Social Security starter kitHave you had to stop working due to a disabling medical impairment? You may qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). The Disability Starter Kit is the informational packet the Social Security Administration (SSA) sends when you request an appointment to file for SSDI benefits. It’s also available for download on the Social Security website. Here’s what you should know about the Disability Starter Kit, including how it can help you prepare for your initial appointment with the SSA and provide a skilled disability lawyer with the information they need to begin working on your SSDI application.

Your Disability Starter Kit 

In addition to a letter with the date, time, and location of your upcoming appointment – which can be in-person at your local Social Security office or over the phone – the kit also contains a fact sheet, adult disability checklist, and medical and job worksheet. Here’s a brief overview of each component.

Social Security Disability Fact Sheet

This sheet provides all the basic information you should know when applying for SSDI. From suggesting that you set aside at least an hour for your in-person or phone interview to advising that free interpreter services are available with advanced notice, it’s a great place to start. You can also find details on the following:

  • The SSA’s strict definition of disability 
  • Duration of disability requirements
  • How Social Security makes disability decisions
  • How long it can take to receive a decision 
  • Ways to speed up the application process
  • What types of benefits you might receive if approved

Adult Disability Checklist

The SSA offers Adult Disability Checklists that can help you get organized and ready for your appointment. There are two versions available that differ slightly, depending on whether you’re applying in person or by phone, or online. The checklists recommend gathering the following information, as applicable:

  • Medical records in your possession (a disability attorney or the SSA can help you get the rest of your records as needed)
  • Workers' compensation information, including date of injury, settlement agreement, and proof of other payments awarded for disability
  • Names and birth dates of your spouse and minor children
  • Marriage and divorce dates
  • Checking or savings account number, including your bank's nine-digit routing number (if you want benefit checks direct deposited)
  • Someone the SSA can contact if they have trouble reaching you
  • A medical release form authorizing your providers to disclose information to the SSA
  • A completed Medical and Job Worksheet (can also be completed online)

Adult Medical and Job Worksheet

This worksheet asks you to compile information about your medical conditions, treating physicians, medications, medical tests, and job history. Specifically, you’ll be asked to list:

  • All of the physical, mental, or emotional conditions or learning problems that limit your ability to work 
  • If you've stopped working and, if so, when
  • Your height and weight without shoes
  • Any doctors, hospitals, clinics, therapists, or emergency rooms you have visited
  • because of your conditions
  • The medicines you take, reasons for taking them, and the name of the prescribing provider
  • Any medical tests you had or are going to have in the future 
  • Up to five jobs you've had in the 15 years before you became disabled (including job title, types of business, state and end dates, hours per day and days per week, and rate of pay)

Get Professional Help With Your SSDI Application 

Even when you have the Disability Starter Kit to assist you, applying for SSDI can be complicated and confusing. It’s also notoriously challenging – with the vast majority of claims initially denied. When you’re unable to work on counting on SSDI benefits, there’s far too much at stake to go it alone. Fortunately, you don’t have to. At Keefe Disability Lawyers, our knowledgeable and experienced Boston SSDI attorneys can handle your application from start to finish – and help you avoid common mistakes that could result in delays or denials. 

Schedule a Consultation

We offer free initial consultations. Complete the online contact form or call us at (508) 283-5500 to have your SSDI applications answered by a member of our highly-skilled legal team. 


Patrick Hartwig
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Managing Attorney, Keefe Disability Law