How to Document & Prove a Disability

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SSA requires applicants to show evidence that proves a disability exists and that the disability is impacting the person’s ability to work and earn income. Moreover, individuals must provide documents that establish their eligibility for SSDI benefits. Because this documentation can take time to compile it is best to gather and prepare it without delay.

Documenting Eligibility

Individuals must be able to provide a birth certificate, proof of citizenship, and W-2 forms or self-employment tax returns for the previous year. Finally, individuals who served in the military prior to 1968 should provide their military discharge papers. Individuals may submit copies of these documents with the exception of birth certificates and military discharge papers which must be original. A Chicago disability lawyer can help applicants compile and prepare this information for submission to the SSA.

Completing the Adult Disability Report

The Adult Disability Report requires applicants to provide a detailed explanation of their education level, work history, and disability. The form requires individuals to provide a list of medical exams, treatments, and medications.

Applicants should compile this information and be prepared to provide evidence supporting each question. Thus, it is advisable to organize diplomas, pay stubs, receipts, etc. and label them so that any questions that arise can be promptly responded to.

The Importance of Journaling

A journal that documents the applicant’s disability and the impact it has on their life is a valuable source of supporting evidence. The journal should describe the everyday experience with the disability whether it is fibromyalgia, cancer, or other ailments. Applicants should include information about their medications and treatments, and the effect these are having on the progression or rehabilitation of the disability.

It is important that the journal clearly identifies the effect the disability has on the applicant’s ability to work. For instance, entries should include information about basic job functions that they can no longer perform such as being unable to lift objects, sit for periods of time, maintain focus, memory problems, etc.

Copies are Crucial

Applicants should make at least three copies of their documents. They should keep one copy for themselves, one copy for their Chicago disability lawyer, and submit one to the SSA. This is crucial because one of the most common reasons for Social Security Disability claims denial is missing documentation. If an applicant has copies ready to go, then any missing documents can quickly be replaced without causing a further delay.