You do not have to do anything special before you apply. You can just jump right in and apply right now.
However, if you want to be a superhero and do some special things to make your application extra great, here are some things you can try.
💙 The number one challenge I have seen with new applications is people who hold onto ideas that hurt their applications. Please read through some of the ideas on this list and see what you are willing to let go of.
💙 Not everyone is able to do this. If you are able to collect and submit all your own medical records, your Disability Examiner is going to love you! The Disability Examiner is the person who makes the Big Decision. You want them to love you. You also want them to have every records so nothing gets overlooked.
💙 Talk to your doctor about your disability application and find out if you have their support. (If you don’t have health insurance, transportation, or the ability to get to the doctor, read this.)
💙 Most people are eligible to apply for disability. If you’ve somehow gotten the impression that you might not be, don’t give up hope just yet. Read more.
💙 If you are still working or left your job recently, you may be eligible for Short Term or Long Term disability through your employer. If you can get this, you definitely want it. Employer disability is waaaaay faster than Social Security disability.
💙 If you are unable to care for yourself, now is the time to see if you qualify for home care. If you are already in a home care program, now is the time to request your file and send it in with your application. (hint: the original assessment from when you first applied may be extra helpful).
💙 Read this and burn it into (what’s left of) your memory.
💙 Here’s a rather advanced-level trick which you don’t have to do: If you want some more time to collect your medical records, you can get a protective filing date. That will buy you a few extra months without losing backpay.
💙 You do not need to do this before you apply. But if you can do it as soon as possible after applying that is extra great. Many lawyers say this is the single most important piece of paper in your entire case. You want one.
💙 The SOAR program is a huge help with disability applications for people who are homeless or at risk for becoming homeless. Most SOAR programs require a diagnosis of serious mental illness, but some programs do not require this. They provide wonderful help and have truly amazing success rates.
💙 When first you apply, you will have to either fill out forms or answer questions. Here are some tips for good answers.
💙 All done being a superhero? Great! Time to apply.
Super Hero Stories
💙 Sage won his case by ignoring everything Social Security told him. Pretty good strategy. If someone at Social Security tells you something that discourages you from applying, try being like Sage.
💙 Leaf won his case by firing his doctor. Hopefully, you will never have to do this. But if you do have to, sooner is MUCH better than later.
💙 Sweet Pea won her case by collecting all her records before she applied. She was approved in four months (without a lawyer!). If Sweet Pea can do it, you can do it, too.
💙 Jasmine won her case by collecting her records plus doctor’s letters before she applied. She was approved in six months (without a lawyer!). If Jasmine can do it, you can do it, too.
💙 I suggest that you do not spend too long being a superhero. A few weeks is great. Please do not spend many months or years waiting to apply. If you wait too long, you will get less backpay. Also, if you really wait too long your work credits may expire and then you might not be able to apply at all. Read Bluebell’s story. Be like Bluebell.
The biggest mistake I see people make, and the biggest regret I see people have, is waiting too long.
People wait too long to apply, and then wait too long before making their disability application their first priority. I have met many people whose lives spiraled in chaos and crisis and who wished they could go back in time and do it differently.
Sadly, I am not a time traveler. But happily, you don’t have to be. Now is the perfect chance to start things off in a great way. If you are here reading this section, that means you read all the way through all the things above. Well done! You’ve come to the right place at the right time.