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Dan Smiths Blog
Frequently Asked Questions about Disability Benefits from the Social Security Adminstration
Q: What do you mean by "disability"?
A: The Social Security Administration defines a disability as "a medical condition that prevents you from working and that is expected to last for at least one year or result in death." They have a list of impairments that qualify a person for benefits, but your condition doesn't necessarily have to be on that list to get payments.
Q: Are disability benefits enough to live off of?
A: The answer to this question depends on how you live your normal life. If you are used to living on limited income, then you may be able to survive on disability payments. Most people, however, find that these necessary benefits are not enough to live off of but better than nothing. If your claim is denied, you need an attorney to help speed up your appeal.
Q: How long does it take to hear a decision about my application?
A: Three to five months. You will receive a letter in the mail letting you know whether or not your benefits were approved or denied. To check the status of your application, you can look it up online or call the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213.
Q: Do I need to see a doctor before I apply for benefits?
A: Not necessarily. If you are unable to see a doctor for your disabling illness, injury, or condition, you can still apply for benefits. The application process is faster when you can provide documentation for your ailment, but some people may not be able to afford a doctor's visit. If the Social Security Administration requires you to visit a doctor before they authorize benefits, they will pay for the exam.
Q: Can I file an application on behalf of my husband, wife, child, or other relative?
A: Yes. When you apply online, you can indicate whether or not the person you are representing is with you. If they are with you, they can sign the application electronically. If they are not with you, they can sign it later, usually through a form sent to them in the mail. All disability applicants are entitled to have a friend, family member, advocate, or an attorney represent their interests.
Q: Should I apply for Supplemental Security Income or Disability Insurance Benefits (also known as SSD)?
A: If you live on low income and limited resources, apply for SSI. If you have worked long enough to earn the needed work credits, apply for SSD. Review the requirements before you apply so that your application and wait time is not wasted.
Q: What can I do if I don't agree with Social Security's decision about my disability benefits?
A: Appeal. As soon as you get the notice of denial, start the appeal process by calling an attorney at the Coye Law Firm to help you. You have 60 days to notify the SSA that you'd like to appeal their decision, so you have no time to waste.
Q: How does the Social Security Administration verify my financial and medical information?
A: When you apply for benefits, you will be asked to sign a document (either in person or online) that lets the Social Security Administration get records from your doctor. To verify your financial information, you may need to give the SSA copies of your tax returns or bank statements.
The attorneys of the Coye Law Disability Center want to guide you through the disability process. If your claim has been denied, you need someone to fight for you and work within the Social Security Administration's complex appeals process. Call us today for a free consultation.