A serious illness or injury can often come with a flurry of paperwork. Everything from information from your employer to medical bills can quickly pile up and become overwhelming.
With so much documentation to wade through, knowing what to keep on hand, what to file away and what you can throw can be difficult. Before you do anything with your paperwork, you should know what you will want to have ready to apply for Social Security disability income (SSDI) benefits.
You will need to have some general information ready to show you are eligible for SSDI benefits. For instance, you should collect:
- Your birth certificate
- Your Social Security number
- A U.S. passport or other document proving your citizenship status
- Immigration records if you are not a U.S. citizen
- Pay stubs
- Tax returns
- List of your work history
These documents are just some ways you can show that you meet the employment and financial requirements to qualify for SSDI.
You will also need to collect medical information to support your claim that your condition is disabling in that it is severe or expected to end in death. Such records include:
- Medical records
- Test results
- Reports from your doctors
- Mental health records
- Imaging studies
- Notes from doctor visits
Unfortunately, these records may not be as clear or comprehensive as applicants and the Social Security Administration would like. Thus, working with an attorney to track down, investigate and complete medical evidence can help strengthen your claim for benefits.
It is also vital to note that the earlier you start documenting your care, the better. Be transparent and honest when you visit the doctor; do not wait for a condition to get severe before talking to your doctor about it.
Putting it all together
Having your critical paperwork organized and accessible can make the SSDI application and appeals process much more manageable. It can help you make your claim as comprehensive and informative as possible, which goes a long way in preventing premature or unfair denials.
However, it is not always easy to know what you need, especially when you suffer from several conditions or have a complicated medical history. These lists can help you get started in gathering pertinent documentation.