Frequently Asked Questions About Social Security Disability Claims

We understand that facing a debilitating injury is an incredibly stressful experience. In addition to concern over your physical health, you may be worried about your financial security and wonder if you will ever be able to return to work.

Falsani, Balmer, Peterson & Balmer helps disabled workers pursue compensation after serious accidents. We will carefully examine your circumstances and can help you apply for Social Security Disability benefits if you qualify. We can serve as your trusted advisers throughout this overwhelming process and protect your best interests.

Below we answer some of our clients' most frequently asked questions. Please contact us with additional questions. Call our caring lawyers at 218-461-1309 to schedule a free initial case consultation.

What Are Social Security Disability Benefits?

Social Security Disability (SSD) is a type of disability benefit that is based on payroll deductions that occur as a result of work activity or as a result of contributions made by self-employed workers. This benefit program functions much like an insurance program, and insured workers are subject to a date last insured, meaning that at some point, after work activity ceases, one's insured status will lapse. This means that claimants who file for disability benefits will need to prove the onset of their disability as far back as possible (through their medical records) in order to be covered by SSD, but also to receive the full amount of back pay to which they are entitled.

How Do You Qualify For Social Security Disability?

Qualifying for disability benefits with the Social Security Administration is primarily based on the information derived from a claimant's medical records. You can learn more about applying for Social Security at www.ssa.gov/pgm/disability.htm.

How Do You Apply For Social Security Disability?

Go to your local Social Security office to learn more. In northern Minnesota and northwestern Wisconsin, there are offices in Duluth, Minnesota; Superior, Wisconsin; and Hibbing, Minnesota. Tell them you want to apply for Social Security Disability. The office personnel from the Social Security office will help you complete the appropriate forms and authorizations.

Alternatively, you can apply online at www.ssa.gov.

What Do You Put On Your Application For Disability?

You want to tell the Social Security Administration all of the conditions, physical and mental, that prevent you from working. For many people, this is simply one condition (for example a back injury). But others may have multiple conditions, which individually may not be disabling, but which in combination are disabling.

Further, sometimes after a work-ending disability, people develop situational depression. Likewise, for people who simply have one disabling condition, they may have other conditions that were previously non-disabling but now impact their ability to work, such as high blood pressure, diabetes or obesity. So, every medical condition should be listed as a potential disabling condition.

What Else Will Social Security Want To Know?

Social Security will want to know about all of the medical facilities where you have undergone treatment (doctors, hospitals, chiropractors, therapists, counselors, etc.), as well as a list of your prescription medications. They will want you to sign authorizations so that they can obtain the appropriate medical information. Sometimes Social Security sends you to a doctor of their own choosing to be examined. You should fully cooperate at such an exam. Many times, people are found disabled shortly after those exams.

Also, they will want a list of the jobs you have had over the past 15 years, including some details of your work duties.

What If They Reject Your Claim?

Generally, you have 60 days to appeal a rejected claim. Do not let the 60 days lapse. You should appeal right away. If you have questions about appealing, contact either the local Social Security office, or an attorney who practices in the area of Social Security Disability.

How Much Money Can You Anticipate Recovering?

There are two types of Social Security Disability programs. One program, Disability Insurance Benefits (DIB) pays depending upon how much money you paid to the Social Security system through Social Security taxes coming out of your paycheck. The amount of money you receive depends upon how much you paid in Social Security taxes.

The other type of program, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), is the same amount for all people. Each year there is a cost of living increase for SSI.

What Is The Difference Between DIB And SSI?

Again, you can qualify for DIB if you've paid a sufficient amount of Social Security taxes through your previous employment.

You qualify for SSI if you have very limited income, assets and resources. Certain items, such as your house or your car, are not counted toward those income, assets and resources. If your spouse works, their income will count against that. If you think you may meet the financial qualifications for SSI, you should apply for both DIB and SSI.

Do You Have To Separately Apply For Each Type Of Program?

Yes. A DIB application is generally not the same as an SSI application, and an SSI application is generally not the same as a DIB application. The questions are very similar. But you should fill out a separate application for each. The standard for disability is the same for both programs.

How Much Does It Cost To Hire An Attorney?

Social Security law provides that attorneys are paid 25 percent of all past due benefits (that is benefits from the commencement of the disability until the favorable outcome), subject to a maximum fee of $6,000. Attorney fees have to be approved by the Social Security Administration, typically a Social Security judge. Therefore, attorneys are not paid unless they have a successful outcome for their clients and until a judge approves the fee.

When Should You Contact An Attorney?

Generally, people do not need an attorney until they have been denied on their initial application or on a reconsideration application. However, you should feel free to call our firm at any phase of the process. We will be happy to answer any of your questions. Discussing your situation with our firm will allow us to better advise you as to whether you need an attorney.

Contact Our Knowledgeable Team For More SSD Information

Call 218-461-1309 to schedule a free initial consultation with our skilled attorneys. With over 40 years of skilled personal injury, workers' compensation and SSD experience, we know how to represent your best interests. You may also contact us online.