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SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY FAQs

Eligibility

  1. Who is eligible for disability benefits from Social Security? »

    Under Social Security rules, you’re only considered disabled (and eligible for benefits) if a medical condition or injury is expected to keep you from working for at least 12 months (or result in death). Your disability can be a physical condition, a mental condition or a combination of both.

  2. Who decides if I’m disabled and eligible for benefits? »

    After a Social Security Disability claim is filed, the case is sent to a disability examiner. The examiner makes the initial decision on your claim.

  3. Are mental illnesses eligible for disability benefits? »

    Yes. Mental illnesses are often used as a basis for getting Social Security Disability benefits.

  4. HOW CAN I FIND OUT IF MY MEDICAL CONDITION QUALIFIES FOR DISABILITY BENEFITS? »

    The key to proving your Social Security Disability case is that your health problems—whatever they are—are forcing you to stop working.

    With different impairments, you’ll need to show Social Security different kinds of medical records and other evidence.

    Here are some examples of health problems that can qualify you for disability benefits. You can click for more on what need when you apply with each one:

    No matter your diagnosis, disability lawyer Baynetta Jordan knows how to build a strong case for benefits.

    You can find out how Social Security Disability benefits apply to your specific ailments by getting a free case consultation from our disability law firm.

  5. WHAT ARE THE IMPORTANT DEADLINES I NEED TO WATCH? »

    INITIAL FILING — You need to apply for Social Security Disability benefits within a certain time frame (usually five years) after you’re unable to work. However, every month you wait will reduce the total amount of benefits. If you wait longer than five years to apply, you may not qualify for any benefits. We strongly recommend that you apply for Social Security Disability benefits as soon as you are unable to work.

    APPEAL — The next important deadline is the appeal. If your initial claim is denied (and most are), you’ll only have 60 days from the date of your decision letter to file an appeal with Social Security. The 60 days start after you receive your denial letter. Social Security assumes you received the letter 5 days after the date on it unless you show them that you did not get it within the 5-day period. If you don’t file an appeal within 60 days, you give up your rights to the appeal process or you must have good reason for delaying more than 60 days to file your appeal. Even worse, you may have to start the application process all over again. We strongly recommend you engage an attorney to help you file your appeal.

    FEDERAL APPEAL — Even if you’ve been denied at the hearing level and on appeals, you can still appeal in federal court. If this happens to you, please contact Baynetta M. Jordan, P.C., Attorney at Law, and let us see if we can help you appeal to federal court.

Applying

  1. How long does it take to obtain my disability benefits once a claim for benefits is filed? »

    It can take approximately four months to receive a decision on your initial application. If your application is denied, it can take an additional year and a half to get a decision as your claim works its way through the appeals process. However, certain circumstances can shorten that time period, so let us determine if any are applicable to your case.

  2. If I win my case, will I receive medical help in addition to cash benefits? »

    That depends. If you’ve been eligible for Social Security Disability benefits for two years – whether you’ve actually received the benefits or not – you qualify for Medicare. If you’re awarded Supplement Security Income (SSI), you won’t receive Medicare, but rather Medicaid, a needs-based program that provides for a number of prescriptions and doctor visits each month.

  3. DO I HAVE TO PAY TAXES ON MY MONTHLY CHECKS FROM SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY? »

    When people get Social Security Disability benefits, it’s because they can’t work. So they often have no other income—and they don’t owe any income taxes.

    In cases where your household does have income in addition to your monthly disability checks—for example from a spouse’s job or investment returns—you may have declare a portion of your disability benefits for taxes.

    The exact amount depends on how much other income you have.

    Our disability law firm helps you get benefits, but you need to talk to a tax professional for specific questions about taxes. As a resource for you, we prepared this basic introduction to disability benefits and taxation.

Denied

  1. If I applied but was denied, what should I do? »

    Now you file a written request for reconsideration within 60 days of the denial notice. After that there are four levels of review: Reconsideration, Hearing, Appeals Council, and Federal Court.

    If you were denied, we strongly recommend you contact an attorney. The appeals process is complex so you should contact someone who knows the law of the Social Security system.

  2. My doctor says I’m disabled so why is Social Security denying my disability claim? »

    It’s not up to your doctor to determine whether you are disabled. It’s up to Social Security to make their own decision regardless of what your doctor thinks.

Supplemental Security Income

  1. What is Supplemental Security Income? »

    Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a program for people with little or no income or resources who have not paid enough money into the Social Security system to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits.

    If you have a disability and have not paid enough into Social Security, you may qualify for SSI. The monthly amount for SSI is based on financial need and determined by several factors including household income, your entitlement to SSD benefits, long-term disability benefits and/or Workers’ Compensation benefits.

