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Q&A’s About Disability

Q&A's About Disability

Get the Answers You Need

How does the Social Security Administration (SSA) define "disabled"?

According to the SSA, disability is when a person is unable to work due to a medical condition that is expected to result in death or is expected to last for at least one year.

Do I have to be permanently disabled to qualify for benefits?

It is not required that your disability be permanent.

How can I apply for disability benefits?

You must file a claim with the SSA, either in person at a Social Security office, over the phone, or on the internet. Applying for benefits on your own can be frustrating and confusing however, as the process is complex and potentially lengthy. It is recommended that you retain the help of a lawyer at Disability Action Advocates if you are planning to apply for benefits. Our team will navigate the application process on your behalf, in an effort to secure a positive outcome as quickly as possible.

Do I have to wait to apply for benefits after becoming disabled?

There is no waiting period to file a claim for benefits. If you expect to be unable to work for a significant period of time as a result of your condition, you can file your claim on the same day you are rendered disabled.

How will the SSA determine if I qualify as disabled?

The SSA will consider a number of factors in determining if you are disabled, including your age, your education, your work experience, and the medical issues you are currently facing. What the SSA is trying to establish is whether or not you are able to do your past work.

How much will I receive if my claim is approved?

This depends on the length of time you have worked, as well as your past earnings. Depending on your age, you will need to have worked a specific length of time to receive benefits. The older you are, the longer you must have worked.

What should I do if my claim is denied?

Only 40% of all disability claims are approved. If you are disapproved, however, you have a number of options available to you. You can file a request for reconsideration, or you may be able to request a hearing with an Administrative Law Judge. However you proceed, your chances of eventually obtaining approval will be increased if you have a Social Security Disability attorney representing you in your case.

Can I work while I am receiving Social Security disability benefits?

If you are receiving disability benefits, you must know that there are special exceptions that may allow you to return to work without losing your monthly benefits. The Social Security Administration has a trial work period where you are allowed to test your ability to work for at least nine months within a 60-month period and receive full Social Security benefits during that time regardless of how much you are making. After this trial period is over, you will be allowed a total of 36 months during which you can work and still receive benefits for any month in which your earnings are not "substantial". In 2012, the SSA considered any amount where your total earnings are over $1,010 to be substantial.

Do I have to pay income tax on Social Security benefits?

If you file a federal tax return as an individual and if your total income is more than $25,000, you will have to pay federal taxes on your Social Security benefits. If you and your spouse file a joint return, you will have to pay taxes if your total income is more than $32,000.