A: Social Security Disability are benefits payable to an individual under the
age of 65 who is no longer able to work because of a physical or mental
disability. An individual approved for Social Security Disability is also
awarded Medicare. Call Lopez & Lopez, P.A. to determine whether you are eligible
to apply for benefits.
Q: What is SSI?
A: SSI, or Supplemental Security Income, are benefits payable to an individual
under the age of 65 who is either a disabled child, or an adult who is disabled
and also meets the financial and asset requirements. An individual approved for
SSI is also awarded Medicaid. Call Lopez & Lopez, P.A. to determine whether you
are eligible to apply for these benefits.
Q: How long does the Social Security process take?
A: On average, it can take around two years from the time a claimant submits an
application for Social Security Disability (SSD) or Supplemental Security Income
(SSI) benefits before they are awarded benefits. In some cases, it can take
longer. Unfortunately, we have no control over the process.
Q: Why does this process take so long?
This process begins with filing an application. Once your application is filed,
the Office of Disability Determinations reviews and obtains medical evidence in
order to reach a determination. It takes approximately 120-160 days to receive a
decision from them. If you are denied, as most people are, you will need to
Request a Reconsideration within 60 days. It will take approximately another
120-160 days to receive a decision from the Office of Disability Determinations.
Should you be denied again on the Request for Reconsideration, you will need to
file a Request for Hearing before an Administrative Law Judge within 60 days
from the date of your denial. Once the Request for Hearing is filed, it can take
approximately 12 to 14 months to have your hearing scheduled due to the
tremendous backlog at the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review. After
your hearing, the judge usually will make a determination within 120 days;
however, there are no set guidelines as to when a decision has to be rendered.
Q: How can an attorney help me in obtaining my benefits?
A: Should you decide to hire an attorney, the attorney will receive a copy of
everything the Social Security Administration sends you regarding your benefits.
Therefore, the attorney is able to keep track of everything that is happening in
your claim. Furthermore, an attorney is able to make sure that your appeals are
filed in a timely manner, as you only have 60 days from each denial to file an
appeal. Finally, an attorney can help sort all of the medical evidence, prepare
your testimony for the hearing, and argue your case in front of the
Administrative Law Judge. Call Lopez & Lopez, P.A. for a free consultation.
Q: Why does the Social Security Administration keep sending me the same forms?
A: The Social Security Administration is obligated to obtain and update all medical
evidence on a regular basis. In order to update their file regarding your
disabling condition and your treating physicians, they must require you to fill
out these forms at each stage of the process.
Q: What happens if I get an unfavorable decision from the judge?
A: Should you be denied by the Administrative Law Judge, you may file an appeal to
the Appeals Council in Falls Church, Virginia. The Appeals Council will review
the judge's decision, all of the medical evidence reviewed by the judge, and any
additional evidence dated prior to the judge's decision that the judge did not
review. Currently, the Appeals Council process is taking 12 -18 months to issue a
decision. Should the Appeals Council also deny your claim, you have the right to
file an appeal in Federal Court.
Q: Why do they keep denying my claim?
Before having a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge, your claim is
handled strictly by Social Security Administration employees. These employees
are guided by certain restrictions that they must follow when reviewing your
medical evidence. Furthermore, they do not get the opportunity to talk to you
about your condition, as an Administrative Law Judge does. This is the reason
why most people are denied and must file a Request for a Hearing before an
Administrative Law Judge, who is not an employee of the Social Security
Administration and who will issue a complete and impartial new decision on your
Q: Once I win, how long does it take for my payments to start? A:
Your first monthly check should arrive within 60 days of your favorable
decision. Past-due benefits without a Workers' Compensation (W/C) or
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) offset usually take 60 to 90 days. An offset
may delay your past-due benefits up to six months.
Q: How far back will my past-due benefits go? A:
Past-due benefits may be paid back for up to one year prior to your initial
application date through the month of your favorable decision. However, if SSA
determines that you are disabled after the date of your application, then your
past-due benefits will be paid from your date of disability through the month of
your favorable decision.
Q: Why do I have to give SSA 5 months before my payments begin?
The waiting period is part of the Social Security Rules and Regulations and
everyone applying for and receiving Social Security Disability has to wait the
full five (5) calendar months from the date of disability before their benefits
Q: Why does Social Security offset my workers' compensation payments? A:
The offset is designed to eliminate a situation where disabled workers could
receive more from the combination of workers' compensation and Social Security
Disability benefits than they earned prior to the onset of disability. The
offset provisions are applicable before and after the settlement of a workers'
Q: When will my Medicare benefits begin?
Your Medicare benefits begin twenty-four (24) months from the date of
eligibility of monetary benefits. For example, if your date of disability is
01/01/2005, then your first month of entitlement to monetary benefits would be
06/01/2005. Therefore, you would be eligible for Medicare on 06/01/2007.