If you have a serious disability which prevents you from earning a living, you may be able to obtain a disability benefit from the Social Security Administration (SSA). There are two routes to a disability benefit: through the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) scheme and the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) scheme.
The main application forms you will need to fill in are the SSDI application form or the SSI application form. There are many other forms you will need to complete or supply to support your disability benefits application. These are outlined in more detail below.
Forms Needed for Disability Benefits
There are two main categories of forms needed for applying for disability benefits. These are:
- Personal documents which help to prove who you are and that you are legally able to apply for a benefit, i.e. you are a U.S. citizen or a permanent U.S. resident.
- SSA forms: these are the forms you need to complete for the SSA itself and concentrate on your medical history, ability to work and your eligibility for either the SSDI or SSI benefit scheme.
- Your birth certificate confirms where you were born, when you were born and who your parents were. Your birth certificate helps to confirm your identity, your premarital name if you are married and/or have changed your name.
- Proof of citizenship could be in the form of a passport or naturalization certificate. This confirms that you are a U.S. citizen and therefore have the right to apply for a federal benefit.
- W2s are needed as they show who your employer was, how much you earned in a particular tax year and how much payroll tax has been deducted. W2s are needed if you apply through the SSDI benefit scheme as you need a minimum number of work credits to be eligible for a SSDI benefit. There are potentially four work credits obtainable for each full year of employment.
- Workers’ compensation information. This may, or may not, apply to you. If you were badly injured at work, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation payments. These are independent of any SSDI benefits you are entitled to, although the total amount of workers’ comp. and SSDI benefits cannot be more than 80% of your normal wages. The SSA will deduct an amount from any benefit they pay you as an adjustment. The fact that you are receiving workers’ comp. does not affect your eligibility for SSDI benefits, but your eligibility is based on different criteria such as the severity of your disability and that you would expect not to be able to work for at least 12 months. If you have a permanent disability because of your work, you may be awarded workers comp. until you start receiving SSDI payments.
- Medical evidence is an important part of eligibility for a disability benefit. You need to prove that your disability is severe enough to stop you from being able to work for at least 12 months and that it matches the criteria for that particular disability in the SSA’s Blue Book. The actual medical evidence you need depends on the type of disability, but the minimum will be a doctor’s report, medical history in the form of medical records, copies of scans, tests, x-rays and periods of hospitalization. An RFC report as described below may also help to support your claim, but may not be necessary if your disability symptoms clearly match the Blue Book listing for the disability type you have.
- Bank account information is needed if you want your benefit to be paid by direct deposit into your own bank account. This is the safest option.
- SSA-3368 (Adult Disability Report): This is an online part of the SSA’s online benefit application, although a paper form can be obtained from an SSA office near where you live. The report has a lot of questions about your medical condition, such as symptoms, when the symptoms first developed, medical treatment, doctors, specialist treatment, surgery, tests, scans, etc. as well as any prognosis by a medical provider which can support your claim.
- SSA-827 (Medical Authorization form): This form gives the SSA authorization to contact medical providers for information about your medical condition.
- SSA-16-BK (SSDI application): This is the main application form you will need to complete if you have had sufficient employment to qualify for a benefit through your contributions to social security insurance. You need sufficient work credits to qualify for SSDI.
- SSA-8000-BK (SSI application): This is the main application form you need to complete if you do not qualify for a benefit through SSDI. You will need to show you don’t have enough assets or income and/ or work experience to qualify for an SSI benefit.
- SSA-3369 (Work History Report).:This report is completed when the DDS doesn’t have enough information from the adult disability report to be able to determine your eligibility based on work history. The form asks questions about the type of employment you have had, what sort of physical work you did, machinery you used etc.
- Residual Functional Capacity (RFC): (if applicable) filled out by doctor. The residual functional capacity assessment (RFC) is completed by a doctor and is a test of what you can and cannot do physically and/or mentally. It may not be needed, but will certainly help if your disability symptoms do not match any of the Blue Book criteria exactly.
How to Fill Out the SSA Forms
SSA forms as listed above may be found on the online claim application if you choose to fill in online. The work history report and the adult disability report, for example, are part of the application. Other forms that are not a part of the online application process should be downloaded from the SSA website or obtained from an SSA regional office. The RFC report is a little different because it is provided by the doctor who completes the assessment.
Paper forms should be complete in blue or black ink. Contact the SSA if you are not sure which form to fill in and where to obtain them. A family member or friend can help you fill them out.
Get a Free Case Evaluation Today: A lawyer can also help you complete these forms.