Frequently Asked Questions
We understand that navigating Social Security and Disability claims can be overwhelming. We’re here to help you get the best outcome for your case while helping you understand the process as it takes place.
We’re always happy to answer any questions you have, but we’ve included some of the most common questions that we get from new clients. Please take a look and reach out to us with any other questions you might have!
Do you think I am eligible for Benefits? (Monthly Check)
Before we even consider whether Social Security or a Disability Judge determines if you are disabled, we must make sure that you are eligible for benefits. To be eligible for disability benefits (monthly check) you must qualify under one of the following:
Social Security Disability (SSDI): You must have paid Social Security taxes to the government. Your employer withholds taxes from your check and pays them to the Social Security Administration. Generally, you must have worked at least 5 of the last 10 years and paid Social Security taxes.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI): SSI is based on household income and the property you own. If your household has too much income or you have too much property, you will NOT qualify. In general, you will NOT qualify for SSI if:
- If you have property valued more than $2,000.00, NOT including your home and one vehicle, OR
- Your total household monthly income is greater than about $1,200.00 (depending on the number of people in your household and other factors.)
Disabled Widow Benefits.
You may be able to receive more benefits (larger monthly check) if your spouse or ex-spouse is deceased and you meet the following requirements:
1) You must have been married for at least 10 years, AND
2) You were found disabled within 7 years of spouse or ex-spouse’s death and you are at least 50 years old. Otherwise, you must wait until age 60.
3) Regardless if you are disabled or not, at age 60, you can receive regular widow benefits off of a deceased spouse/ex-spouse as long as you were married for at least 10 years.
Adult child: If a child between the ages of 18 and 22 is found disabled, they may be entitled to receive benefits from a parent’s Social Security earnings record. However, if the child marries the benefits will stop.
Minor children: If you are approved and have any minor children, they may also qualify for disability benefits.
If you meet ANY of the above requirements, only then can we consider filing a claim for a judge to determine if you are medically disabled.
How does the Judge determine if I am disabled?
If you are eligible for disability benefits based on any of the answers provided above, the disability Judge or Social Security Administration may determine you are physically or mentally disabled. (Unable to work)
Basically, we must prove that you have been or will be unable to work for 12 months or more. Obviously, if you are working full time you can not be determined disabled. Generally, Social Security will not even let you apply if you are working full time.
There are many rules and guidelines for disability. One of the most critical issues is medical documentation from your doctors and medical providers. We may even ask your medical providers to complete evaluations that will help with approval of your case. The Judge will consider many factors. The critical general factors are:
- Work History – The more you have worked in your past the greater the chance the Judge will approve your claim.
- Medical Treatment – The more medical treatment you have had, in particular during the last 2 years with a definite diagnosis, the more likely the Judge will consider you for approval.
- Age – The older you are the easier it is to fit you in the guidelines. If you are over 50 years old and especially over 55 it is easier to qualify.
How long will the process take?
From the time you apply, the entire process which includes two appeals, is currently taking 1-2 years. It is possible, but not likely, Social Security will review your case and approve it before your hearing in front of a Judge.
What is your fee?
- You will NOT owe anything at the time I accept your case.
- If we win your case, the fee is 25% of the back-pay.
- Regardless of the outcome of the case, if my office has to pay any money to obtain your medical records, which is usually not over $100; you will be required to pay that amount back to me.
- If you have a child that qualifies for benefits, the fee will also include 25% of their back-pay.
Will I Owe a Fee If We Do Not Win My Case?
No. You will not owe a fee. You will owe the amount I spent obtaining any medical records. (Usually only about $100.)
Will you attend my hearing with me?
Absolutely. I always attend the hearing with you. Kristy, my assistant, will discuss your hearing with you extensively about one month before your hearing. Both she and I will review your case with you for about two hours one week before your hearing. Then I will review your case with you before the hearing. Both you and I will be well prepared for the hearing.
Do I get health insurance?
Yes, but only if you have been approved by the Social Security Administration or the Judge for disability, in which case you will be eligible for medicaid or medicare insurance. However, you must be eligible for a monthly check to receive the insurance.
Can I keep working and still apply?
In general, NO.
- You cannot apply if you are working full-time.
- If you are working part-time which is less than 20 hours per week and making less than about $1,200 per month, you may apply for disability benefits and continue working part time.