Anyone filing for Social Security disability will find that there are many forms that must be filled out along the way. One of the forms you'll first encounter in this process is Form SSA-3368, the disability report form for adults.
Your answers on this form will play a key part in the initial outcome of your disability claim. Read on to learn more about this critical form, including some tips for completing the adult disability report and how Social Security uses Form 3368 in evaluating your disability claim.
Form SSA-3368 is one of the first steps in the disability application process—and a very important one. The information you provide on Form 3368 is used by the claims examiner who will decide your disability claim.
The form serves two purposes. First, the form gives you the opportunity to tell the claims examiner what your limitations are and how they keep you from working. Your answers to the questions on the disability report should explain the basis of your claim—what your impairments are and how they keep you from working.
The adult disability report is also the form you'll use to tell Social Security who to contact to request your medical records and other necessary information. Having access to all your records and hearing about your limitations first-hand helps the claims examiner get a more complete picture of your medical history and how your condition affects your ability to work.
The more complete your Form 3368 is, the better it works for your claim. An incomplete disability report form can delay your claim. Providing inaccurate or incorrect information can also cause delays and sometimes cause an otherwise valid disability claim to be denied.
You file Form 3368 with the Social Security Administration (SSA) when you apply for disability benefits. It's required for both Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability applicants.
For SSDI applicants, this Adult Disability Report is now part of the main online disability application. If you want to file your claim online, you can gather your medical and employment history first and fill out the online application at your leisure in your own home.
If you choose to apply at your local Social Security office, you can complete the SSA-3368 disability report during your disability interview with the Social Security claims representative. Applying for your Social Security disability benefits in person has some advantages—like the ability to ask questions about anything you don't understand, including anything on the 3368 form.
On Form 3368, you'll tell the story of your disability, including the following:
You should provide as many details on Form 3368 as possible regarding your symptoms and your medical history.
In the section that asks how your condition keeps you from working, you'll need to explain why you can't do your past jobs as well as any type of job. Here's a sample of a filled-out Form 3368.
The Disability Report Adult Form SSA-3368 isn't complicated, but it does ask for detailed information. Here are some tips for completing this critical Social Security disability form.
Prepare your answers in advance. The answers you provide on Form 3368 are key to your disability claim. If you plan to fill out the adult disability report online with your SSDI application, consider downloading the paper form in advance. You can familiarize yourself with the questions and use it as a worksheet so you can prepare your answers ahead of time.
Make sure it's legible. If you plan to submit the paper form, type or neatly print your answer, using blue or black ink. The claims examiner must be able to read your answers.
Answer every question. Even if the report indicates that you don't need to fill out a specific question or section, write "does not apply" on that question or section.
Make sure all contact information is complete. For instance, include zip codes with every address on the form. Include area codes with each phone number (and IDD and country codes for numbers outside the United States).
List every medical condition you have—both physical conditions and mental conditions—that are of at least moderate severity. Social Security must consider all your medical conditions when deciding your disability claim. So, don't hold back. Use additional paper if you need to.
When reporting your job history, be thorough. Include every job you've held over the last 15 years—including side jobs and temp work. Again, use a separate sheet of paper if you need more room.
Explain how your disability affected you on the job, including all the restrictions you have. Don't exaggerate your limitations, but don't downplay them either. If you were fired or asked to leave because you couldn't do your job anymore, say so. You need to paint a clear picture for the claims examiner of how your impairments affect your ability to work.
Discuss your restrictions and limitations in detail. Don't just say that back pain made it hard to do your job. Explain how your back condition limited your ability to do specific tasks, like lifting items (including weight limits) or standing for extended periods (and for how long).
State when you became unable to work. If you stopped working due to your medical condition, Social Security will likely treat the date you stopped working as your alleged onset date (AOD). Make sure the date you provide for the date you stopped working matches your employer's records.
If you stopped working for another reason (like being laid off), you'll need to explain when your condition became severe enough to keep you from working, so that that date can become your AOD. You'll want to consider your answer carefully, because your onset date affects how much disability back pay you can get.
Give detailed answers regarding your medications and medical treatment. Fill in the information as accurately as you can. If you're unsure about something, contact your health care provider and ask. Don't leave anything out. You need DDS to get medical records from every health care provider treating you.
Don't leave the remarks section (Section 11) blank. This is an opportunity to explain exactly how your condition affects your ability to work and whether you have good days and bad days. Add any information you weren't able to explain in the other sections.
Get help completing Form 3368 if you need it. The adult disability report is central to your claim, so you need to do whatever you can to ensure it's as complete and accurate as possible. You're allowed to ask a friend, family member, or Social Security advocate or lawyer to help you fill out the form.
After you fill out Form 3368, a Social Security claims rep will forward it directly to DDS (Disability Determination Services). DDS is the state agency that makes the initial determination of your medical eligibility for SSDI or SSI disability. (In a few states, the agency isn't called DDS, but something similar).
At DDS, your case is assigned to a disability claims examiner, who uses your disability report form to begin evaluating your claim. The more information you provide, the more the examiner has to work with at the outset. Making sure that you've listed the correct contact information for your doctors and all the places you've received medical care will help your case move through the system more quickly.
If your form is incomplete or the information on it is insufficient, the disability claims examiner will have to follow up with you to fill in the blanks. The examiner could waste a lot of time looking for correct names or phone numbers to get your medical records. These delays can actually hold your case up for months.
To learn what you can do to speed up your claim, read our article on winning your disability claim faster.
Some disability attorneys won't agree to represent you from the very start of your case—they won't take a case until it's been denied by DDS and is being appealed. But if you're over 50 or have an obvious case of disability and you need help filling out the form, you might be able to find an attorney to take your disability case.
An experienced disability attorney will be well-versed in filling out this form and the many other forms you'll encounter during the disability determination process. A lawyer will know what to emphasize and how to best explain your limitations. An attorney will also know how to get a helpful RFC form from your doctor (probably the most important part of your disability claim).
Learn more about the other Social Security forms you'll need to fill out as part of your disability application.
Updated May 17, 2023