What Documents Helped Your Disability Application the Most?


Survey results from people who were approved for disability.

Most Helpful Medical Documents

๐ŸŒท “I worked with my doctor to prepare a letter based on sample letters.”

๐ŸŒท “I got multiple doctor’s letters. I asked five doctors. Three wrote letters. Two letters were basic. One doctor knew how to write a great disability letter.”

๐ŸŒท “Getting an RFC Form from my doctor was the most important thing”

๐ŸŒท “A lot of RFC forms. I asked eight doctors. Five said yes. One was really, really helpful and the rest were good.”

๐ŸŒทย “The assessment report for my mobility scooter was very detailed about my restrictions and limitations. I think this made the greatest difference” How to Document Medical Equipment

๐Ÿ’ฎย “I collected my entire home aide file. It had a whole years worth of doctor’s forms and caseworker reports”.ย How Collect Home Aide Documentsย 

๐ŸŒท “I collected all medical records myself, including hidden treatment notes that don’t appear online. My mom helped me do it. I sent every record in all at once so nothing got separated.”

๐ŸŒท “I had documentation of regular doctor visits every two weeks over 6 years.”

๐ŸŒท “I submitted complete medical records going back to my childhood. It was 8 inches thick”.

๐ŸŒท “My pain management doctor kept very accurate records”

๐ŸŒท “I used the workbook “How to Get SSDI and Keep It.” Based on the workbook, I wrote an outline for a letter. My doctor added in facts and lab results and then signed it.”

๐ŸŒท “Detailed medical records made a big difference in my case. I always recommend to get copies of your medical records and go over them yourself. You’d be surprised at how often doctors either give wrong information or the record keeping is very brief and non-descriptive. My PCP basically diagnosed me with “stomach flu” at the majority of my appointments”

๐ŸŒท “My friend helped me make a medical outline. I think this was the biggest reason I got approved so quickly”

๐ŸŒท “The most important thing was the clinical observations about mental health in the notes from my regular doctors appointments. I also submitted letters from three doctors, and results from cognitive tests, but the judge gave the most weight to the clinical observations.”

๐ŸŒท “I wrote a draft of an extremely detailed statement. My doctor reviewed it, made some changes, and signed it.”

๐ŸŒท “I got two tests: A neuropsych test, a brain scan. The reports from these two tests seemed to help the most, because the scan showed something was wrong with my brain and then the neuropsych test showed how this affected my memory and ability to think.”

๐ŸŒทย  “I hired a physiologist to write a special report based on my CPET test. It showed how disabled I am”. (for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome)

๐ŸŒทย  “I collected all my medical records before I applied. My boyfriend made a spreadsheet listing appointments, symptoms, medications and medical findings. I applied in person and brought the spreadsheet and the box of records with me and submitted them when I applied.”

๐ŸŒท “I gathered 11 years of all my hospital, ER, and doctors records, as well as my payroll stubs showing precipitous decline in hours over three months – from 40 hours a week to 1 hour when I had to quit my job. My application was a full ream thick. I submitted my application along with all documents by FedEx to the local SSA Office. I was approved one month later.”

Most Helpful Supporting Documents

Please note: Please focus on medical documents first. If your medical documents are strong, then supporting documents can help as a support. If your medical documents are not strong, supporting documents will not help.

๐ŸŒท “I kept track of my symptoms on a regular basis through lists and symptom diaries.”

๐ŸŒท “I requested and sent in a copy of my file and caseworker reports from my homecare program.”

๐ŸŒท “I got a great letter from my employer.”

๐ŸŒท “I got three affidavits from people who knew me best stating in gory detail what had happened to me. We’re trained not to share bad news – the exception to this is when applying for disability it’s essential to share every single sad, gory, bad detail because no one else can/will do it for you.”

๐ŸŒท “I kept a daily log of pain, limitations, ability to function and help needed from family members.”

๐ŸŒท “I wrote out a timeline of all my symptoms, doctors, and work history.ย  I wanted the judge to see that I went back to school after leaving my teaching career and tried to work because I went through really significant denial about how limiting my illness really was. I think some personal stories about my experience helped with the judge. I told her about how when I was still teaching, on the seldom days I could make it into work, that I would literally not be able to pick my head off my desk.”

Learn More

๐Ÿ’ฎย This page is part of the free online guide:ย The Sleepy Girl Guide to Social Security Disabilityย 

๐Ÿ’ฎย Learn more about this topic here:ย How to Work with Your Doctor to Get Great Disability Documentation

๐Ÿ’ฎย And here:ย How Did You Get Approved for Disability? (All Survey Results)

๐Ÿ’ฎย ย Art on this page by Robin Meadย and Elizabeth D’Angelo.

๐Ÿ’ฎย ย Page Updated: 7/1/19

๐Ÿ’ฎย ย Please comment below with stories, ideas, questions or suggestions. Please let us know if any links on this page stop working.ย 

๐Ÿ’ฎย ย If you found this page helpful, please share it with others by pressing one of these magic little buttons:ย 

3 thoughts on “What Documents Helped Your Disability Application the Most?”

  1. Diagnosis and prognosis are the two best letters or documents you can have and also the type of work you do and any limitations that you’re going to experience on a daily basis and in my case narcolepsy my employer at the time was Dead Set against any accommodations that help really the most


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