How to Use Workplace Records to Help Your Disability Case

Artwork: Robin Mead

Workplace files, records, and letters can be a support for your disability case. These type of documents are not required, however if you have (or can get) something like this, it can help Social Security see your limitations around working.

Letters from Employers

You can ask your current or former employer to write a letter documenting your limitations at work and how your impairments affected your job. Here’s where you can find some: Sample Letters from Employers for Social Security Disability

Reasonable Accommodations

If you requested any disability accommodations while working, it may also be helpful to send Social Security these files. Especially helpful are any doctor’s letters or forms supporting your disability accommodation requests. Learn more about Requesting a Disability Accommodation in the Workplace

Social Security Work Activity Form 

This is a form that you can ask your current or past employer to fill out. It can be used to show that the value of your work was less than what you were getting paid. This is called “Subsidized Employment.”

It could also be useful if there was a time in the past where you briefly tried to work (less than six months) and you could not maintain employment because of your impairments. This is called “Unsuccessful Work Attempt.”

Here’s where you can find the Social Security Work Activity Form

Human Resources File

If you have (or can get) copies of your personnel file, you can submit to Social Security anything that is relevant. Particularly helpful is anything related to reasonable accommodations, and any warnings or reprimands you received related to inability to do work tasks do to disability limitations, excessive absences due to medical appointments, etc. This article has some great ideas for How to help win your disability case with your personnel file from work.

Work History Form

This is a form that you fill out. Soon after you first apply, Social Security will send you this form to fill out. Here’s where you can find information and tips on: Work History Report (form SSA-3369-BK)

Private Disability

If you are applying for private disability or long term disability (through your employer’s insurance), you may find it helpful to show that you can no longer do your previous job. Here’s how peony did this: Peony Proves She Cannot Work

Veronica Documents Her Work Limits

“If you have ever had any kind of accommodation for your disability, you can write this on your work history forms and also submit documentation. If you have the actual communications in writing/email/instant message/text form then, print that and add it to your documentation.

“I had messages from my lead and boss stating that if I couldn’t do certain tasks. I also submitted my communications with Human Resources from when I was laid off because they could not reasonably accommodate my conditions.

“You can do this even if it was minor or unofficial (For example: Not having to do certain tasks because of lifting limits, or being able to take extra break or two for anxiety, or having to take extra sick days on short term disability or sick leave).

“Also include if you ever got any kind of warning/discipline for something related to your disability (For example: if you were written up for being tardy due to illness, missing too much work for illness or doctor’s appointments).”

Read the rest of Veronica’s story: How I Got Approved for Disability for Ehlers Danlos Syndrome

Learn More

If you are currently working: How to Apply for Disability While Working

You can also collect support letters from caregivers, including friends or family members: How to Use Support Letters to Help Your Disability Case

Please comment below with stories, ideas, questions or suggestions. Please let us know if any links on this page stop working. 

Updated 2019. If you found this page helpful, please share it with others by pressing one of these magic little buttons: 

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