Applying: Helpful Hints
Applying for disability can be challenging. These pointers may help you through the process.
Apply as soon as possible after you become disabled.
Get all of your information together before you fill out the application, but don’t wait too long because it can take up to five months for your application to be reviewed.
- Make sure the facts are accurate.
- Send supporting information with your application, such as copies of medical records from your doctors and any hospital where you were treated in the past three years, including office notes, labs and reports from echoes, EKGs, chest CTs, cardiac caths, heart MRIs, surgery, cardioversions, ablations, etc.
Be truthful about how your condition impacts your everyday life and your ability to work. Don’t exaggerate, but don’t make it sound less than it is. Remember, it’s about your worst day.
Be specific. For example, if it takes you all day to do your laundry, then you need to say that. For example, “It takes me one hour to wash my clothes and then I have to nap two hours before I can dry them. After drying them, I take another two-hour nap before I can fold the clothes. Then I am too tired to do anything else.”
Let your doctor know that you are applying for disability. What’s in your medical record must support what’s on your application. If you tell your doctor you are fine and can do everything, that is what he will report. Not all doctors know about this process, so ask your doctor to write in your chart that you are disabled and back up the statement with examples. It’s your job to teach your doctor how to support you through this process.
Keep a log of:
- What you do and how you feel.
- Medications, including doses, start and stop dates, side effects that bother you, and restrictions you have because of the medication.
- Dates of doctor’s visit and the time it took to get there and back home, as well as the time you waited and spent with the doctor.
Always follow your doctor’s advice. Notify your doctor or nurse of any problem you have so that it is in your medical record. Keep track of all calls and who you speak to. Remember that if it isn’t in your medical chart, it did not happen.
Keep copies of your medical records.
Keep track of all contact with the Social Security Administration.