Frequently Asked Questions
You or someone you know may have become unable to work due to a severe mental or physical condition. You may no longer have an income and don’t know how to pay for basic everyday needs, let alone medical care and medications. This is where our Social Security lawyers can help.
Should I apply for disability?
If your answers match the ones below, the Social Security Administration (SSA) is likely to award you disability benefits.
- Are you gainfully employed? No
- Do you have a severe impairment? Yes
- Will your impairment last 12 months or result in death? Yes
- Does your disability meet one of SSA’s listed impairments? If yes, you qualify. If no —
How long do disability appeals take?
- Initial determination - 120 days (35% succeed)
- Reconsideration determination - 90 days (15% succeed)
- Hearing - 530 days (55% succeed)
- Appeals council - 220 days
- Federal court - 540 days
When should I apply for disability benefits?
Unless you have an obvious long-term disability, the best time frame to apply for Social Security disability benefits is 6-9 months after you stop working.
How long will I wait for a disability hearing?
It can take up to a year from the initial request until a hearing is held and a decision issued, but the time varies from state to state.
What are hearings like?
They are held in private in a small conference room, and last an hour or so. You will be asked a variety of questions about your education, training, work experience, symptoms, limitations, and daily activities.
What if I don’t file my disability appeal on time?
If you have not filed your appeal within 65 days of the date on your denial letter, you may need to start over with a new claim. Before you do, you should check with an experienced social security disability attorney as there may be a way to still appeal your denial - as a new claim may result in the loss of back benefits.
What is SSDI?
SSDI is another name for Social Security Disability, and is the type of disability benefits most "disabled" individuals seek. These benefits are paid by the Social Security Administration and are based upon the amount of money you have paid into Social Security over your working life.
How do I qualify for SSD?
The first requirement is that you must have worked and paid into Social Security over a long enough period and in a large enough amount to be considered "insured." Next, you must not be earning more than a set amount of money each month from work. You must next be under a "disability" which has lasted or is expected to last 12 months. You must have a "disability" that is severe enough to keep you from doing your past job, or any other jobs in the local or national economy. All of the words in quotations are legal terms that need to be explained by an attorney familiar with Social Security Regulations.
How long do I have to apply?
There is no set time limit in which to apply for benefits. But, the longer you wait, the more benefits you may lose. Also, your insured status usually ends five years from the date you last worked. If you wait longer than five years to apply for benefits, it may become extremely difficult or impossible to obtain benefits.
When should I apply?
As soon as a doctor tells you that you will be unable to work for 12 months or more, or if you have already been unable to work for at least 12 months due to a physical or mental condition.
What is a "disability"?
A disability could be any medically documented mental or physical condition that keeps you from holding a full-time job for at least 12 months.
Can I still be working and apply?
Yes. As long as your wages do not exceed those set by the Social Security Administration. Most people can work and make up to $1070.00 per month and still be eligible for SSDI benefits.
How do I apply for SSD?
You can contact your local social security office and make an application for benefits, or you can also apply online at www.ssa.gov. Also, you can contact the Hale Law Office at 1-800-522-4595 and we can help you apply. This is called the “Initial Application”.
What do I do if I am denied?
Almost everyone that applies for disability benefits is denied at this first stage. You should contact an attorney immediately once you receive a denial so that a "Request for Reconsideration” can be filed within 60 days from the date of your denial letter.
What if the 60 days pass?
If you do not appeal within the 60-day period, you will have to most likely start all over, and could lose benefits, but there are times when you can still move forward. Call Hale Law Office, P.L.L.C. for more information.
What if I am denied again?
About 75% of those who apply for reconsideration are denied again. It is after this denial that Roger Hale of Hale Law Office, P.L.L.C. would file the “Request for Hearing”.
What is the biggest mistake to make?
GIVING UP! Most people who are denied at the first two steps fail to continue appealing. Failing to seek medical care will also be damaging to your case, in some instances.
If I have to file a Request for Hearing, will I have to go to court?
Most likely. You will usually need to be present and testify regarding your medical problems. However, the trial process is very informal. It is only you, the judge, a court reporter, your attorney and maybe a vocational specialist in the room. There is no jury, and the hearing is not open to the public.
How long does it take to get a hearing?
It normally takes 12 to 14 months to get a hearing.
How long will it take to get my benefits?
From the time you first apply for benefits until you have your hearing will normally be about 1 year. It will then be another 2 to 4 months before the Judge decides if you will be granted benefits. It will then be another 60 days before you actually receive any money.
How much can I draw if I win?
This question can only be answered once Roger Hale, the Oklahoma disability attorney with Hale Law Office, P.L.L.C. has seen your social security records. The amount is different for everybody.
How often will I be paid?
Your first check will pay your past due benefits in one lump sum. You will receive a monthly check after that.
Are my spouse and my children covered?
