Applying for Social Security Disability: Information and Documentation to Provide

Applying for Social Security Disability: Information and Documentation to ProvideSocial Security disability benefits provide a lifeline to some adults that cannot work due to serious health problems or physical or mental disabilities. The application process is often lengthy, though, and involves filling out numerous forms and making sure you provide the Social Security Administration with all the information they need to determine that you do indeed meet the criteria required to receive disability benefits.

Work History

You’ll need to provide a detailed work history, including all positions you’ve held in the past 15 years, how many hours you worked per day and how many days you worked per week, how much money you earned and your typical job duties. Social Security Administration staff can give you a printout on request of all employers that paid Social Security taxes for you, which can help you remember all your past jobs and help you complete the work history form.

Health Care Providers

You’ll need to provide a complete list of health care providers that have treated you for your disabling condition, including all physicians, counselors, physical and occupational therapists, hospitals, emergency rooms and clinics.


Provide a complete list of all medications you’ve taken for your condition, past and present. Include information about any side effects you experienced and the effectiveness of the drugs.

Medical Records

Social Security Administration will ask you to sign a form authorizing your health care providers to send them copies of your medical records. However, they often only request your most recent records. You can obtain copies of all your records yourself, however, and forward them to the Social Security Administration. Staff will review all records you send them and if you send all your records, they will have a more complete picture of the severity of your condition.

Information About Activities of Daily Living

The Social Security Administration typically asks applicants to complete a lengthy questionnaire that asks about how your condition affects your activities of daily living. It asks questions like how far you can walk without having to stop to rest, if you require help with things like bathing and meal preparation, if you have trouble getting along with other people and how you spend a typical day.

Other Information You Can Provide

Social Security Administration staff must consider all information you send them and you can send any information you think is relevant. For instance, if your disability caused you to need special education services in school, send school records, letters from teachers or school counselors and any other documentation you can obtain. You can ask friends and family members to write letters describing how your disability affects you. You can also simply write a letter yourself explaining why you believe you need disability benefits.


Social Security Administration. . Disability Benefits.

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