Social Security Disability SSI FAQ
Are you SSA?
No. We are an independent company. Our purpose is to help individuals apply for disability benefits through Social Security. We can help you to cut through the red-tape and streamline the application and/or appeals process. If you would like to apply or appeal, simply fill out the short form on the right.
What is SSDI?
Social Security Disability Insurance is a tax-funded, federal insurance program, designed to provide income to people unable to work because of a disability until their condition improves and guarantees income if they remain unable to work. This is not a welfare program, it is more closely related to an auto or health insurance program, where those who pay in receive the benefits. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is also frequently referred to as “DIB” (Disability Insurance Benefits), and “Title II” or “Title 2″ benefits (named for the chapter title of the governing section of Social Security Act).
What is SSI?
Supplemental Security Income is generally reserved as a type of welfare benefit for those who have not worked during their lives or those who have not worked for a cumulative 5 out of the last 10 years. Your benefits start from the date of your social security application. In calculating your SSI benefits, Social Security generally considers all of the combined income of every member in your household. We can assist you in your new SSI application.
How do you qualify for SSDI?
According to the Social Security Administration (SSA), you can qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) if you have a physical or mental condition that keeps you from engaging in any ‘substantial gainful work’. It must last at least 12 months or be expected to result in death. You also must be under the age of 65 and have worked 5 out of the last 10 years. Your disabilities need to be proven by medical evidence. Regular doctor visits can help your chances of winning a benefit. They must also meet a strict SSA medical listing for their condition.
What are the specific disability requirements to qualify for SSDI?
You can view a list of Social Security disability impairment criteria, broken down by specific conditions by visiting the Social Security website: http://www.ssa.gov/disability/professionals/bluebook/AdultListings.htm
How long does an application take & what are the steps?
There is no standard on how long an application takes. Application time varies depending on what level of the process the award is made. Our experience is that it will take around 6 months to get granted or denied your initial application. Here is a breakdown of average times as of Spring 2006.
Level 1 – Initial Application: 1-12 months Level 2 – Reconsideration Level: 1-12 months Level 3 – Hearing Level: 9-30 months Level 4 – Appeals Council: 1-15 months Level 5 – Federal District Court: 12-36 months
There have been reports of claims taking years, including a case in Pennsylvania that was awarded in early 2006 after 14 years.
Beginning in August 2006 the SSA will implement changes on a trial basis to the application process in the six-state New England region in an attempt to speed up the application process. No other regions will be immediately effected.
What are the benefits of SSDI over Long Term Disability Insurance?
Increased Monthly Income: Social Security provides a regular monthly payment that supplements any current disability benefits already received. It also provides annual cost of living increases. A portion of these benefits may be tax free.
Medical Benefits: Regardless of a person’s age, after receiving SSDI benefits for 24 months, they are eligible for Medicare, including Part A (hospital benefits) and Part B (medical benefits).
Prescription Drug Coverage: Once a person is entitled to Medicare, they are also eligible for Medicare Part D, the new prescription drug plan.
COBRA Extension: If a person receives Social Security disability benefits, any COBRA benefits may also be extended from 18 to 29 months.
Protected Retirement Benefits: Social Security disability entitlement “freezes” Social Security earnings records during a person’s period of disability. Because those years will not be counted when computing future benefits, their Social Security retirement benefits will be higher.
Dependent Benefits: If a person receives Social Security disability benefits and they have a dependent under age 18, he or she may also be eligible for benefits.
Return-to-Work Incentives: Social Security will provide a person opportunities to return to work while still paying them disability benefits.
What is the fee?
We don’t charge a fee unless you win benefits from Social Security. Our fee is taken one time from the back benefits check issued and is 25% of that check. Your ongoing checks are yours to keep.
How long does it take to start receiving benefits?
That depends. If your initial application is accepted it can be several months. If your case goes all the way to the hearing level it will take a couple years. We can represent you all the way.
How much money will I get?
The amount of money depends on your claim. Things that can affect it are the number of dependents you have, and the gross monthly income of your household.