Social Security Disability
Frequently Asked Questions
What does Social Security mean by “disability”?
Disability under Social Security is based on your inability to work full-time. You will be considered disabled if you cannot do the work you did before and if you cannot adjust to other work because of your medical conditions. Your disability must last or be expected to last for at least 12 continuous months or result in death.
Who decides if you are disabled?
After you have completed your application for disability benefits, Social Security will review your claim to see if you meet the requirements for disability benefits. They will look at whether you have worked long enough and recently enough. They will consider your age, education, and work background. If you have met these requirements and others, they will send your claim to the Disability Determination Services (DDS). The DDS will decide whether you are unable to work under the medical requirements of Social Security.
What if my claim is denied?
If your claim is denied or you disagree with any part of their decision, you may appeal the decision. You have 60 days from the time you receive your denial notice. Social Security assumes that you received your letter within five days of the date of the notice. If you appeal your claim late you will be required to file a new application, unless you can show a good reason for not filing your appeal on time.
When do my benefits start?
When your application is approved, your first Social Security check will be paid for the sixth full month after the date your disability began. In other words, there is a five month waiting period plus one more month to receive your first check. For example, if Social Security finds your disability began on January 7, your first disability check will be paid for the month of July. Social Security benefits are paid the month following the month that they are due, so you would receive your first check in August.
How much will I receive monthly?
The amount of your monthly disability check is based upon your lifetime average earnings covered by Social Security. If you would like an estimate of your disability benefit, you can request a Social Security Statement that shows your earnings record and provides you with an estimate of your monthly disability benefit.
Can I get Medicare if I am disabled?
Social Security will automatically enroll you in Medicare after you get disability benefits for two years. Medicare has two parts: Medicare A and Medicare B. Medicare A is hospital insurance. This is free to you. Medicare B is medical insurance. You will pay a monthly premium for this coverage. Medicare B is optional.
If I become disabled, how long do I have to wait to apply for Social Security disability and/or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits?
If your disability is expected to last for at least a year, you should apply for your Social Security disability benefits immediately. Many people make the mistake of waiting too long before filing their claim for benefits.
Is my family entitled to benefits?
Generally, dependent children under 18 years of age, or those who are still in high school until they are 19 years of age are entitled to benefits also. This is dependent upon your earnings over your lifetime.
Can I receive both workers’ compensation and Social Security disability benefits?
Yes, with a reduction in your Social Security disability benefits. It will also depend on the state in which you live. You definitely need an attorney that understands both Social Security and workers’ compensation law and the nature of the offset of benefits between the two programs.
Where do I file my claim for Social Security disability?
You can call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 to file your claim. You can also visit your local Social Security office. Now you can also file your initial claim online by visiting www.ssa.gov.
What can I do to have the best chance of winning my Social Security disability claim?
Statistically, claimants who retain an attorney to represent them are much more likely to obtain their disability benefits than those who go to their hearing unrepresented. Therefore, it is wise to seek legal advice from an attorney experienced in social security law regarding your claim.