Who decides if I am disabled and eligible for benefits?
After a Social Security Disability claim is filed, the case goes to a disability examiner at Hawaii’s Disability Determination Branch. Doctors review the case, along with the examiner, who makes an initial decision on the claim. If you disagree with the decision, you can appeal the ruling.
My doctor says I am disabled, so why is Social Security denying my Social Security Disability claim?
For the purposes of winning benefits, your doctor doesn’t have the authority to determine whether you are officially disabled. It’s up to the Social Security Administration to make its own decision, regardless of what your doctor thinks.
Are mental illnesses eligible for disability benefits?
Yes. Mental illness is frequently used as a basis for getting Social Security Disability benefits.
My neighbor received Social Security Disability and is not even disabled. Why was I denied?
Most people who apply for Social Security Disability benefits are, in fact, denied. You may have been denied for any number of reasons – often through no fault of your own. For example, you may be denied benefits if your doctor doesn’t know what’s important to your particular claim.
It’s important to contact a lawyer if you’ve been denied. The clock is ticking and you only have a limited time to appeal. Attorney Danielle Beaver can request “reconsideration” of your claim denial.
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How long do I have to wait after becoming disabled before I can file for Social Security Disability benefits?
You can file for Social Security Disability benefits as soon as you become disabled. Anyone who suffers a serious illness or injury and is expected to be out of work for a year or more should file a claim.
In some cases the claim should be filed right away, but in some cases it is better to wait until you have been disabled for 6 months or more.
Danielle Beaver will review your situation and give you advice as to when is the best time for you to file your claim. Read More.
What are the important deadlines I need to watch?
INITIAL FILING – You should apply for Social Security Disability benefits within a certain timeframe (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. If you don’t file an appeal within 60 days, you give up your rights to the appeal process. Even worse, you’ll have to start the application process all over again. We strongly recommend you engage an attorney to help you file your appeal.
FEDERAL APPEAL – If your claim qualifies for benefits, but has been denied on appeal, it can still be appealed outside the Social Security system by taking it to Federal Court.
How can I improve my chances of winning my Social Security Disability claim?
Be completely honest with Social Security in their requests for information, both financial and medical.
Stay on top of going to your doctors and other treatment providers. Don’t skip appointments. This is for two reasons: to take care of your health and because Social Security bases its decisions on the medical evidence in your file.
If you’re not going in for treatment, Social Security might assume your condition isn’t severe enough to require treatment.
Don’t give up. It’s very common for Social Security to deny claims. It’s easy to become discouraged and believe that it’s useless to pursue your benefits. Your greatest chance to win your claim is at the hearing level, when a judge will personally meet with you and hear about your situation.
It’s also important to work with an experienced attorney who understands Social Security’s rules and requirements. And it’s best to do this at the earliest possible stage in your claim.
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What is Supplemental Security Income (SSI)?
This is for people with little or no income and resources. Your SSI monthly amount is based on financial need. It’s also determined by formulas that use factors such as total household income and your entitlement to Social Security Disability, Long-Term Disability or Workers’ Compensation benefits.
What is the difference between Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security Income (SSI)?
Social Security Disability benefits are for people who experience a disability and can no longer work. You may qualify for this program if you have worked a long time and paid sufficient Social Security taxes. But the government still can deny you these benefits.
If you have not paid enough money into the Social Security system to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits, you may still be able to receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI). To decide if you qualify, the government will look at your income and review what resources are available to you.
You must have limited income and resources to receive SSI.
How long does it take to obtain my disability benefits once Social Security determines that I am disabled?
Most delays receiving benefits are usually caused by Social Security denying your claim. Once you get a decision in your favor, monthly payments usually start in about 60-90 days.
If you are due back payments, that can take a while longer depending on whether you were receiving Temporary Disability Insurance (TDI) or Workers’ Compensation payments.
One of the things Danielle Beaver does for you is follow up on back pay awards to make sure they are paid as quickly as possible. Read More
If I win my case, how much money will I receive?
For Social Security Disability benefits, it depends on how much you have worked and earned in the past.
For disabled widow’s or widower’s benefits, it depends on how much your late husband or wife worked and earned.
For disabled adult child benefits, it depends on how much your parent worked and earned.
For all types of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, there is a base amount you receive when you have no other income. The amount changes over time. If you have any other income, it reduces the amount of SSI you can receive.
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 for two years – whether you’ve actually received the benefits or not – you qualify for Medicare.
If you’re awarded Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, you won’t receive Medicare, but rather Medicaid. Medicaid is a needs-based program that provides for a number of prescriptions and doctor visits each month.
I was denied. Should I appeal?
You should definitely appeal. We can help you get started with your appeal by filing a written request for reconsideration within 60 days of your denial notice.
After that, there are four levels of review: Reconsideration, Hearing, Appeals Council, and Federal Court.
Contact us today for help with your appeal!
Is there a way to get my Social Security Disability benefits faster?
If your condition is included on the Social Security Administration’s list of “Compassionate Allowances,” you may be able to receive an expedited decision. This initiative provides a fast track to receiving disability benefits.
You can review Social Security’s list of Compassionate Allowances online. However, having one of these conditions won’t guarantee you qualify for the Compassionate Allowances program. Contact attorney Danielle Beaver to learn more about whether you might qualify.
Can I get Social Security Disability benefits and Workers’ Compensation?
Yes, you can file a claim for Workers’ Comp and Social Security Disability benefits.
While the two benefit systems are completely separate, the Social Security Administration may lower your disability payments by the amount of your Workers’ Compensation benefits, applying what’s called an “offset.”
Why do I need a lawyer to help me? Why should I hire Attorney Danielle Beaver?
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 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 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.
Social Security’s own statistics have shown you have a better chance of winning benefits when you have a lawyer.
Call us today!
What is the difference between a lawyer and a non-attorney advocate?
Non-attorney disability advocates are trained in the Social Security process, but have not received a law degree.
They can help you file your initial claim, but if your claim is denied (and most are) you will want legal counsel to proceed to the next step. If your appeal goes all the way to Federal Court, you will definitely need an attorney.
If you have questions about your eligibility, you should probably be working with an attorney.
What can’t a lawyer do for me?
No lawyer can push around the federal government, eliminate delays, or change the law to your benefit.
An experienced lawyer can make the Social Security system work for you and make the difference between winning or losing your case.
Call us today!