Frequently Asked Questions About the Books:
1. Are The Wilborn Method books useful for unrepresented disability applicants?
Yes, we wrote The Wilborn Method books primarily for unrepresented disability applicants. The Wilborn Method, Initial Application Level, starts with several informative chapters explaining basic concepts we believe you should understand before you apply for disability. After the introductory chapters, The Wilborn Method moves on to Social Security's four major forms. We explain how to answer each question—one question at a time—so that you give a complete and accurate picture of your impairments, your limitations, your education, and your work history. We explain which of Social Security’s questions aren’t really asking what they appear to be asking, and we explain how to avoid getting trapped in wrong or inconsistent answers. We show you when and how to give detailed and thorough answers to Social Security’s questions so that you don’t fatally damage your case. We explain why Social Security is asking these questions, how they will use your answers, and how much detail you need to give.
2. Are The Wilborn Method books useful for disability applicants who have already applied for benefits?
Yes. If you’ve already applied, but have not completed all the forms, The Wilborn Method books can still be useful. After reading the introductory chapters and any chapters covering any forms you’ve already completed, you may need to make corrections to your completed forms or give additional information to Social Security. If you’ve already completed all the forms, but Social Security has not yet issued its decision, there may still be time for you to make corrections to your completed forms or give additional information to Social Security.
3. Are The Wilborn Method books useful for disability applicants who already have an attorney or other qualified representative (or intend to hire one)?
Yes. Most attorneys and other qualified representatives don't go over Social Security's forms question by question with their clients the way The Wilborn Method books do. Many representatives have disability applicants and witnesses fill out Social Security’s forms by themselves. Only afterwards do the representatives check the answers to see if there are obvious errors or omissions. By following our instructions, you can be involved in the development of your own case by making sure your answers are complete and that you have not left out any critical details. This will ensure that your attorney or other qualified representative has a full understanding of your disability.
4. Are The Wilborn Method books useful for attorneys and other disability representatives?
Yes. If your clients complete Social Security’s forms by themselves, following our instructions, they will give you more informed and more complete answers to Social Security’s questions. Having your clients use The Wilborn Method books to guide them also maximizes the efficiency of your support staff. Your clients will be able to complete the four major forms at home, without needing constant staff oversight. Later, when your clients return the forms to your office with the proper details filled in, your staff will not need to spend as much time going over topics we cover in detail.
5. Are The Wilborn Method books useful for claimants who've already received the initial denial letter from Social Security?
They can be—in limited circumstances. Chapters 12 through 15 of The Wilborn Method, Initial Application Level focus on answering the questions on the four major forms Social Security uses at the INITIAL APPLICATION level. The Wilborn Method, Initial Application Level is not intended to cover the forms used at the Reconsideration or hearing levels. However, some Social Security field offices send out the Function Report—Adult form and the Function Report—Adult—Third Party form at the Reconsideration level. In such cases, The Wilborn Method books could prove useful for completing these forms at the Reconsideration level.
We believe disability applicants who already have lost at the initial application level could learn a lot of helpful things about the disability process by reading The Wilborn Method, Initial Application Level, but those are not the people for whom we wrote this book. We wrote The Wilborn Method, Initial Application Level for disability applicants who are filling out Social Security’s forms at the initial application level. The Wilborn Method, A Guide for Lay Witnesses may be used by the claimant's witnesses at any level (initial, reconsideration, or hearing), so long as the witnesses are completing the Function Report—Adult—Third Party form.
If you have previously applied for Social Security Disability benefits or SSI benefits and Social Security has denied your application, we recommend The Wilborn Method books only if you have decided to reapply instead of appeal.
6. Do The Wilborn Method books offer anything that is not already free on the Internet?
There is nothing else like The Wilborn Method on the Internet. You can get useful information from the Social Security Administration’s own website, but they don’t tell you how to complete their forms or how they are going to use the information you and your witnesses provide. The information on most websites is directed at the hearing level of appeal, not at the initial application level. Some websites give you general information about Social Security disability, but they often are selling their own services, so they don’t give you specific information about how to complete Social Security’s forms and win your case. Other websites give you complex legal information, often useful only to attorneys and representatives, but they don’t show you how to use this complex information to win your case. Still other websites try to scare you into believing that the Social Security disability process is so complex that you can't possibly deal with the process on your own and so you should hire their staff to represent you. We encourage you to get qualified representation, but we also know the reality is that most Social Security applicants either can’t get representation at the initial application level or they simply don’t. The Wilborn Method books fill the gap so that disability applicants who are not represented can understand the Social Security disability process when they most need to—at the initial application level, before they have completed Social Security’s forms and before they have potentially damaged their cases.
7. How current is the information in The Wilborn Method books?
The information in the main book was updated in March, 2014, in response to Social Security's release of a new Application form. The lay witness book was written in June, 2013, and the information in it was still current to the best of our knowledge as of March, 2014. A minor update is planned in 2016 to acknowledge Social Security's new fillable forms, but it is not anticipated that substantive changes will be needed or made. (The questions on the new forms are the same—the only substantive change appears to be that the forms are now offered in "fillable PDF" format.) We believe the information in both books is current and accurate, but if you discover otherwise, please advise us!