Social Security Disability (SSDI or RSDI)
Do you have a disability? A disability is described as an inability “to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to results in death or which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months.”
If you have been out of work for 12 months or if you have documentation saying you are unable to work for 12 months or longer. If this applies to you, you should apply as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the more benefits you lose.
About 75% of people that apply for benefits are denied. Do not get discouraged if you are denied. You have a 60 day period in which you are able to appeal. If your request is denied you will have to ask for a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge. It is an informal hearing and is not open for public viewing.
Getting benefits is a long process; it may take 2-5 years from when you first applied. The judge then has to decide based on evidence presented at your hearing, which will take 2-4 months, whether or not to award you benefits. It may take another 60 days until you actually receive the money the judge granted you. This is well worth the wait.
Most people can still work, making up to $500.00 per month and still be considered for Social Security Disability Benefits. If you are unable to work, read further to understand Supplemental Security Income.
Are my spouse and children covered? It is very likely your spouse and children can receive benefits while you are disabled. This is additional money from your SSDI benefits.
How far back will I be paid? If you are granted benefits, the benefits can go back a maximum of one year from the day you apply for benefits.
What qualifies a disability? Any physical or mental condition that keeps, or is likely to keep you, from engaging in substantial gainful activity for 12 months or more or is likely to result in death. Alcohol/Drug addiction is not a considered disability and could hurt your case.
If you are receiving Workers’ Compensation benefits can you still qualify for SSDI also? You can be receiving Social Security Disability Benefits, Supplement Security Income, and Workers’ Compensations. The amount you receive from Workers’ Compensation, Social Security Disability Benefits, and Supplement Security Income may reduce. If you are granted SSDI benefits, you will be eligible for Medicare and Medicaid.
At Meyer, Puklich & Merriam our social security disability attorneys are dedicated to protecting your rights. We stand ready, willing and able to assist you at any time.