The Sleepy Girl Guide to Social Security Disability

Art: Olivia Colleen Smith

Welcome to the Sleepy Girl Guide, a self-advocacy guide to Social Security Disability.

This guide is designed for anyone who is homebound and for people with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Lyme Disease, POTS, Multiple Chemical Sensitivities, Fibromyalgia, or other invisible illnesses.

However, most pages in this guide would work for most everyone with any condition.

Why Apply? 

If you are too sick to continue working, applying for disability may be one of the most important things you can do to help yourself. It can bring you stability, medical treatment, and the ability to take care of yourself.

It can also be a great help to your loved ones who may be worried about you or may be trying to care for you without support.

Many of our readers have taken super smart steps that have helped them get approved, sometimes the very first time they applied. These brilliant and kind-hearted people have shared all their great stories and ideas below.

It’s Possible!

Many people feel discouraged because about applying for disability because they’ve heard bad stories about people who were very ill and got denied.

Here’s what we can tell you and here’s the most important thing you need to know: Most people do not get approved for disability based on how sick they are. They get approved based on how well their illness and limitations are documented, and how complete their Social Security file is. That is really unfair, but it is also really true.

Luckily, you can make your Social Security file really great and give them everything they need to make a fair decision. Reading more and learning more and taking more steps is the best possible thing you could be doing right now. Welcome.

Before You Apply

If You Want to Take Extra Special Steps to Improve Your Chances

If Your Employer Offers Disability Insurance

If You Are Not Applying Now, But May Some Day

Financial Survival While Applying


Am I Eligible? 💮 “Someone Said I’m Not Eligible” 💮 SSI or SSDI?


How to Apply 💮 Forms 💮 Tricky Questions

After You First Apply

Waiting for a Decision 💮 More Forms & Questions 💮 SSA Doctor Visit 💮 Stay In Touch 💮 Improve Your Chances

Reconsideration Stage (Not in All States)

Request for Reconsideration 💮 Improve Your Chances

Appeals and Hearings

How to Appeal 💮 Waiting for a Hearing 💮 At Your Hearing 

After Your Hearing

Waiting for a Decision 💮 If Approved 💮 If Denied

How to Greatly Greatly (Greatly!) Improve Your Application

Complete List 💮 Short List

How to Kill Your Application

Don’t Do This

Things to Bring Your Doc

Sample Letters 💮 Function Forms

Special Conditions

Lyme Disease 💮 Chronic Fatigue Syndrome 💮 Mental Health 💮 Fibromyalgia 💮 Toxic Mold 💮 POTS 💮 Lupus 💮 Ehlers Danlos Syndrome 💮 COPD

Learn from The Pros

Success Stories 💮 Survey Results

You Did It!

Everything No One Ever Tells You After You Get Approved

Doctor FAQ

💮 How Do I Find a Doc Who Is Helpful With Disability Documentation?

💮 How Can I Work with My Doc?

💮 What Do I Do If My Doc Won’t Fill Out Disability Paperwork?

💮 How Do I Know if I am Seeing the Right Kind of Doctor?

Lawyer FAQ

💠  How Do I Find a Good Lawyer?

💠  How Do I Apply if I Don’t Have a Lawyer?

Disability FAQ

💠  How High Will My Disability Check Be?

💠 What Is the Difference Between SSI and SSDI?

💠 What Happens When and What Can I Expect Next?

💠  What Do I Do if I Am Sent to the Social Security Doctor?

💠 How Can I Apply for Disability if I Am Young?

Improving Your Case

💠  How Do I Collect All My Medical Records (even the secret ones)?

💠  How Do Make Sure My Records Aren’t Lost or Missing?

💠  How Do I Prove I Can’t Work / Can’t Function?

💠  How Can I Use the Blue Book List of Impairments?

Trouble Shooting

💠 Why Is Someone At Social Security Telling Me This Weird Thing?

💠 I have a question. Who can I ask? 

💠 I’m Having a Problem. What Can I Do?

💠 I Missed a Deadline

💠 I Applied Before and Got Denied.

What Else Can I Apply For?

💠  Disability Through Your Employer (LTD)

💠 Cash Assistance and Other Forms of Disability

💠 Other Programs You Can Apply for While Waiting for Disability

Survival Tips

💮 Tips for a (slightly) easier life while you apply

💮 Financial Survival While Applying