Frequently Asked Questions About SSDI and SSI

Frequently Asked Questions

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Frequently Asked Questions About Disability Benefits

If you are in the process of applying for Social Security Disability benefits, currently undergoing the process, or have recently been denied, it’s natural to have a list of questions. Here in our FAQ section, we hope to help you find the answers you’re looking for. Should you have additional questions or wish to speak directly with one of our attorneys, at 602-691-6597, at 888-SLEPIAN or by email.

How does Social Security define disability?

The Social Security Disability Act defines a disability as the “Inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months.”

What is the Difference Between SSDI and SSI Benefits?

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a federal “insurance program” intended to support individuals who are disabled and cannot work. Eligibility for SSDI requires having made contributions to the program through Social Security for a specified duration.

On the other hand, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a program funded by tax revenues that offers monthly benefits to individuals with disabilities, particularly those with limited income and minimal assets. In certain situations, SSI benefits may extend to children as well.

How do I apply for Social Security Disability benefits?

In order to initiate the process of applying for Social Security Disability benefits, it is necessary to provide a birth certificate or documentation verifying citizenship. The Social Security Administration (SSA) will conduct a thorough inquiry into various aspects of your life, encompassing work history, health, family, marital status, and background. To ensure a proper and accurate application for Social Security Disability benefits, it is advisable to visit the SSA website for comprehensive guidance and instructions.

How does the SSA determine if I am disabled?

Once your application is submitted, the SSA will collect your medical records and assess your disability using multiple criteria, such as your previous employment history, age, health conditions, and educational background. They will determine whether you are still capable of performing your previous work and, if not, identify alternative job opportunities that may be feasible within the current job market.

What is reconsideration?

After the initial application process, your claim will undergo a review and can either be approved or denied. In the event of a denial, you have the opportunity to request reconsideration, which involves a fresh evaluation of your case by a different disability examiner and medical or psychological consultant within the same agency.

What is a disability hearing?

In the event that your claim is denied at the reconsideration level, you have the option to file an appeal and proceed to a disability hearing conducted by an administrative law judge (ALJ). This hearing serves as a platform for your disability attorney to present arguments on your behalf before the ALJ, who will subsequently render a decision regarding your qualification for Social Security Disability benefits.

How long do I have to wait for a hearing?

The wait time for a hearing varies from state to state. Currently, in Arizona, the estimated wait time is between 16 and 18 months.

Do I need to hire a disability attorney?

While the Social Security Administration does not mandate that claimants enlist the services of a Social Security Disability lawyer, working with a knowledgeable disability attorney can greatly increase the likelihood of achieving a favorable outcome at every step of the process.

What are the benefits of hiring a Social Security Disability attorney?

The process of applying for Social Security Disability benefits can be intricate and challenging, often causing frustration. The SSA has extensive rules and regulations outlined in thousands of pages within their code.

However, by enlisting the assistance of a disability lawyer, your chances of success can be significantly increased. A lawyer will provide valuable support in organizing your case, guiding you through the application process, collecting essential medical records, and presenting your case in the most advantageous manner.

How much money will I receive if my claim is approved?

Several factors determine the amount an approved claimant receives in Social Security Disability benefits. The national average is approximately $1,350 per month.

If my claim is approved, can I work?

If you are granted approval for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), you will have the opportunity to engage in employment for a trial period of up to nine months to assess your ability to work with your disability. It is important to note that if your earnings exceed $1,470 per month (or $2,460 if you are blind) in 2023, your benefits may be discontinued. For individuals eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), their benefits will be adjusted based on their income.

If you currently receive disability benefits and have the intention of reentering the workforce, it is advisable to consult with the Social Security Administration to determine the specific limit on your earnings.

If my claim is approved, will I receive Medicare?

If you are approved for any Social Security Disability benefit other than Supplemental Security Income (SSI), you will become eligible for Medicare after being entitled to Social Security Disability benefits for two years.

How much does it cost to hire a disability lawyer?

The fees for Social Security Disability claimants are regulated by Congress and subject to approval by the Social Security Administration. These fees equate to 25% of any retroactive benefits you receive. As of 2023, the maximum fee allowable is $7,200 or 25%, whichever is lower.

Our law firm operates on a contingency fee basis, meaning we will only receive compensation if you successfully obtain the benefits you are entitled to. It is important to highlight that involving our law firm in your case has the potential to increase the amount of retroactive benefits awarded. For instance, if you have a previous claim that we can reopen, you may be able to access additional years of retroactive benefits.

*Please note that the above information is for general guidance purposes only and should not be considered legal advice. For personalized assistance, please contact our law firm directly for a free consultation.

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Arizona Disability
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3737 North 7th St., Suite 106
Phoenix, AZ 85014
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