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It Pays to be Organized When Applying for Benefits

The Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits process can be extremely confusing, particularly to claimants seeking benefits for the first time. Not only are you dealing with a challenging medical condition, job loss, and the accompanying financial stresses, but now you are faced with a daunting application and federal agency process that can be overwhelming.


At ADL, we prefer to assist our clients in filing the initial application. There are many reasons for that. First, getting SSD benefits approved on the initial application is extremely difficult. Even the smallest error or omission can significantly delay the process or even cause a denial. Having ADL prepare your application for you allows us to ensure that it is completely and accurately completed. It also allows us to present you in the best light from the start and put the application in our words, rather than the words of a Social Security employee who takes your application over the phone. In our experience, being involved from the very beginning of the process increases your chances of a favorable resolution.


With the help of a skilled SSD benefits attorney, your odds of smoothly navigating the SSD process can be dramatically improved. And your own organization can help us help you. You can greatly assist your attorney (and yourself), increasing your chances of success, by having the necessary paperwork and documentation prepared and available.


The following are a few of the ways to be organized when seeking benefits:


  • Verify ahead of time that you meet eligibility requirements. This is normally done during the initial consultation with ADL, where we can gather some basic information and see if you meet the basic qualifications for SSD or SSI.

  • Review the Social Security Administration checklist and worksheet found at: https://www.ssa.gov/hlp/radr/10/ovw001-checklist.pdf. That will allow you to know what is required of you and gather the required information and documents.

  • Make sure you have a certified copy of your birth certificate.

  • Obtain your Social Security card or (if you were not born in the U.S.) proof of your U.S. citizenship.

  • Gather your W-2 forms and most recent tax returns.

  • Take a look at the Adult Disability Report (https://www.ssa.gov/forms/ssa-3368-bk.pdf). It’ll give you a further idea of the type of information you need.

  • Obtain a copy of your complete medical records, recent test results and a report from your doctor detailing your exact disability and the limitations the disability presents.

  • Prepare a summary of the places you worked prior to your disability, as well as the kind of work you were engaged in.


The harsh reality is that the majority of SSD benefits claims are initially denied. We don’t believe it is worth taking a chance on being turned down for the benefits that your condition or illness makes you eligible to receive. By being well organized and getting help from experienced attorney, you will be well-equipped to fight for the benefits you deserve. Here at ADL, we are here to help when you need it most.

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