Understanding Social Security Paperwork

By Disability Group

One of the most daunting and overwhelming aspects of the Social Security process can be the seemingly endless stream of documents, forms, and paperwork. It can be easy for a deserving applicant to be denied simply because he did not complete the proper paperwork. It is very important to read the information carefully, though often the documents can be very long and wordy. 

Here is a cheat sheet to help you understand some of Social Security’s most common and important forms:

Disability Report

–          This form must be completed each time someone files either an Initial Application or an Appeal for Social Security benefits. The Disability Report is one of the most important documents you will fill out for your claim because it is there you will list the doctors and hospitals that have treated you. The sources you list on this report will be contacted by the Social Security Administration and the records they provide will be the basis for your entire claim. In other words, the evidence Social Security uses to determine your disability largely comes from the Disability Report you fill out when you apply.

SSA-827:  Authorization to disclose Information to the Social Security Administration

–          Neglecting to sign and send in the SSA-827 form is a common mistake that applicants make which often delays and sometimes disqualifies their claim before it even gets started. Each time an application is filed the applicant must also sign and date two of these “Authorization to Disclose Information to the Social Security Administration” forms. Your signature on this document grants your permission for medical and educational records to be given to Social Security for your claim. These forms are what Social Security uses to obtain your private medical records from doctors and hospitals that have treated you. Without this form Social Security cannot process your claim.

Initial application receipt

–          This is only relevant for claims filed online, that are submitted without an original “pen & ink” signature. After an initial application for Social Security benefits is submitted the applicant is sent a paper copy, asked to review it, initial any corrections; sign it and send it back.  Social Security needs the claimant’s signature to verify that the statements made on the application are valid. Not signing this receipt can unnecessarily delay the claim.

SSA-821 Work History Report

–          Social Security often needs work history reports to determine the nature and duration of an applicant’s past work. Though these forms can be very tedious and time consuming, they are very important. Completing the work history report as thoroughly as possible can help Social Security determine whether or not your past work was moderate, light, or heavy and this gives them a guideline for understanding whether or not you can still do this or similar work.

Hiring a lawyer to be on your side and help you with all SSA requests and paperwork is the best way to ensure that no unnecessary delays are placed on your case and to guarantee that everything is completed in a timely manner by yourself and the Social Security Administration.