Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Disability Benefits FAQ
Social Security Disability FAQ
FAQ for Choosing a Disability Benefits Attorney
FAQ for Social Security Disability Benefits
Please note that the answers provided to the listed questions
are designed to answer simple questions concerning disability benefits. To receive a
full explanation concerning your situation, you should consult an experienced attorney.
Please feel free to contact us at 301-495-6665 or 1-866-633-3583 for a free, no obligation,
phone consultation. You may also e-mail us by firstname.lastname@example.org
Click on a question below to see the answer.
What are my chances of becoming disabled?
one out of every four young worker will become disabled over the
course of his/her lifetime. This is one of the main purposes for
the Social Security program. Social Security provides a safety net
by providing cash and medical treatment benefits to assist persons
afflicted with a disability.
How do I know I qualify for Social Security Disability Benefits?
are two forms of possible benefits for which a person may qualify,
Social Security Disability (SSD) or Supplemental Security Income
What happens to the work quarters for work performed over ten years ago?
Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits are based on your work
record over the past ten years prior to your becoming disabled.
If you worked five of the past ten years before becoming disabled,
then you should qualify for SSD benefits. Part-time work is sufficient
for you to vest the 20 out of the necessary 40 work quarters to
become qualified for benefits.
Each year you should receive a benefits estimate form from the government
which will tell you what years you worked, how much money you paid
into the system, and your estimated monthly disability benefit.
If you do not qualify for SSD benefits, you may qualify for SSI
benefits. These benefits usually pay a smaller monthly benefit and
may be reduced by household income attributed to relatives living
in the same household as you.
Both types of disability benefits pay additional for minor children
residing with you.
benefits are credited to your Social Security Retirement benefits,
which require that you pay a minimum of 40 work quarters (ten years)
of at least part-time work in order to receive benefits.
Can I qualify for my spouses disability benefits?
you are a widow or divorced and have not remarried, you may qualify
for disability benefits under your spouses Social Security
account. Where the spouse is deceased, you must make a claim within
7 years of the spouses death.
Can I qualify for my parent's disability benefits?
may qualify for a percentage of your parents rate if you are
a disabled adult child at least 19 years of age and prove our disability
began before you turned 22 years old and is continuing.
What types of medical benefits are provided by Social Security if I am found disabled?
you are found eligible for SSD, you will receive Medicare benefits
two years from your disability onset date. If you are impoverished
and unable to perform medical treatment during any interim period,
you may qualify for Medicaid benefits until your Medicare becomes
effective. Please contact your State Department of Health and Human
Services concerning Medicaid eligibility.
When should I apply for Social Security Disability Benefits?
If you qualify for SSI benefits, you will become eligible to Medicaid
as of your date of disability onset.
you become injured or ill and have missed work for one year or are
expected to miss work for at least one year, then you should apply
for benefits at your earliest convenience.
How do I apply for Social Security Disability Benefits?
Is eligibility to disability benefits affected by drug or alcohol dependence?
can call the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213 or
visit their website at www.ssa.gov
You will need to complete a lengthy application that you should
obtain and complete prior to making an appointment with an official
at your local district office.
It is best to make an appointment in advance and arrive with your
completed application form as well as a photo I.D. and your birth
If you are unable to travel, Social Security will allow you to do
your application over the phone. The officials will complete the
form on computer and send you a copy for you to verify and/or correct.
You will still need to present your birth certificate. It is best
to have a person you know take it to the Social Security district
office and not mail it to them so to avoid this important document
becoming lost in the mail or at the district office.
If your disability is a direct result of alcohol or drug abuse that
is continuing in nature and reversible if you cease use of these
substances, then you will be ineligible to receive benefits under
the Contract with America Advancement Act signed on
3/29/96. Please note that the use of drugs or alcohol must be the
only or primary disability.
Am I entitled to partial disability benefits?
For example, a person will not be qualified to benefits if they
are using drugs or alcohol that results in psychiatric illness that
would not exist but for the use of these substances.
On the other hand, if you suffer from irreversible nerve damage,
pancreatitis, or liver damaged from prolonged drug or alcohol use,
the fact that you continue to suffer from addiction will not prevent
you from receiving disability benefits. Although this is the law,
you should expect a lengthy fight to receive benefits based on this
type of eligibility.
Am I entitled to additional disability benefits if I suffer from a severe disability?
There are no partial disability benefits available as part of the
Social Security disability program. You must qualify as disabled
under the program guidelines previously set forth here. (How
do I know I qualify for Social Security Disability Benefits?
There are no additional benefits for a severe disability. The monthly
amount you receive is based on the amount paid into the system on
the account you are claiming or under the schedule of benefits for
Am I entitled to SSD and SSI benefits?
you have paid only a minimum number of quarters into the system
so as to qualify for SSD benefits, you may still qualify additional,
minimal SSI benefits. You will be limited to $552/month for an individual
or $829/month for a couple plus additional sums for minor dependent
children. You may also qualify for additional state-based benefits.
Can I return to work after if I recover even though I have not received an award of disability benefits yet?
As long as you were disabled for a period of at least one year,
you may receive a closed period of benefits although you have returned
Can I return to work after I have been receiving disability benefits?
Social Security Administration encourages disabled persons to return
to work. Before considering a return to work, you should consult
with your treating physician(s) extensively. If you find you are
having troubles performing the work, you should cease the employment
immediately and again consult with your physician(s) before attempting
other, less demanding work. If you return to work successfully for
a period greater than six months, you may lose your right to receive
benefits. You should contact your attorney, the Social Security
Administration, and your physician(s) prior to making this decision.
If I am unable to find a job, will Social Security assist me in finding another job?
If you are unable to find work in your field, you should consult
your state unemployment office or vocational rehabilitation office
to assist you in finding other work or developing new job skills
to find other employment.
What additional factors are taken into consideration when deciding whether I am disabled?
age, education, and past work experience for the fifteen years prior
to your becoming disabled will be taken into consideration in deciding
whether you have possible transferable skills which will allow you
to perform other, less demanding employment.
What happens if I have not been able to afford a doctor for treatment?
many cases, the Social Security Administration will send you for
a consultative examination. This will be a short and often incomplete
examination. Only very simple testing will be undertaken with no
sophisticated blood, MRI, CT scan, or similar expensive testing
undertaken. For this reason, it is recommended that you first contact
your State Department of Health and Human Services to obtain a medical
card and receive necessary treatment and testing. After you have
receiving treatment and testing, you should ask you treatment providers
whether they believe you should apply for disability benefits.
If I have been denied in the past, should I reapply?
Under the current Social Security law, findings made by your treatment
providers who have rendered extended treatment may be given greater
weight than the Administration reviewers who commonly make findings
which will result in claim denial.
You have nothing to lose except the time required to resubmit your
application. You may wish to consult an experienced attorney about
additional issues such as your claimed date of disability and the
possibility of reopening your prior application(s).
Will the general public have access to any information I provide to the Social Security Administration?
Information provided to the Social Security Administration is kept
private. Any hearing you may have will not be open to the general
Should I get an attorney?
Social Security Administrations own statistics reveal that
individuals who are represented by an attorney are more successful
than those who proceed without attorney representation. The disability
process is complicated, confusing and intimidating. This is purposeful
as it serves to make potential claimants return to work or
give up despite their entitlement to disability benefits. For this
reason, contacting an experienced Social Security attorney will
help you assess your chances and understand the process.
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