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Frequently Asked Questions about Social Security Disability

If you have spent any time at all looking into how to get social security disability benefits, you probably have a lot of questions about the process and what it takes to be successful with your application. At Drake & Drake, our attorneys have worked for more than ten years helping Californians like you get the benefits they need and deserve. Below are some of the questions we encounter most often in our SSDI/SSI legal practice. If you have other questions or need to speak with an attorney about your application, or if your claim for benefits has been denied, call Drake & Drake at 818-624-4695 for immediate assistance.

I can’t go back to my old job because of my injury. Can I collect Social Security?

Possibly. The Social Security Administration uses a very strict definition of what constitutes a “disability,” and this definition goes beyond just being unable to perform your old job.To be eligible for Social disability benefits, SSA goes through a rigorous five-step process the SSA goes through a rigorous five-step process to determine disability, looking at things like your work history, your current age and physical condition, and your education and skill level. If you were turned down for disability benefits, call our office and let us evaluate your eligibility for disability benefits.

What is the difference between SSDI v SSI?

SSDI stands for Social Security Disability Insurance. When you are working, a portion of every paycheck is withheld and paid into this program, which should therefore be available to you when you need it (although Social Security denies most applications for benefits, and you often have to fight for what is yours).

SSI stands for Supplemental Security Income. Even if you have never worked, you may qualify for SSI if you are disabled and cannot work, and your financial resources are below a certain threshold.

How much will I receive in benefits?

If you are applying for SSDI, your benefit amount will be determined based on your work history, including the amount of work credits you have accumulated over your lifetime and when you last worked. SSI benefits are based on your income level and living arrangements, as well as your state of residency.

I’m currently disabled. Can I collect Social Security Disability benefits until I get back on my feet?

If your disability is only temporary, you may need to look for other sources of compensation. For instance, if you injury was caused by the negligence or misconduct of another, that party may be liable to you for your lost income, as well as medical bills, pain and suffering and other expenses. We can help you determine the appropriate sources of compensation for your injury or disability.

Will I lose my benefits if I try to go back to work but find that I can’t?

The Social Security rules do allow for a trial work period during which you can still receive benefits, and if you find that you cannot keep working, you will not lose your benefits just because you tried to return to work but couldn’t. If you find that you are able to return to work, your benefits will terminate.

When will I get my benefits?

Currently, the Social Security Administration is typically taking about five or six months to review an application and determine whether the individual qualifies for benefits. If the application is turned down and an appeal is required, it may take a year or more to have the matter resolved. If your case needs to be pursued further, such as to federal court, then it may take even longer to ultimately receive your benefits.

Depending upon certain factors, you may be able to start receiving benefits even before your case is finally decided. Contacting an attorney for help right from the start is the best way to start receiving benefits as soon as possible.

Does being approved for SSDI or SSI make me eligible for Medicare or Medicaid?

If you are collecting SSDI benefits, you should be automatically enrolled in Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) and Part B (medical insurance) two years after you start collecting benefits, even if you are under 65. Although Part A coverage is free, you will need to pay a monthly premium for Part B if you want to have this coverage. If you are collecting SSI, you should be immediately eligible for Medicaid.

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