If you are unable to work due to a severe, long-term medical condition, you may qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance. This important program will help replace some of your lost income as you recover or transition to retirement.
But before you fill out the application for benefits, here are 8 things you’ll need to gather ahead
1. Your Birth Certificate and Social Security Number
The Social Security Administration will want this information to determine whether you are eligible for the disability program. You must be an American or authorized to work in the United States.
2. Treatment Information
Write down the names of your treating doctors, hospital and clinic addresses, and phone numbers. Disability Determination Services will need this information to gather your medical records when they begin to evaluate whether your condition meets its criteria for benefits.
It’s also a good idea to write down the names of any medications you are currently taking or have taken in the past to treat your condition. If you are no longer taking a particular medication, write down how long you were on it and why your physician decided to take you off of it.
4. Medical Tests
You’ll also want to write down all medical tests—such as x-rays, blood tests, and MRIs—that you’ve undergone throughout the treatment of your disability. Be sure to include the facilities where these tests were performed.
5. Employment Information
The Social Security Administration will also want information on where you have worked for the past 15 years. Be sure to include your job title, dates of employment, salary, job responsibilities, and how many hours you worked each week. They will use this information to determine whether you can keep doing this work or whether you can find similar work given your condition, age, job skills, and education. They will also require a copy of your latest W2 or self-employment tax forms.
6. Banking Information
In order to confirm that you meet the program’s income requirements, the Social Security Administration may request permission to contact your banking institutions. They may also ask for copies of recent pay stubs and bank statements.
7. Spouse Information
If you have ever been married, you’ll need to gather your marriage certificate, spouse’s full name and Social Security number, and any divorce decrees you may have. The SSA will use this information to calculate if your spouse is also eligible for benefits on your record.
8. Dependents Information
If you have children or other dependents under the age of 19, the Social Security Administration will want to know their full names, Social Security numbers, and dates of birth. Again, this information will be used to calculate whether your dependents are eligible for benefits on your record.
If you think you’re eligible, you should apply for Social Security Disability benefits right away. Start gathering this information, and if you’re missing any of it, contact an attorney or the Social Security Administration. They will be able to help fill in the blanks so you can start receiving benefits as soon as possible.
Do you or someone you know need to apply for disability benefits?
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