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What does a telephone interview with a Social Security claims representative involve?

| Oct 19, 2014 | Social Security Disability |

For people seeking Social Security Disability benefits, a telephone interview is often the most convenient or physically feasible option. However, many Illinois applicants do not know what to expect from this interview. Anyone applying for SSD benefits can benefit from understanding the interview and the information covered during it.

Focal points

The telephone interview allows a claims representative to collect an applicant’s medical and personal information. Initially, the representative will ask for identifying information, such as name and Social Security number. Once the applicant’s identity is established, the representative will move on to asking about the applicant’s condition, relevant skills and other personal information. Applicants should be prepared to discuss the following:

  • Medical condition and history. The representative may ask about the condition, its symptoms, the date the condition began and the date the condition became fully disabling. Applicants will need to list all medical treatments received in the last year and any medications taken.
  • Employment history. Applicants should disclose all jobs they have worked in the past 15 years, including seasonal and part-time work. The representative may ask for descriptions of specific job duties, responsibilities or requirements.
  • Non-medical information. The representative will need to know whether the applicant served in the military, receives other public disability benefits and currently has a spouse or children.

The representative cannot make any final decisions during the interview. However, the information gathered provides the basis for claim approval or denial, so it is essential for applicants to prepare properly.

Gathering information

People seeking disability benefits will need to provide the names, addresses and phone numbers of all treating physicians. Any facility that has provided medical care, from routine check-ups to emergency treatment, should be included. If possible, applicants should obtain the patient ID number they were assigned at each facility.

Applicants should organize medical developments chronologically. The specific dates of symptom onset, consultations, tests and treatments should be noted. Applicants should also write down details that they might overlook or misstate during the interview. Innocent oversights and incorrect statements can undermine credibility.

Applicants will additionally need names and contact information for all employers and past supervisors. Applicants should know the start and end dates for each position. Applicants should also be ready to explain each job in detail.

Employment information helps the SSA determine whether an applicant can return to a past job or apply work-related skills to a new position. An applicant is not considered disabled if he or she can perform any type of gainful work. Detailed employment information can be almost as decisive as accurate medical information during the disability evaluation process.