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Our Social Security Disability FAQs

How To Apply For Social Security Disability

There are several ways to start a Social Security Disability claim. You can contact our law firm for a free brochure describing the application process in Illinois.

If your claim is only for SSDI, you can file it on the SSA’s online application. If your claim is for both SSDI and SSI or SSI only, you must either go to your local Social Security office or call SSA at 800-772-1213.

Statistics show that people with quality representation have a greater chance of having their applications approved. Our experience shows that the earlier in the process a disability lawyer can get involved, the stronger the claim will be.

What Medical Conditions Qualify for Social Security Disability?

The Social Security Administration has a guidebook, known as the Blue Book, that breaks down each listing of these impairments by the organ systems affected, symptoms, and what can help a person qualify for disability benefits. There are also listings for children and adults with a disability.

While we cannot outright list every disabling condition from this guidebook, our attorneys with Jeffrey A. Rabin & Associates, Ltd., have broken down several common physical and psychological conditions on our site.

What Does Social Security Mean By ‘Totally Disabled’?

Social Security Disability benefits are often available to people who are suffering from medical problems that produce symptoms so severe that they are unable to work or perform daily tasks. The Social Security Act requires that the medical proof document regarding your ability not to be able to work be for a period that has lasted, or is expected to last, at least 12 months, or result in death. This is the basic requirement for the two disability programs — SSDI and SSI.

What Is Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)?

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits are available for those people who have worked and paid FICA taxes for a sufficient number of quarters, and who are suffering from medical impairments that make it impossible to sustain any type of work activity. These requirements are adjusted for people who are less than 28 years old.

SSDI benefits may also be available for disabled widows/widowers who are more than 50 years old and who became disabled within seven years of their spouse’s death. This also applies to individuals who can prove that they became totally disabled before age 22 and who have a parent on SSDI or the SSI retirement program.

What Is Supplemental Security Income (SSI)?

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits are available for people who are disabled and who are “indigent.” “Indigent” is based upon your assets and income and essentially means that you have no money coming into the household other than child support or TANF benefits for children.

What Diseases Qualify For SSDI Or SSI?

Any “medically determinable impairment” that makes it impossible for you to work for at least 12 months can qualify for disability benefits. At The Law Offices of Jeffrey A Rabin & Associates, Ltd., we have successfully represented people with many different medical problems including chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, lupus, reflex sympathetic dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, ankylosing spondylitis, chronic headaches, depression, hepatitis C, PTSD, bipolar disorder, multiple chemical sensitivities, congestive heart failure, asthma, emphysema, diabetes, cancer, Huntington’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and other chronic pain disorders.

Can You Apply For SSDI While Working?

Yes, you can apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) while working, but there are specific criteria and limitations. In general, you must have a medical condition that prevents you from engaging in substantial gainful activity (SGA), which means earning a certain amount of income. If your earnings exceed the SGA limit set by the Social Security Administration, your application may be denied.

Why Was My Application Denied?

Most claims are denied because you are not seeing the proper specialists, have inadequate medical records, misunderstood medical requirements for disability, or because of a mistake by the SSA. The administration rarely denies that you have a medical diagnosis, or that you are impaired, but does deny that you proved the legal requirement of being “totally disabled.”

How Long Does It Take To Get Approved For Disability?

The backlogs are serious at all levels of the application and review process. The severity of the backlog varies nationwide. While SSA is working on this problem, it can easily take as long as 18 months to go from the initial application to an administrative law judge hearing.

How Much Will I Get From Disability?

The amount you receive on SSDI is based upon a fairly complex formula involving your FICA tax rate, personal earnings, and more.

You should have received a Personal Earnings Statement in the last year that confirmed your yearly earnings and told you how much you would receive for retirement benefits and disability benefits.

How Do I Get Medicare?

Medicare is the federal government’s health insurance program and is available to people on retirement or SSDI. If you are on SSDI, you will become Medicare eligible on the 30th month after your onset date, that is, the date that Social Security says you became totally disabled.

