From time to time, our office will help a client with the initial Social Security Disability application. We have sat with clients at the Local Branch Office where a Social Security employee will take the information during an in-person meeting. We have also helped clients apply on line. Even though you have provided Social Security with a lot of information with the initial application, get ready to fill out some more forms.
After the application is finalized, your file will be sent to your State's Disability Determination Services office. In Oregon and Washington, these offices are known as Disability Determination Services or "DDS." The claim is assigned a claims adjuster or evaluator.
That person is going to send out some more forms for you to fill out. You will fill out a "Work History Report." This form asks about the jobs you have held over the 15 years prior to the date you claim your disability began. In it, Social Security wants to know about the physical and skill requirements of each job. It is also interested in how long he worked at a particular job. Social Security needs this information so when he determines what limitations you have now, they can figure out whether you are still able to do any of your prior jobs.
When you describe your jobs, please be sure to include all of the physical and mental requirements of the job. Many times, the job you work was done in a unique way, and that can become a major issue at a hearing.
You also will get a "Function Report-Adult." With very little space provided for the answer, the first question on this form asks you what you do from the time you wake up until the time you go to bed every day. You will also be asked whether not you have any problems taking care of yourself, which includes bathing, caring for your hair, feeding yourself, and shaving. Do you do house and yard work? If so, do you need help? Do you have a pet? If so, how much do take care of the pet?
For some applicants dealing with mental health issues, This form want to know if you get along with authority figures, or socialize in any way. Do you have problems with concentration? How well do you handle stress?
The form also asks about medication, and whether it causes side effects. At the end of the form, there is a "remarks" section, that allows you to add any comments you think may help DDS make a decision on the case. Sometimes, we see remarks made by our clients that we wish were not made it all. Please be careful when choosing to make remarks in support of your claim.
If you indicate on these forms that you are able to do everyday activities like housework and chores, talk about how you may do these chores differently as a result of your health conditions. For example, do you take lots of breaks when doing household chores? Are there some chores that you can only do for a few minutes, or nnot at all? It's always a good idea to include details on how things have changed, even if you're able to do some of your everyday activities.
If you have questions about your Social Security Disability claim, check out our free book, which you can download here. We also have other helpful articles and answers to frequently asked questions. If you have a denial, and you need help, call us at 503-325-8600. Under the Social Security statute, we are paid only if we win your case, and our fee is limited to 25% of retroactive benefits. All fees must be approved by Social Security.