I get many calls from people who have not yet applied for Social Security disability. Some of these callers know already they want to apply. They just don't know how to go about it. One thing I often hear is that people think they cannot apply until they have all their medical records.
The Good News
The good news is that you do not need to gather any documents to apply for disability. This is not to say you can do it completely unprepared. Social Security is going to want you to tell them whom you have worked for, what doctors you see, and what medications you take. You will, of course, need to list out all of the medical conditions that are preventing you from working.
The reason why you don't need to give Social Security your medical records is really quite simple: They don't trust you. We have already seen that Social Security thinks no one is credible. This is another example of their lack of faith in you. If you gave Social Security your medical records, they would think you had edited them. By that, I mean, taken out all the bad stuff. This explains why Social Security goes directly to the doctors and hospitals and clinics you tell them about to get their own set of records.
Don't Waste Time--Apply Immediately
It is important to apply for disability as soon as possible. This is especially true when applying for Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Social Security cannot pay back benefits any earlier than the time you apply for SSI. They can go back one year from the time you apply for SSDI. Either way, every day you wait to apply could mean one day of lost benefits. That adds up fast.
Call When The Denial Arrives
Once you are certain you are going to apply for disability, do it. Do not waste time sending away for your medical records. Get the application in. When they deny you (and they will), give me a call so we can discuss your options for appealing. As with applying, do this immediately as well. Social Security disability applications are not like wine--they do not get better with age.