How to Fill Out Disability Forms

Artwork: Zeraph Dylan Moore

When you apply for disability, you’re going to need to answer some questions.

If you apply online or on paper, you will write down the answers.

If you apply on the phone or in person, you will tell them the answers.

If you apply with a lawyer, you will tell your lawyer the answers.

If you have no idea how or where to apply online, on paper, on the phone, or in person, take a look here.

You are not required to do anything extra or special to answer these questions. You can just call Social Security and ask for an appointment. At the appointment, they will ask you a million questions, you will be there forever, and then you can go home and take a nap. All done!

On the other hand, if you want to do something extra special and learn some neat tips for the best ways to answering questions, read on…

Important Questions

Here’s a list of important questions people sometimes get wrong: How to Answer 21 Tricky Disability Questions

If You Get Stuck

If you get stuck on a question or confused by the forms, you may find it easier to apply in person or over the phone. You can make an appointment at your local Social Security office. Someone at Social Security will ask you questions and fill out the forms for you. Or you can hire a lawyer who will ask you questions and fill out forms for you.

It seems like the online forms are especially tricky for people who are currently working. Keep in mind: when they ask if you are unable to work because of your disability, they mean “unable to work and earn over $1,170 per month.”

Application for Disability Insurance Benefits

Adult Disability Report

SSI Questions

If you are applying for SSI, you will be contacted for an interview about your finances. This happens only for SSI, not for SSDI. The interview can be over the phone or in person (your choice). Here’s a few things you will want to know about How to Apply for SSI Without Falling into Quicksand

Adult Function Report / Activities of Daily Living

You do not need to fill out this form at the beginning. Social Security will send you the form after you apply.

Third Party Form

You do not need to fill out this form at the beginning. Social Security may send this form to your contact person.


Apply Right – This is an excellent ebook that walks you through the forms and explains more about Social Security policies and how to answer questions. It costs $3. It is designed to help with the online application, but you may still find it helpful if you are applying another way. If you don’t have Kindle, you can download a free Kindle reader onto your computer. Or you can do what I did: just buy it and it will open! (Hint: When you want to find it again, scroll way to the bottom of any Amazon page and look for the words “Manage Your Content.” You may find it easier to read if you download a Kindle reader, though)

Disability Answer Guide – This one costs $100! However it is easy to read and understand and gives you sample completed copies of every form plus tips for filling them out. You may find it worth it. Here are some sample pages from this guide.

Updated June 2017 

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