FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Understanding the Social
Security Disability Qualifications
Who is Eligible for Disability Benefits from Social Security?
Under Social Security rules, you’re only considered disabled (and eligible for benefits) if a medical condition or injury is expected to keep you from working for at least 12 months (or result in death). Your disability can be a physical condition, a mental condition or a combination of both.
How Long Does it Take to Obtain My Disability Benefits Once a Claim for Benefits is Filed?
It can take approximately four months to receive a decision on your initial application. If your application is denied, it can take an additional year and a half to get a decision as your claim works its way through the appeals process. However, certain circumstances can shorten that time period, so let our attorneys determine if any are applicable to your case.
Does My Age Matter When Trying to Receive Disability Benefits?
Yes. The Social Security Administration looks at age as one of the factors when determining disability. The administration evaluates age as follows:
- 18-49 is a younger worker;
- 50-54 is closely approaching advanced age;
- 55-59 is advanced age;
- 60-64 is closely approaching retirement age.
The Social Security Administration’s rules take into consideration that as people get older, they become less adaptable and less able to switch to different jobs to cope with health problems.
Can I Collect Social Security Disability Benefits While I Work?
Special rules make it possible for people receiving Social Security Disability benefits to work part-time and still receive monthly payments.
A trial work period allows you to test your ability to work for at least nine months. During your trial work period, you will receive your full Social Security benefits regardless of how much you are earning as long as you report your work activity and you continue to have a disabling impairment.
After your trial work period, you have 36 months during which you can work and still receive benefits for any month your earnings are not “substantial.”
How Long Do I Have to Wait After Becoming Disabled Before I can File for Social Security Disability Benefits?
You can file for Social Security Disability benefits as soon as you become disabled. Anyone who suffers a serious illness or injury and is expected to be out of work for a year or more should file a claim. In some cases the claim should be filed right away, but in some cases it is better to wait until you have been disabled for 6 months or more. The disability attorneys at The Morgan Law Firm will review your situation and give you advice as to when is the best time for you to file your claim.
Can I Get Social Security Disability Benefits and Workers’ Compensation?
Yes, you can file a claim for Workers’ Comp and Social Security Disability benefits.
While the two benefit systems are completely separate, the Social Security Administration may lower your disability payments by the amount of your Workers’ Compensation benefits, by taking what’s called an “offset.”
How can I Improve My Chances of Winning My Social Security Disability Claim?
First, be honest and thorough when reporting your condition to Social Security. People are sometimes embarrassed to report psychological difficulties or learning disabilities, even though both can be important factors in receiving benefits. As you fill out forms regarding your limitations, think in terms of what you can’t do, not what you can do. Hiring a lawyer will also improve your chances; Social Security’s own numbers show that people with legal counsel are much more likely to win benefits. Contact our office. We’d be happy to talk.
What are the Biggest Mistakes People Make When Trying to Get Disability Benefits?
Failing to Hire a Representative can be a costly mistake. The Social Security Administration has complex rules and regulations. A skilled representative can help by looking into all the facts and setting up the strongest case based on your age, education and work experience. The attorneys at The Morgan Law Firm have successfully represented thousands of claimants and have the skills it takes to win your case.
- Waiting Too Long to File – You should file immediately after an injury, as delays tend to lessen your chances of winning benefits.
- Insufficient Proof – Be sure to visit your doctor regularly and maintain a record of the hospital visits and problems you encounter day to day. These records will serve as proof to substantiate your claim.
- Starting Over – If your initial claim is rejected, you should appeal the decision. Many people make the mistake of filing a fresh application, which causes serious delays.
What are the Important Deadlines I Should Watch?
INITIAL FILING—You need to apply for Social Security Disability benefits within a certain timeframe (usually five years) after you’re unable to work. However, every month you wait will reduce the total amount of benefits. If you wait longer than five years to apply, you may not qualify for any benefits. We strongly recommend that you apply for Social Security Disability benefits as soon as you are unable to work.
