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Applying for Disability: Is My Application Complete?

When applying for disability benefits, it’s essential to make sure that your application is filled out accurately and completely – because if it’s not, the SSA won’t review it, and you’ll have to submit it again and wait even longer for a decision. It’s worth it to take the extra time to go over each question and make sure that you have not only filled out a response, but that the information you have provided is descriptive and meets the requirements of the application. That way, you know that you have the best shot possible at having your claim approved.

So what should a completed application look like? Start by making sure that you have the right form in the first place. If you are seeking Social Security disability insurance, or SSDI, benefits, you’ll need to complete Form SSA-16-BK, the Application for Disability Insurance Benefits. Those applying for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), which mainly supports low-income Americans, the document you will need instead is Form SSA-8000-BK.

Then, make sure that you have answered each question on the form, and nothing is left blank. There are 33 questions on Form SSA-16-BK, so check to see that each one is answered; then, once you have ensured that no information is left out, check again to see that you have answered correctly and followed the directions provided on the form. Make sure all the information is correct (and you haven’t made any mistakes in numbers or spelling) for questions like your address, the employers you have worked for in the past, and any dependents you have (like a spouse and children).

You may have difficulty answering Question 10, which asks when your disability first began – which is also known as your “onset date.” You will have to estimate when your condition first started affecting your ability to work as you had been doing previously. This may be a clear-cut answer if your disability began with an accident like a car crash, but it could be difficult if you have a disability that arises from an illness or a combination of illnesses or conditions. Ultimately, it is important to be accurate with your onset date, as it determines how much back pay you’ll get once your benefits are approved. Back pay retroactively covers losses that you sustained while you were unable to do your job due to your disability, but not yet on government benefits. Once you have answered this question completely and accurately, make sure to provide a good description of your disability, with a particular emphasis on how it affects your ability to work. Be thorough and include ALL conditions you have, including both physical and mental.

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