An injury or illness that prevents you from working can be enormously disruptive. You may be buried in paperwork, unsure of who to talk to and scared about taking care of yourself and your family. In this chaotic environment, getting organized and collecting benefits can be essential in making sense of the situation.
Documents to gather before you apply
When you are getting ready to apply for Social Security Disability (SSDI) benefits, gathering the necessary paperwork is a good place to start. This can include:
- Birth certificate
- Social Security card or number
- Contact information for your employers
- Contact information for all doctors and clinics you visit concerning your condition
- Dates of doctor and hospital visits
- Lists of medications (name and dosage) you take for your condition
- Medical records
- Doctors’ reports
- Test and lab results
- Federal tax returns
You should also put together a description of your job and the type of work you did.
Having this information before applying can reduce the likelihood that the Social Security Administration will deny benefits based on missing or inaccurate data.
Tips for gathering this information
Sometimes, you may not know how to find this information or what to do if it’s too difficult to track something down.
To make this process easier, you can reach out for help. Talk to your doctors, your employer and an attorney if you cannot find something or if someone is withholding information. Further, websites like this one from the Social Security Administration and this one tailored for Michigan applicants could help answer some of your questions.
It is also crucial to start gathering your information as soon as possible. Waiting too long can make it difficult to remember details or collect older documents.
Putting it all together
When you have as much of this information as possible, it can be much easier to submit a complete picture of your situation. The fact is that SSA representatives do not know you, and they are quick to deny applications, thanks to a massive backlog and strained resources.
The more information you can provide, the easier it can be to get the benefits for which you are eligible.