Frequently Asked Questions About Social Security Disability

What Is The Difference Between SSI And SSDI?

To be eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), you must be over age 65, blind or disabled, and have limited resources and income. This program is open to adults and children with disabilities. Eligibility for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is balanced on several factors, including your age, the amount of time you worked and amount paid into the Social Security system at the time you became disabled.

Will My Income Disqualify Me For Social Security Disability Benefits?

Social Security has special rules for what types of income they will count toward the income limit, and how they will count it. Even if it seems like your income may be over the limit, you may still qualify under their rules. Social Security counts the following types of income toward the income limit:

  • Money you earn from working
  • Money you receive from sources such as Social Security, retirement, alimony, child support or other benefits
  • The value of free food or shelter you may receive from a nongovernmental source
  • A portion of income earned by someone who lives with you, such as your spouse

What Is The Criteria For Social Security Disability Benefits?

SSA follows a stringent definition of disability. In order for an adult to be considered disabled for SSI or SSDI benefits, he or she must:

  1. Be unable to work above a certain earnings level
  2. Have a severe impairment that lasted or is expected to last 12 months, or result in death
  3. Have an impairment that must either:
  • Meet a listing
  • Medically equal a listing or
  • Prevent you from engaging in your prior work, and in any job in the national economy

SSA's listings are a list of medical and psychiatric impairments with specific symptoms present in a marked or severe degree. For example, though HIV/AIDS is a medical condition found in the listings, not every person diagnosed with HIV/AIDS will meet or medically equal the HIV/AIDS listing. To do so, the person must show the specific, marked symptoms detailed in the listings.

Can My Child Under The Age Of 18 Get SSI Benefits?

For a child under the age of 18 to be considered disabled for SSI benefits, he or she must:

  1. Have a severe impairment that lasted or is expected to last 12 months, or result in death and, either:
    • Meet a listing
    • Medically equal a listing or
    • Functionally equal a listing, because the impairment causes marked or severe limitations in the child's activities

If you do not meet Social Security's definition of disability, you will not be considered eligible for Social Security Disability benefits. However, you may be eligible for other benefits found on the Resources page.

What Are My Chances Of Winning My Claim?

Winning your claim depends on whether you can prove that you meet the SSA's definition of disability. While there are no guarantees of winning your case, working with an experienced lawyer who knows how to submit your required medical records and other evidence can greatly improve the chances of winning your claim.

How Long Is It Going To Take To Get Benefits?

The amount of time from your initial application to receiving benefits depends on many factors. However, if you have certain terminal illnesses, injuries received during military service, personal safety issues or can show dire need, you may be able to request that SSA speed up the process.

Why Was I Denied?

There are many reasons why your claim may have been denied. Some of those reasons are:

  • Doctors may not have sent in your medical records.
  • Your paperwork, including your application, may have been lost, or submitted to the wrong address.
  • The SSA claims office may not have been able to get in touch with you on the phone or by mail.

How Much Will It Cost To Hire An Attorney For My Claim?

An SSDI/SSI lawyer usually works on a contingency fee basis. This means that the attorney does not get paid attorney's fees unless he or she wins your case. However, even if your case is not approved, you will likely have to pay for costs such as fees for copies of your medical records.

For additional information about these frequently asked questions about SSDI/SSI claims or for help if your claim has been denied, contact Blevins Law, LLC, in Riverdale today to make an appointment. You may call my firm at 301-508-9623 or complete the convenient online form.