Frequently Asked Questions About Social Security Disability

Social Security Disability FAQ


What sort of disability benefits are offered by the government?

There are two disability benefits programs offered by the United States Social Security Administration (SSA): Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). The first is available to individuals who have paid into Social Security taxes while working over a certain period of time, while the latter provides benefits based on financial need. SSDI benefits are paid to applicants who satisfy a certain criteria (disability and time spent in the workforce), while SSI benefits are typically paid only to individuals who show total rather than partial or short-term disability.


What is Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)?

This federal assistance is provided to individuals with disabilities through Social Security Disability programs administered by the Social Security Administration. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is benefits paid to you and certain members of your family if you are considered insured by certain medical and legal criteria. To receive SSDI you must have worked and paid Social Security taxes for a specified amount of "credited" years. Attorney Maggie R. Schott is familiar with these requirements and can help determine if you are eligible to receive SSDI benefits.


What is Supplemental Security Income (SSI)?

This federal program is funded by general tax revenues rather than Social Security taxes, and benefits are paid out based on financial need. SSI is designed for those who are blind, aged, or otherwise disabled and have little income. They are designed to provide cash to meet basic food, clothing and shelter needs. There are certain eligibility requirements that must be met in order for an individual to receive SSI benefits, including age and disability, limited income and resources, and certain residency requirements. Call 509-209-9668 to speak with Social Security attorney Maggie R. Schott and see if you or a loved one qualifies for SSI benefits.


What is total disability?

By claiming total disability, you are indicating that you cannot do the work you were able to do before, you cannot work at a different job as a result of your medical condition, and you expect your disability to last at least one year or result in death. You are also required to have a certain number of earned work credits, which are based on your total annual income or earnings from self-employment. This requirement depends on how old you were when you became disabled. For more information about eligibility criteria for total disability or eligibility based on work credits, visit the Social Security Administration's website.


When am I eligible to apply for SSDI benefits?

You can apply for SSDI benefits immediately after you have suffered a disability-causing incident. Since SSDI applications can take months to process, it's crucial that you file for these benefits as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the longer it might take for you to be approved, holding you back from the disability benefits you deserve. When you are approved, the final amount you will receive depends on your lifetime average earnings covered by the Social Security Administration (SSA). You can try the SSA's benefits calculator to estimate what you may receive – however, this calculator isn't 100 percent accurate, and it's always best to speak with a Social Security legal consultant about your individual situation.


What if my application is denied?

If the SSA denies your SSDI application, you are not out of options. The Law Office of Maggie R. Schott, PLLC, can help you file a request for reconsideration, which must be filed within 60 days of your initial claim denial. If that request isn't successful, together we can obtain a hearing in front of an administrative law judge. For this hearing, we will help you prepare for testifying before the judge, as well as consult your doctors for information and documentation that will help prove your disability.


Can I return to work if I'm still getting Social Security benefits?

Yes. There are special rules in place set by the government that can help individuals get back to work without jeopardizing the initial benefits they receive. The SSA even allows a trial work period in some cases, in which you can have nine months to test whether or not you will be able to return to work fully. If you are receiving disability benefits and your condition improves or you return to work, you must notify your local Social Security office.


How long will it take to get a reply after applying for disability benefits?

Once an application for Social Security Disability has been received, it can take anywhere from three to five months for a decision to be made. The time it takes varies depending on the nature of your disability, how quickly medical evidence of your disability can be retrieved from your doctor or other medical source, whether you must be required to have a medical examination, and whether or not your application is reviewed for quality purposes.


Will my Social Security benefits be reduced if I'm getting workers' compensation or other public disability benefits?

It depends. If you are already receiving benefits from workers' compensation from a job-related injury or a public disability payment (such as civil service disability, temporary state disability, or state or local government retirement disability), your Social Security benefits may be reduced. If the combined total amount your family receives from your workers' compensation payments, public disability payments and Social Security benefits exceeds 80 percent of your average earnings before you were injured or fell ill, the SSA may reduce your Social Security benefits.


Can I still qualify for Social Security Disability benefits if I'm getting veterans benefits?

You may not qualify for Social Security Disability benefits even if you meet the requirements for veterans disability. Eligibility for each program is different, and applications are considered on a case-by-case basis. Consult a Spokane Social Security Disability lawyer if you are unsure about whether or not you may be able to receive benefits in addition to your veterans disability.


Contact Us Today For More Information

Please call us at 509-209-9668 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation at our Spokane, Washington, office.