Super smart people who did super smart things to get approved for Social Security disability the first time they applied. Stories on this page come from people with ME, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Lyme, POTS, or related conditions. Learn more about how to Increase Your Chances of Getting Approved the First Time You Apply
Kalmia Gets Approved in Four Months
The Sleepy Girl Guide to Disability honestly helped me so much. I credit this site with the fact that I was approved in four months (while being in my low 20s and still working part-time the whole time I was applying). I think the biggest thing that helped me get approved was saying: “f*&% social scripts. I’m gonna be honest.” When doctors asked me ‘How are you?’ I would just tell them. How to Have Doctor Visits That Create Accurate Records
Laurel Gets Approved in Four Months
“Thank you to everyone on this fabulous website. I filed for disability in April and studied everything on the site. I implemented all of the recommendations: letters and forms from doctors, a letter from my former boss, and obtaining all my medical records instead of expecting Social Security to to get them. I learned yesterday that I was approved! I am thrilled! Laurel Gets Two Great Letters and Two Great Forms”
Dandelion Gets Approved in Two Months
“I have a friend who got denied and then discovered that half her medical records were not even in her file (and she had a lawyer!) Before I applied, I collected four written letters from doctors. I also collected all my doctors records and hospital records and submitted them with my application. If you are applying, collect as many doctor letters as you can. Send everything you can. It’s never too much. ” How to Get a Great Disability Letter
Poppy Gets Approved in 10 Months
Many of our readers had great records but then discovered their most important documents were either lost, overlooked, placed in the wrong file, or never received. If you don’t get approved the first time, don’t despair. You get a second chance! It’s called “Request for Reconsideration.” This is a short appeal step where you don’t have to go to a hearing: How I Won My Request for Reconsideration
Jeff Gets Approved in Two Months
“The Sleepy Girl Guide to Disability was a great resource for my application process. I really followed most the advice on this site. I got copies of all my medical records. I attached an extra two pages that covered a description of POTS, how it affects me, all my symptoms, and how it prevents me from working. I was extremely shocked that I got approved so quickly. I am only 31.”
Daffodil Gets Approved in Two Months
“You can use this letter as a model with your own doctor. I shared this letter with another family, and they got approved even faster than we were!” Dr. Rowe’s Outstanding Letter for POTs and ME/CFS
Rose Gets Approved in Three Months
Rose’s doctors were not quite sure what was wrong and she did not have a clear diagnosis. She did not let this discourage her. Instead, she found a super smart way to get approved anyway. Rose Uses the Blue Book
Peggy Gets Approved in Three Months
“My son was first diagnosed at age 14. Now he has been approved!!! and started receiving benefits!!! I know things will improve now and — and that my son need not have a future of homelessness and helplessness and inappropriate incarceration…that’s his past but now, it’s not his future.” Peggy Uses a Medical Summary Report
Rosemary Gets Approved in Two Months
Everyone told Rosemary there was no way she would ever get approved. She had many things going against her. She had no lawyer, she was young, her main condition was Lyme, she was working part-time while applying, and her primary doctor refused to do any disability paperwork! Rosemary found a great way to get approved anyway. Rosemary Makes a Medical Outline
Holly Gets Approved in Six Months
“I waited four months before applying. That is how long it took me to gather every record and every piece of information. However, it was worth it! I would much rather put the work in on the front end than to be denied and have to wait for a hearing. I worked in the court system for many years, and I assure you there is nothing an attorney can do for you that you cannot do yourself. You are your own best advocate!” Learn more about how Holly Gets Approved.
Susan Gets Approved in Three Days
Susan discovered she had an illness on the Compassionate Allowance List, a special list of conditions that are approved quickly. Compassionate Allowance Conditions are often considered very serious or life threatening. Three days after applying, she was told her case was approved: How I Got Approved for Disability Using Compassionate Allowance Rules
Magnolia Gets Approved in Two Months
Jamesia is disabled and often homebound. She uses what little energy she has to help others. Recently, she did an amazing job helping her friend Magnolia get approved for disability (in two months!) and also get Medicaid and a personal care aide. How to Help a Friend Get Approved for Disability
Buttercup Gets Approved in Six Months
“My mom (who works in healthcare) recommended that I get all my medical charts starting when I first got sick. She heard that Social Security will only request one or two of your doctor’s charts and they might not get all the years. My mom was pretty adamant that you have to do the work for Social Security.” Buttercup Makes the Best Application Ever Seen
Veronica Gets Approved in Nine Months
I never expected to be approved quickly because I am 24 years old and have multiple college degrees. I was approved at the reconsideration level in nine months. I had no lawyer, but I did a ton of research during the process and wanted to share my strategy to help others. How Veronica Got Approved for Disability
Violet Gets Approved in One Month
“Before I applied, 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. My application was a full ream thick. I did not have a lawyer. I submitted my application along with all documents by FedEx to the local Social Security Office.” How to Collect All Your Medical Records
Amaryllis Gets Approved in Four Months. . .
