WHO IS ELIGIBLE FOR DISABILITY BENEFITS?
To be eligible for Social Security Disability Benefits, you must suffer from a physical and/or emotional "disability" which has caused or will cause you to be physically or emotionally unable of working for at least 12 months (or which is expected to result in your death).
Social Security Disability and SSI Disability Claims
To be successful in your application for Social Security Disability benefits, your doctor must state that you are disabled, and support their opinion with clinical and/or lab results ("medical diagnosis"). Sadly, many disabling conditions cannot be proven with clinical or lab results. In such situations, we strive to assist your doctors to provide the detailed information required for Social Security to be able to adequately consider your application.
One you have determined that you are disabled and unable to work for a least 12 consecutive months, the next question is whether you have worked for the required amount of time in jobs through which you have paid Social Security taxes. (As a rule of thumb, if have you worked and paid Social Security taxes for at least 5 out of the last 10 years before becoming disabled, you are likely eligible.) The date of your last day on such a job as compared to when you became disabled must be considered. Certain eligibility requirements differ depending on your age, education, skills, and work experience, and can be waived for applicants under the age of 22. In order to evaluate whether you could be successful in an application for Social Security Disability Benefits, we will need detailed information from you. Please consider completing the application for a FREE CONSULTATION.
IS THERE A WAITING PERIOD FOR SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY BENEFITS?
Social Security Disability is only awarded for those who cannot work for at least twelve consecutive months. To make certain that benefits are not paid for temporary disabilities, you must show that they have been disabled for at least five consecutive months during which time you are not entitled to benefits. Benefits are payable from the sixth month after you have become disabled (the onset of disability).
WHAT IS THE EARLIEST AGE THAT I CAN COLLECT SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY?
There is no minimum age requirement to collect Social Security Disability ("SSDI"), as long as you can prove that you have worked long enough and recently enough to meet the work credits requirement. The work credits requirement varies depending on your age, and may be waived if you become disabled before the age of twenty-two.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY ("SSDI") AND SOCIAL SECURITY SUPPLEMENTAL INCOME ("SSI")?
As a rule of thumb, if have you worked and paid Social Security taxes for at least 5 out of the last 10 years before becoming disabled, you are likely eligible to collect Social Security Disability ("SSDI"). SSDI benefits are funded through the Social Security Trust. Certain eligibility requirements differ depending on your age, education, skills, and work experience, and can be waived for applicants under the age of 22.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments are made on the basis of financial need to adults and children who are disabled, blind, or have limited income and resources. SSI payments and funded from general tax revenues, NOT from the Social Security Trust. The amount of monthly SSI payments vary per state.
SHOULD I APPLY FOR SUPPLEMENTARY SECURITY INCOME ("SSI") OR FOR SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY ("SSDI") BENEFITS?
As a rule of thumb, applying for SSI will be considered an application for any program for which you may be eligible under the Social Security number used. As such, if you apply for SSI and forget to apply for SSDI, the application date for the SSI will be considered a protective filing date. However, it is better/safer to apply for both programs.
CAN I COLLECT SUPPLEMENTAL SECURITY INCOME ("SSI") AND SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY ("SSDI") BENEFITS?
It depends on the amount of your SSDI benefits and on the state in which you live. Even if you do not qualify to receive monthly income from SSI, qualifying for SSI may allow you to obtain food stamps, Medicaid, and other forms of state and/or local assistance. It is best to apply for both programs.
HOW LONG DOES THE PROCESS TAKE FOR SOCIAL SECURITY TO EITHER APPROVE OR DENY MY REQUEST FOR DISABILITY BENEFITS?
The process to obtain benefits can take as little as 3-4 months to more than 24 months to complete. The first (initial) application and review stage takes about 3-4 months. More than sixty percent 60% (and some have estimated as high as 79%) of the initial applications for disability are denied. You have 60 days to appeal after denial. In many states (including Arizona) there is a reconsideration stage. After that decision, you will have another 60 days in which to appeal. If required, the hearing stage is the most important. This is where you meet the Administrative Law Judge and present your evidence in person. If you are denied benefits by the Administrative Law Judge at a hearing, you will have another 60 days to appeal to the Appeals Council. If the Appeals Court rules against you, you would have the right to file in federal court. However, if you hire Hallinan Law Firm to assist you, we will make every effort to present Social Security with sufficient information to facilitate a speedy determination.
HOW LONG DO I HAVE TO APPEAL IF I HAVE ALREADY BEEN TURNED DOWN FOR SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY BENEFITS?
As a rule of thumb, you have sixty (60) days to appeal any denial of Social Security benefits. You can handle the appeal process directly whether in person, on-line, over the telephone, or in the mail. If you are a client of Hallinan Law Firm, we would work hard to present evidence to convince Social Security that either your physical or emotional condition has worsened since their denial, or that the prior determination was made in error.