Montemaggi Law - Workers Compensation Attorneys

Social Security Disability Q&A

Social Security Disability (SSD) is a U.S. government program for individuals with disabilities that prevent or severely limit their ability to work. You can often receive Social Security and other disability benefits at the same time.

The Social Security system is complicated, can be confusing and frequently results in initial denial of cases that should be awarded. There is a lot of paperwork to be completed and deadlines to meet. The following information may help you to understand some things about the Social Security system, but is not a substitute for the advice of an attorney. If you have applied for Social Security benefits or are thinking about it, call for a free consultation. At Montemaggi Law, we know how to navigate the system to your advantage and make sure everything possible gets done to get you benefits. Our proactive approach is designed to take every opportunity to shorten the lengthy process of obtaining Social Security Disability Benefits.

How do I know if I can get SSD benefits?

When should I apply for benefits?

How do I apply for benefits?

What do I do if I am denied benefits?

How long will it take to get a hearing?

When will my benefits stop?

Can I work and still get Social Security Benefits?

Can I receive Workers’ Compensation and SSD benefits at the same time?

Are there any benefits for my family?

Can I get Medicare if I receive SSD benefits?

What will an attorney do on your case?

How much will it cost me to hire an attorney at Montemaggi Law on my Social Security case?

 

How do I know if I can get SSD benefits?

This is a complicated question. Unfortunately, the system does not make it easy to get benefits. As a general rule it is easier to get benefits the older you are, especially if you are over age 55. However, don’t let anyone tell you it is not possible to get Social Security Benefits if you are under a certain age. It may be more difficult to get benefits at a younger age, but we have had success in claims for people of all ages. Social Security uses a five step process to determine disability which considers whether you are working, the severity of your disability, your age, your education and your work experience. You must have been unable to work for 12 months or it must be obvious that you will be unable to work for at least 12 months. The good news is that any disability, regardless of the cause, may qualify you for Social Security Disability benefits. However, whether you can actually get benefits depends on a complicated mix of legal and medical issues that is difficult to understand.

Obviously, the result will depend on your individual case and how it is presented can make a difference. Preparing a case the right way and early in the process can greatly shorten the wait for a decision and greatly increase your chances for success. At Montemaggi Law, we can guide you through the process as quickly as possible and prepare your case to maximize the chances of success.

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When should I apply for benefits?

The answer to this question really depends on your individual case. Sometimes it is best to apply as early as possible, sometimes it is best to wait a bit. Usually you will want to apply within 17 months of when you became disabled. However, as benefits can only be paid dating back one year from the date of application and you are not paid for the first five full months after the disability began. At Montemaggi Law, we will help you time your application and will take cases at the application stage because we believe we can best help by getting involved early. We will even help you complete the application in some cases.

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How do I apply for benefits?

If you became disabled more than 1 year ago, you should file as soon as possible. You can file an application by going to your local Social Security office, calling Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 or filing online at www.ssa.gov. At Montemaggi Law we may be able to help you apply and can advise you about the process.

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What do I do if I am denied benefits?

You will need to file an appeal to request a hearing in front of a Social Security Judge, if you want to continue to pursue benefits. If you miss the deadline for an appeal, you may need to reapply and could lose some back benefits. The deadline for requesting a hearing is 60 days from the denial of your application. If you have been denied and close to 60 days have passed, file an appeal immediately. The Social Security Administration should have sent you appropriate forms and instructions with the denial letter. At Montemaggi Law we will be happy to talk to you about your case either before or after you request a hearing.

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How long will it take to get a hearing?

It can take up to two years or even more for a hearing to be scheduled. After the hearing, it often takes a few months for a decision to be issued. After that, if we win, it takes a month or two for current benefits to start being paid. From the date of the decision it can take several months for all back benefits to be paid. Thus, all this takes a long time, much longer than it should. At Montemaggi Law, we can help to shorten the process in many cases if we represent you.

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When will my benefits stop?

SSD benefits will automatically convert to Social Security Retirement benefits when you reach your full retirement age, which depends on your date of birth. However, your benefits will also stop if you are successful at returning to work and earn enough money (a monthly amount that changes each year called “substantial gainful activity”) or your medical condition improves to the point that you are no longer considered disabled. The Social Security Administration may periodically review your medical status to determine if you remain disabled. This is called a “continuing disability review".

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Can I work and still get Social Security Benefits?

The short answer to this question is yes. But, it gets very complicated. There are different rules depending on how much you make and how long you continue to work. Your benefits could even start and stop. At Montemaggi Law, we can help you to understand this complicated area of the law.

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Can I receive Workers’ Compensation and SSD benefits at the same time?

Yes. However, your SSD benefits may be reduced depending on how much you receive in combined benefits. The extent of the reduction varies on a case-by case basis. The interaction of theses benefits can get very complicated and there are ways to make sure you get the most out of both. At Montemaggi Law, we can help make sure that you receive the most you can from both of these programs.

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Are there any benefits for my family?

Yes, certain members of your family may receive SSD benefits based on your disability. They include:

  • A spouse age 62 or older;
  • A spouse, at any age, who is caring for your child or children who are under 16 years olds or is/are disabled;
  • An unmarried child, including an adopted child, who is under 18 years old or under 19 years old and in elementary or secondary school full time; and
  • A disabled, unmarried child, 18 or older. However, the disability must have started before age 22.

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Can I get Medicare if I receive SSD benefits?

Yes. You will become eligible for Medicare benefits after you have received SSD benefits for at least 24 months. There are premiums and co-pays that vary depending on your level of coverage. Also, Medicare will not pay for treatment related to any Workers’ Compensation cases you may have.

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What will an attorney do on your case?

At Montemaggi Law, we take an early and active approach to cases. There are many things that our attorneys can do on your case that most people would not think of on their own. We can only list a few in this paragraph. However some of the most important are:

We will make sure Social Security has all the medical records they need.

We can get detailed reports from your doctors that discuss everything Social Security looks for to favorably decide your case.

We will try to get these opinions early in your case so that we can try to get an early decision on your case without a hearing.

We may obtain statements from your friends and family about your disability in cases where they might help.

We will review your case in light of what Social Security looks for and maximize your chances of success.

We will prepare you for your hearing and appear with you to make sure you have the best chance of winning.

We will question any witnesses Social Security has at your hearing.

We will prepare a written statement for the judge before and sometimes after the hearing explaining why you should get benefits.

We will make sure Social Security gets your benefits right if you win and help you decide whether to appeal if you lose.

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How much will it cost me to hire an attorney at Montemaggi Law on my Social Security case?

We do not charge for a consultation and we never charge you if you do not get benefits. We use a fee agreement allowed by the Social Security Administration that generally limits our fees to 25% of back money that you and your family receive up to a maximum that can change periodically. If your case requires an appeal beyond the Law Judge hearing, especially if we need to go to federal court, the fee can work differently but we still try to keep our fee at the 25% of back money if at all possible.

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