How do I apply for benefits?
Fill out the application here.
Both programs are administered by the Social Security Administration. For most people, the medical requirements are the same and the person’s disability is determined by the same process. The major difference is that SSI disability program decisions are also made on the basis of financial need.
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI or DIB or Title II) is a program financed with Social Security taxes paid by workers, employers and self-employed persons. Disability benefits are payable to disabled workers, disabled widows, widowers or adults disabled since childhood who may otherwise be eligible. Auxiliary benefits may be payable to a worker’s dependents.
The monthly disability benefit payment is based on the Social Security earnings of the insured worker upon whose Social Security number the disability claim is filed. After you become entitled to SSDI benefits, you become entitled to Medicare benefits approximately twenty-nine (29) months later.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI or Title XVI) is a welfare type program financed through general tax revenues. SSI disability benefits are payable to adults or children who are disabled, meet the income, resource and living arrangement requirements and are otherwise eligible.
The monthly amount of SSI payments may vary from state to state and by the person’s income and resources. You may be eligible for SSI even if you have never worked or paid taxes. Generally, however, to be eligible for SSI payments you need to be a U.S. citizen or meet certain requirements for non-citizens. If you receive SSI, you are generally entitled to Medicaid.
Your Social Security Disability benefits (SSDI, DIB, or Title II) will last either:
Your Supplemental Security Benefits (SSI or Title XVI) will last either:
It is important to know that certain Administrative Law Judges will NOT hear your case if you do not have a representative.
When should I contact an attorney?
As soon as possible, some prefer to contact an Attorney before filing their initial application. Others prefer waiting until receiving their initial denial. An Attorney may be able to assist you in determining if you are disabled, as defined by the Social Security Administration.
Attorneys in Social Security Disability cases do much more than sit in at a hearing and ask a few questions. Much pre-hearing preparation, analysis and evidence gathering go into adequate representation of your case. For these reasons you should not wait until a week or two before your hearing to contact an Attorney. The earlier an Attorney starts working on your case, the better your chances are of being successful at your hearing.
Please note that not all Attorneys practice before the Social Security Administration. You will do best to find an Attorney familiar with the complex Social Security Disability regulations and the somewhat unusual Social Security Disability procedures.
Deborah Mitchell is a Registered Nurse and an Attorney at Grossman Law Firm working with a team with over forty (40) years of combined medical and legal experience familiar with the complex Social Security Regulations and Procedures working with you to help you get the benefits you deserve! Grossman Law Firm will be with you every step of the way. We can help you file your initial application, help develop your claim and represent you at your hearing. Click here to begin the application process.
Attorneys’ fees in Social Security Disability claims are generally paid out of the claimant’s retroactive benefits.
Grossman Law Firm accepts the 25% that the government withholds as the attorney’s fee. At Grossman Law Firm, we will not charge you any fee for representation unless we are successful in obtaining benefits for you. However, you are responsible for reimbursing our firm for out of pocket expenses, such as medical record expenses and postage fees regardless of the outcome of your case.
Ordinarily, disability payments from other sources do not affect your Social Security Disability benefits. However, if the disability payment that you receive is Worker’s Compensation or another public disability payment, such as civil service disability benefits, military disability benefits, Federal, State or Local government retirement benefits based on disability, your benefits may be affected. If this is the case, in general, your Social Security Disability benefit will be reduced so that the combined amount of the Social Security Disability benefit you and your family receives plus your Worker’s Compensation payment and/or public disability payment does not exceed eighty percent (80%) of your average current earnings.
No, your benefit is based on the amount of your lifetime earnings prior to your disability and not the degree of your disability.
Your benefits depend on your previous work record and how much you have paid into the system. Most workers receive a Benefit Estimate and Earnings Record annually in the third month before the month of their birthday.You can also get an estimate of your benefits by visiting the Social Security website at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/mystatement/.
If you have children under the age of 18 years, you may be eligible to receive additional monthly benefits for them. You may also receive Medicare Benefits beginning twenty-nine (29) months after the first month for which you receive a payment for disability.
There is no minimum age. However, to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits, you must have worked long enough and recently enough under Social Security. You can earn up to a maximum of four (4) work credits per year. The amount of earnings required to earn one credit increases each year.
The number of work credits you need for Social Security Disability Benefits depends on your age when you became disabled. Generally, you need a total of forty (40) credits with twenty (20) credits having been earned in the last ten (10) years ending with the year you became disabled. However, some younger workers, depending on their age, may qualify with fewer credits.
You file your application paperwork with Social Security and it determines whether the non-medical requirements for SSD and SSI are met. However, the medical determination of disability is made by a state agency that contracts with Social Security called DDS. At the present time, there is no face to face decision-making by DDS on whether or not you are medically disabled.
