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Can you complete the SSDI claim form on your own?

You might be the kind of person who rarely asks for a hand, but because of your disability, you have to accept assistance from time to time.

Now you want to apply for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits. Is this something you can tackle by yourself, or would it be better to ask for help?

Completing the form

If you wish to apply for SSDI, you must fill out Form SSA-16-BK, which is available online. There are 33 questions, and your answers will allow the Social Security Administration to determine the federal benefits for which you may qualify. The SSA will also use the information you provide to calculate “backpay,” or retroactive benefits.

Taking care with questions

You must answer questions truthfully and carefully. You must not exaggerate nor embellish, and your answers must be as factual as possible.

There are two questions, in particular, that might trip you up. On Question 10, you are to enter the date ”you became unable to work because of your illness—injuries—conditions.” If your disability began because of an accident, the date the SSA requires is probably clear in your mind. However, your disability might have occurred due to a string of events, which would make the answer more complicated.

You should also take care in answering Question 24, which asks for a brief description of the “conditions that limit your ability to work.” This means all the limiting conditions, not just one.

Considering your approach

The SSA touts filling out their online forms to be the easiest way to apply for SSDI benefits. However, ironically, you cannot submit your completed application online.

Keep in mind also that once the SSA reviews the information you submit, the agency may request additional paperwork. This may make you feel that your application is going in the right direction, and perhaps it is. But remember that after reviewing answers to what appear to be simple questions, the SSA often denies initial claims. You must then appeal.

So the question is, are you comfortable completing the required forms on your own? If not, this may be a good time to seek professional assistance.

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