Frequently Asked Questions About Social Security Disability Claims
We understand that facing a debilitating injury or disease 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 injuries. 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 218-723-1990 to schedule a free initial case consultation.
What Are Social Security Disability Benefits?
Social Security disability (DIB or SSDI) 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.
Supplemental Security Insurance (SSI) is a similar program that provides benefits to disabled individuals. You can qualify for SSI if you are disabled, not enough work history to qualify for SSDI/DIB, and 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.
How Do I 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 I Apply For Social Security Disability Benefits?
You should apply online at ssa.gov/applyfordisability/. This site also provides information regarding the process, what information you will need to provide, and timelines.
If you are not able to apply online, you should contact your local Social Security office. You can find your office here.
What Information Will I Need to Provide with my Application For Disability?
You want to tell the Social Security Administration about ALL of your medical conditions, physical and mental. For many people, this is simply one condition (for example, a back injury). Others may have multiple medical conditions which, when considered together, prevent an individual from working full time.
You will probably not need to provide your medical records, but if you have important letters or testing results, you may want to provide them to the Social Security Administration right away. You may also have to provide the Social Security Administration with wage records/paystubs, tax information, marriage/death/birth certificates, and other types of documentation.
What Else Will the Social Security Administration 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. Social Security will also want a list of the jobs you have had over the past 15 years (including some details of your work duties).
What If the Social Security Administration Rejects My 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 the local Social Security office or an attorney who practices in the area of Social Security disability.
How Much Money Can I Anticipate Recovering?
There are two types of Social Security Disability programs. One program, Disability Insurance Benefits (DIB or SSDI) 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.
Do I Have To Separately Apply For Each Type Of Program?
Yes. While both programs evaluate whether you are disabled the same way, these programs provide different benefits and also consider financial eligibility differently. You should apply for both programs if you are disabled.
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 $6,000.00. Attorney fees have to be approved by the Social Security Administration (usually 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 I Contact An Attorney?
Social Security claimants do not always need an attorney and may not require one 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.
Contact Our Knowledgeable Team For More Social Security Information
Call 218-723-1990 to schedule a free initial consultation with our skilled attorneys. With over 45 years of skilled personal injury, workers’ compensation and Social Security disability experience, we know how to represent your best interests. You may also contact us online.