When you first contact the Social Security Administration (SSA) regarding applying for Social Security disability benefits, they will set an appointment for you to meet with a representative.
This appointment is usually in person, but may be conducted over the telephone or via video conference in some circumstances. Before your scheduled appointment, the SSA will send you an Adult Disability Starter Kit.
What is the Adult Disability Starter Kit?
The Adult Disability Starter Kit contains information regarding the qualifications for Social Security Disability benefits, what programs are available, and what you need to bring to your initial interview.
You should take the time to read through all of the information thoroughly and collect as much of the requested documentation as possible before your scheduled interview.
If you have access to the Internet, much of the information requested in the Adult Disability Starter Kit can be provided online, allowing the SSA representative to look over much of your information before meeting with you.
Not only does this help the SSA function more efficiently, but it also cuts the amount of time you will need to spend being interviewed in half (on average).
Unless given specific advice by a qualified Social Security Disability representative to the contrary, it is generally to your advantage to complete as much of the claims process online as you can. You will want to make sure to print and retain hard copies of all forms which you fill out, however, in case anything is lost by the SSA.
What Information Do You Need to Provide?
Most of the information requested in the Adult Disability Starter Kit is fairly straight forward. They will want to know about your disabling conditions and any other medical or mental conditions which affect you.
They will want to know what medications you are taking, in what amounts, and what the medication is for. They will also want to know your complete employment history, including who you have worked for and what kinds of tasks you have performed while employed.
The SSA will also need some personal information, including names and birth dates of your spouse and children, and the dates of any marriages or divorces. These are used for determining dependant and survivor benefits for SSDI.
Working with a Social Security Lawyer
One important piece of information the Adult Disability Starter Kit will not give you is the fact that you are entitled to legal representation at all stages of the Social Security Disability claims and appeals process.
You are entitled to have a qualified Social Security Disability representative or lawyer with you during your initial interview, when you file your initial claim, and throughout the entire process.
While many people wait until their claim has been denied to seek the advice and representation of a Social Security Disability lawyer, you don’t have to. Having a Social Security Disability attorney help you when putting your initial claim together may very well help you to avoid the appeals process altogether.
Applying For Social Security Benefits
It is important to note that you should keep your appointment for Social Security Disability whether you have all of the information listed in the Adult Disability Starter Kit or not. Most claimants aren’t able to track down every piece of information, and many of the requested items (such as medical records) may not have ever been in your possession.
With that said, the more complete your packet is, the smoother the interview process is likely to go, saving you time and increasing your chances of having your initial Social Security Disability claim accepted.
While you are in this initial stage of applying for Social Security Disability benefits, you should also make sure to inform your doctor, psychologist, or any other pertinent professionals who may be contacted by the SSA regarding your intention to file for Social Security Disability benefits.
The sooner they turn in requested documentation, the sooner the SSA is able to make a determination on your Social Security Disability claim.