1) What are SSDI and SSI?
SSDI and SSI are both programs for the disabled. Both are administered by the Social Security Administration. Both provide cash benefits to those who qualify.
2) How can I apply for disability in Salt Lake City?
An initial application for SSDI may be done online. An applicant will need to have detailed information regarding their medical treatment history and employment history readily available for the application process. An SSI application may be done by telephone or in person at the disabled person’s local Social Security Office. Our law firm handles cases at all stages of the disability process, from the initial application stage through several levels of appeals that are available if the claim is denied.
3) How long does an application for SSI and/or SSDI take?
It depends on several factors, so not all cases will necessarily be decided within a set time frame. At this time and based on our experience, an initial decision is typically made within three to six months from the date of the application. If the initial decision is a denial, the applicant may then make a request for a reconsideration of the denial. At the reconsideration stage, a claim may again take about three to six months for a decision to be made. Then, if there is a denial of the reconsideration request, the application may request a hearing by an administrative law judge. It may take several months or slightly more than a year for the hearing to take place.
4) What qualifies an individual for Social Security disability or SSI in Salt Lake City?
This is a somewhat difficult and technical question. However, broadly speaking, to qualify for disability an individual must prove that he or she has a medical impairment or combination of impairments that have lasted or are expected to last at least twelve consecutive months and which make him or her incapable of performing any substantially gainful work in the national economy. That sounds like a mouthful. In simpler terms, this means that in order to qualify for disability, a person must show that he or she cannot work any regular full-time job because of their disabling condition.
5) What are some common disabilities?
Some of the conditions we have come across include, but are not limited to: Back injury, Degenerative Disc Disease, Spine Injuries, Herniated discs, Shoulder injury, Neck injury, Knee injury, Diabetes, Crohn’s Disease, Gastrointestinal disorders, Neuropathy, Neurological Disorders, Arthritis, Fibromyalgia, Carpal Tunnel syndrome, Traumatic Brain Injury, Migraine headaches, Hearing Difficulties, Vision Difficulties, Depression, Anxiety, Bipolar Disorder, Schizoaffective Disorder Schizophrenia, Mood Disorders, Learning Disabilities.
6) Are there special rules for older individuals who become disabled?
Yes, the Social Security Administration recognizes that the older an individual gets, the more difficult it may become to adjust to new employment if the person has serious medical condition(s). Special rules apply when a person reaches the age of fifty years or older.
7) What is the five month waiting period for SSDI disability benefits?
Once a disabled individual qualifies for SSDI, there is a five month waiting period from the onset date of disability until cash benefits begin to be paid to the disabled person. In certain cases it makes sense to apply for both SSI and SSDI because SSI might be able to pay cash benefits for this five month waiting period.
8) Will my education and work history be considered in determining if I am disabled?
Yes, Social Security uses a five-step sequential analysis for determining disability. They will look at the severity of the medical impairment(s), whether or not they meet one of Social Security’s “listings”, and whether or not the claimant can do their past relevant work, or any work that exists in significant numbers in the national economy. In making this decision, the person’s age, education, and work history are important considerations. A person with more limited education may have less jobs available to them in the national economy.
9) Should I hire a Salt Lake City social security disability attorney? If so, how much will it cost?
Of course! There are certain advantages to having an attorney which include, but are not limited to: assisting with preparation and development of the evidence in your case, representation at the hearing, experience in preparing appeals, having the ability to appeal a case to federal court. Our firm takes cases on contingency, meaning that we do not get paid unless you win your case. The amount of the fee is regulated by federal law. It is generally 25% of the amount of back benefits, limited to a maximum of $6,000 on any one case.
10) What are some differences between SSDI and SSI?
SSDI, or Social Security Disability Insurance, is a program for disabled individuals who have worked long enough and paid enough in social security taxes to obtain “insured status.” Paying social security taxes, which are generally withheld by an employer, is similar to paying a disability insurance premium. When enough social security taxes are paid, the person obtains what is termed “insured status”. Monthly cash benefits for the disabled person are determined based on his or her earnings history and are generally payable regardless of the person’s assets or other sources of income. There are certain exceptions to this, such as worker’s compensation offsets or public pension offsets. These exceptions are beyond the scope of this explanation. Once cash benefits are received by an eligible disabled individual for 24 consecutive months, that individual will then qualify for Medicare benefits. Medicare is a medical program administered by the federal government and is primarily available for the disabled and the aged (those over 65 years of age) who qualify. This medical benefit will help the disabled individual obtain the ongoing treatment they need for their disability, and, hopefully help them obtain improvement from their condition.
SSI, on the other hand, is a needs based program for the disabled. It is primarily available to disabled individuals who do not have enough work credits to qualify for “insured status.” Cash benefits are determined based on the individual’s needs, and are limited to a maximum monthly amount that is adjusted each year. Having too many assets or income will reduce or eliminate the disabled person’s cash benefits. The maximum monthly cash benefit for an eligible individual for the year 2014 is $721 per month. The maximum monthly cash benefit for an eligible individual with an eligible spouse for the year 2014 is $1,082. Unlike SSDI, SSI cash benefits will not qualify a disabled person for Medicare benefits. However, the disabled individual may be entitled to other medical benefits, such Medicaid. Generally speaking, Medicaid is a needs based medical program that is administered at the state level and is often available to disabled individuals who qualify.
When it comes the family law and social security disability, each client and case is different. It is also important to select an attorney with the experience, skills and professionalism required to address your legal issues. To learn more, contact the Salt Lake City law offices of Melvin A. Cook and schedule an initial consultation to discuss your case.