Monday, February 16, 2009

What do I Bring to a Social Security Disability Application Interview

I've posted before about what you need to bring when applying for disability. However, I came across a claimant's description of what she brought along with her when she visited her local social security office to do her interview and I can't help but think she was more prepared than most. Here's a partial list of what she took with her to her appointment:

1. Her original birth certificate (this can be problematic for some as copies are not acceptable).

2. Her social security number card.

3. Information regarding any life insurance, stocks, mutual funds, or other investments she might have.

4. A list of her physicians, including their addresses, phone numbers, and fax numbers.

5. A list of her current medications.

6. A list of her current limitations that exist as a result of her impairments.

7. Her medical records.

This individual came well-prepared for her disability interview. She not only brought what was required, she also brought information that would make the interview and disability application process easier for both her and the field office claims rep that was interviewing her. And, she smartly brought along her medical records.

Regarding medical records, let me state the following. If you apply for disability and are able to obtain and submit your past and most recent medical records at the time of application, this may greatly speed up the processing time of your disability application. Why? Because the largest part of the time required to process a social security disability or SSI disability application has to do with the disability examiner having to wait on requested medical records. Cases, however, that are assigned to a disability examiner with the medical records already in the file are basically ready to go.

It's important to point out, however, that if you decide to submit records with your application for disability, you need to make sure that you obtain all the records for each medical treatment source, i.e. old and current records. If you don't submit the older records which are needed to established a medical onset date (when your disability began), or you don't submit the current records (needed to establish that you are currently disabled), then the examiner will still have to send off for records, meaning that your efforts, with regarding to gathering records, will have been wasted.

Another point is this, which I have recently addressed in another post: when you bring your records to the social security office, don't expect them to make a copy for you to take home. If you do that, there's a good chance that the social security office will only copy 10-15 pages of what you bring in. They will send these 10-15 pages to the disability processing agency and will then give you back your originals (this information comes directly from several social security field office claims reps).

Why do they do this? Well, because they don't have time to copy people's records all day long. Of course, it doesn't make a bit of sense to copy anything if you're only going to copy 10-15 pages, but that seems to be the current SOP (standard operational procedure).

So, if you want the disability agency and the disability examiner who will be assigned to your case to actually get the records that you bring with you to your interview, don't ask the social security office to make you a personal copy of the records you bring in. Instead, make a personal copy yourself before you even visit the social security office. Then, when you visit the social security office simply give them a copy of the records without asking them to copy anything at all.

Return to the Social Security Disability SSI Benefits Blog

Other Posts

I was denied the second time for Social Security Disability
Choosing a Social Security Disability Attorney
Appealing a Denied Disability Claim
Social Security Disability FAQ
Fibromyalgia, Judge's Perceptions and the resulting impact on Claimant Credibility
Can I win my disability case ?

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