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Breaking Down the Social Security Disability Application

SSD Form

How to complete Social Securitydisability application…

Many people miss out on receiving benefits rightfully owed to them once they discover how complicated it can be to complete a Social Security Disability application. Even the government’s definition of being disabled enough to qualify for disability payments is vague and open to interpretation. According to the Social Security Administration’s guide to filing, the disability qualifies if it is “expected to result in death”; “you must not be able to engage in the substantial gainful activity, or the disability has lasted or is expected to continue for at least 12 months.”

What is “substantial gainful activity” according to the Social Security Administration? Who decides whether your disability “is expected” to continue for at least a year or more? If you make a mistake filling out your disability application, will the error disqualify you permanently from receiving benefits? Questions like these leave many people confused and intimidated by the process of completing a Social Security Disability application. That’s why even Social Security Administration representatives strongly recommend you hire a Social Security Disability attorney at Caddell Reynolds to handle submission of your disability application.


You can apply online for Social Security Disability on the Social Security Administration’s website. To begin, you will need to print out the Adult Disability Checklist that provides a list of information necessary to complete your SSD application. In addition to citizenship and birth information, you will need proof of the following:

  • Marriage or divorce documents
  • Name(s) of prior spouse(s) in marriages lasting at least 10 years or ending in the death of the spouse
  • Beginning and ending dates and locations of all marriages
  • Employment and/or self-employment details (if applicable) and W-2s
  • Your Social Securityinformation (amount of lifetime earnings)
  • Bank account and direct deposit information
  • List of medical conditions preventing you from working
  • Detailed information regarding your doctors, specialty physicians, and hospitals and clinics visited
  • Dates and addresses describing all medical exams, tests, and treatments received
  • Education information, including high school, college, and vocational certifications

This is just a partial list of items needed to complete a Social Security Disability application, but should give you an idea of all the records you need to gather to get the process moving forward.


Social Security Disability applications submitted by experienced attorneys have a greater chance of being approved the first time than applications submitted by individuals seeking benefits. When Social Security representatives encounter applicants represented by legal counsel, they are well aware these applications are correctly filled out with all the documentation included. In other words, Social Security representatives know that denying such claims will produce an immediate appeal by the applicant’s attorney.

Social Security Disability appeal can be complicated and confusing as you potentially face four different levels of appeal. In addition to the Social Security Administration reviewers and their attorneys, you are also responsible for filing the complaint in the appropriate Federal District Court in your area. You must also present an opening brief, a reply brief and ensure that the required legal documents are received on time. Finally, if you do pursue your Social Security Disability appeal without legal counsel, you risk having your appeal dismissed if federal court rules are not explicitly followed. This is one of many reasons why it is essential that you are represented by a Social Security Disability attorney with Caddell Reynolds who is experienced with writing Social Security Disability appeal briefs at the Federal District Court level.

If you are preparing to file a Social Security Disability application or if you have been denied, contact a Social Security Disability attorney at Caddell Reynolds at (800) 889-6944 for a free legal consultation.