Applying for Social Security Disability can take time and effort, especially if you have to start filing appeals. The paperwork can quickly grow out of control if you don't get a handle on it now, and you risk missing a deadline or filing incomplete paperwork if you aren't careful. But just how to organize the paperwork can be confusing. Don't leave everything in a pile on your desk; instead, look at these organizing tips to create the best system for you.
Stuffing everything into an envelope without further organization isn't a good idea. It's too easy to lose items or have things out of order. Instead, try one of three things. Either get a three-ring binder that has pocket inserts, an accordion file with dividers, or a large manila envelope and gallon bags or file folders. The gallon bags may sound strange, but they hold average-sized paper well and are sealable in case you have several smaller pieces inside, such as business cards. The manila envelope needs to be a strong one, not a cheap one that could tear at any minute.
Whichever method you choose, it must be something that can be sealed or that is well reinforced so that nothing falls out, and it must have some sort of internal division system. Divide the internal pockets or bags into categories like initial application, information guides, requests for additional paperwork, lawyer meeting notes, and so on.
Draw up a Checklist
Write up, on paper, a list of all deadlines and people you have to speak to, plus the dates these all have to be finished by. Check them off as you go; don't rely on memory or scattered notes. You want a summary of what you have to do in one place. Also, if you use the manila envelope method, you can draw the checklist or chart on the outside of the envelope.
If anything is done online, from applications to communication with a lawyer or SSD representative, print it and file it. This helps in two respects. One, you don't have to rely on your computer to access those files (if the computer isn't working well, that can put the electronic copies at risk), and two, you will have everything in one place.
Schedule Daily Appointments
Add daily appointments to your calendar in which you sit down and take care of anything that hasn't been done yet. If you have finished everything and are in a waiting stage, mark that on your calendar and schedule an appointment for a few days out. Use that appointment to review everything and see if there's anything that needs a follow-up, like an overdue response.
If you find yourself becoming overwhelmed, speak to an SSD lawyer. He or she can help you through the application process and appeals, as well as let you know if there are additional actions that will help your case. Visit websites like http://www.johnehornattorney.com to learn more.