Usually your children and your spouse will also be entitled to receive monthly checks while you are disabled. This is in addition to the money you receive each month and at Hale Law Office, we will help make sure these benefits are paid properly.
How far back will I be paid?
If you are granted benefits, you can be paid past due benefits which go back a maximum of one year from the date you apply for benefits.
How long will I draw SSD?
You will continue to draw disability benefits as long as you remain disabled.
Will my case be reviewed?
Maybe. Disability claims are supposed to be reviewed every 3 years to determine if you are still disabled.
Will I need an attorney for this review?
Normally, you will not require the assistance of an Oklahoma disability lawyer when your case is reviewed, as long as you continue to follow-up with a doctor every so often. However, Hale Law Office, P.L.L.C. will be available if needed.
Will this affect my "old age"/retirement social security?
No. You will still be entitled to receive your old age Social Security Benefits. They may even be more.
Does my disability have to be caused by an accident?
No. Your disability can be caused either by an accident, a birth defect, or a disease process such as multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, ALS, AIDs, or a number of other physical or mental conditions.
Does alcoholism or drug addiction qualify?
No. In fact, drug or alcohol abuse could cause you to be denied disability benefits.
Can I draw both SSD and workers' compensation?
YES! You can draw SSD, SSI and Workers' Compensation. Your SSD and/or SSI benefits will not affect your workers' compensation benefits. The amount you receive from SSD or SSI may be reduced if you are receiving, or have received workers' compensation benefits. You should discuss this with Oklahoma disability attorneys who are experienced with Social Security, such as Roger Hale, the disability attorney at Hale Law Office.
Can my disabled child qualify for SSD benefits?
Yes, but this is a very complex issue and must be discussed with an attorney. Call Hale Law Office, P.L.L.C. today at 1-800-522-4595 for more information.
Will I be entitled to Medicare or Medicaid?
Yes. If you are found disabled and awarded benefits, you will become eligible for Medicare and Medicaid approximately 24 months from the date your disability began. This is another reason to apply as soon as you think you are disabled.
What is SSI?
SSI is another name for Supplemental Security Income. It can be applied for at the same time you apply for SSD benefits.
How do I qualify for SSI?
There are several requirements for SSI, most of which are the same requirements for SSD. The main difference is that you can only have a certain amount of income and assets in order to qualify for SSI.
Will I still need to appeal the first denial?
Yes. If you applied for both SSD and SSI benefits, then you will need to make a "Request for Reconsideration" for both claims. The same holds true if you just applied for SSI.
When will I need an attorney?
As soon as you receive your first letter of denial.
Will I have to go to court?
Yes. Just like with SSD cases, you will have a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge. This is held in the same way as a SSD case.
Why would I want SSI benefits?
If you have not paid enough money into Social Security for a long enough period to be considered "insured", then SSI is the only route you can take to obtain benefits.
Can I draw both SSI and SSD?
Yes. You can draw both, but only if the combined amount, along with other income and/or assets is less than the amounts set by the Social Security Administration as the maximum amount allowed. Also, you would draw SSI benefits during the 5-month waiting period required before you can draw SSD benefits.
Can my disabled child draw SSI?
Yes. A child under the age of 18 can draw SSI benefits, but the same income and asset limitations apply. The income of the whole family and all assets will be taken into consideration.
How far back will I be paid?
With SSI benefits, you are only paid back to the date of your application for benefits. However, there is no 5-month waiting period as there is for SSD, so your benefits will begin from the date you applied.
Why do I need an attorney for either SSD or SSI benefits?
You are not required to have an attorney to represent you in your pursuit of SSD or SSI benefits. However, without a lawyer, you will have to deal on your own directly with the Administrative Law Judge, the vocational specialist and the Social Security Administration. The best way to be sure that you receive a full and fair hearing and all the benefits to which you are entitled, is to have the help of an attorney who understands Social Security Regulations and Law, and is interested in YOUR RIGHTS.
How much does an attorney charge?
You pay a legal fee ONLY if you are awarded benefits. Under the Law set forth by federal statue, an attorney receives a 25% attorney fee on your past due benefits, and only once his Fee Agreement or Fee Petition is approved by the Social Security Administration. We further limit our fee to 25% of past due benefits or $6,000 whichever is LESS. If you do not receive past due benefits, then we do not receive a fee.
Who pays the attorney?
If you are awarded SSD benefits, then the 25% of past due benefits, or $6,000, whichever is less, is automatically withheld by the Social Security Administration and paid to the attorney once the fee is approved. If you are awarded SSI benefits, then the 25% of past due benefits, or $6,000, whichever is less is paid directly by you to your Oklahoma Social Security disability lawyer once the fee is approved.
Will I get a decision at the hearing?
No. Unfortunately, the Judge will have to send out a written decision to you. It can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months after the hearing to receive your written decision. It depends upon the Judge and several other factors.