Mentioned earlier, there are three major parts of the Social Security disability application. The actual application is first, second is the disability report that provides medical background details along with information about your work experience and education, and third is medical releases.
For Social Security disability, all three parts can be completed online and people applying for disability are encouraged to file online. People cannot file the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) application online but should complete the online disability report providing medical background information and medical releases online because they are the same for both programs. When completed online, all the materials go to the local Social Security office by zip code for action.
When you complete the forms online, without an appointment, the SSA representative receives and reviews the forms, and continues application processing. You are contacted if there are questions.
If you complete the forms online in advance, and also make an appointment, the SSA representative will have them during the appointment.
A little advance effort will prepare you to complete all parts of the application. Reviewing information in the SSA disability planner section is recommended, especially the Disability Starter Kit in the How You Apply portion of the planner.
On the website, the Adult Disability Report is the disability report containing your medical background information. It is important. SSA representatives that develop disability applications tell me that it is often better when completed online compared to those completed in the office or by telephone during an interview.
I expect there are several reasons for this. Online you can complete the form at your own pace. Being at home, compared to being in a Social Security office or on the phone, might make you more comfortable. An important reason is probably that you have more opportunity to consider the question before answering and, if desired, you can leave an unfinished form online and return to it later. This lets you check records for a more complete answer or just to go for a walk.
Copied from the website instructions, here is How The Online Disability Report Works.
Completing the Report: The Online Adult Disability and Work History Report has seven sections: Overview, Identification, Medical, Work/Education, Remarks, Review, and Submit. In each section, we will give you instructions and examples to guide you. The report does not have to be done all at once.
After you fill in your name and address, you will get a Reentry Number. You can select the “Sign Off (finish later)” button at the bottom left of any page to stop working on the report, and then use the Reentry Number to come back to the section where you left off. Your Reentry Number can only be used for this report.
(Important – write down your Reentry Number. If lost, the SSA office will not be able to find it for you).
The “Remarks” section lets you provide us with additional information you may wish to include. If you do not have enough room, write the information on a separate sheet of paper and send it to us at the address we give you after you have completed the report.
Saving the Report: We automatically save your report each time you click “Next, “Previous,” or “Sign Off (finish later). When you have completed the report, you will see a Review of the information you entered. You can make any necessary changes at that time.
Once you submit your report, you will see a Receipt page that includes a copy of the entire disability report you submitted. You should print this Receipt for your records.
Time Limits: There are time limits for your work on each page. If you spend 25 minutes on a page, you will receive a warning and you will be able to extend your time on the page. After the third warning on a page, you must move to another page or your time will run out and your work on that page will be lost.