VA Claims Information


I have some suggestions for preparing to file for SSD. Some of these suggestions I discovered while helping my husband get his benefits. Others I found through exploring veteran websites.

Before getting into the possible helpful areas, let me say up front...

As my disabled veteran husband brought to my attention, there is a point of advice for those applying for SSD. He bids you to recall Shakespeare's Henry V, Act III, Scene I. Remember these famous words as you begin your new journey.

"Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;
Or close the wall up with our English dead.
In peace there's nothing so becomes a man
As modest stillness and humility:
But when the blast of war blows in our ears,
Then imitate the action of the tiger;
Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood,
Disguise fair nature with hard-favor'd rage;
Then lend the eye a terrible aspect;
Let it pry through the portage of the head
Like the brass cannon; let the brow o'erwhelm it
As fearfully as doth a galled rock
O'erhang and jutty his confounded base,
Swill'd with the wild and wasteful ocean.
Now set the teeth and stretch the nostril wide,
Hold hard the breath and bend up every spirit
To his full height. On, on, you noblest English,
Whose blood is fet from fathers of war-proof!
Fathers that, like so many Alexanders,
Have in these parts from morn till even fought
And sheathed their swords for lack of argument:
Dishonor not your mothers; now attest
That those whom you call'd fathers did beget you.
Be copy now to men of grosser blood,
And teach them how to war. And you, good yeomen,
Whose limbs were made in England, show us here
The mettle of your pasture; let us swear
That you are worth your breeding; which I doubt not;
For there is none of you so mean and base,
That hath not noble luster in your eyes.
I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips,
Straining upon the start. The game's afoot:
Follow your spirit, and upon this charge
Cry 'God for Harry, England, and Saint George!'

On the last line, substitute the following---
'God for (Insert Your Name), United States, and Free Beer!'

Now to three other areas that need to be addressed:

  • Social Security does not go by percentage of ability to work. Their final analysis is CAN you or CAN YOU NOT work.

  • Social Security does not evaluate just service-connected disabilities. They look at ALL disabilities.

  • Social Security needs to know how the disabilities/problems affect you, not just the disabilities themselves. This includes how you are physically and mentally affected as well as your ability to work with or around others.

Having said the above, here are some areas to get you started:

  • Entire Social Security Site

    I would suggest you take time to look over this site. You can apply online, investigate disability filing, retirement, what you need, how to appeal, etc.

    There is a lot of information available. If you are unable to figure it out, call your local Social Security office and discuss it with them.

  • RFC - Residual Functional Capacity is an important part of determining your ability to work. The following links give a good explanation of it.


  • Social Security relies on the Department of Labor Job descriptions when making its evaluation. Information about these descriptions can be found from three places.

    BE WARNED!!!!!

    There could be more than one title that covers your specific job. When my husband filed, I discovered that five different job titles were part of what he was doing. Nowhere did I find his actual job title. It wasn't mentioned for his craft.

    • Research all jobs that might be considered something you could do.

    • Print out the job description(s) for future reference.

  • BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS, Occupational Outlook Handbook

  • When you get on their website, go to 3 under "Ways to use the Occupational Outlook Handbook" OR use the Search Box to look up a specific occupation.

  • (DOT) Dictionary of Occupational Titles
    This is an excellent source of finding out the requirements of your job including education, job description, etc. similar to the DOL mentioned above.

    I had to really study it to understand the codes but it does pay to know what SS uses before creating your report.

    Be sure to read the section entitled "Parts of the Occupational Definition" since this gives you information on what the coding means. IT IS IMPORTANT!

    This is an occupation site that gives an excellent breakdown of what your job description actually entails.

    It describes in detail what is required for knowledge, skills, abilities, work activities, work context, and other categories.

    Find your occupation(s) and BE SURE to Print a hard copy covering all the areas shown in the tabs across the page of the occupation. It will be of tremendous help when you go to write your report.

    This site provides the ability to research not only your disabilities but your medications.

    • Note any side effects or warnings (such as staying out of sun).

    • Print a copy for your reference on any or all that impact your ability to work.

  • Residual Functional Capacity (RFC)

  • As SkinnyCat has written on VBN, "An Residual Function Capacity (RFC) Form is one of the most powerful documents to add to your evidence in an SSDI claim."

    Here is a link to his topic that explains:

  • Patrick's SSDI Self-report

  • Take some time to study this. It will give you ideas on what you need when writing up your own report. He has done a very nice job and it should help you in your own report.

  • Social Security Disability Facts

  • This is a site created to help not only veterans but anyone going through the SSD system. I have found it to be very helpful.

  • UTILIZE OPTION 3, STEPS of this site
    Use the Steps for organizing and assembling a VA claim EXCEPT

    SUBSTITUTE the Occupations from the DOL, DOT and O*net sites for the Title 38 Schedule of Ratings.


    • NAME the occupation and then under that occupation

      • LIST the individual aspect of your job(s) from O*Net that is affected by your disability.

      • INSERT your explanation of how it affects you.

      • LIST medical documentation, letters, etc. to support your explanation.

    • REPEAT for each occupation

The red words are direct from O*Net. The words in black are the explanations and information you give to address each aspect. Do this for ALL of your occupations and their duties, skills and knowledge that are affected by your disabilities.

49-9051.00 - Electrical Power-Line Installers and Repairers

Lineman, Journeyman

  • Climb poles or use truck-mounted buckets to access equipment.

  • Because of my problems with my knees and feet, climbing is not very safe anymore. I have pain as I try. My high blood pressure is also affected.

  • Pull up cable by hand from large reels mounted on trucks

  • I am no longer able to use my shoulders and arms to do this aspect of the job. I have no strength in them.

  • Handling and Moving Objects - Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
    fabricate, assemble, or disassemble manufactured products by hand.

  • I can no longer grasp and twist since there is no strength in the arms any more.

    Medical Documents

      Dr. Who Cares 5/20/2001

      Dr. What Ofit 6/22/2001


      M. I. Thyme 8/29/2001

      Iona Ford 7/16/2001

By preparing in advance information on how your disabilities impact your jobs, you can submit your documentation and explanations when you go in for your interview. This will hopefully help the process since you have taken the time to explain why you are unable to perform your occupations.

Now, this is not a complete explanation of applying for Social Security Disability because it can get complex. What I have attempted to do is give you an area that is not very noticeable but is great in the impact it can have on your application.

I hope this is helpful to get you started.

Vet's Wife