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SSDI: Guidelines For Applying For Benefits

At The Meeting With The Social Security Representative

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At the interview:

  • You will be asked a series of work and medical questions. The interviewer will complete the appropriate forms on the computer. If you have already completed a work copy of the forms, you'll be prepared to answer the questions in a manner most likely to result in a "yes" to your request for a benefit.
  • You have an opportunity to provide evidence backing up your answers.
  • If you have not yet obtained the evidence, Social Security will do it for you. (We recommend that you help obtain the evidence to be sure its accurate and to get it to Social Security on a timely basis.)
  • The Social Security Representative will determine whether all the non-medical eligibility criteria are satisfied. This involves checking whether:
    • You or the worker to whom you are related have enough work credits, and 
    • If you applied soon enough after you stopped working.

A few tips for the meeting:

  • Remember you are dealing with a human being. Try to make that person into a friend.
  • If the person's name is unusual, ask the correct way to spell it, and how to pronounce it.
  • Get his or her direct phone number so you can follow up easily.
  • Ask that the representative to check to see whether you qualify, or can qualify, for Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Social Security representatives are supposed to check automatically. It cannot hurt in case the representative forgets to do it.
  • Get a receipt for all papers you deliver.
  • Ask for a copy of all forms the Representative completes. If the Representative balks, consider suggesting that you want the copy to review in case you think of additional information. It is better not to become demanding and declare your legal rights to a copy.
  • If you haven't already, review our overall tips to keep in mind. They will be a big help as you go through the process. See Overall Tips To Keep In Mind
  • If you need advice or help during this process, ask for it. No matter how sophisticated you are, you have probably never done this before.

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