September 21, 2011 at 2:37 pm

I applied for Social Security Disability in November of 2005, at the age of 43, and was approved on first application. There was a fellow who used to post on these boards back then, I think his screen name was Jethro?, who provided invaluable guidance relative to what SS wants to see. Social Security is not so much concerned with the name of your ailment, they are primarily concerned that your current condition meets the Agency’s definition of disability, as taken straight from the Agency’s website:

The definition of disability under Social Security is different than other programs. Social Security pays only for total disability. No benefits are payable for partial disability or for short-term disability.

“Disability” under Social Security is based on your inability to work. We consider you disabled under Social Security rules if:

* You cannot do work that you did before;
* We decide that you cannot adjust to other work because of your medical condition(s); and
* Your disability has lasted or is expected to last for at least one year or to result in death.

The advice I researched, was that the most important component of your application be a concise cover letter (mine was only one page in length), signed by your physician, that states you have specific disabilities (mine were detailed in the form of a short bulleted list), these disabilities preclude you from performing ANY WORK, and that these disabilities WILL PERSIST FOR MORE THAN ONE YEAR from the date of your application. After that cover sheet, I think I only included maybe 10 total pages of physician reports.

The cover letter, on the Dr’s letterhead, that states you meet the Social Security Agency’s strict criteria of “total disability”, was described to me as crucial to a successful application. I was never interviewed by SS – the process was as smooth as can be. I was also advised that it is not necessary to over load your application with mounds of medical reports, tests, etc.

Hope this helps those contemplating a SSDI application.


June 19, 2009 at 10:44 am

if your doctor fills your paperwork out and uses the right wording you can get ssdi. Sometimes it takes more than one try. I used a lawyer to help me get mine. He took a percentage of the back pay. You can back date your claim to when you first became disabled. i was 38 when i applied. I am only 40 now.


April 26, 2007 at 9:53 pm

I hope everything works out with your SSDI, and your health improves quickly.
Let’s know how things go.


February 13, 2007 at 12:11 pm

I was approved upon first application, without the use of an attorney. In fact, I was never even called in for a face-to-face interview. The process took about five months.

I submitted a doctor’s cover letter similar to yours, however it was a touch more in depth in terms of delineating physical limitations. Also, I think your doctor’s letter is missing key verbiage that is possibly make or break, which would be –

“Based on patient’s condition, and despite current treatment options, this patient will be unable to perform any work of any kind for a minimum period of 12 months.”

The SSDI wants to see that you are unable to perform any work, and that the inability to do so will be for a minimum of one year. That statement from your doctor must be front and center.

Good luck to you.


November 20, 2006 at 4:56 pm

Hi Aimee:

Yes, I see my neurologist monthly, and he performs the muscle strength testing, and tracks the history on a chart. The appointments are only 20 minutes or so, but we get totalk and he is able to track response to treatments very diligently. During a severe exacerbation earlier this year, he was seeing me every week for at least six weeks or so, to check me as we tried some aggressive new treatments.


November 15, 2006 at 9:02 pm


If you search this forum back a month or so, you will find other threads related to thisd topic. I relayed my experience and advice in detail on those threads, but to paraphrase – if your disability is severe, and your doctor will sign a concise cover letter that details your disabilities and HOW THEY PREVENT YOU FROM DOING WORK FOR THE NEXT 12 MONTHS MINIMUM – then, you should be in good shape to file.

I filed online, submitted my doctor’s cover letter stating essence of disability, and a fairly short stack of medical records, and I was approved in full with no interview, and no review anticipated for over three years.

My doctor provided me with a monthly chart of 12 month’s history of my muscle resistance strength which illustrated persistent grade 1, 2, and 3 weakness in many major areas, punctuated by a severe exacerbation.

I was pretty surprised how easy the whole process was, but I followed good advice provided by others on this message board, and was able to concisely prove severe disability that will be persistent for at least 12 months. That is the key. There can be no ambiguity. I am a 44 year-old male who worked in management consulting – heavy travel, lots of meetings, long hours and lots of computer work but not a real “physical” job. I do hope to return to work someday in a less rigourous capacity in not too distant future?..

Best of luck to you.


October 24, 2006 at 8:26 pm

Dear Ziggysmom:

I was approved in full on first application, with no interview – here is my understanding of the process. You can apply for disability immediately upon becoming disabled, as long as you prove via supporting evidence that you will be unable to perform work from that date forward for a minimum of 12 months. If things go without any hitches and you are approved, there is still a six month elimination period. In other words, if you apply and state you became disabled on January 1st, once you are approved, you will receive benefits commencing June.

It is a stringent, yet straightforward criteria to meet – are you unable to perform any work for a minimum of 12 months.

Good luck to you


July 14, 2006 at 2:03 pm


I have CIDP and applied for SSDI in Nov. 05. I was approved on my initial application, in May 06. I believe my initial application was succesful due to:

1) I had a one page letter from my doctor on top of my medical records that concisely outlined my physical limitations from CIDP, stating the many things I cannot do. The letter stated that my condition may improve slightly or worsen over the next 12 months, but in all regards renders me unable to perform work.

2) My medical records included a 12 month, every month history of muscle strength grades on the 0 – 5 scale for all the areas tested in a neurological exam. This history easily demonstrated persistent, profound weakness.

3) The SS Admin sent me a form to fill out about 3 months after I submitted my initial application online. I chose to fill this form out in “handwriting” which at that time was practically illegible, from hand paralysis. I figured that was good demonstration….

I received good advice prior to applying in that the doctor’s cover letter was crucial, and to not just rely on the name of the disease you have as proof of disability, but more on exactly what it is that the disease prevents you from being able to do.

Best of luck to you –