FAQ: SSA Disability
1. Are you eligible for Social Security disability benefits?
Social Security has strict rules for eligibility for disability benefits. You, as the disability claimant, have the burden of proof to prove to Social Security that you are unable to work due to your health problems.
According to the Social Security Administration, a “disability” can be a physical, or emotional health problem, or a combination of both. You must have a disability or disabilities severe enough to keep you from working a regular, full-time job for at least 12 consecutive months.
It’s important to remember that the test for eligibility for Social Security Disability benefits is NOT whether you can go back to your previous job. The test is whether you are physically and emotionally able of doing ANY job that is generally available in the national economy. These other jobs are defined by the Social Security rules and regulations and are often unlike any job you have done in the past.
Our firm can assist you in presenting your doctor’s treatment records properly to convince the government that you are disabled and are entitled to your Social Security Disability benefits. Your doctor’s treatment records are the key to winning your disability case. But many medical problems are difficult to diagnose by objective testing and it is often difficult and confusing to compile, analyze and submit a persuasive presentation of medical treatment evidence.
We have been helping Virginians win disability benefits since 1981. Call us today to see if we can help you! 1-855-282-7243
2. When should I hire you to represent me in my case?
Many of our clients are shocked and dismayed when they are denied the SS disability benefits they have worked so hard for all their lives. They did not realize the SSA disability process is legalistic and has many strict regulations and legal technicalities.
You can hire us at any stage in your disability case but the earlier we start helping you the better, particularly because the SSA forms are very tricky. Unfortunately, we have seen many people who lost their disability case because they answered something wrong on an SSA form, and SSA later used their answer to deny their case.
We can help you in your case at any time throughout the administrative proceeding – from initial application or appeal with the endless, confusing forms and paperwork, or for an administrative hearing with a Law Judge.
Don’t go it alone! We have been helping Virginians win disability benefits for over 30 years. Call us for a free consultation with one of our attorneys to see if we can help you. 1-855-282-7243
3. How many different types of Social Security disability benefits are there?
There are two major types of Social Security disability benefits:
- Disability Insurance Benefits (or Social Security Disability “SSD”) is often the highest paying type of Social Security disability benefits. It goes to individuals who have worked in recent years who are now disabled. This type of benefit may also pay the claimant’s dependent children.
- Supplemental Security Income benefits (or “SSI”), are paid to individuals who are poor and who are disabled. It does not matter for SSI whether an individual has worked in the past or not. SSI child’s disability benefits are SSI benefits paid to children under the age of 18 who are disabled. SSA uses a different test for determining a child’s disability claim.
There are other types of benefits including Disabled Widow’s and Widower’s Benefits which can be paid to individuals who are at least 50 and become disabled within a certain amount of time after the death of their husband or wife. Also, there are Disabled Adult Child Benefits go to the children of persons who are deceased or who are drawing Social Security disability or retirement benefits. The child must have become disabled before age 22.
If you think you are eligible for any Social Security disability benefit you should file an application and contact us to help you through the claim process to increase your chance of success. Call NOW 1-855-282-7243
4. Am I eligible for Social Security Disability (SSD) insurance benefits?
This is a complex question but in general to be eligible for Social Security Disability:
- you must not be working full time,
- you must have a disability or disabilities that are expected to last or have already lasted 12 months in a row, and
- you meet the earnings requirements at the time you became disabled.
Your FICA taxes withheld from your paycheck pay for both your Social Security Retirement benefits and your Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits. To meet the earnings requirements, you generally must have worked five years out of the last ten when you became disabled, although there are exceptions to this rule.
If you desire additional information about whether you may be eligible, contact us for an explanation related to your specific facts. 1-855-282-7243
5. Am I eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits?
Many people who are ineligible for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits because they have not worked enough within the SSA system can obtain Supplemental Security Income (SSI) if they can prove a recent disability and meet certain income requirements.
The definition of medical disability is the same for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and for Social Security Disability (SSD) and the appeals process is the same for both.
6. How can I apply for disability?
The best way is apply for disability benefits to contact us and have us assist you. We make sure that your application is accurate and complete and make sure that Social Security has all the information they need to process your case.
You can go to your local Social Security office and apply in person. You can now apply for Social Security Disability (SSD) online at www.socialsecurity.gov but you cannot yet apply for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) online.
The earlier you contact us, the better we can guide you through the complex application and appeals process and help you avoid the frequent pitfalls in this process. Call us @ 1-855-282-7243
7. What are the stages of a disability claim?
Stage 1 – Initial Application.
You begin your disability claim by filing your initial application. Most people are denied at the initial application stage. You have 60 days to appeal after your receive your denial.
Stage 2 – Reconsideration stage.
As with the initial application level, if you are denied for your reconsideration you will have 60 days in which to appeal. A high percentage of appeals are also denied.
Stage 3 – Hearing.
