After you apply for Social Security disability benefits, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will begin gathering information about your medical conditions and symptoms, and how these affect your ability to do different things, such as stand for any length of time, lift things of various weights, or work on tasks that require concentration. Their goal is to determine if there is any type of job that you would be able to perform on a regular basis – if they find that there is, your application for disability benefits will be denied.
To help make this determination, the SSA will review your medical records, and may ask your doctor to fill out a report, or send you out for an examination at the SSA’s expense. However, they’re also interested in your input as to what symptoms you experience and how they affect your ability to work. Having you complete the Adult Disability Report, SSA Form 3368-BK, is one of the ways they get this information from you. In most cases, you’re required to fill out the disability report after you apply for benefits, and complete an updated one if you receive a denial and file an appeal.
The Disability Report – Adult is a lengthy document, coming in at nearly 15 pages long. It contains detailed questions regarding several things, including your past employment, education, medications, and medical treatment. When you receive the report, set aside some time to complete it, breaking it into a few sessions if you’d like. Before beginning, carefully read the first two pages, which give instructions on how to complete the report. If you have trouble reading or writing, it’s OK to get help from a friend or family member, but the answers to the questions need to come from you. Use blue or black ink, and be sure to write legibly.
When filling out the Social Security disability report, be sure to write something in every answer blank. If your response to a question is “I don’t know” or “doesn’t apply,” you should write this so the SSA knows you didn’t just overlook a question. If you run out of room answering any of the questions, Section 11, on the last page of the report, provides additional space in which to continue an answer. You can also write any additional comments here.
Many of the questions ask for very detailed information that you may not have, such as the dates of past medical treatment and any tests that you’ve had done, and the dates of your past employment. If you don’t know the answers to some of the questions, you can write “unsure,” or simply make your best guess and note it as an estimate. If the SSA needs further information based on anything from this report, they will contact you.
Social Security disability claims involve lots of paperwork. Chances are, you’ll receive other reports to complete from the SSA. A helpful disability attorney is familiar with Social Security reports, and can assist you in filling them out. They can ensure that you’re properly answering each question, and can provide advice as to what types of comments might be helpful to add. The Social Security disability appeals process is long and arduous, and it’s best to do everything right from the start, to increase the odds that your application will be approved and you won’t be forced to progress through multiple levels of appeals.