What You Need to Know About Social Security Disability
Social Security administers four separate benefit programs for individuals with disabilities:
- Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)
- Supplemental Security Income
- Disabled Widows and Widowers Benefits (DWB)
- Disabled Adult Child Benefits (DAC)
The medical requirements to prove disability, as well as the process for making disability determinations, are the same for each program. Many people confuse the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) programs. The differences between them are as follows:
Social Security Disability Benefits (SSD)
Social Security Disability Benefits or SSDI are paid to individuals who have worked in the recent years. Usually you have to work five out of the last ten years. For individuals under 31 years old, the requirements are a little different since they have not been in the workforce as long.
Supplemental Security Income Benefits (SSI)
Supplemental Security Income benefits or SSI is paid to individuals who are low-level income 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, disabled and the parents or guardians who are lower-level income.
Stages of the Social Security Disability Claims Process:
Do not be surprised if you are denied at the initial stage (another reason it is wise to have an attorney). Only about 40 percent of the claims are approved at that stage. Only about 20 percent of individuals win in the next stage, Reconsideration. The last stage, known as the Hearing stage, is where the individual actually has a hearing in front of an Administrative Law Judge. The hearing is informal with only the judge, his secretary, and often times, a vocational expert to testify as to what jobs the individual can perform.
Most Social Security Disability benefits (SSD benefits) applications are denied the first time they are submitted. In 40 of 50 states, the next step for a denied disability claim is the claim reconsideration process. There, claimants are usually denied again. Only a very small number of claim denials are overturned in the reconsideration process.
In ten states, the claim reconsideration process is skipped altogether under a Social Security pilot program, because of the very small number of claims being reversed on reconsideration. Whatever the current rule is in your state, after your first denial, it is a good idea to get an experienced Social Security Disability Insurance lawyer to represent you through the appeals process.
Our attorneys have handled thousands of cases for claimants who have been denied disability benefits. That experience means that if you contact us to handle your denied disability claim, you will have an attorney who knows the law well and who is familiar with the administrative and court process in your community.
Social Security Disability Claims
Get all the benefits you deserve.
Do I Qualify?
If you have worked and paid Social Security taxes for five of the last ten years, and you are now totally disabled due to an illness or injury, you may qualify for Social Security Disability Benefits.
In most cases, you must prove to the Social Security Administration that you cannot perform your former job or any other type of work in the present economy, and that your disabling condition will last 12 months or longer.
How Do I Apply for Social Security Disability?
There are two ways that you can apply for disability benefits. You can:
- Apply at www.socialsecurity.gov.
- Call toll-free, 1-800-772-1213, to make an appointment to file a disability claim at your local Social Security office or to set up an appointment for someone to take your claim over the telephone.
The disability claims interview lasts about one hour. If you are deaf or hard of hearing, you may call our toll-free TTY number, 1-800-325-0778, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. on business days. If you schedule an appointment, a Disability Starter Kit will be mailed to you. The Disability Starter Kit will help you get ready for your disability claims interview. If you apply online, the Disability Starter Kit is available at www.socialsecurity.gov/disability.
What to Remember when Filing an SSDI Claim
Each claim is different. A short brochure such as this one cannot completely prepare you to present your case, and an attorney cannot determine in advance how a judge will rule in a case. There are, however, some simple rules to follow:
- Always tell the truth.
- Never exaggerate your medical problems, but never minimize them either.
- Provide all relevant details and specific examples but don’t ramble in your testimony.
- Continue to see your own doctor on a regular basis throughout your claim. Long periods of time with no medical treatment could be used as evidence that you were not disabled during that time. If you do not have a doctor, you can probably receive treatment at a county hospital such as Parkland in Dallas County or John Peter Smith in Tarrant County.
Don’t worry. Your attorney will be there to help you if you forget something or don’t bring out the necessary details at your administrative hearing.
What Can A Social Security Disability Attorney Do For Me?
At Brooks Law Group, PA, we prefer to be called in on a Social Security Disability claim right at the beginning so that we can advise you and help to protect your rights throughout the Social Security process. That’s because we know if we start then, we can get you the best results possible. We can assist you at both the initial application stage and at the reconsideration stage, as well as at your formal hearing with the Administrative Law Judge.
What we can do:
- Help you obtain the proper reports from your physicians and specialists.
- Assist you in keeping records that will detail your condition and the extent of your disability for the judge.
- Monitor the status of your claim as it moves through the complicated Social Security Administration system.
- Request further medical evidence from your doctors, if necessary.
- Present your case on your behalf at the administrative hearing.
- Ask you the necessary questions at the hearing to present your case in the most effective manner.
- Lay the foundation for a remand or reversal on appeal if the Administrative Law Judge decides against you.
At the Brooks Law Group, we will be pleased to assist you with any questions you have regarding Social Security Disability.
Our law firm also represents people who have personal injury claims, including automobile collisions, premises liability and wrongful death claims.
We invite you to call us with any legal problem. If we cannot help you, we will attempt to refer you to an attorney or an agency that can help you.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
Are you eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits? If you do not qualify for Social Security Disability benefits because you have not worked for a total of five of the last ten years, you may qualify for SSI benefits. Supplemental Security Income was established to help those people who are disabled, but didn’t have the opportunity to work the required quarters.
To qualify for SSI benefits, you need clear, complete medical records that describe your disability and thoroughly explain your inability to work.
Our SSI benefits lawyers know what records are needed for your SSI disability benefits claim. When you are awarded SSI benefits, you will also have Medicaid eligibility. That means your healthcare needs will be covered by Medicaid benefits.