Whether you are seeking Social Security Disability (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, the process can be frustrating, overwhelming, and discouraging. The unfortunate reality is that many qualified claimants are denied because they do not possess the know-how to get their disability claim approved and do not seek guidance from qualified Social Security Disability attorneys. Many people who apply are denied, and then denied again before getting approved for benefits.
Under the federal Social Security Disability Act, “disability” means the “inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or has lasted or is expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months.”
Are paid to individuals who have worked in the recent years. Usually you have to work 5 out of the last 10 years. For individuals under 31 years old, the requirements are a little different since they have not been in the work force as long.
Are paid to individuals who are low income individuals/families and disabled whether or not the individual has worked in the past. SSI child’s disability benefits are paid to children who are under 18 years old, are disabled and the parents or guardians are of lower income.
If your disability is expected to last for at least a year you should apply for your Social Security Disability benefits immediately.
Many people make the mistake of waiting months and some even years after becoming disabled before filing a their Social Security disability claim.
Yes. Mental illness is a frequent basis for awarding Social Security disability benefits.
Yes, your physicians should be supportive of you filing for your disability benefits. During the case, they will need to provide statements concerning your physical or mental health limitations.
For SSD, there is a waiting period of five months, after your onset date of disability, through the date you have been accepted. However, Social Security will only give you a retroactive pay for one year prior to their application date.
For SSI, benefits are paid beginning the following month after your application date, through the date you have been accepted.
No. You can go through all of the levels of appeal on your own, however, experienced attorneys will make legal arguments to the judge and correspond with your medical providers about the severity of your condition, of which will improve your chances of success!
An attorney receives 25% of your back benefits if they are successful in winning your case, up to $6,000 , whichever is less; and NO FEE if you do not win your case.
Resources and Links for SSD Benefits and SSI Benefits
We have included links to general information to help you with an understanding of Social Security Disability Benefits.
There are many different websites that have information pertaining to disability. Be sure that the information that you are reading is from an authorized source. Good sources to use are Government websites and websites from Universities and Colleges. If you find a good site, please let us know so we may add it to our Social Security Disability resources links.
Application Stage: Upon an application being submitted, Social Security will send the Claimant forms to complete: Physical Function Form, Work History Form and forms specific to their disability. Also, the Claimant’s third party will be asked to complete a Physical Function Form to describe what they observe about the claimant’s disability too. Social security will obtain medical records and at their discretion, they may send you to a doctor to be evaluated.
Most importantly, this is the time to build every case! Doctor opinion questionnaires are extremely important, as well as employer letters regarding your work performance! This stage takes about 3-6 months to complete. Applicants are either approved or denied. If denied, we will process your appeal, so that your case can move to the second stage.
Reconsideration Stage: Social Security will obtain recent records, ask additional questions to the applicant, and send additional forms for the applicant to complete. Many of the forms are a repeat from the initial stage, so SSA can see what changes have happened. Occasionally, they may send a questionnaire to your treating doctor regarding functionality. Social security may send you to a doctor to be evaluated. This stage takes about 45 – 60 days to complete. Applicants are either approved or denied. If denied, we will process your appeal, so that your case can move to the third stage.
Hearing Stage: Social Security will assign an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) in this stage and a hearing will be scheduled. The attorney will make sure the Claimant’s file is complete with all medical records, questionnaires and letters. Lastly, the attorney and Claimant will attend a hearing with the ALJ. This stage takes approximately 6-12 months to complete. After the hearing, the Claimant will receive their decision!