What Is Social Security Disability?
Social Security Disability is a federal program that pays monthly benefits to individuals who are disabled.
When is a person considered disabled?
A person is considered disabled if he has physical, emotional or mental disabilities which prevent him from engaging in substantial, gainful employment for a period of at least one year.
What is SSI?
Supplemental Security Income is another federal benefits program available to those who are totally disabled, but who are also poor. If you are disabled and your income and assets fall below certain federal limits, you can obtain SSI benefits even though you have very little or no prior work history. In some cases, even children can be awarded SSI benefits.
Who is eligible for Social Security Disability Benefits?
In order to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits, which pay more than SSI benefits, you must be insured. This means that you must have worked and paid into the program through payroll taxes for at least five of the last ten years. You must also be disabled. Some people qualify for both Social Security Disability and SSI.
How much are attorney’s fees?
There is no charge for an initial consultation. If you retain our firm, you will pay no fee unless we win your case. The typical fee is 25% of your retroactive benefits. We will not take any portion of your future benefits. The fee will only be paid when your retroactive benefits are received. You will have no financial obligation at this time.
Do I need an attorney?
No you do not need an attorney, but your chances of success will improve significantly if you are represented. Our firm has been practicing in the area of Social Security Disability and SSI benefits for over 25 years. We are experienced in handling these cases and developing the necessary evidence to support your claim.
What information will the lawyer need?
It will help if you bring in any documents forwarded to you by the Social Security Administration at the time of your first appointment. We also need the names and dosages of all medications you are taking as well as a list of all of your doctors, therapist, and hospitals. The more medical information the Social Security Administration has the better your chances of success.
How long does the process take?
If your initial application for benefits is denied and you begin the appeal process, you should expect that you will not receive a hearing for at least a year. Sometimes the process can be accelerated, but in general, the system is slow and there is very little that can be done to speed it up. However, if your appeal is successful, you will normally be awarded retroactive benefits for the time you were waiting for your hearing.
How long do I have to appeal?
Normally, if your application has been denied, you have 60 days to appeal. It is imperative that you contact our office immediately if your request for benefits has been denied so that a timely appeal can be filed.
What sort of medical information does the Social Security Administration need?
The more information that can be provided the better. Detailed histories of treatment from your doctor as well as his diagnosis and prognosis are helpful. Test results and clinical findings are important. The medications and the impact on your ability to work are also critical. The Social Security Administration will want to know your ability to sit and walk, to lift, to carry, or to work a regular full-time basis. It is not enough to simply show you can’t do your prior job. We must prove that you are not able to engage in any full-time employment.
What happens at the Administrative Law Judge hearing?
We will attend that hearing with you. The Judge will often ask you questions directly. Sometimes he will have us ask you the questions. You will be allowed to tell the Judge your side of the story and how your medical condition impacts your ability to work.
Can children receive benefits?
Children under 18 can receive SSI benefits; however, the standards are difficult. Please contact our office so we can evaluate whether your child might be eligible.
Can I work while I am receiving disability benefits?
There are limited situations in which you can work and earn small amounts while still receiving disability benefits. Obviously, if you are able to work full-time, you will not be eligible.