Social Security Disability
Assistance for those tied up in Social Security Disability red tape
Few bureaucracies are as tangled and difficult to negotiate as Social Security Disability. While many people choose to initiate their own Social Security Disability application, if you are turned down for benefits, there are important appeal periods involved. At this point, the next step is a hearing before a Federal Administrative Law Judge. There are time limits involved and you should promptly seek legal advice. At Gailey Legal Group, we’ll be happy to assist you on your journey through this difficult and complex process.
Frequently asked questions about Social Security disability issues
Is there more than one kind of Social Security Disability benefit available?
There are two types of Social Security disability benefits. The first, called Social Security Disability, or SSD, depends on your employment and earnings history and is based on tax contributions you have made. The second kind, called Supplemental Security Income or SSI, requires only disability. There is no requirement that you have an employment history. The rules for entitlement to these different types of benefits, as well as the amount of benefits, differ, but you must prove disability from working in substantial gainful activity to be entitled to either benefit.
Do I have to be totally disabled from all work to receive SS disability benefits?
No, you may retain some residual earning abilities. The amount that you can work and the amount you can earn are strictly limited. If you exceed those amounts you can be disqualified from receiving benefits.
How is SS disability connected to Medicare benefits?
Once you qualify for Social Security Disability benefits, you also qualify for Medicare health benefits. However, there is a two-year waiting period from the date of entitlement to SSD benefits before you are eligible to receive Medicare benefits.
Do I need to be disabled for a certain period of time before I can qualify for SS benefits?
Yes, there is a 12-month disability period required before you can be granted Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income benefits. However, you do not have to wait for that year to elapse to apply for benefits. You do need to prove that you will be disabled from working for a minimum of one year.
Do I have to have an employment history to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits?
To receive Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits based upon employment, you do have to meet certain employment requirements including employment within a certain period of time prior to disability and employment for a certain number of calendar quarters during which you paid Social Security taxes. For Supplemental Security Income benefits, there is no such requirement.
If I accumulate money or property, can this disqualify me from Social Security Disability benefits?
Supplemental Security Income benefits are referred to as “asset and income sensitive.” If you have more than a certain amount of income or assets worth more than a certain figure, you will be disqualified from these benefits.
Social Security Disability benefits are not income or asset sensitive. Regardless of your financial situation, you will not be disqualified from SSD benefits based upon money or assets which you may have or accumulate. However, if you are working over a certain number of hours or earning over a certain amount per month, then your entitlement to benefits can be affected.
Does my age make any difference in my right to Social Security benefits?
There is no age requirement. However, the standard for determining disability and entitlement to benefits changes at age 50. Generally speaking, the standard is somewhat easier at age 50 and older, and benefits are easier to obtain for people over that age.
Can I receive Social Security benefits for a mental, rather than a physical impairment?
Yes. Mental impairments resulting in the inability to sustain employment can qualify you to receive Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security Income benefits.
Is a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge always required?
No. Your application for Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income benefits is first reviewed at what is called the local or office level. Depending on the nature and severity of your medical condition and your level of disability, you may be granted disability benefits at this level.
However, if you are turned down, you have the option to appeal and receive a hearing. Many applications which are denied at the local level are later granted after a hearing is held. Legal representation at the local level is not necessary. However, for an appeal and a hearing, the involvement of a lawyer is advisable. Contact us for a free consultation.
Do I need an attorney to initially apply for Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income benefits?
No. In fact you should initially apply on your own at your local Social Security office since you may be awarded benefits at the local level and would not need an attorney. If you receive a denial of your claim, you should contact a lawyer immediately since you only have 60 days to appeal and file a Request for Hearing before an Administrative Law Judge. Contact us for a free consultation.
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