Who is eligible for Social Security Disability?
An individual can be entitled to two kinds of Social Security benefits for the most part. One is SSD which is for people who have worked and paid FICA taxes during their life time. The qualification is that FICA taxes pay for insurance for Social Security Disability and the insurance lasts for no more than five years after you’ve last worked continuously. The other program that many adults can qualify for is SSI and that is low income program and it’s for those people who are disabled who may or may not have worked but are now very low income.
How do I apply for Social Security disability?
There are three ways to apply for Social Security Disability. The first way is to go on the Social Security website and apply for benefits online. The second way is to call the Social Security toll-free number and set up a phone appointment where a Social Security employee will call you and will take your application over the phone. The third way is to call me. My law firm will take you completely through the process. We will fill out all the paperwork for you with your help and see that it is submitted to Social Security.
What do I do if I am denied Social Security Disability?
If you were denied Social Security Disability, you need to appeal that denial. In 40 states the next step after your initial denial is called, a request for reconsideration. In 10 states including Pennsylvania, the next step is to request a hearing before the administrative law judge. In the remaining 40 states, if you are denied on the reconsideration then you take the next step of appealing the denial to an administrator of law judge. The biggest mistake that people make is that they do not appeal that initial denial. If you are disabled, you can’t give up, you have to file whatever appeals are necessary and at Berger and Green we will do that for you.
Does mental illness qualify someone to receive Social Security Disability?
Mental illness qualifies a person to receive Social Security Disability benefits just as a physical disability does. What you have to show is that your mental illness is so severe that it keeps you from working for at least 12 months.
What is the difference between SSD and SSI?
The difference between SSD and SSI are the technical qualifications for those benefits beyond the requirement that you’re being disabled. For SSD, you have to have worked and paid FICA taxes, which buys you insurance to claim Social Security Disability benefits. For SSI, even if you haven’t worked, it’s a low income program and so if you find yourself in a situation where you have worked but not for a while and you don’t have any savings left and you are low income or you have not worked and you are low income you can qualify for SSI.
How long does it take to get a decision on my SSD claim?
It takes about five or six months to get an initial decision on your SSD claim. What happens is your application is processed and Social Security orders medical records and evaluates them and that does take a little bit of time that’s why it takes five or six months. If you file for reconsideration, that takes another five or six months because additional, more current medical records are ordered in order to determine whether or not you are disabled. Once you file a request for hearing, the time it takes for your hearing to come up depends upon how long the wait is at your local Social Security hearing office. And that can vary anywhere between a year to 14 months to 16 months or even more.
How does the Social Security Administration define disability?
Social Security defines disability for SSD and SSI in the same way. A person has to be so physically or mentally impaired that they cannot be expected to work for at least 12 months.
My doctor says I’m disabled. Is that enough to qualify me for SSD benefits?
If your doctor just makes a statement that you are disabled that is generally not enough for you to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits or SSI. What happens is Social Security evaluates the medical records that the doctor writes down when you go for visits or if you’re hospitalized or if the doctor sends you for a test and they order the results of those tests, they looked at your hospital records and they try to decide whether what’s indicated in those doctors notes, hospital records or lab reports are sufficient to show that you are so physically or mentally disabled that you probably cannot work for 12 months.
If approved, when will my SSD benefits begin?
There’s varied amounts of time that it takes for your SSD benefits to begin. If your case is strictly an SSD case, it could take only a month for that benefit to begin. If your case is SSD and SSI combined, it might take more like three months for those benefits to begin because there has to be offset calculations made by Social Security. If your case is strictly an SSI case, it could take four to six weeks for your benefits to begin. And again, these times are governed by the case load at the local Social Security office and the payment center and so it could vary in any particular case.