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Q&A


Answers to Common Social Security Questions

If you are disabled the whole process of applying for (and in most cases fighting for) Social Security benefits is bewildering. There are rumors, half-truths, and complicated regulations to contend with. Hopefully, this page will help clear up some common questions. Call us for answers to your personal questions. Get a free consultation!

Social Security Disability-What's It Really About?
Social Security Disability Benefits-What difference does my age make?
Does my past work count in my Social Security claim?
How long does a Social Security claim take?
When can my payments start?
Can I work and still get Social Security benefits?
What is the difference between SSDI and SSI?
What will I need when I file my claim?
Is there a quick way I can find out if I qualify?
I haven't worked in a long time, can I get SSI benefits?
What happens if I'm denied?
Can anyone help me with my hearing?
I have a disabled child, is there a program that can help?
Social Security Disability-What's It Really About?

Social Security disability is all about your ability to work. And in most cases about ability to do any kind of work. It is not about, “Nobody will hire me.” “There are not any jobs like that.” Or, “I don’t have any skills and can’t pass a physical.” An experienced Social Security disability attorney or representative can explain the rules to you.

Social Security Disability Benefits-What difference does my age make?

Whether you win your claim for Social Security disability or SSI benefits, will always depend in some degree on your age. Social Security regulations divide age as follows: age 49 and under is a younger individual, age 50-54 is someone approaching advanced age, age 55-59 is someone of advanced age, and someone who is age 60-64 is someone approaching retirement age. Each age level along with other vocational issues determines whether you will be approved. Find out how your age will affect your claim. Call us for more information.

Does my past work count in my Social Security claim?

Social security will consider the kind of work that you did during the 15 years before you became disabled. This is called Past Relevant Work (PRW). Why is this important? It’s important because, generally, if you can perform any of your past work or other work, your claim will be denied. This is particularly true, if you can still do the lightest, less strenuous, and simplest of past jobs. Also skills that you acquired in past jobs that can be used in a different, possibly less strenuous job will be considered. It’s clear to see that most claimants will need advice from a Social Security representative or attorney who knows what Social Security is looking for.

How long does a Social Security claim take?

It has been my experience in our area of South Louisiana that a determination on your initial application takes about 90 days, although sometimes longer.  Hearings usually take about 14 months to come up after the Request for Hearing is filed. Average processing time for the Alexandria hearing office is 403 days with 37% fully or partially favorable. The New Orleans hearing office average processing time is 522 days with 44%fully or partially favorable. These statistics is from the website, http://www.disabilityjudges.com/state/louisiana

When can my payments start?

Disability preventing a claimant from working whether in Social Security Disability or adult SSI claims in order to qualify must have lasted 12 months or be expected to last 12 months from the alleged onset date. Past benefits generally can only be paid from the onset date of disability for up to 12 months prior to the date of the current application with a 5 month waiting period from the onset date of the disability. SSI benefits are payable only from the current application. The reopening of past applications is sometimes a possibility that can be considered by a skilled Social Security disability attorney or representative which could mean more money in your pocket.

Can I work and still get Social Security benefits?

Social Security defines “work” as Substantial Gainful Activity.  Part-time work and work below a certain dollar amount may not be SGA.  Therefore some claimants may be working below SGA and still be eligible for benefit. SGA is an actual dollar amount that Social Security publishes every year, for example for 2018 it is $1180, See: http://www.socialsecurity.gov/OACT/COLA/sgadet.html

However, SGA can sometimes be adjusted if your wages are subsidized, thought of as wages that you are not really working to earn. Also, certain medical and vocational expenses may be deductible from your total wages. I can help clear all this up for you to see if meet the requirements concerning SGA.

What is the difference between SSDI and SSI?
What will I need when I file my claim?
Is there a quick way I can find out if I qualify?
I haven't worked in a long time, can I get SSI benefits?
What happens if I'm denied?
Can anyone help me with my hearing?
I have a disabled child, is there a program that can help?
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