Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Applying for Disability Benefits Online

I was able to submit my Social Security Disability application and disability/work history report online, which is a service the Social Security Administration (SSA) recently instituted. Applying online is expected to speed the review process - I've been told it can take three to five months! ouch!! - so my fingers are crossed.

The application process wasn't difficult, but it was quite time-consuming (I spent at least two hours completing the report). It asked for names and complete contact info for all of my doctors, lists of tests that have been conducted, dates (this was challenging because I didn't document my transplant experience in detail), symptoms and more. A word of advice: If you're going through this process, keep a record of every doc, test, procedure, result, you name it. I kept copies of reports and other paperwork, but additional detail would have made it much easier to complete the report.

Another word of advice: You must complete TWO SEPARATE DOCUMENTS - the Adult Disability and Work History report and Disability Benefit Application. I didn't pick up on the distinction until the end of the application process and could easily have missed the application document(for crying out loud - the disability report was so long, I thought surely it was all that was needed!).

When I submitted the application and report, I was directed to print 13 copies of the medical release form, sign them and drop off or mail them to my nearest SSA office. A couple of days later, I received a letter from SSA telling me it had received my online documents and that I needed to submit the medical releases (although they didn't request 13 copies; instead, the envelope included four copies of the release). Deciding to err on the side of caution, I took 13 signed copies of the medical release to my local SSA office and delivered them to a rep. I was told to look for more mail; my questions about when and what would be next were all answered, "Look for a letter." So, I'm waiting for mail.

I advised my local doctor and transplant coordinator that I'm applying for disability benefits and to expect requests for documentation, etc., in hopes that they will respond quickly. I'm guessing data collection is the next step and I'd hate for the process to get hung up because medical information isn't readily available.

I'll keep you posted.

Photo by Giuseppe Acquaviva

1 comment:

Erminia Cavins said...

Even though you consider the online process as time-consuming, I think it's still better than trying to file your claim in the traditional way. The idea that you won't have to travel, line up, speak, and wait until you're finished with the entire process is already likeable. Well, these are all part of the procedure. If you're truly determined to get the claim you deserve, you will do your best to accomplish all the requirements.

Erminia Cavins @ Parmele Law Firm