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Social Security Disability Benefit FAQs

Whether you are just applying for social security disability, are in the middle of the process, or have recently been denied social security disability benefits, you probably have lots of questions. Here are a few we get on a regular basis. If you have more questions or would like to talk directly with our attorney, Jonathan L. Pearson, contact us at 312-999-0999312-999-0999.

How Does Social Security Define Disability?

Disability is defined by the Social Security Act as the "Inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months."

What Are The Social Security Benefits SSDI And SSI?

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a federal "insurance program" for people who are disabled and are unable to work. Like other types of insurance, you must have paid into it to qualify and be covered, that is, paid Social Security for the required time period. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a program funded by tax revenues and pays monthly benefits to people with disabilities who have low income and few material assets. In some circumstances, children may qualify for SSI.

How Do I Apply For Social Security Disability Benefits?

In order to apply for Social Security disability benefits, you will need to have a birth certificate or proof of citizenship. They will ask you detailed questions about your life including: work history, health, family, marriage, and background. Visit the SSA website to make sure that you have properly applied for Social Security disability benefits.

How Does Social Security Determine If I Am Disabled?

After you submit your application for Social Security disability benefits, Social Security will gather your medical records and evaluate whether you are disabled through numerous criteria including your prior work experience, age, health problems, and education. Social Security then determines if you are able to do your past work and if not, what jobs you can do in the economy.

What Is Reconsideration And How Do I Apply For It?

After the initial application process, the claim is either approved or denied. If the claim is denied, a claimant can request further review. The process of reconsideration entails having a different disability examiner at the same agency review your case for a second chance at getting Social Security disability benefits. However, it is very rare that the SSA issues a reconsideration approval. In fact, the entire process of reconsideration is currently being considered to be amended and replaced with a new process where a federal reviewing officer will be reviewing the claims.

What Is A Disability Hearing?

If a claimant is rejected at the reconsideration level, he or she can file an appeal to have a hearing in front of an administrative law judge (ALJ). The hearing is your day in court, where your disability attorney argues your case in front of an ALJ and the ALJ makes a determination whether your case warrants Social Security disability benefits.

How Long Do I Have To Wait For A Hearing?

Every state has different average wait times for a hearing. Some states are as few as nine months and others more than a year. To get an idea of how long the wait time could be in your state, check out the newsletter at If you are waiting for an Illinois disability hearing, click here.

Do I Need To Hire A Disability Lawyer?

The Social Security Administration does not require a claimant to be represented by a Social Security disability lawyer. However, an Illinois disability lawyer can greatly increase your chances of succeeding at every stage of the process.

What Are The Benefits Of Hiring a Social Security Disability Lawyer?

Applying for Social Security disability benefits can be complicated and frustrating. The SSA code has thousands of pages of intricate interweaved rules and regulations. Hiring a disability lawyer to be by your side through every stage of the process can greatly increase your chances of winning your claim. A lawyer will help you organize your case and apply for the appropriate disability benefits, obtain necessary medical records, and present your case in the most favorable light.

How Much Money Will I Get If I Win?

There are numerous factors that go into what a claimant will receive per month from their Social Security disability benefits. The national average is about $1100 per month.

If My Claim Is Approved, Can I Work?

If you are approved for SSDI, you have the option of working for nine months to see if you are able to work given your disability. However, if you earn more than $1070 per month (for 2014), your benefits can be revoked. If you qualify for SSI, your benefits will be reduced by how much you work. If you are receiving disability benefits and want to go back to work, talk to Social Security to see what your earnings limit will be.

If My Claim Is Approved Will I Get Medicare?

If you are approved for any Social Security disability benefit other than SSI, you will get Medicare after you have been entitled to Social Security disability benefits for two years.

How Much Does It Cost To Hire A Disability Attorney?

Social Security disability claimants’ fees are regulated by Congress and must be approved of by the SSA. Fees are 25% of any back benefit you receive. As of June 2009, the maximum fee is $6000. The law firm is paid on a contingency fee basis and will not get paid unless you receive the benefits you deserve. Keep in mind that having our law firm help with your case could also result in a larger back benefit award – this would be the case if, for example, you had a prior claim that we could reopen, giving you access to more years of back benefits.

How Can We Help You?

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