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Campbellsville, KY 42718
Phone: (270) 849-4506
- Who Can Get Social Security Disability payments?
Social Security pays benefits to people who cannot work because they have a medical condition that is expected to last at least one year or result in death. Federal law requires this very strict definition of disability. While some programs give money to people with partial disability or short-term disability, Social Security does not.
- What is the difference between Social Security disability and SSI disability?
Social Security is responsible for two major programs that provide benefits based on disability: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), which is based on prior work under Social Security, and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Under SSI, payments are made on the basis of financial need.
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is financed with Social Security taxes paid by workers, employers, and self-employed persons. To be eligible for a Social Security benefit, the worker must earn sufficient credits based on taxable work to be "insured" for Social Security purposes. Disability benefits are payable to blind or disabled workers, widow(er)s, or adults disabled since childhood, who are otherwise eligible. The amount of the monthly disability benefit is based on the Social Security earnings record of the insured worker.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a program financed through general revenues. SSI disability benefits are payable to adults or children who are disabled or blind, have limited income and resources, meet the living arrangement requirements, and are otherwise eligible. The monthly payment varies up to the maximum federal benefit rate, which may be supplemented by the State or decreased by countable income and resources.
- Who decides if I am disabled?
Social Security will review your application to make sure you meet some basic requirements for disability benefits. They will check whether you worked enough years to qualify. Also, they will evaluate any current work activities. If you meet these requirements, they will send your application to the Disability Determination Services office in your state.
This state agency completes the disability decision for Social Security. Doctors and disability specialists in the state agency ask your doctors for information about your condition. They will consider all the facts in your case. They will use the medical evidence from your doctors and hospitals, clinics or institutions where you have been treated and all other information. They will ask your doctors:
- What your medical condition is;
- When your medical condition began;
- How your medical condition limits your activities;
- What the medical tests have shown; and
- What treatment you have received.
They also will ask the doctors for information about your ability to do work-related activities, such as walking, sitting, lifting, carrying and remembering instructions. Your doctors are not asked to decide if you are disabled.
The state agency staff may need more medical information before they can decide if you are disabled. If more information is not available from your current medical sources, the state agency may ask you to go for a special examination.
- How long does it take to get a decision on my disability claim?
The length of time it takes to receive a decision on your disability claim is from three to five months. It can vary depending on several factors, but primarily on:
- The nature of your disability;
- How quickly we obtain medical evidence from your doctor or other medical source;
- Whether it is necessary to send you for a medical examination in order to obtain evidence to support your claim; and
- If your claim is randomly selected for quality assurance review of the decision.
- What if my claim is denied?
If you disagree with a decision, you can request a review. This is called an appeal. You must make the request in writing within 60 days from the date you receive the unfavorable notice. Under certain conditions, an extension of this time frame can be granted.
There are three levels in the appeals process:
Reconsideration-A reconsideration is a complete review of the claim by someone other than the person who made the original decision.
Hearing- An administrative law judge (ALJ) will conduct a hearing. You and your representative, if you have one, may come to the hearing and present your case in person. The ALJ will evaluate all the evidence on record, including any additional evidence brought to the hearing, and will render a decision.
Appeals council-The Appeals Council may issue its own decision, remand the case to the ALJ to issue another decision or allow the ALJ's decision to stand. You will receive a copy of the Appeals Council's action.
- If my claim is denied and I file for a hearing, how long does it usually take?
The last statistic provided by Social Security showed that the average wait time for your hearings request to be processed is about 491 days. Many of our clients DON'T HAVE TO WAIT THIS AMOUNT OF TIME. In many cases we are able to get your case approved at the hearings level but without the wait. We fight to get your benefits as quickly as possible.
- Can children get disability benefits?
There are two Social Security disability programs children can qualify for:
1. The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program
This program provides monthly payments to children from birth to age 18 based on disability or blindness if the child's:
a. Impairment or combination of impairments meet the definition of disability for children; and
b. Income and resources of the parents and the child are within the allowed limits.
2. The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program.
This program provides monthly benefits to an adult child (a person age 18 or older) based on disability or blindness if the adult child's:
a. Impairment or combination of impairments meet the definition of disability for adults;
b. Disability began before age 22; and
c. Parent(s) worked long enough to be insured under Social Security and is receiving retirement or disability benefits or is deceased.
Under both programs, the child must not be doing any substantial work and must have a medical condition that has lasted or is expected to last for at least 12 months or to result in death.
- Do I have to have a representative?
Absolutely not. Most people who file for disability benefits, however, choose to have a representative and they are right. Social Security denies approximately 70% of disability claims at the initial level and approximately 90% at the reconsideration level. You need help from an experienced representative to make sure your case gets approved.
- Burton Disability Advocates are not attorneys.
Do I need an attorney?
No, you do not need an attorney. The Social Security Administration recognizes non attorney representatives the same as attorneys. Most attorneys fall into one of two categories.
Attorneys who practice general law
These attorneys may be very knowledgeable and may be great to assist you in a divorce, bankruptcy, or even a criminal case but because they do disability cases "on the side" they may have very limited knowledge of Social Security law, rules and regulations.
Attorneys who specialize in Social Security Disability cases
These attorneys generally have a good knowledge of Social Security law, rules and regulations. They often make their money by representing large numbers of people at one time. The work on your case will likely be done by their clerical staff and you may never lay eyes on your attorney. To some of these attorneys you are just a number. We take your case personally. We intentionally keep our numbers low so we can give you personal service. We're not trying to get rich. Some big Social Security attorneys will actually walk into court on the day of your hearing without ever laying eyes on you. They will even ask the court worker "Who is my client?"
- How much do you charge?
We charge you nothing unless we win your case. Social Security will approve our fee. We will receive 25% of your backpay up to a maximum of $6,000.
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