How Do I Get Medicaid?

Medicaid is the joint federal-state health insurance program that covers certain categories of people. One of those categories is “totally disabled” so that when your SSI claim is approved you will be Medicaid eligible.

Is Social Security Disability Benefits Taxable?

SSDI benefits may be taxable depending on your total family taxable income. For example, a person filing as an “individual” with a combined income between $25,000 and $34,000 would have to pay income taxes on 50 percent of the SSDI benefits. If the combined income is more than $34,000 then 85 percent of the SSDI benefit is taxable. You should consult with an experienced tax expert when your claim is approved to make certain that you plan for any tax liabilities.

What Does A Disability Lawyer Do For Me?

Your disability lawyer will offer guidance and assistance to you as you apply for Social Security Disability benefits. They provide expert advice on requirements and help claimants navigate the complex application and appeals process. They will also ensure that applications are complete and supported by relevant medical evidence, represent claimants during appeals, and hearings before administrative law judges, and advocate for claimants’ rights.

Additionally, your disability lawyer communicates with the Social Security Administration, organizes medical records, and may provide representation in federal court if necessary. Their goal is to increase the likelihood of a successful outcome and secure the benefits the claimants are entitled to.

How Much Does Social Security Disability Pay?

Our lawyers work on a contingency fee basis — that means no money upfront, no hourly fees. In most cases, our fee is limited to the lesser 25 percent of your back benefits up to a maximum of $5,300 in 2004. Our fees must be approved by Social Security, and we file our fee agreement with SSA in every case.

Will I Lose My Disability Benefits If I Get Married?

No, getting married does not automatically result in the loss of Social Security Disability benefits. Your spouse’s income and resources may be considered when determining if you are eligible as well as your benefit amount for SSI.

How Long Does An SSI Appeal Take?

On average, it can take several months to over a year for a decision to be reached. If further appeals are necessary, such as requesting a hearing before an administrative law judge, the process can take longer, often ranging from an additional six months to a year.

How To Increase Social Security Disability Payments

The amount of your Social Security Disability payments is determined by your average lifetime earnings and the amount of Social Security taxes you have paid. It is not possible to directly increase the payment amount. However, there are a few things you can to do indirectly affect your benefit amount:

  1. Request an SSA review of your earnings record: Occasionally, errors or missing information in your earnings record can result in lower benefit amounts.
  2. Explore other benefit programs: Another way to cut costs is to explore government benefit programs that cover food, housing, or medical costs.

Why Would Social Security Disability Benefits Be Suspended?

Social Security Disability benefits can be suspended for various reasons. Here are a few common scenarios:

  1. Medical improvement: The SSA conducts periodic reviews, known as Continuing Disability Reviews (CDRs), to assess whether your disability still meets the Blue Book criteria.
  2. Returning to substantial gainful activity (SGA): If your earnings exceed the SGA limit set by the Social Security Administration, your benefits may be suspended. The SGA limit changes annually and is higher for individuals who are blind.
  3. Failure to cooperate: If you fail to provide the requested information or cooperate with the SSA during the application or review process, your benefits may be suspended.
  4. Crime: If you are convicted of a criminal offense and confined to a correctional institution for more than 30 continuous days, your SSDI benefits will be suspended. SSI benefits are typically suspended after 30 days of jail time.

Can You Work Part Time On Disability?

Yes, it is possible to work part-time while receiving Social Security Disability benefits. If you receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), you can participate in a trial work period during which you can work and earn income without jeopardizing your benefits. In 2023, any month in which your earnings exceed $940 (or $2,100 if you are blind) is considered a trial work period month.

After the trial work period, if your earnings are above the substantial gainful activity (SGA) limit, which is $1,310 per month (or $2,190 for blind individuals) in 2023, your benefits may be affected.

How Can I Get More Information?

Call, email, or write to us. There is no fee for an initial phone consultation — our office telephone number is 847-652-9114; our toll-free number is 888-529-0600. You can email us from this website.

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