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Frequently Asked Questions About Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits

The Law Office of April Perry Randle, PLLC, in Cleveland, Tennessee, helps injured individuals recover the Social Security Disability Insurance benefits they deserve.

Many injured parties are discouraged when their initial claim for disability benefits is denied. More than half of initial claims are rejected. On this page, we answer some common questions we receive about the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) claims process and how to appeal a denied claim.

How long will it take to begin receiving SSDI benefits?

An initial claim takes three to five months to be reviewed. As many as seven out of 10 initial claims are denied. Once a claim is approved, whether it is an initial claim or approved on appeal, it will take 30 to 60 days to receive the first benefits check. If your initial claim is denied and you have to file for reconsideration, it can take up to three years to complete the appeals process.

How is "disability" defined?

The Social Security Administration (SSA) defines disability as the "inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of no less than 12 months." The SSA considers you disabled if:

• You can no longer perform the work you did before.
• You cannot adjust to other work because of your medical condition.
• Your disability has lasted or is expected to last for at least one year or to result in death.

What medical evidence is necessary to qualify for benefits?

Every case is different. The medical criteria needed to qualify for benefits varies depending upon each applicant's diagnosis. A good start is to collect records of medical treatment you have received for your condition. The Social Security Administration (SSA) publishes a medical guidebook known as the Blue Book, which provides hundreds of conditions and the symptoms and test results needed to be approved.

How much money will I receive from SSDI benefits?

The amount of benefits you receive is determined by reviewing your work history, how much you paid in Social Security taxes, and your current household income. The average SSDI income per household in 2018 was $1,197 per month. Most households receive between $700 and $1,700 per month. The maximum monthly payment allowed in 2018 was $2,788.

Can a person receive SSDI benefits and workers' compensation benefits at the same time?

It is possible to collect both SSDI and workers' compensation benefits simultaneously. However, the total income you recover from workers' comp and SSDI cannot exceed 80 percent of the income you earned while you were working. If it does exceed that limit, the SSA will deduct money from your SSDI benefits. If your workers' comp benefits expire while you are still receiving SSDI benefits, you may notify SSA and they will adjust your SSDI benefits accordingly.

Can a person receive SSDI benefits and still work?

Although SSDI benefits are intended to replace household income for people who can no longer work, a recipient can work up to 20 hours per week and still receive disability benefits. Your monthly benefit amount will be reduced in proportion to your income.

Is an SSDI lawyer necessary?

Most SSDI applicants submit the initial claim on their own. If that claim is denied, they may consider enlisting help from a knowledgeable SSDI lawyer. An attorney who is experienced handling denied SSDI claims can help determine what medical evidence was missing from the initial claim, or pinpoint other reasons for the denied claim. Your lawyer will help gather the necessary medical evidence and present it to the SSA in a subsequent claim or during a hearing. No applicant is required to have an attorney, but statistics show your chances of having a denied claim approved through an appeal improve when you hire a lawyer.

Let Us Review The Facts Of Your Case

We welcome the opportunity to review your SSDI matter during a free consultation. We can provide an assessment of what to expect and recommend a course of action. Remember, we only get paid if we help you collect benefits. Call 423-464-6908 or email us to schedule a meeting.