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The Social Security Disability Application

 Posted on September 03, 2010 in Need to Apply for Social Security Disability

The Social Security disability application is the very first step for someone who wants to get Social Security disability benefits. The application can be done at the Social Security Administration (SSA) office, it can be done in written form, over the phone with SSA, or via the internet. The internet application is probably the most often used method of applying for disability benefits due to the accessibility and flexibility involved. Because almost everyone can do their own application whenever they want via the internet, there seems to be a consensus that the application itself is something that is easy to complete.

While it is true that anyone can apply for Social Security disability benefits online, I completely disagree that it is an easy task, in fact, I believe that it is anything but easy. Even if you had all of the necessary information required to complete the application, actually filling in the information is extremely time consuming. SSA requires tons of information from the claimant in order to complete the application and for someone suffering from an ailment or ailments preventing them from working, physically entering in all of that data can be a challenge in and of itself. This is, of course, if you actually have all of the information that SSA wants from you available at hand. In my experience, it is very difficult for a claimant to physically have or remember every single doctor's visit, hospital visit, or medical test that they have taken or had and recall when they were and what was done. Asking a claimant by him or herself to have all of the necessary information to complete the application to me is impractical.

At the very end of the initial application, there is a section entitled "remarks." This section is where a claimant can give a summary of how his or her symptoms are limiting their daily activities and explain why he or she should be getting disability benefits. This section is also probably one of if not the most important sections of the entire application. Yet, the SSA does not tell a claimant how important it is nor do they make the section a requirement in order to complete the application. Instead, they use the word "optional" to complete, which leads most individuals applying for Social Security disability benefits to believe that they really should not put the time and effort into completing that section. Unfortunately, in my experience, the word "optional" proves to be very effective for SSA and most claimants applying by themselves tend to leave the section completely blank because of it.

The trickiest part of the entire application is figuring out what to put down as your medical conditions. I had a potential client come into my office yesterday and when I asked her what was preventing her from working, she said, "my carpal tunnel in both my wrists cause me great pain and make it so I simply can't work, that and maybe my asthma." If she had gone and applied for Social Security disability benefits via the internet by herself, she no doubt would have put down as her disabling condition, carpal tunnel and asthma. A few minutes later, I discovered that she was also suffering from PTSD, Bi-Polar Disorder, Diabetes, and Neuropathy. She admitted that she would never have added those conditions to her application and then explained to me that "when I'm in a lot of pain day in and day out, it's very easy to forget what you are suffering from, keep in mind, I'm always hurting." Since the online application is long and tedious, this only adds to the difficulty of producing a very accurate and thorough reflection of your medical condition.

While it is true that anyone can apply for Social Security disability benefits online by themselves, I do not see how it can be labeled as an "easy" endeavor by any means. The application is long, extremely detail oriented, and requires a lot of information from whoever is completing the online form. This is true, even for someone like myself, a Chicago social security lawyer who does this type of work day in and day out for a living.

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