But gets her first check before she is even approved! In just one month! Amaryllis is a former Social Worker. She helped hundreds of people get on disability and services. Then, when she became disabled after a car accident, she used the same techniques to get approved for disability herself. Read Amaryllis’ Disability Tips from a Former Social Worker
Ivy Gets Approved in Six Weeks
“Ivy spent two years applying for disability and got denied at a hearing. Recently, she decided to try again. She started a new application and got approved in just six weeks!” Ivy Starts a New Application
Marigold Gets Approved in Six Months
Seven things Marigold did to help her application: Described her symptoms and limitations; Asked for help; Went to 10+ doctors; Found doctors who were good at documenting disability; Had regular, recent doctor visits; Documented both mental and physical health; Got letters from friends and family; Got letter from former employer. Learn more about How Marigold Got Approved
Jasmine Gets Approved in Six Months
“Although I was was very seriously ill and could not cook, clean, shop, drive, or even walk down the street, most of my tests had come back “normal.” I could not afford special tests and was not well enough to travel to see more doctors. My mom thought we could still prove that I was sick and she was right! I didn’t even know I could hire a lawyer. We did it ourselves.” How Jasmine Got Approved.
Plumeria Gets Approved in Three Months
Before applying, Plumeria collected her medical records and prepared a cover letter and medical synopsis. After submitting her application, she spoke with her Disability Examiner (the person who decides her case). The Examiner thanked Plumeria for organizing everything so well. Plumeria’s Disability Cover Letter
Sweet Pea Gets Approved in Four Months
Six things Sweet Pea before applying: Reading about Social Security disability; creating a spreadsheet of medical history; collecting all medical records; collecting doctor letters; asking for help; submitting all documents together all at once along with application. And one thing she did after applying: Staying in touch with the Social Security Disability Examiner. How Sweet Pea Got Approved
Lori Gets Approved in Three Months
“The caseworker told me to collect two years worth of my medical visits and lab tests. It came to 80 pages. At the time, I thought it was so ridiculous, but now I see that my past records corroborated all the evidence from my current doctor.” How Lori Got Approved
Daisy’s Mom Gets Approved in Eight Months
I would like to tell you, there is no way I could have gotten her approved, without The Sleepy Girl Guide to Disability. She was approved without a lawyer, in the reconsideration process. It was the first time we applied. Daisy Helps Her Mom Get Approved for Disability
Orchid Gets Approved in Five Months
I delayed applying, thinking maybe I’d magically get better and go back to normal, but that never happened and I’m actually worse now, so I’m glad I did it. There is no way I could work at all now… I’m homebound and can’t even vacuum my own damn floor.
When I applied, I used Jonathan Ginsberg’s Disability Answer Guide. It was very helpful in showing me how to apply and I was approved on my first try. It’s expensive, but way cheaper than a lawyer and if you follow it step-by-step, take your time, and collect all your medical records, it should get you approved. The Sleepy Girl Guide to Disability also has very helpful info.
I’m glad I took my time and learned how to do it the right way, because it paid off. I’m not sure I would have had the stamina to go through appeals and deal with lawyers.
Lavender Gets Approved in Four Months
I got approved in four months. I collected all my medical records myself up front. I got two RFC function forms done up front – one physical and one mental. After applying online, I sent everything in.
They still requested records they wanted, but I think it helped I sent in so much. I didn’t even have to see the Social Security doctor.
It’s important to do both physical and mental RFC forms. One affects the other. For instance, mine is for mental disability but it’s caused my physical issues. So do both no matter what. I have a ruptured disc and get cortisone shots. I sent that info because it does affect me working.
You can do it!! It was a huge blessing I do not underestimate it for sure.
My doctor said something that helped me. I told him that it’s so difficult having strangers pick apart my life and mental status — they don’t know me and what I go through. He told me that our job is to make them understand my life on my worst days. The very worst, most awful times. That we have to convey that message.
I felt that advice was good. My application was for depression and anxiety. I’ve attempted to take my life 2x and had 20+ years of hospitalizations. It’s just so hard to tell strangers all this so they can judge you.
Carmen Gets Approved in Two Months
– by Carmen Gonzales
“Before applying, I obtained four years of medical records from every single doctor, hospital, test, and lab. I put them in order chronologically and put a page number on each page.
“On my disability application, I answered each question in a full sentence and then added what pages to see for reference.
“I also got a letter from the Human Resources department of my past employer stating all the disability accommodations I had needed and explaining how we had tried and failed to keep me at work for as long as we could.
“It took weeks of work on my part and I needed help along the way. But it was worth the effort. Hope this helps and best of luck.”
Amethyst Gets Approved in Four Months
When I applied for disability, I had worked 20+ years in social services. Then I was laid off, my unemployment was running out, and I became bedridden with trigeminal neuralgia.
The first thing I did was download and print out the application. I approached every question by describing the condition, how it effected me, how it effected me in combination to my other conditions, and why even with reasonable accommodations I would be unable to work. I also listed all the doctors I see regularly with complete mailing addresses, fax and telephone numbers.
After I sent my application in, I contacted all my doctors and let them know I was applying, and I followed up to make sure all my medical records were sent.
About 3 months after I mailed my application I was sent to their doctor for a general physical and then I was sent to get new x-rays of my knees. Two weeks later, I received my first disability payment. My approval letter arrived a week later.
If you were not approved the first time, some states have a reconsideration stage where you get a second chance! Everything listed above also applies to the Reconsideration stage. If you are able to collect extra materials and submit them at the same time as your reconsideration forms, you may be able to increase your chances of quick approval: How Poppy Won Her Disability Reconsideration
Whenever you send things into Social Security, it’s a really good idea to check directly with your Disability Examiner and confirm if they have received everything, and see if your doctor’s records are all in your file. How to Stay In Touch with Your Disability Examiner
Updated January 2019. Please comment below with your questions, stories, input and ideas. Also: kindly let us know if any links on this page stop working. If you liked this page, please share with others by pressing one of these magic buttons: