If you’re unable to work due to health problems, you may qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. However, the Social Security Administration (SSA) requires a lot of personal information to complete your benefits application. Our disability application checklist below includes all important documents you likely need to complete this claim paperwork.
8 Vital Documents You’ll Need to Complete Your Benefits Application
Below is a list of important documents you need to complete your disability benefits application. Not all documents may apply, but disability application checklist items 1-3 as well as 7 are required. You cannot submit your SSD claim without them, so gather those first before you apply!
Disability Application Checklist Item #1: Your Birth Certificate & Social Security Card
Before you can begin receiving benefits, the SSA needs to verify your identity. These two documents certify that you are either an American or a legal resident alien. You can submit a copy of your birth certificate, as long as the issuing agency certifies it first. In other words, you can’t just photocopy whatever you have; it needs an official government stamp that guarantees it’s legitimate.
Disability Application Checklist Item #2: Your Employment Information
The SSA wants information showing every place you worked in the past 15 years. Be sure to include copies of your latest W2 or tax forms. This disability report form is also required. It details your job titles, employment dates, salary, and work responsibilities. Before the SSA approves you for disability benefits, they want to check and ensure you can no longer perform your previous job tasks. If you can’t, they’ll try to find you another job that pays a similar monthly wage before they award you benefits.
Disability Application Checklist Item #3: Contact Information for Your Healthcare Provider(s)
On your application, include the names, addresses and phone numbers of all doctors that treat you, as well as hospitals and clinics. The Disability Determination Services (DDS) office is responsible for deciding whether or not you qualify for benefits. They need this information to pull your complete medical records for review.
Disability Application Checklist Item #4: Your Medical Records and Medication List
Medical records are extremely important for proving your condition forces you to stop working. These documents include x-rays, MRIs, blood tests and any doctor’s treatment notes about your health condition(s). The DDS views your medical records as evidence that proves you receive regular treatments for your condition. Include the phone number and address of the healthcare facility where your doctor performs any tests. Your medications also provide useful information that supports your claim. Include all medications you currently take, any your doctor prescribed in the past and why you stopped taking them (if applicable).
Disability Application Checklist Item #5: Your Spouse’s Information (If Applicable)
Even if you’re not currently married, you’ll need to gather some documents if you were in the past. They’ll want to see your marriage certificate, spouse’s full name and Social Security Number. If you’re divorced, you also need to include your divorce decree information. The SSA uses this information to see if your spouse qualifies for benefits on your work record.
Disability Application Checklist Item #6: Your Dependent Information (If Applicable)
Similar to your spouse’s record, the SSA wants to see if your dependents qualify for disability benefits, too. If the SSA approves your application, your children may also receive monthly payments based on your work record. Include your dependents (if they’re younger than 19 years old), their Social Security numbers and birth dates.
Disability Application Checklist Item #7: Your Bank Account Information
This information allows the SSA to see if you meet the program’s income requirements. But they also use this information to direct-deposit your monthly benefit payments. So if they approve your claim, they’ll need your bank routing and account numbers. In addition, they might ask for other financial information, such as recent pay stubs or bank statements.
Disability Application Checklist Item #8: Your U.S. Military Service Papers (If Applicable)
Obviously, this disability application checklist item won’t apply to everyone. But if you served in the military before 1968, the SSA requires you to submit your service papers along with your application. In fact, your service history may actually qualify you for extra earnings! This document can be a DD-214 – Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty form.
What Happens If You’re Missing Any Required Documents?
If you don’t have all disability application checklist documents shown above, apply anyway with the ones you do have! Often, the SSA lets you provide missing documents after you file your application. In some cases, the SSA will help you obtain them if you don’t have copies already. Your local DDS office can request copies of your full medical records, for example, if you can’t afford them yourself.
Also, if you haven’t worked recently or enough hours to qualify for SSDI benefits: Apply anyway. You may qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), which pays up to $841/month in disability benefits. The application forms and medical requirements are identical, and the SSA can screen you for both programs.
You May Qualify for Legal Assistance
Want to nearly TRIPLE your chances of getting approved for disability benefits the first time you apply? Get a Social Security attorney to file your application for free. In addition, these lawyers provide free, no-obligation consultations to give you confidential and personal claim advice. All disability lawyers work on contingency, which means you’ll pay nothing for legal assistance today. In fact, if the Social Security Administration doesn’t approve your benefits application, you owe that lawyer $0. And if your case does win, then you’ll only pay a small, one-time fee under federal law.
Ready to see if you may qualify? Click the button below to start your free disability benefits evaluation now.
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Mandy Voisin is a freelance writer, blogger, and author of Girls of the Ocean and Star of Deliverance. As an accomplished content marketing consultant, mom of four and doctor's wife, Mandy has written hundreds of articles about dangerous drugs and medical devices, medical issues that impact disabled Americans, veterans' healthcare and workers' compensation issues since 2016.