FAQ about Social Security Disability
Q: Can I work while receiving Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income benefits?
A: Yes, but depending upon what program you’re receiving benefits from, your part-time work can affect your benefits. Therefore, it is important to seek counsel on the issue when beginning work.
Q: Can I receive disability benefits while working?
A: Yes, but in most situations, if you are earning over a certain amount per month in gross income, Social Security will disregard your medical condition. This threshold constitutes “substantial gainful activity” and will generally result in a technical denial of your claim.
Q: What if I cannot afford medical treatment?
A: It is important to have medical evidence to support your claim. But if you are not receiving medical treatment due to lack of funds, Social Security may send you for a “Consultative Examination” to evaluate your condition. Also, our office connects our clients with free or low-cost healthcare providers so they can get the treatment they need.
Q: Does it matter what work I performed in the past?
A: Yes, SSA will determine whether you are capable of performing “past relevant work,” which is defined as “work that you have done within the past 15 years, that was substantial gainful activity, and that lasted long enough for you to learn to do it.” Generally, if it is determined you can no longer perform past relevant work, you still must prove an inability to perform any other work in the national economy. However, in many cases an inability to perform past work will result in a successful disability claim.
Q: Do I have to pay any money up front?
No. You will not pay us anything unless and until we win your case. In most disability cases, after winning the claim, the client will receive a lump sum of money called “back pay” which is payment for time you were disabled and not receiving benefits. As payment for working on your case, the social security attorney will receive no more than 25% of your back pay capped at $6,000.00. That means that in almost all of our cases, even if our clients receive $100,000.00 in benefits, our fee will never be over $6,000.00.
Q: How long does the process take?
A: In certain circumstances of dire need, we can get Social Security to speed up the process. However, the average wait time for a claim that requires an appeal hearing is over twenty (20) months.
Q: I heard I can apply by myself without a lawyer so why should I hire a social security attorney?
It is true that you may apply and in some cases receive approval for disability benefits without the assistance of a social security attorney. However, seventy percent (70%) of initial applications for benefits are denied. If your initial application and reconsideration are denied, you will wait an average of almost two years for an appeals hearing. Hiring an attorney from the beginning will help ensure you are doing all you can to have your claim approved as soon as possible. Of course, many of our clients have applied themselves and come to us to file and argue their appeal. But we would always prefer helping you get your benefits sooner than later.