FAQ: Social Security Disability

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Social Security Disability - FAQ

How do you apply for Social Security disability benefits?
Do you have to be permanently and totally disabled to receive Social Security disability benefits?
When can you file for Social Security disability benefits?
How does Social Security decide if someone is disabled?
Who determines if you are disabled?
Do you need an Social Security Disability attorney to represent you for Social Security disability benefits?
If you hire an attorney how do they get paid?
What is the Social Security Disability hearing like?
What happens if the Administrative Law Judge denies my Social Security disability claim at the hearing?
What types of Social Security disability benefits are there?
If you get Social Security disability benefits do you also get Medicare?
If you get Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability benefits do you also get Medicaid?


How do you apply for Social Security disability benefits?

You can apply on-line at ssa.gov website, or you can call the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213 to schedule a telephone interview to file the Social Security disability claim, or you can go to the nearest Social Security Administration office and file a disability claim in person. In my practice areas the local Social Security Administration offices are located in Orlando, Kissimmee, Lake Mary, Leesburg, Cocoa, Ocala, Melbourne, Vero Beach, Port St. Lucie, West Palm Beach, Ft. Lauderdale, Belle Glade, Delray Beach, Tampa, Carrolwood, Dade City, Lakeland, Sebring. Valrico, Winter Haven, St. Petersburg, Bradenton, Clearwater, Pinellas Park, New Port Richey, Venice and Sarasota, Florida.
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Do you have to be permanently and totally disabled to receive Social Security disability benefits?

No, you only have to a disability that prevents you from working for at least consecutive 12 months, or are expected to be disabled and unable to work for at least 12 months or your disability is expected to result in death.
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When can you file for Social Security disability benefits?

You can file a Social Security disability claim on the day you become disabled. If your medical and/or mental condition is expected to put you out of work for a year or longer you should immediately file a Social Security disability claim.
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How does Social Security decide if someone is disabled?

Based on a review of your medical records and taking in consideration your age, education and your past jobs, the Social Security Administration makes a determination if you can do your past work. If determined you can do your past work you will be denied Social Security disability benefits. If you are considered unable to do your past work then the Social Security Administration has to determine if there are other jobs you could perform. If determined there are other jobs you could perform you will be denied Social Security disability benefits.
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Who determines if you are disabled?

Once you file your Social Security disability claim, a disability examiner will review your file and make a decision. If the disability claim is denied and you request a reconsideration then another disability examiner will do a review and make a decision. If Social Security disability claim is denied again, then you can request a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge who will make a decision.
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Do you need a Social Security disability attorney to represent you for Social Security disability benefits?

No, you can represent yourself throughout the claims process but claimants who have an attorney representing them are much more likely to get Social Security disability benefits than those who are unrepresented according to Social Security Administration's own statistics.
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If you hire an attorney how do they get paid?

Generally, the attorney receives 25% of the back benefits for attorney fees (limited to a maximum of $6,000 in 2014) if they prevail and no attorney fees if they lose.
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What is the Social Security Disability hearing like?

At the Social Security disability hearing the claimant, claimants attorney, the judge, the judges assistant who operates a tape recorder and sometimes a medical doctor and/or a vocational expert requested by the judge will be present. The judge will conduct the hearing, hear testimony and remarks by the claimants attorney and the attorney will question the claimant and cross-exmine any experts and afterwards the judge will render a written decision regarding Social Security disability claim within 30-60 days.
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What happens if the Administrative Law Judge denies my Social Security disability claim at the hearing?

You can file a Social Security disability appeal to the Appeals Council which is located in Falls Church, Virginia who will review the case and make a decision. If denied by the Appeals Council then may be able to file an appeal with the United States District Court.
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What types of Social Security disability benefits are there?

There are five major types of Social Security disability benefits. One type is Disability Insurance Benefits which is for people who are disabled and have worked at least five out of the last ten years. The second type is Disabled Widow's and Widower's Benefits which are for people who are at least fifty years old and become disabled within seven years after the death of their spouse and the deceased spouse must have worked enough to be insured under Social Security. The third type is Disabled Adult Child Benefits which is for children who are disabled before age 22 who have parents who are on Social Security disability or receiving retirement benefits or are deceased. The fourth type is Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits which are for disabled people who are poor. You can receive Supplemental Security Income even if you have never worked. The fifth type is Supplemental Security Income child's disability benefits which is for children who are under 18 years old and disabled.
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If you get Social Security disability benefits do you also get Medicare?

If you get any type of Social Security disability benefits other than Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits you will get Medicare two years after the date you were found disabled and receiving Social Security disability benefits.
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If you get Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability benefits do you also get Medicaid?

If you receive SSI you are entitled to Medicaid. Sometimes you may be entitled to both Medicaid and Medicare if you get both SSI and some other type of Social Security disability benefit.
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