APPEAL – The next important deadline is the appeal. If your initial claim is denied (and most are), you’ll only have 60 days from the date of your decision letter to file an appeal with Social Security. If you don’t file an appeal within 60 days, you give up your rights to the appeal process. Even worse, you’ll have to start the application process all over again. We strongly recommend you engage an attorney to help you file your appeal.
FEDERAL APPEAL – If your claim qualifies for benefits, but has been denied on appeal, it can still be appealed outside the Social Security system by appealing in Federal court.
Are Social Security Disability Benefits Permanent?
Social Security Disability benefits are designed to last for the long term. They generally won’t end until your health problems ease and you can return to work, or until you reach retirement age, whichever comes first. Once you reach retirement age under Social Security rules, you’ll switch to receiving retirement benefits.
Are Social Security Disability Benefits Taxable?
You may not have to pay taxes on your Social Security Disability benefits, but in some situations, a portion of your benefits can be taxable.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
What is Supplemental Security Income (SSI)?
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a program for people with little or no income or resources that have not paid enough money into the Social Security system to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits.
If you have a disability and have not paid enough into Social Security, you may qualify for SSI. The monthly amount for SSI is based on financial need and determined by several factors including household income, your entitlement to SSD benefits, long-term disability benefits and/or Workers’ Compensation benefits.
Questions About Social
Security Disability Denials
My Doctor Says I’m Disabled. Why is Social Security Denying My Disability Claim?
It could be any number of reasons. Doctors don’t always know what constitutes a disability under Social Security rules, so we make sure they describe and present your information in a way that makes sense to the Social Security Administration. We’ll help you collect, evaluate and present your evidence for the maximum chance of success.
Social Security Said that I Would be Able to Return to Work. Should I Wait to See if My Health Improves or Should I Appeal?
You have a limited time to appeal your initial denial – don’t wait to see if your health improves. Contact The Morgan Law Firm today. Let our experience help get you the benefits you deserve.
WillThe Morgan Law Firm Represent Me at a Hearing if One is Necessary?
Absolutely. We’re not like some firms where you won’t meet your attorney or representative until moments before your hearing. We’ll work with you and meet with you in-person before your hearing ever takes place.
How Do I Prepare for My Disability Hearing?
When you have a disability benefits hearing coming up, you want to go in knowing what to expect.
An experienced disability lawyer can help you prepare, and help you feel more confident talking to a disability judge.
Working with a Social Security
Disability Law Firm
What is the Difference Between a Lawyer and a Non-Attorney Advocate?
Non-attorneys are allowed to help people under the Social Security Administration’s rules. They may not have the expertise necessary to help you. They are not lawyers. They can help you file your initial claim, but if your claim is denied (and most are) you will want legal counsel to proceed to the next step.
If you have questions about your eligibility, you should probably be working with an attorney.
How Much Does it Cost to Hire The Morgan Law Firm for My Social Security Disability Claim?
The law regulates attorneys’ fees in Social Security Disability cases. So virtually every disability lawyer works on the same fee basis. The lawyer’s fee is 25% of the past due disability benefits you get. There is no fee if you don’t win.
Why Should I Hire The Morgan Law Firm?
At The Morgan Law Firm, we take time to listen to you. And when you find yourself in need of disability benefits, you want personal attention to help you get the benefits you need.
Attorney Anne Morgan will personally handle every Social Security case. That way you’re sure to get the personal attention you deserve. You will meet with Anne more than once during your case – unlike some firms from outside of Indiana.
In fact, when you try to call attorneys at some firms, you don’t get a call back or you’re handed off to a paralegal or secretary. We think you deserve better. So when you want personal representation for your Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income case, call us first.
I’m Interested in Talking with The Morgan Law Firm. What Should I do Next?
Contact our office today. We’ll arrange a consultation to determine whether you qualify for Social Security Disability benefits. If you do, we’ll help you start the proceedings for the best chance to win.