Social Security Disability FAQs
Below is a list of frequently asked questions regarding Social Security Disability in Florida. Click on the individual links below to find the answer.
Being “disabled” can mean different things to different people, but the Social Security Administration has a strict definition of “disability.” To qualify for Social Security Disability benefits, you must:
- Be unable to do the same work you did before the disability
- Be unable to transition to other work due to the disability
- Have a health condition that has lasted or is expected to last at least one year or to result in death
Documentation is key when submitting your SSDI application. Our highly qualified South Florida disability attorneys will help you gather all of your medical paperwork and navigate the complicated application process.
To qualify for SSDI, you must have paid enough into the Social Security system during the years you were working. In addition, you must have worked recently enough (within the last 10 years).
Social Security uses a system of “work credits” that are based on your annual income. A person can earn up to four credits per year.
In general, you will need 40 credits to qualify for SSDI, and 20 of those must have been earned in the past 10 years. However, the number of credits you need can vary depending on your age.
To learn more about how your work history affects your SSDI eligibility, read the Social Security Administration’s booklet ” How You Earn Credits.”
To be eligible to receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), you must:
- Have a qualifying “disability” (as determined by the Social Security Administration)
- Have worked long enough and paid into the Social Security program
Our knowledgeable Florida Social Security Disability lawyers will review the SSDI eligibility requirements with you and assess your situation to determine how you should proceed. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.
The Social Security Administration manages two programs that may provide benefits to disabled workers. They differ in purpose and scope, and not all workers qualify for both.
- Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI): SSDI pays benefits to you and to certain family members if you or they qualify as “disabled” and you are “insured,” meaning you worked long enough and paid enough in Social Security taxes to be covered.
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI): SSI pays benefits based on financial need to those who are over age 65, deaf, blind or disabled and unable to work. Although it is run by Social Security, the funds come from the U.S. Treasury, not the Social Security fund. Your work history is not a factor in qualifying for SSI.
An experienced Florida Social Security Disability attorney can help you determine whether you may qualify for SSDI, SSI or both, and file the necessary paperwork to seek benefits. If you have already applied and received an initial denial, our lawyers can help you appeal.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) may be available to you if you have low income, limited resources and meet one of the following requirements:
- 65 or older
- Disabled (as defined by the SSA)
It’s important to note that, unlike SSDI, your work history is not taken into consideration to qualify for SSI.
Applying for Social Security Disability benefits can be done online. To use the online application, you must be at least 18 years of age, not currently be receiving SSDI benefits on your own work record, and not have an application that was denied in the past 60 days. If your claim has been recently denied, you can file for an appeal online.
When you are ready to apply, start by gathering the following information:
- Birth and citizenship information. If you were born in the United States and are a citizen here, your birth certificate or U.S. passport may be used. If you were born outside the United States, you will need the name of your birth country at the time you were born and your permanent resident card number, if you are not a citizen.
- Marriage and divorce information. The names, birth dates and Social Security numbers of your current and former spouses, as well as the dates of your marriages and where you were married.
- Names and birth dates for children who became disabled before age 22, are under 18 and unmarried, or are 18 or 19 years old and in high school full time.
- Information about your service in the U.S. military, including duty, branch and service dates.
- Employer details for your employers for the past two years. Include name, start and end dates of employment, and total earnings.
- Self-employment information for the past two years, including business type and total net income.
- Job, education and training history.
- Contact information for someone who knows you and can help with your claim.
- List of your medical conditions.
- Contact information for your health care professionals, including doctors, hospitals and clinics.
- All medical records related to your claim. To file your claim, have as many records as possible. You can always update Social Security with records you collect after the date you file.
If you qualify for SSDI benefits, the amount will be determined based on how much you paid into the Social Security system during your working years. The SSA offers an online calculator to help you determine what your SSDI benefits would be. SSDI benefits are paid via direct deposit into your checking or savings account on a monthly basis.
If you qualify for SSI benefits, the amount you receive will be based on the maximum federal Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payment amounts that are set each year. For 2017, those amounts are $735 for an individual and $1,103 for a couple per month. SSI benefits are also paid through direct deposit.
In addition to disability benefits, SSDI recipients may qualify for Medicare benefits, and SSI recipients may qualify for Medicaid.
There is no standard amount of time that people wait for a decision on their benefits. Some of the factors that can affect how long it takes to get an answer on your SSDI or SSI application are:
- The type of disability you have
- How long it takes to collect medical evidence
- Whether the SSA decides to send you for a medical exam
- Whether your application contains all the necessary information
Our skilled South Florida Social Security Disability attorneys will help keep the process moving by ensuring your application is properly filled out and your documentation is in order.
Many Social Security Disability claims are denied on the initial application. If your claim is denied, you can use the SSA’s online appeals application to start the appeals process. Before you appeal, however, it is wise to speak to an experienced SSD attorney as soon as you can. Your lawyer can help you determine why your claim was denied and gather the information you need to build a strong case on appeal.
The SSA does allow people to go back to work while still receiving Social Security Disability benefits. The goal is to help you try to rejoin the workforce without risking your benefits if you end up needing them.
To learn more, read the SSA’s booklet on ” Working While Disabled ─ How We Can Help.”
If you think you are ready to go back to work but do not want to risk losing your benefits, contact our attorneys to discuss your situation and make sure you understand the related rules.
More Questions? Schedule A Free Consultation To Discuss Your Disability Claim.
Whether you are just exploring the application process, trying to get together the information you need, or deciding what to do after your claim was denied, our dedicated South Florida disability lawyers can help. Schedule a free, no-obligation case consultation today to discuss your SSDI or SSI claim.
Rosenthal, Levy, Simon & Sosa has offices in West Palm Beach and Port St. Lucie, and our committed SSD lawyers will travel anywhere in South Florida to meet at a place that is convenient for you.