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Tips for preparing for the SSDI benefits interview

If you are preparing for your initial Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits interview, you want to be as prepared as possible. The interview can be long--it will take at least one hour according to the Social Security Administration (SSA)--but these are some things you can do to ensure that your SSDI interview goes as quickly and smoothly as possible:

  • Start the process online before your scheduled interview. On the SSA website you can find an application and a disability report. Fill this paperwork out to the best of your ability beforehand.
  • Bring your picture ID, and if possible, bring your birth certificate as well. If you don't have these forms of identification, you will need to answer a series of identifying questions instead.
  • Bring all of your medical records with you. Think about every doctor, clinic, and hospital you have been treated at and try to get documentation of that treatment. Be prepared to give the names of all of your treating physicians and to provide contact information. It is also important to note that you disability must be current, so especially make sure you bring all recent medical records.
  • Bring work history information with you covering the past 15 years. Remember, you cannot get SSDI benefits solely based on medical evidence. You must also provide evidence that you are unable to do past jobs or any other substantial work. Before the interview, write out every job you have had in the past 15 years and briefly describe the type of work that you did.
  • If you are a veteran, bring a record of your military service. At the very least, be prepared to tell the representative your dates of service, what branch of the military you served in, and your rank at discharge. If you have already qualified for VA disability benefits, make sure you tell this to the SSA representative.

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