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Tips from Social Security when applying for disability


By: Vonda VanTil, Social Security Public Affairs Specialist

Becoming disabled and unable to work is a very stressful time in one’s life. There are so many questions and unknowns when you have to transition out of the workforce due to medical issues. While an employer may offer short or long-term disability, most people faced with a disability will file for benefits with Social Security.

If you’re facing life with a disability and don’t know where to start, we encourage you to visit www.socialsecurity.gov/disabilityssi. After reading about Social Security disability, if you’re ready to file, you can do that online as well.

When applying, be prepared to answer a number of questions including:

  •  When your conditions became disabling:
  •  Dates you last worked;
  •  The names, addresses, phone numbers, and dates of visits to your doctors;
  •  The names of medications that you take and medical tests you’ve had; and
  •  Marital information.

In addition, if you plan on applying for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability payments, for people with low income who haven’t paid enough in Social Security taxes to be covered, you will answer questions about:

  •  Your current living arrangement, including who lives there and household expenses;
  •  All sources of income for you and your spouse, if applicable; and
  •  The amount of your resources, including bank account balances, vehicles, and other investments.

You can view our disability starter kit at www.socialsecurity.gov/disability/disability_starter_kits.htm.

Remember, we are there when you might be faced with one of the hardest obstacles of your life. Social Security helps secure today and tomorrow with critical benefits for people with severe disabilities, not just during retirement. Learn more at www.socialsecurity.gov.

Vonda VanTil is the Public Affairs Specialist for West Michigan.  You can write her c/o Social Security Administration, 3045 Knapp NE, Grand Rapids MI 49525 or via email at vonda.vantil@ssa.gov  

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