The Sleepy Girl Guide to Social Security Disability

Art: Olivia Colleen Smith. Page Updated: June 2019

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, and other invisible illnesses.

If you are too sick to continue working, applying for disability can help you gain stability, medical care, and the ability to take care of yourself.

Many of our readers have taken smart steps to help themselves get approved more quickly or more easily. These brilliant and kind-hearted people have shared all their great stories and ideas below.

It’s Possible!

Please don’t be discouraged if you have heard stories about people who were very ill and got denied. Here’s the most important thing we can tell you: 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 Steps to Improve Your Chances

If You are Considering Applying Someday

If Your Employer Offers Disability Insurance

If You Can’t Afford Medical Care

Financial Survival While Applying

Timeline & Overview

Typical Timeline and Every Step of a Disability Application


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 💮 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 💮 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

Trying to Find All Pages on This Site?

Some readers have asked us for a list of all disability pages on this site. Here you go:

💮 All Pages About Applying for Disability

💮 All Pages About Eligibility

💮 All Pages About Long Term Disability (Through Your Employer)

💮 All Sample Doctor’s Forms and Letters

Doctor FAQ

💮 What Happens if I am Sent to the Social Security Doctor? 

💮 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?

💮 My Doctor Wants to Help. What Can They Do?

Lawyer FAQ

💠  How Do I Find a Good Lawyer?

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

Social Security FAQ

💠  How High Will My Disability Check Be?

💠 What Is the Difference Between SSI and SSDI?

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

💠 Who Makes the Decision? What is DDS?

Medical Records

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

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

Improving Your Case

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

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

💠  How Can I Document Medical Equipment?

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

💠 How Can I Get a Faster Disability Decision?