Social Security Questions & Answers
Do I Have a Disability?
A disability is described as an inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of severe physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months.
Should I Apply for Benefits?
If your disability has kept you out of work for 12 months or longer, or if you have medical support stating that you are unable to work for 12 months or longer, or your condition is expected to result in death, you should apply as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the more benefits you may loose.
What if My Application is Denied?
Do not get discouraged if you are denied. Approximately 75% of claims are denied. You have sixty (60) days to request an appeal. In some regions the first appeal would be a request for reconsideration and if that is denied you would request a hearing before a Social Security Administrative Law Judge. In other regions you would immediately request a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge. The hearing is an informal hearing.
How Long Does it Take to Obtain Benefits?
If you are denied at the application stage getting benefits can be a long process, which may take 2-5 years.
Can I Still Work While Collecting Social Security Disability Benefits?
You can work and make up to $750.00 a month before it may have an effect on your disability benefits. If you start collecting disability benefits and begin earning $750.00 in a month it will trigger a trial work period. A trial work period consists of nine (9) months (which do not have to be consecutive), over a five (5) year period, were you can work and earn any amount. Once you use up the nine months you could loose your benefits depending on the amount you earn.
Are My Spouse and Children Covered?
It is very likely your spouse and children can receive benefits while you are disabled.
How Far Back Will I Be Paid?
Benefits can go back one year from the date when you apply. With Social Security Disability there is a five (5) month waiting period from the month disability is determined until benefits are paid.
Can I Receive Workers’ Compensation Benefits While I Receive Social Security Disability Benefits?
Generally yes, but social security may be entitled to an offset due to workers’ compensation benefits. In certain instances workers’ compensation may be entitled to an offset for the social security benefits you receive.
Will I be Eligible for Medicare Benefits?
After receiving 24 months of social security disability benefits you will be eligible for Medicare benefits.
What are the Difference Between Retirement Social Security Disability Income (RSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI)?
For both RSDI and SSI you need to meet the Social Security Administration’s definition of disabled, or be over 65 years of age for SSI.
There is a requirement under RSDI that you must have 20 credit quarters in the last 40 quarters prior to your disability onset date. SSI has no work requirement.
Under RSDI there is a five (5) month waiting period from the onset date. There is no waiting period for SSI.
RSDI benefit amount depends on income and amounts paid into the social security account. In SSI everyone is paid the same monthly amount of $710.00 for 2013, which can change from year to year.
RSDI can award benefits a year back from the application date. With SSI there are no benefits prior to the application date.
For SSI you cannot have assets over $2,000 for an individual or $3,000 for a couple, because SSI is a need basis program. There are no maximum asset requirements for RSDI.
Do You Need an Attorney to Apply for Benefits?
No, you do not need an attorney. Anyone can act as a representative or you can apply for benefits and handle your own appeal. The best way to be sure you will receive benefits and a fair hearing, however, is by having a representative who has an understanding of the social security system, regulations, and laws.
What are the Attorney Fees for Representation?
You are obligated to pay a fee only if you are granted benefits. Typically the fee is 25% of all back benefits. All attorney fees must be approved by the Social Security Adminstration.