People don’t always understand that there are two types of social security disability: Social Security Disability (SSD) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). SSD is the one you pay into when you’re working. You can only get it if you worked full time for enough quarters to earn that payment and pay into the system. It’s a higher monthly payment but it’s harder to get. It’s like an insurance program, you don’t get it unless you’re paying into it and when you stop paying into it, it expires.
If your SSD expires or you’ve never worked full time, or if you’re a stay at home mom or worked part time, SSI is the poverty-based benefit that you may be eligible for. SSI is less per month and you have to be below a certain poverty level to be eligible for it. If you own a house, have a spouse who worked or have retirement income, you wont be eligible.
How does someone go about claiming Social Security Disability?
If you want to claim SSD or SSI, you can go online to SSA.gov and fill out the application. It’s self-explanatory and has mainly questions about your personal life and medical situation. It’s easy, it’s online and all of the information that is needed is direct personal knowledge. Once the application is filed, it goes to the Social Security Administration and it starts the whole process.
If you are unaware of which type of social security you are eligible for, you can apply for both on the application and they will tell you which, if either, you can apply for. Once they figure out which one you are eligible for, then they go into determining if you have a disability that fits to actually receive it.
When would you need an attorney?
After you fill out the application, it puts you in a line. The difference between doing it on your own and having an attorney is that an attorney can update your medical records often. In the beginning, social security is ordering your records and initially, everyone usually gets denied. Once you are denied, you will appeal the decision and this is often when people will look to hire an attorney. If you can, it’s ideal to get an attorney before that first appeal because you have a short deadline and it’s hard to understand the appeal process. If you have an attorney, if and when you are denied, you have an attorney that knows how to file the appeal. Once you file that appeal, you will probably be denied again. After you appeal for a second time, you and your attorney will get access to the system and be able to upload medical records. Once you’ve been denied twice, you’re in line for a hearing. It can take one to two years after your attorney requests a hearing to actually get one, so during that time, your attorney will order and upload medical records so once you get to that hearing, you are prepared for it.
If you aren’t represented, your hearing is shorter, you don’t get as much consideration and you may not be able to update your medical records because it is expensive and time consuming. An attorney will handle your appeals and summarize your medical records for the judge, which is how you will win if your medical records show you meet certain requirements to be considered disabled. An attorney has no control over the scheduling or when things happen. They don’t make it faster, but they help make it better for you in that they are paying to update your records and making sure the judge knows what’s wrong with you so you don’t have to do that yourself. With an attorney by your side, you’re making a stronger case for yourself.
If you are dealing with social security disability and are considering getting an attorney, contact Stewart & Stewart. Give us a call at 1-800-33-33-LAW or visit our website for more information.