Frequently Asked Social Security Disability Questions

1 When is a person considered disabled?

A person is considered disabled if he or she is unable to perform their past relevant work as well as any other work in the national or regional economy at a substantial and gainful work activity level for at least 12 months.

2 When should I apply for Social Security Disability?

A person should apply for disability at any point in time when they are no longer working full time and they have a reasonable expectation that they will be unable to return to full time work within 12 months.

3 Are there retroactive benefits?

Yes. There can be retroactive benefits if there is an extended period of time that the person was disabled before they filed their claim for benefits.

4 When should I apply for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits?

A person should apply for SSI at any point in time when they are no longer working full time and they have a reasonable expectation that they will be unable to return to full time work within 12 months.

5 What are the requirements for Social Security Disability (SSD)?

In addition to being considered disabled as mentioned under Question #1 above, you must have worked in the national economy and paid into the Social Security system for a required period of time.

6 What are the requirements for Supplemental Security Income (SSI)?

In addition to being considered disabled as mentioned under Question #1 above, you cannot have a significant amount of assets, income or resources (nor can your spouse if you are married and living together).

7 How can I apply for Social Security Disability (SSD) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI)?

Simply contact your local Social Security office, arrange for a phone interview or live interview at the office.

8 When can I hire the Reimer Law Office, P.C., L.L.O.?

We wait until after you have received a denial from Social Security stating that you are still able to work. If you file your initial claim and receive benefits (as approximately 30Ė33% of all people filing do) you did not need our help anyway.

9 How can I make the application process go faster?

If you have received 2 denials and are waiting for a hearing, we may help you make a request to have your case advanced if you can show that you are in dire need. Not all requests for an earlier hearing based on dire need are granted, though.

10 I have applied for disability and been turned down. How long do I have to appeal?

You have 60 days from the date of your denial letter from Social Security to request your appeal.

11 How many stages are there in Social Security?

There are three initial stages in the Social Security administrative process: Initial application; Reconsideration; and Hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). After a hearing before an ALJ, there is one additional administrative appeal and then cases must be taken into federal court.

12 I was denied for benefits recently. Should I appeal or just file again?

If you have not yet had a hearing before an ALJ on this claim, you should only appeal. To do otherwise would give up any claim you might have prior to the date of the notice of denial of benefits.

13 How are you paid?

We do this work on a contingent fee basis. If we win past due benefits for you, our fee is 25% of those past due benefits. If we do not win past due benefits for you, you owe us no attorney fee. If your past due benefits are more than $21,200 ($24,000 after June 22, 2009), our fee is limited to $5,300 ($6,000 after June 22, 2009).

14 What are the expenses if I hire the Reimer Law Office, P.C., L.L.O.?

Your only expenses will be the cost of obtaining medical and other records and obtaining opinions from your treating sources. If you get medical care in Nebraska, we are allowed to get copies of your medical records at no charge to you. If your medical care comes in other states, we are required to pay the costs assessed by your providers.

15 If I get disability, will I be entitled to health insurance?

If you qualify for Social Security Disability you will qualify for Medicare from Social Security 24 months after your monthly payments start. If you qualify for SSI, you will, in all likelihood, qualify for Medicaid administered through your state Health and Human Services Department. Under some circumstances, you might qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid

16 How long does it take to get an initial decision?

It normally takes between 90 and 120 days.

17 I have been turned down and I have been told to apply for a hearing. How long will it take to get a hearing?

Currently, the wait from request for hearing until the hearing is held is about 26 to 28 months due to a lack of judges and staff for those judges.

18 Is there anything I can do to expedite my hearing?

We may help you make a request to have your case advanced if you can show that you are in dire need. Not all requests for an earlier hearing based on dire need are granted, though.

19 I donít want to hire anyone unless I have a better chance of winning. Do represented people do better than unrepresented people?

Social Security Disability is a very complicated process following strict rules and requiring substantial evidence supporting your claim that you are disabled. Without proper representation you may overlook evidence establishing your disability. You cannot rely on Social Security to do everything needed to establish you claim. If we find that you have the kind of a case that we can get involved in, we will know how to get all information which we have found helpful in establishing claims similar to yours.

20 I have recently received notification for a Continuing Disability Review. Iím told I can keep my benefits until the hearing. Is this true?

Yes. You must make your request to have your benefits continue within 10 days of your notice that says you are no longer disabled, though.

21 I want my benefits continued through the hearing, but will I have to pay them back?

If you eventually lose on your appeal, you will be asked to pay them back. But, if you have spent all of your monthly benefits to live while the appeal was pending, and you do not have the ability to repay them, you can ask for a waiver of the overpayment. Since you were not at fault for the overpayment and are unable to repay, your overpayment should be waived by Social Security.

22 Can I work and receive disability benefits?

Yes, under several circumstances. First, if you are trying to return to full time employment, and it has been more than 12 months since you last worked full time, you can have a 9 month trial work period during which you can collect your pay and your Social Security Disability for up to 9 months. Second, if you are only able to work on a parttime basis, you can work and it will not affect your payments, unless Social Security believes that the work is evidence that you could really work full time.

23 What kind of disability benefits can children receive?

If a person is fully insured for Social Security Disability and gets benefits, they can draw a benefit roughly equal to half of their monthly check for any children that they have that are under age 18 or for step children under 18 living in their home. The amount of benefits available for children does not increase of decrease based on the number of children. The amount remains the same, but is divided equally among the qualifying children. Such sum can serve a substitute for child support, if such is due, but the substitution must be made through the court that established that child support obligation.

24 What is it about the Reimer Law Office, P.C., L.L.O., that makes you such good advocates for claimants?

We have been representing claimants for a long period of time. This has allowed us to shape our staff to meet the needs of people going through this process to give you help with your requirements during this process. The problems you are facing are similar to many others that have gone before you and we can help you. Our knowledge of the requirements to establish disability puts us in position to present the evidence to show that you are disabled.