Social Security FAQ

Q: Am I eligible for Social Security benefits? Should I apply?

A: If you are unemployed and unable to get back to work, you may be eligible for Social Security benefits if your impairment will last for more than a year or could result in death. Check the Social Security Administration's list of impairments to determine whether your condition qualifies you.

Q: When should I file a claim for disability?

A: The Social Security Administration recommends you file as soon as possible after an injury.

Q: How long does the disability claims process take?

A: The initial determination of eligibility occurs within 120 days of filing your claim. Reconsideration requests take a further 90 days. The appeals hearing stage can take over a year. Beyond that, appeals that reach the federal courts can take several years to decide.

Q: What are the differences between SSDI and SSI?

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSD)

Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

Eligibility

In order to receive benefits, an individual must be totally disabled and have paid Social Security taxes in the past.

An individual must meet the following criteria:

  • Have limited income
  • Have limited assets
  • Be a U.S. citizen or qualifying non-resident
  • Live in the United States or outlying territories

Payment

Monthly disability payments are based on the Social Security earnings record of the insured worker.

Payments are need-based. Some states add money to federal SSI payments.

Medical Coverage

Individuals on SSD will receive Medicare benefits automatically after being on disability for two years.

In most states, individuals are automatically qualified to receive Medicaid benefits when on SSI.

For More Information

Social Security Disability

Supplemental Security Income

Q: What if I do not file my disability appeal on time?

A: If you have not filed your appeal within 65 days of the date on the denial letter sent from the Social Security Administration, you have to start over with a new claim. That new claim may result in the loss of back benefits.

Q: How can a Social Security Disability Insurance attorney help me?

A: An attorney will be able to assist you in appealing your denial of benefits by using their expertise in SSDI cases to build your argument for benefits and then make your case at the subsequent hearings. Some examples of what a SSDI attorney does include:

  • Gathering information from treating physicians
  • Refer claimants to specialists for medical reports that make for a more solid case at appeals hearings
  • Commission a vocational expert's evaluation on the claimant's inability to work
  • Ask the SSA that a prior application that was denied be reopened
  • Ask for deadline extensions or a waiver of time requirements
  • Coach the claimant on how to act and respond appropriately at an appeal hearing
  • Act as an advocate at the appeal hearing by cross-examining witnesses, objecting to evidence and procedures that are improper, and giving a closing statement
  • Make sure the SSA correctly calculates benefits
  • If the appeal is unsuccessful, request a rehearing by the Appeals Council

Contact Lein Law Offices to schedule a free consultation with an experienced Hayward, Wisconsin, Social Security Disability lawyer. We are local attorneys serving the needs of our local clients for over 25 years.