Social Security Disability
David W. Magann’s Top 20 Most FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS for Social Security Disability:
1. How do I apply for Social Security benefits?
a) The best way is to contact David W. Magann at (813)-657-9175.
b) You may also contact the Social Security Administration by telephone to arrange for a phone interview to file your claim.
c) You may also contact the Social Security Administration by visiting their website, www.ssa.gov.
2. How does the Social Security Administration define “disability”?
The Social Security Administration defines disability as the inability to engage in substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months. Even if you have not been disabled for 12 consecutive months you may apply for benefits.
3. Once I become disabled and am no longer able to work, how long do I have to wait before I can apply for Social Security benefits?
There is no waiting period, you can apply for benefits as soon as you are no longer able to engage in substantial employment.
4. If I am currently receiving Worker’s Compensation benefits, am I eligible to receive Social Security Disability benefits?
Yes, there may be an offset because of the Worker’s compensation benefits, which may reduce the amount of Social Security benefits. It is very important that you file for Social Security disability benefits as soon as possible as to avoid any possible gap between the time Worker’s Compensation benefits end and Social Security Disability benefits begin.
5. How does the Social Security Administration determine if I am disabled?
The Social Security Administration is supposed to collect all of your medical records and any information regarding your work history, education and age. First, the SSA is to decide if you can do the work you have done in the past. If they feel that you can not, then they are to consider if there is any other work you are able to do.
6. What is the process Social Security uses to determine if I am disabled or not?
First, the claimant must fill out an application which is then reviewed by a disability examiner at the Disability Determination agency in your area. This examiner along with a medical doctor, make the initial decision on your claim. If your claim is denied at the initial level, you may file a request for reconsideration. Your file is then sent to a different disability examiner, and another decision on your claim is made. If your claim is denied at the reconsideration level, you may request a hearing. At the hearing level, the claim is decided by an Administrative Law Judge who is employed by the Social Security Administration, but he is required to make an independent decision on the claim. It is best to retain counsel at the initial application stage.
7. How can I improve my chances of getting Social Security Disability benefits?
The best way to increase your chances of receiving a favorable decision on your claim is to hire an experienced attorney to represent you. Statistically, those who hire an attorney to represent them are much more likely to receive benefits than those who do not.
8. I have been diagnosed with a psychiatric illness. Will this have an impact on whether or not I receive benefits?
Yes. Many claimants do not mention psychiatric problems, which may impact whether you receive benefits or not.
9. What are the illnesses that are considered disabling by the Social Security Administration?
You may have an illness defined as disabling, however a qualified attorney should be consulted to review whether or not you may or may not have an impairment.
10. Why is my age a factor in determining whether I am disabled or not?
Age must be considered because it is a requirement of the Social Security Act. As you get older, you become less adaptable to do different jobs. An injury which has a temporary impairment on a younger individual may totally disable an older individual.
11. How much money will I get if I am approved for Social Security benefits?
For disability benefits, it is based on how much you have worked and earned in the past.
12. How are backed benefits determined?
For Disability Insurance Benefits, benefits can not be received until 5 months after the date the claimant became disabled. Also, in general, benefits may not be paid more than one year prior to the date of the initial claim.
13. Can I still hire an attorney to represent me in a Social Security Disability Claim if I do not have any money?
Yes, the Social Security Administration must approve of all attorney’s fees and may withhold a portion of your back benefits to pay the attorney’s fee.
14. Who appears at a Social Security Hearing?
SSA hearings are not open to the public. Since the hearings are very informal, there are very few people present. There is no jury present at the hearing. The only people who will be there are the Administrative Law Judge, a secretary, the claimant, the claimant’s attorney, and possibly a vocational and or medical expert provided by the SSA, any additional witnesses you may call to testify, and an interpreter if needed.
15. What happens if the Administrative Law Judge denies my claim at the hearing level?
You may file a claim with the Social Security Appeals council. The Appeals council will take a look at the decision rendered by the Administrative Law Judge, and make a determination based upon all of the information in the file.
16. Can I appeal a decision by the Social Security Administration to the Federal Court System?
Once a claimant has been denied at every level, he or she may file a civil action in the United States District Court. If you are considering a Federal Appeal, please contact David W. Magann at 813-657-9175.
17. What is the difference between Medicare and Medicaid?
Medicaid is based upon your economic need; where Medicare is not. For more information on Medicare:
Medicare www.medicare.gov Telephone: 1-800-MEDICARE
Medicaid-State www.fdhc.state.fl.us/medicaid/about/index Telephone: 1-800-266-2316
Medicaid-Federal http://cms.hhs.gov/medicaid/mcontact.asp Telephone: 877-267-2323.
18. I am disabled, but I have never held a job. Can I qualify for Social Security Disability benefits?
You may qualify for Supplemental Security Income if you are poor enough, even if you have never worked before. You may also qualify for Disabled Adult Child Benefits based upon your parent’s income or other benefits based upon your late husband or wife’s income.
19. I am currently receiving Social Security Disability benefits, but I am afraid they will be stopped in the future. Can this happen?
The Social Security Administration should not cease benefits unless your medical condition has improved and you are able to return to work. The SSA does conduct reviews on a periodic basis. If your case is being reviewed you should contact David W. Magann at 813-657-9175.
20. What do I do if the Social Security Administration stops my benefits?
First, you should immediately contact attorney David W. Magann at 813-657-9175 who will file an appeal. An appeal in your case must be filed within 10 days of your receipt of the notice for benefits to continue while a decision on the appeal is being made.