but simple and straightforward. Each year millions of Americans find themselves applying for Social Security Disability benefits. Of these applications, nearly 70 percent are denied by the Social Security Administration. While the reasons for denial vary, some denials are due to improperly completed Social Security Disability applications. If you want to increase your chances of approval, it is important that you properly present your initial Social Security Disability application to the Social Security Administration. The following information will help you understand how to fill out your initial application and what mistakes to avoid when doing so.

Getting Started

Before you actually begin the Social Security Disability application process, you need to obtain the Adult Disability Checklist that is provided by the Social Security Administration. This checklist will help you prepare for the application process and will ensure that you have everything you need to get started. The Adult Disability Checklist will tell you which documents to obtain prior to filling out your Social Security Disability application and what information will be needed to complete the application process.

Completing the Application

The are a number of forms you will need to fill out when completing your disability application; including the application itself, the the Adult Disability Report and the medical release forms. All of this paperwork will need to be provided by you in order for the Social Security Administration to successfully process your claim for Social Security Disability benefits.

When filling out the application paperwork, you will have to answer a series of questions pertaining to your disability. To increase your chances of a successful application, you will need to answer these questions properly. Always be honest with your answers and try to give as much detail as possible. Avoid one-word answers. For example, when answering questions about the limitations your disability places on you, be very specific with your answers. Don't just say “I can't get up and go to work.” Clearly explain why you are unable to do certain things and pain you have to deal with or the limitations that your disability places on your mobility.

You also need to be as specific as possible when answering the questions on the disability application. If you are unable to lift things, don't just state “I can't pick things up.” When filing out the application, be very specific in how you are unable to lift things. For example, say “I am unable to lift anything over ten pounds because of the pain that I experience when I try to do so” or “I am unable to sit for more than half an hour at a time or I lose feeling in my legs.”

You should also keep in mind that you are not limited to the space the application pages provide you with. If you do not have enough room to provide full explanations of your condition and the limitations it creates, attach additional papers to the Social Security Disability application. Remember, the more information you are able to provide, the easier it will be for the adjudicator reviewing your claim to approve you for Social Security Disability benefits.

Submitting Your Application

Once you have completed the initial paperwork required for your Social Security Disability claim, expect to wait at least three to four months before receiving a decision from the Social Security Administration. If your application for Social Security Disability benefits is denied, consider retaining the services of a qualified disability attorney or advocate. Approximately 70 percent of disability claims are rejected by the Social Security Administration. A good percentage of these applicants are able to successfully appeal the SSA's decision to deny Social Security Disability benefits with the help of qualified representation.

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