Disability Benefits Frequently Asked Questions
The Social Security Administration pays benefits under several different programs. The largest and most important program is the SSDI or Social Security disability program. The other program is the SSI program which in addition to medical requirements has an income and resource component in determining eligibility.
If you have worked and paid social security taxes into the system, you may be eligible for SSDI benefits. If you have stopped working, your are typically eligible for 5 years after you’ve stopped working. Therefore, if you must apply as quickly as possible after you stop working to make sure time doesn’t run out for you to prove your disability before your insured status lapses.
Yes, getting professional help can significantly increase your chances of winning your case. We can help you gather evidence, complete forms, work with disability adjudicators, and walk you through the entire process – even if you haven’t been denied.
Gather the names of your conditions, doctors, tests, medications, and work history before logging into the Social Security website at www.ssa.gov. Gather job related information for 15 years prior to when you became disabled. Make sure to write down your re-entry number or have them email it to you in case you have problems during the application process.
If you are no longer able to work because of a severe impairment or combination of impairments that is expect to last for at least 12 months or end in death, you should file a claim for disability benefits. We can help you determine the best time to file and help you understand the process.
There is a two year waiting period for Medicare benefits. Medicare benefits will normally begin within 24-months of your onset date.
Yes, there is a five month waiting period for SSDI benefits. The waiting period will affect when you will be entitled to your first SSDI benefit check if you are found disabled.
If you have worked and paid social security taxes into the system, your children may qualify for benefits on your record. Typically, your children would be eligible for 1/2 of your PIA or personal insured amount.
In certain circumstances your claim for benefits can be expedited. One reason may be if you have a terminal illness. If you have a terminal illness, notify our office immediately and we will help you get the documentation necessary to turn in to SSA. Another circumstance that may speed up your case is if you are in a dire need situation. Some examples of a dire need situation would be home foreclosure, bankruptcy, etc.
Social Security also has a class of conditions called “Compassionate Allowances” the list of qualifying conditions can be found at https://www.ssa.gov/compassionateallowances/conditions.htm
There are many variables that can factor into determining the proper “onset” date in a disability case. If you’ve worked five out of the last ten years, we can meet with you and help you determine the most advantageous date to maximize your past-due benefits and document any issues necessary to support the date we choose. This is important because SSA can potentially pay you up to 12 months of benefits prior to your application date. That’s why we suggest consulting us before filing your claim and let us determine the best “onset” date for you and not leaving it up to SSA to “pick a date” for you.
Though not required, a supportive medical opinion from your doctor can sometimes help your case. The ALJ will determine how much weight to give that opinion based on a number of factors such as: the specialty of the doctor, the length of the treating relationship, how consistent the opinion is with other evidence in your file, and other factors. At Southeastern Disability, we have a library of specialized forms that you can take to your doctor to get completed.
A request for an expedited hearing or an “on-the-record” decision based upon a “dire need” situation such as an impending foreclosure or loss of shelter, diagnosis of a new terminal medical condition, or other emergency situations can be sumbitted to SSA. However, such “dire need” requests are usually rarely granted. Contact our office if you feel like your condition may qualify for special consideration.