NO! This is a common mistake people make and one that may be very costly. Once one has applied for early retirement, he or she has, unfortunately, lost the right to apply for disability benefits. Thus, I would strongly suggest if you are approaching sixty-two (62) and considering applying for disability that you do so before your 62nd birthday. Once the disability application has been processed, you may then begin receiving early retirement benefits while your appeal is being processed.
Medicare has four parts. Part A is free. It is included with your Social Security retirement benefit when you are 66, and with your disability benefits starting with the third year of benefits. If you take your retirement benefit at a reduced level, before you are 66, you do not get Medicare right away.
Medicare starts at age 66. Part A is for hospital benefits, ambulance rides, and some other benefits. You should sign up for Medicare at age 66 even if you do not take your Social Security retirement benefit until you are at your full retirement age or even older, especially if you want the larger monthly amount.
Part B is for your doctor’s bills. You have to pay for Part B. There is a premium for Part B and the amount of the premium depends on your adjusted gross earnings for the second year before the current year. People who made more in earnings pay a higher premium. When you apply for Medicare, you are asked if you want Part B. Most people should say yes. If you get your primary care at the VA, you may not need this.
Medicare Part B has a deductible and a co-pay. Most people have a Medicare Supplemental insurance to pay for all or some of the deductible and co-pays. If you have a very low income and little to no resources, you may also get Medicaid, which pays the Medicare premium and all the other fees to health care providers.
Part C is what you should choose, along with Part B, if you want an HMO. The Part B premium pays for this. If you take Part C, the federal government pays the HMO a set amount of money every month for your care, whether you get any care or not. The amount of money paid depends on where you live and some other factors, but not on the amount of care you get. If you sign up for Part C, you usually have to go to the HMO doctors for care, although they may approve you seeing an outside doctor in special situations.
Part D is a prescription drug benefit. There are many insurance plans to consider for Part D, and you should consider the medicines you take before you pick the plan you want. There may be people at your nearby senior center who will explain the different plans and help you find the one that is best for you. Medicaid also pays for some medicines. You have to pay for Part D. Some Medicare supplemental insurance includes medicines.
The premium for Part B and the premium for Part D will be deducted from your Social Security benefit. If you do not receive a monthly Social Security benefit, you will have to pay these fees yourself.
ALL of them! Many people who are dealing with chronic pain also experience depression and anxiety as they struggle with physical limitations and the inability to do all the things they used to do, such as working and providing for their families. If you are experiencing depression-like symptoms, talk with your doctors and make sure they are aware of your symptoms and that they address them appropriately. If necessary, seek additional help from a psychiatrist or psychologist. If your doctor is unable to treat your emotional problems, many county mental health departments offer this type of care for low or no costs.
The primary reason a special consultative evaluation [CE] is set up at the government’s expense, is because the person assessing your claim for medical disability needs additional evidence to determine your eligibility. You should take advantage of that opportunity. Go to the exam. Be very complete in describing your medical history and problems. In fact, if you do not go without a very good reason, your claim may be denied for failure to cooperate.
APPEAL in a timely manner. You have sixty (60) days from the date of your denial to file an appeal with the Social Security Administration.
The denial letter will tell you that the Social Security Administration assumes you receive the letter within five (5) days of the date of the letter. In order for you to request a hearing more than sixty (60) days after the date of your denial, you must have good cause.
The following situations may constitute good cause for missing the sixty (60) day deadline:
It means that the Social Security Administration is stating that you do not meet the non-medical or monetary requirements of the SSI or Title IXV program. If you feel that SSA made a mistake in calculating your monthly income, you may appeal.
It generally takes 12 to 24 months to get a hearing.
If the ALJ issues an Unfavorable Decision you have sixty (60) days from the date of the decision to file an appeal to the Appeals Council. These appeals are complex but Grossman Law Firm has the experience and legal expertise to prepare a strong case to help you obtain your benefits.
The average processing time for a request for review is at least eighteen (18) months from the date that the request is filed.
I’ve been waiting for over a year for my Social Security Disability hearing. I can’t work. My utilities are about to be turned off and I’m being evicted from my apartment. What can be done about my case?
The Social Security Administration recognizes several situations which may allow your case to be expedited or processed faster. One of the situations is referred to as Dire Need. A Dire Need situation exists when a person has insufficient income, health or safety such as lack of food, clothing, shelter or medical care.
You must be able to show you have specific immediate circumstances such as 1) lack of food; 2) lack of medicine; 3) lack of care; 4) lack of shelter, such as a situation where the utilities are shut off and the home becomes uninhabitable, etc. The threat of imminent eviction or foreclosure with no means to remedy the situation or obtain shelter would be an example.