This is where your case is heard by an Administrative Law Judge. You can have an attorney represent you at the hearing and present testimony, evidence and witnesses to the Law Judge.
Stage 4- Post-Hearing Appeal.
If you are denied at a hearing, you have 60 days to appeal to the Appeals Council. If you lose at the Appeals Council, you have the right to file in Federal court. Call us to see if we can help you win your appeal. Call NOW 1-855-282-7243
8. What is the Social Security hearing with at Law Judge like?
Generally, the hearings are fairly informal but the disability claimant is expected to prove his or her case to the Law Judge. The claimant has the burden of proof to convince the Law Judge that they cannot work due to their health problems, and you cannot depend on the Law Judge to help you prove your case. If you attend your disability hearing unrepresented, the Law Judge will hold you to the same standard of proof that an attorney would be required to show. You may hear legalistic or technical jargon that is unfamiliar to you but crucial to your case.
The people likely to be at the hearing are the judge, a clerk operating an audio recorder, you (the claimant), the claimant’s attorney, and anyone else the claimant has brought with him or her. Often, the Administrative Law Judge will have a medical doctor or vocational expert present to testify at the hearing. There is no jury nor are there any spectators at the hearing. There is no attorney at the hearing representing Social Security trying to get the judge to deny the disability claim.
9. How are you paid for representing me in my disability case?
Our clients do not have to pay any money up front, and we get no fee unless we win your case.
Our fee is 25% of the past-due benefits in your claim but we only get paid if we are successful. In most cases, our fee is capped at $6000. This cap is set by the Social Security Administration. Our fee agreement that is signed by you and our attorneys explains in detail exactly what our fees are.
Most of our clients are facing severe financial problems because they cannot work. Contact us if you desire further information about our fee @ 1-855-282-7243.
10. What expenses would I be responsible for if you represent me?
The only expenses that our clients pay are the costs of medical records from their doctors or other costs which the clients approve.
11. Can children receive disability benefits?
Yes. The receipt of disability benefits by children is complex, and SSA uses different standards for determining disability for persons under 18 years old. There are three major groups of children who can receive disability benefits from SSA.
First, a child under 18 who is disabled and whose household has low income and financial resources may receive SSI benefits.
Second, a child who is not necessarily disabled may receive Disability Insurance Benefits if the child is under 18 and is in secondary school, AND if the child has a parent who became retired, deceased or disabled while covered under SSA.
Third, an adult child who has been continually disabled since at least age 22 may receive Disability Insurance Benefits from a parent’s SSA earnings record ONLY IF the parent became retired, deceased or disabled while covered under SSA.
12. Can I work and received disability benefits?
This is a complicated question that cannot be answered generally. Please call us to speak with one of our attorneys for a free consultation on this important question.
However, if you are working full time while applying for disability, it is likely you will be denied.
13. Can I get both worker’s compensation and Social Security disability benefits?
Yes. When a person is eligible for both SSA and workers’ compensation benefits, there is generally an offset, which reduces Social Security disability benefits because of worker’s compensation benefits paid. However, in many cases, even with the offset there are still some Social Security disability benefits to be paid. The rules concerning workers’ compensation vary from state to state, so the amount of offset and other factors may vary depending on where you live. Call NOW 1-855-282-7243
14. Does getting unemployment insurance benefits affect my chances of getting Social Security disability benefits?
Yes, unemployment benefits often negatively impact a Social Security disability claim. However, the interaction between these two benefits is not simple or straightforward. Please call to speak with one of our attorneys for a free consultation on this important question.
15. If I am approved for Social Security disability benefits, how much will I get?
For Disability Insurance (SSD) benefits, the amount of your benefits depends upon how much you have worked and earned in the past.
For Disabled Widow’s or Widower’s benefits, it depends upon how much the late husband or wife worked and earned.
For Disabled Adult Child benefits, it all depends upon how much the parent worked and earned.
For all types of SSI benefits, there is a maximum amount that an individual with no other household income may receive. Other income coming into the individual’s household generally will reduce the amount of SSI which the individual can receive.
16. How far back will they pay benefits if I am found disabled?
For Disability Insurance Benefits and for Disabled Widow’s and Widower’s Benefits, the benefits cannot begin until five months have passed after the person becomes disabled. In addition, benefits cannot be paid more than one year prior to the date of the claim.
For a Disabled Adult Child, there is no five-month waiting period before benefits begin, but benefits cannot be paid more than six months prior to the date of the claim.
SSI benefits cannot be paid prior to the start of the month following the date of the claim.
17. Can I get health insurance if I receive disability benefits?
If you become eligible for Social Security Disability benefits, you would usually get Medicare two years after the first month you first became eligible for cash benefits. If you get Supplemental Security Income (SSI), you usually are eligible for Medicaid. However, you must file a separate application for Medicaid at the Department of Social Services. Simply filing a SSI application is not an application for Medicare.
Call NOW 1-855-282-7243