Facing disability is always a very stressful time in someone’s life. According to the SSA, the risks of becoming disabled are increasing steadily, with about 1 in 4 of today’s 20-year olds likely to become disabled by age 67. It is, therefore, crucial for you to understand the process of applying for disability benefits, as well as to be in a position to obtain the best assistance that you can get if you become disabled.
The SSA offers benefits to people with disabilities, as well as additional resources such as informational kits that contain more information about the application process. When you apply for disability benefits, SSA schedules an interview with you either in person or over the phone. The purpose of this interview is to collect as much information as possible about your condition so that a claims decision can be made on a later date.
Therefore, when preparing for your disability interview, it is important to have as much information as possible that is relevant to your situation. Most importantly, be prepared to answer the following questions regarding your situation:
Dates, addresses and contact information of your previous employment
The claims representative from the SSA will want to know where you previously worked before you became disabled. They may also want to know what your responsibilities involved as well as if you received any kind of worker’s compensation for your injury. Information about your previous employment supervisors and work locations may also be requested.
Information on Doctors and Medication
In order for the SSA to find out more details about your medical condition, the claims representative from the SSA may also ask for information about your doctors and dateson which you visited them, medications that you have been taking over the past 12 months and any other treatment you may have received for your condition.
Be prepared with information on the names, addresses and phone numbers of all the medical locations that you have visited (such as personal doctors, hospitals, clinics and emergency rooms) over the past one year. Because this information is vital for the SSA to be able to determine your disabling condition as well as the types of benefits that you will receive, make sure it is detailed, complete and accurate.
The SSA may also want to know the conditions of your family and household. They may ask questions such as marital status, number of children, who you live with in your home and any history of military service. The SSA may also request the social security numbers of these immediate family members, in addition to their contact information in case they can’t reach you.
The condition of your household plays a big factor in how you will cope with your disability and it can influence the benefits that you receive.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
SSI disability payments are benefits that cover disabled people who are low income and may not been able to pay enough into social security in order to be covered. There are additional questions you should be prepared to answer if you are seeking SSI disability payments:
Current Living Situation
During the interview, you will be asked for details on your living arrangement, including information about who you live with, your household expenses such as rent, utilities, mortgage payments, among others. Being prepared with details about your current living situation will assist the SSA to determine your financial status and likelihood to receive benefits.
Sources of Income
The SSA will want to know about any income that you and your spouse are receiving. This income may be from investments, community organizations, work-specific injury/retirement benefits, among others. Prepare documentation that is relevant to all your sources of income and be prepared to answer questions about those at the interview.
A Number of Assets You Own
In their efforts to determine your financial status, the SSA will also request information about any assets that you own. This includes bank account balances, your home, vehicles, equipment, and other assets.
It may also help your case if you to obtain written certified statements from your doctors that contain specific information about your diagnosis, how this disability affects your ability to work and to function normally. The statement should also be accompanied with medical documents that provide evidence on the medical condition you are facing.
In addition, you can obtain statements from previous employers, family members etc., containing any relevant details to your condition.
The more information the SSA has about your condition, the better they can understand your needs and provide you with benefits that will help you in your everyday life.