5 Things to Know When Helping with a Social Security Disability Application

Applying for Social Security disability is a difficult process and it is always good to get help from a trusted friend or family member, especially with a condition like Huntington’s disease. Getting help makes it easier to ensure that all of the right paperwork is submitted and to generally stay involved with your claim.  

If you are the trusted friend or family member helping with the application process, there are a few important things to know about a Social Security disability claim and working with a claimant (person who owns the disability claim): 

1.       Social Security is only legally allowed to speak with the claimant – if you want to speak with Social Security about a loved once’s claim then you have two options: 

                                 i.You have legal guardianship and you submitted the appropriate paperwork to Social Security 

                               ii.You and the claimant complete the Appointment of Representative Form – SSA 1696 and submit it to Social Security. This form is mainly used by attorneys, but it can be used by friends or family members as long as you check the box that says “You are not collecting a fee.” 

2.       If an attorney is hired to assist with the Social Security claim, the attorney is ONLY representing the claimant and cannot provide claim information or details to anyone else UNLESS the claimant has signed a release or given permission for the attorney to speak with family/friends. The claimant can revoke permission for the attorney to speak with you at any time. 

3.       When completing the application, make it clear it is being completed by someone other than the claimant and why the claimant is unable to fill out the application on their own. With an HD claim, you want to be clear why the person with HD cannot complete the application or specify why they need help and provide examples. 

4.       Mailing address – if you are going to be heavily involved in the claim process and there is concern the claimant (person with HD) will not be good about checking/opening mail then list your mailing address to make sure all Social Security mail is opened, answered, and returned. Social Security will send multiple letters to be signed and forms to be completed during the application process.  

5.       Social Security can only make a decision based on the information they are given so you will need to make sure the application is as truthful and detailed as possible, especially if the claimant (person with HD) has limited awareness or an inability to talk about their HD.  

Helping hand