Q. What does the Social Security Administration consider to be a disability?
A. The Social Security Administration defines "disability" as 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 can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months."
Q. How do I apply for Social Security Disability Benefits?
A. You can go to your local Social Security Administration in person and file a claim or contact them by phone at 800-526-5471 . They will arrange for a telephone interview for you. Once the interview is complete they will forward forms for you to review and sign. You can also apply for benefits online at www.socialsecurity.gov
Q. Can I get Social Security disability benefits if I expect to get better and return to work?
A. You have to have been disabled for at least one year or be expected to be disabled for at least one year. So, if you expect to be out of work for one year or more because of your illness or injury, you should file for disability benefits immediately.
Q. Is there an age requirement to file for disability benefits?
A. No. Any individual of any age can be found disabled by the Social Security Administration.
Q. What can I do to improve my chances of winning SSI or Social Security Disability Benefits?
A. Maintain regular and consistent treatment with physicians that support your claim for disability. If you cannot afford to maintain medical treatment with private physicians it is important that you contact our office and we will refer you to free clinics and county facilities that offer treatment at low or no cost.
Q. How long can I receive disability benefits?
A. Until you reach full retirement age or until your condition improves to the point that you are able to work on a full time, sustained basis for a period in excess of nine months.
Q. If I was denied benefits upon my initial application should I appeal?
A Definitely! Most claims are denied initially and ultimately awarded at a later stage of appeal.
Q. Is it necessary to hire a representative to represent me in my Social Security Disability Claim?
A. No. Any Claimant can represent him or herself at all phases of the Social Security disability process. Although, Claimants with a representative tend to win their cases more often than those who are not represented.
Q. What will it cost me?
A. There is no cost to you for our representation unless we are successful in obtaining your benefits.
Q. How do representatives of disability claimant's get paid?
A. Social Security Disability Cases are generally handled on a contingency fee basis. This means that the representative only gets paid if you win your case. The fee must be authorized by the Social Security Administration and is normally 25% of your past due benefits. The Social Security Administration will pay the fee directly to the representative from your past due benefits.
Q. What is the average time it takes Social Security from the time I file before they make a decision on my claim for benefits?
A. Time periods vary from region to region, but, generally most initial Social Security decisions are made within four months of the application date. If you are turned down and have applied for a reconsideration it will generally take another four months to receive a decision. If you are turned down and have applied for a hearing before an administrative law judge it could take 18-20 months for a hearing to be scheduled and another three to four months to receive a decision. And if you are turned down at the hearing level and have filed an Appeals Council review it could take a year or more to receive a decision.