Working throughout our adult lives is a reality that most of us face. It’s nearly impossible to make ends meet, let alone enjoy our lives, if we do not earn a sufficient income. This becomes even more complicated, however, when the work we have been performing results in some form of permanent disability.
Whether due to a single-event trauma like an amputation or an injury or disease due to repeated exposure to toxic chemicals or fumes, if you have contributed to Social Security through your paycheck deductions and can no longer work because of your disability, you may qualify for disability benefits through the Social Security Administration (SSA).
Preparing for your application
It’s important to understand that the qualifying requirements for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) are vigorous. The basic requirements are that you must be insured, and the SSA must validate your disability according to their internal criteria.
The more in-depth your information and evidence, the easier it may be for the SSA to determine your eligibility. When you are preparing to apply, you will want to gather the following information:
- Contact information for any doctors, clinics and hospitals you have received treatment from, including the dates of treatment
- Names and dosage amounts of any medications you are currently taking
- Any available copies of your medical records
- The Social Security numbers for you, your spouse (if applicable) and your minor children (if applicable)
- A certified copy of your birth certificate
- Proof of your legal citizenship or residency in the United States
- A certified copy of your military discharge papers (if applicable)
- Your most recent tax return and any supporting documentation
- Information on any workers’ compensation you currently receive or previously received
- The names of previous employers, dates of employment and job summaries from the past 15 years
Applying for benefits is your right as a disabled worker who has contributed to the Social Security fund. The process can feel overwhelming at times, so you may want to speak with someone familiar with SSDI who knows how to navigate the process from beginning to end effectively.