As a means of proof to Social Security Administration (SSA) representatives, SSA-44 Forms provide documentation as to your current health and work history as well as that of your family members.
These forms make it possible for SSA representatives to determine your eligibility for disability benefits, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Medicare Savings Programs, and vocational rehabilitation services.
What Is the Form Use For?
The SSA-44 form is for doctors to use with their patients so that they can help the SSA determine if the patient should receive Social Security disability benefits.
If your doctor fills out this form, it helps you get a quicker decision from SSA about whether or not you are eligible for SSDI and/or Medicare.
Who Should Fill Out the Form?
Anyone who wishes to apply for disability benefits, supplemental security benefits (SSI), or Medicaid should fill out form SSA-44.
This is especially true if the life-changing event is the beginning of a long-term illness or disability which will probably reduce your ability to work.
You should also fill out the form if you are experiencing a short-term (less than six months) and serious illness, injury, or disability.
SSA-44 forms can be filled out by the applicant, parent or guardian of an SSDI claimant, spouse or ex-spouse of an SSA claimant, or adult child of SSA claimants.
When Should You Fill Out the Form?
You can ask your doctor to fill out SSA-44 at almost any time. Your doctor may recommend that you file for benefits if, because of your medical condition:
You Are Unable to Work Full Time
SSA considers individuals who cannot work more than 8 hours a day on a regular basis, and cannot work for more than 5 consecutive days without interruption as not being able to work full time.
You Cannot Adjust to Other Work Because of Your Medical Condition
Social Security Administration representatives believe that an individual is unable to adjust to other work if SSA finds that the individual has a condition that is expected to last at least 12 months or result in death, and SSA believes that this condition prevents the individual from doing any of their past relevant work.
You Will Be Unemployed for Long Periods of Time and May Not Be Able to Work Full Time
SSA will find that an individual is unemployed long enough to be considered disabled and they find the person has been unable to work for at least 12 consecutive months due to a very severe medical condition.
They also consider whether or not it is likely that any other type of substantial gainful work exists in the national economy.
How to Fill Out the Form?
There are five steps to filling out Form SSA-44:
Type of Life-Changing Event
First, you should describe the life-changing event. In this section, SSA wants to know how long the event has been going on and if it is expected to continue for a significant amount of time.
When filling out SSA-44, your doctor will need to provide a brief clinical description of your condition and the medical basis for his or her opinion. SSA wants to know how many days your physician thinks you are unable to work due to this event.
Reduction in Income
Second, SSA requests your actual or estimated loss of income due to the life-changing event. They will need to know about any changes in household size and if you are receiving unemployment benefits as a result of this situation.
SSA also wants to know how much money you received before this event (and how long before) as well as what is currently available to you.
Modified Adjusted Gross Income
Third, SSA representatives will request your modified adjusted gross income (MAGI). They define MAGI as the amount of money that you reported on your federal tax return before any deductions were made. SSA needs this information in order to determine if you would be considered disabled under Social Security law.
Fourth, they request any documentation needed to determine your claim. SSA may request a letter from your doctor if they need more information about your condition or income loss, or they might ask for records from the Social Security Administration.
You will also need to submit documents that SSA can use to verify your earnings and household size before you become unable to work. They may request pay stubs or a W-2, among other items.
Lastly, Social Security Administration representatives ask for your signature. They need you to sign the SSA-44 form in order to approve it before they can start processing your claim for disability benefits.
How to Submit the Form?
SSA does not provide SSA-44 forms online at this time, so you will need to print out the form from the SSA website.
You will then need to mail the form to your local SSA office, along with any other information they request as outlined in step four above. Representatives recommend that you send these documents by certified mail so that you have a record of when SSA received Form SSA-44.
However, the Social Security Administration can reject your application if they determine it is incomplete, so make sure you provide all the information they request.
Benefits of Filing Form SSA-44
SSA-44 is a simple form that the Social Security Administration uses to determine whether you are eligible for SSDI benefits.
In addition, they also need the form if they are evaluating your claim for Medicare. If they approve your application, they can start paying you immediately because they no longer need to wait for the adjudication of SSA-33 or SSA-16.
By complying with SSA’s requests, you will have a smoother claim process and receive your benefits more quickly.
You should file SSA-44 as soon as your doctor tells you that there is a high likelihood of long-term or serious consequences from your condition. SSA will request information about how much income you have lost and the documentation to back up this information.
If SSA does not ask for this form in your claim, be sure to request SSA-44 as soon as possible. They will need this information before they can make a determination about your benefits.
About the Author
True Tamplin, BSc, CEPF®
True Tamplin is a published author, public speaker, CEO of UpDigital, and founder of Finance Strategists.
True is a Certified Educator in Personal Finance (CEPF®), contributes to his financial education site, Finance Strategists, and has spoken to various financial communities such as the CFA Institute, as well as university students like his Alma mater, Biola University, where he received a bachelor of science in business and data analytics.