Social Security Disability Tips from a Former Social Worker

Art: Robin Mead

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.

In fact, her application was so good and so complete that the person reviewing her case at Social Security was sure she’d get approved, and gave her presumptive disability benefits.

Amaryllis got her first check just one month after applying. She was officially approved three months later.

Amaryllis wanted to share her story and some special tips to help others.


Disability is just one huge game with unwritten rules. It is just a matter of learning how to play their games and jump through hoops properly. I was fortunate to have to have done the process for SSI, SSDI and food stamps hundreds of times. I know the forms like the back of my hand, even after 6 brain surgeries! 

🌷 Assessment Form -The disability application process asks very little of what matters. By filling out this form, and adjusting the questions and space for answers to your needs, you can give a clear picture of your disability. Social Security Disability Assessment Form

🌷 Social Worker, Caseworker or Therapist – If you have a case manager, therapist or other social worker, I would recommend you work with them to fill this form. This person can co-sign and put their credentials at the end. How to Get a Social Worker

🌷 Talking to Doctors – I talked to my primary care physician and my neurosurgeon and everyone else on my medical team about my lack of ability to function. We talked about the possibility of returning to work, or possibly filling time with volunteering. We really were all on board for disability in my case for the time being. How to Have “The Talk”

🌷 Letters – Each of my providers wrote a letter wrote a letter of support for me pursuing disability, including my doctor, physical therapist, and surgeon. I also had a friend and a family member write how this whole situation has impacted my life in their opinions.  Sample Doctors Letters

🌷 Records – I gathered all my records and had every record sent to my assigned worker at Social Security. I got not only the radiology reports but all of the images, x-rays, MRIs, and CTs on four disks. In addition to all of the records that I personally  submitted, I also had the hospital systems send the complete record an all images and test results. Surgical notes, in particular, seemed to be left out of the record the hospital sends so make sure to ask for them. How to Collect Your Medical Records

🌷 Starter Kit – Before you start take a look at the adult starter kit and fill out worksheet and read everything carefully, and multiple times. It may help to highlight in colors what you have, what you need, and what you are unsure of. Once you have gathered this information and these materials, then you are ready to apply online. When you first apply, you can also send in all your medical records, and the assessment form above.

🌷 After Applying – Be annoyingly current and update the person who reviews your case constantly. The person assigned to review your case should know your name and be like: “Oh no, not this girl again!” How Amaryllis Kept Her Case Updated


🌷 If you gather and send all of your own medical records to social security, you will usually find higher success on the first try and a faster response.

🌷 Social Security will also request your medical records, but let’s be real, they are slow and suck at it and do not always get them all. Gather and send all your medical records yourself. 

🌷 Put your name and case number or SSN on every document.

🌷 I cannot stress enough to send everything you can in your favor.

🌷 It is a lot, so don’t overwork yourself. Take care of a little bit each day.

🌷 You are your best advocate!

Love, Amaryllis


Tools for Troublemakers

The Sleepy Girl Guide to Social Security Disability 

How I Got Approved for Disability QUICKLY

Thanks for Reading

🌸 Art on this page by Robin Mead and Elizabeth D’Angelo.

🌸 Page Updated: 10/1/19

🌸 To get daily updates on helpful disability services, and low income programs, follow us on Facebook: The Sleepy Girl Guide.

🌸 Please comment below with stories, ideas, questions or suggestions. Please let us know if any links on this page stop working. Please share this page with others by pressing one of these magic little buttons:

2 thoughts on “Social Security Disability Tips from a Former Social Worker”

  1. How does SSA notify you of a decision (by mail, My Social Security on SSA site, by email or phone)?

    Dear Sleepy Girl, thank you so much for all your help and awesome content. It has been over 4 months since I applied for SSDI and my DE examiner told me they are very close to a decision. The last 2 months have been held up waiting for an “appointment letter” to see an SSA doctor. Unfortunately, Covid-19 has caused a huge back-log so my DE is trying to use my in-person visit with my doctor from last month. Note, I have read most or all of your content many times over and took much of the advice including to continue seeing my own doctor… which seems to have paid off. I am nearing retirement age with major lower back pain including stenosis, bulges and disk disease. I do not have a lawyer yet a recent MRI provides proof of pain/issues. Checking the mail everyday and hoping for good news.


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