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Frequently Asked Questions About SSD Benefits

Social Security Disability Is Confusing. We Have Answers You Can Use.

Are you considering applying for Social Security disability benefits? If you are, you probably have many questions and concerns about the process and the Social Security Administration (SSA). As a special service, attorney Richard A. Jaffe has included a list of common questions related to disability and the rights of applicants.

Don't hesitate to call 866-800-3332 for a free consultation or to ask other questions you might have. At the Law Offices of Richard A. Jaffe, LLC, our goal is not only to help people obtain the benefits they deserve, to help them understand the process and know their rights.

Who is eligible for SSD benefits?

If you have worked in jobs covered by Social Security, you may be eligible. However, the government will need to determine that you have not been able to do any substantial work because of a disability, either physical or mental or both. You may be eligible if you expect the impairment to last at least 12 months or you expect the impairment to result in death.

What's more, you will generally need to be a U.S. resident and a citizen or a non-citizen lawfully admitted for permanent residence. There are a few exceptions for people who receive special status from the Immigration and Naturalization Service.

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What are the types of benefits?

The Social Security Disability Insurance benefits you may be eligible to receive are based on your prior income. The Social Security Administration uses a complex formula based on Average Indexed Monthly Earnings and Primary Insurance Amount. Your benefit likely will be different, but on average disabled workers receive $1,165 a month, according to the Social Security Administration's statistics in 2015. For people who qualify for Supplemental Security Income, which is a program for people with limited income who are disabled, blind, or 65 or older, the average monthly payment is $733 for individuals and $1,100 for couples, according to 2015 calculations.

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Am I eligible for SSDI or SSI?

SSDI and SSI are both government programs that provide benefits to the disabled, but they have key differences. If you have been working for a certain amount of time in a job that is covered by Social Security, you may be eligible for SSDI if you become disabled or develop some kind of physical or mental impairment that makes you unable to engage in substantial work. The government has strict criteria, which is why it's important to consult with an attorney in Philadelphia before applying. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) provides benefits to people based on financial need. If you are disabled or blind and have limited financial resources, you may be eligible to receive SSI. In certain instances, you may qualify for both SSDI and SSI, so you should consult with an experienced attorney to determine if you should complete a concurrent application for both benefits.

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How do I know if my disability makes me eligible for benefits?

You might know you are disabled, but the government still may deny your application for benefits. So how do you know if your condition is considered acceptable by the government? In general, the Social Security Administration will want to find out if you are able to do your past work. If you cannot do your prior work, then the government will seek to determine if you are able to do any other type of work. The SSA will look at factors such as your age, education, work experience and your health in making the decision. Attorney Richard A. Jaffe can help present your case to the government, which will significantly boost your chances of getting a successful result.

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What happens to my SSD benefits when I turn 65?

Most people know that when they turn 65 they will be entitled to receive Social Security retirement benefits. If you are disabled and receiving SSDI payments, you simply will begin receiving retirement benefits on your 65th birthday.

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How do I apply for SSD benefits?

There are several ways to apply for disability benefits. You can fill out an application online by visiting the Social Security Administration's website or by calling the agency. But the process can be complicated. It's easy to make an error on your application that can result in the rejection of your claim. That's why it's wise to consult with a seasoned disability lawyer like Richard A. Jaffe before submitting your application. It's important to contact us promptly to help you get started. A majority of claims are rejected during the initial determination stage. If you've already applied and were denied, talk to us immediately about your options. You should not give up, because with the help of an attorney you may increase your chances of getting approved during an appeal.

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What information does SSA want when applying for benefits?

Before you apply for SSDI or SSI benefits, you will need to gather certain documents. The Social Security Administration will need not only to examine evidence of your disability but also will need to know that you are a U.S. citizen or that you are a lawful alien if you were not born in the United States.

The process of obtaining benefits can be lengthy, but having the right documents ready may help you avoid delays. The following are documents you may be asked to provide to show you are eligible:

  • Birth certificate or some other proof of birth (must be original document, not a copy)
  • Birth certificate of spouse or children (original document)
  • Proof you are a U.S. citizen or lawful alien status if not born here
  • Discharge documents from the U.S. Military (if you served prior to 1968)
  • A copy of your W-2 forms from the previous year and/or self-employment tax returns
  • Medical or doctor reports, as well as any recent results of medical tests performed on you
  • Details about your illness or conditions
  • Your work history

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How long do I need to work to be eligible for SSD?

The government requires applicants to have worked for five out of the last 10 years.

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Can my child receive disability benefits?

Depending on the circumstances, a child may be eligible for Supplemental Security Income. Your child must meet the definition of disability for children. He or she must be under 18 years old or 21 or younger and a student regularly attending school. The disability must be a physical or mental impairment that results in "marked and severe functional limitations" and the condition is expected to last a year or result in death. Furthermore, your child must not be working and earning more than a specified amount that changes each year.

If you are applying on behalf of your child, you will need to provide SSA with detailed information about the child's medical condition and about how the condition affects your child's ability to perform daily activities. You also will need to allow the government to have access to medical information from your child's doctors, teachers, therapists and possibly other professionals.

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