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Getting It All Together; from Article "Applying for SSDI", by Linie Moore
Putting Together Your SS Package

Have you ever heard the saying "Too much is never enough?"
I think this must have been in reference to SS.........overload them with paper work, and they will still ask for more. Send them everything but in an organized info pack.
My son and a friend helped me put my SS info pack together. It took a lot of time and energy, but it worked. I used (2) three inch binders and sectioned everything with tabs.
1. Cover sheet with name, SS#, date I stopped working and diagnosed diseases listed.
2. A list of ALL medications including over the counter meds and even eye drops for Sjogrens, etc. Next to each I listed what they were prescribed for, doctor who prescribed them, dosage and any side effects I experienced. Behind this sheet I included the drug info sheet. It is usually given with the prescription or you can locate information on the Internet.
3. Disease information sheets which explained each of my diagnosed diseases, their symptoms, prognosis, etc. I highlighted the important parts of each. You can get this information from your doctors or Internet sites.
4. Statements on how my illness had changed everything in my life. There were 3 written statements: Myself, son and a close friend.
5. Doctor statements and Residual Functional Capacity Questionnaires. Each of my doctors (5) filled out a RFCQ and on their letterhead stationary type a statement about my diseases, symptoms, prognosis, that the diseases would last longer than 12 months and I could NOT engage in any substantial gainful activity.
6. All Medical records-doctor notes, labs, hospitals, tests and x-rays. The doctors were sectioned by type, with most important first. Most recent records were first. Important factors were highlighted in all medical records.
7. Copies of all applications and letters sent to SS. Also copies of SS criteria for each of my diseases.

Getting Started

The first step in trying to be placed on Social Security disability is to see your Doctor. Ask the Doctor if in his or her medical opinion you are disabled from being gainfully employed or disabled from your present job. If the Doctor states that you are disabled, the next step is to go to your local Social Security office and get the disability forms. At this time you can also request a phone interview instead of going into the SS office for the interview.
You will need the proper documentation:
Your Social Security card (or a record of your number); Your certified birth certificate; Children's birth certificates (if they are applying); Marriage certificate (if signing up on a spouse's record) Your most recent W-2 form, or your tax return if you're self- employed; Your military discharge papers if you had military service. Try to collect all your own medical records. This is very important, because most of the time ALL your medical records are not sent to SS.
Always keep a copy of any of the applications or letters you write to SS. You may need these later.
In most circumstances, the initial SSD request will be denied. You will be notified by mail of the result. If you receive a letter informing you of your rights and you disagree with the decision rendered in your case, you can appeal the decision. Careful attention must be given to the appeal process. Any mistakes can render the appeal invalid. If that happens, you may have to start from the very beginning by filling out an application, and again submit it and wait for the determination. If the claimant receives 2 SS denials, an appeal can be filed within 60 days and the next step is the Law Judge hearing.