Here’s your handy-dandy guide to sending updated records, letters, and other documents to Social Security (and making sure they actually get there).
💠 Where is your application now?
Your disability application is a free-roaming spirit who will bounce around from place to place. When your application gets to a new place, you will probably be notified by mail, and sent the contact information. If you don’t know where your application is at the moment, you can call Social Security and ask for the correct contact information.
💠 How to submit
You can submit documents by fax or mail. If you have a lawyer, you can submit things through your lawyer, but that is no guarantee they will actually get into your file at Social Security. If you want to be sure, you can contact Social Security yourself and double check. There are some programs online that allow you to send free faxes.
💠 The secrets of the lost barcodes
At some point in time, Social Security has probably sent you a barcode that links to your application. If you are a hyper-organized person, you can find this barcode and add it onto any new materials you submit. This will increase the chances that your records don’t wind up in Joe Shmoe’s file (it happens!)
If you’ve lost the barcode, don’t worry about it. Everybody loses it. Just put your name and social security number on every page.
💠 Copy, copy, copy
“Make copies of everything. Everything. This includes your application, your worksheets, any communication you send or receive, and, most importantly, your medical records.” ~ WT
💠 Label, label, label
It is best if your name and social security number appear on every page.
💠 Confirm, confirm, confirm
Call Social Security and make sure they have received your document, and make sure this document is now in your file. You really gotta do this every time with every piece of paper. That’s just the way it is.
💠 If you have a lawyer
If you have a lawyer, it’s recommended to work with your lawyer to collect and submit records. Warning: I have met many people with lawyers who still wound up with missing records.
💠 Avoid Doubles
If possible, try not to send Social Security records they already have. This makes them irritable. You can check with your lawyer or contact Social Security yourself to figure out what records they have. How to check your file.
💠 When to Submit
Initial application: Submit any time. A decision could be made any day now! If you have something, send it in.
Reconsideration: Ideally, send everything at once with your reconsideration form. Even if you have to delay sending in your reconsideration form in order to collect the rest of your records, this may be well worth it, as long as you make the deadline (60 days in hand). If you’ve already sent in the reconsideration form, you can still follow up with records, but these decisions happen very quickly. It may be too late.
Hearings: No need to obsessively keep sending stuff in. Collect it all up at once, and send it all together once you are notified that you have been assigned to a hearing office. If more stuff comes in later, you can still send that as well.
💠 Great job submitting your records! Please come take a look at these other Golden Rules of Records