Working with a Disability Attorney

  1. Why do I need a lawyer to help me? »

    The Social Security Disability system is laced with pitfalls and involves thousands of different rules, regulations, and procedures. You can be denied benefits if your doctor doesn’t know the legal definition of disability. You can also be denied benefits if Social Security doesn’t receive enough evidence on your behalf. Your case can be dismissed altogether if an appeal is handled improperly.

    An experienced attorney – like Baynetta Jordan – who knows the Social Security system can help your doctor explain your disability to you, submit important supporting medical evidence, analyze each part of your Social Security file, prepare your testimony before a court hearing, and even cross-examine medical experts who may testify at your case hearing.

  2. When should I contact an attorney about representation? »

    You should contact an attorney before you file a claim with the Social Security Administration. Baynetta M. Jordan, P.C., Attorney at Law, can help you plan a strategy to have your case approved from the beginning. If you wait to get an attorney after your claim has been denied, you may harm your case with different damaging statements or other information. This information can be used against you on appeal.

  3. If I lose my case after my hearing, can a lawyer still help me? »

    Yes. A lawyer can help you file a civil action in the United States District Court or appeal your claim to the United States Court of Appeals.

    At Baynetta M. Jordan, P.C., Attorney at Law, we’re with you at each stage of your claim. Should you lose your case during your hearing, we can help appeal in federal court by submitting written legal arguments and attending oral arguments if necessary.

  4. Why should I hire Baynetta M. Jordan, P.C., Attorney at Law? »

    Baynetta Jordan has years of experience helping people in Texas secure benefits. She understands that every case is unique so she’ll treat your case with the highest level of care.

    If you try to get disability benefits on your own, you’ll quickly learn that it’s harder than you thought. Most people are denied. But Social Security’s own statistics show that you have a better chance of securing disability benefits when you’re represented by an attorney.

    If you need to apply, or if you were denied, give us a call today for a free case evaluation.

  5. How much does it cost to hire Baynetta M. Jordan, P.C., Attorney at Law, for my Social Security Disability claim? »

    The law regulates attorneys’ fees in Social Security Disability cases. So virtually every disability lawyer works on the same fee basis. The lawyer’s fee is 25% of the past due disability benefits you get. There is no fee if you don’t win.

  6. I’m interested in talking with Baynetta M. Jordan, P.C., Attorney at Law. What should I do next? »

    Contact our office today. We’ll arrange a consultation to determine whether you qualify for Social Security Disability benefits. If you do, we’ll help you start the proceedings for the best chance to secure disability benefits.

  7. What Do Social Security Disability Lawyers Do? »

    A Social Security Disability lawyer studies, understands and works with the Social Security Disability process every day—so you can feel confident knowing your disability benefits application is well taken care of by someone who’s capable.

    Working with a disability lawyer spares you from having to become a Social Security rules & regulations expert on your own.

    This is what the work of a disability attorney looks like on a daily basis:

    • Helping you gather the right information for all the forms you must fill out
    • Guiding you in answering the questions on those forms the right way
    • Gathering the medical evidence that is crucial to your disability claim, such as reports, test results, treatment plans and more from your doctors
    • Helping you explain your work history so Social Security can see how your symptoms interfere with the type of work you do
    • Collecting statements from people who personally know you about the ways your medical condition limits your daily life
    • Helping you appeal a denial of benefits, a process that gets much more “legalistic” than your initial application
    • Analyzing why you were denied, both weaknesses in your application and possible mistakes by Social Security
    • Sending fresh evidence and arguments for your Social Security Disability appeal
    • Preparing you to testify in front of a Social Security administrative law judge (ALJ) in your disability benefits hearing
    • Representing you in front of the ALJ during your hearing
    • Appealing your disability claim to higher levels if the judge still denies you

    Social Security has thousands of rules for deciding who gets disability benefits. The rules are there to stop people from wrongly receiving money from the government, but they make the process harder for people who deserve the help.

    Partly because of the strict rules, a large majority of people who apply get denied.

    So Social Security Disability lawyers help you avoid the mistakes that can easily tank your benefits claim. At some points in the process, having a representative like a lawyer by your side can increase your odds of getting approved.

    And along the way, your disability lawyer relieves your burden by dealing with the disability benefits system for you.

    You should know: You pay no fee for a Social Security Disability attorney until you win your benefits.

    In West Texas, Baynetta M. Jordan, P.C., Attorney at Law, is one of the most experienced Social Security Disability law firms.

    If you can’t work due to health problems and need financial assistance, contact us about Social Security Disability benefits.

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