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Social Security Disability FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions of Florida Social Security Disability Attorneys

Q: What is the difference between SSI and SSDI?

A: Supplemental Security Income, or SSI, is a program financed through general tax revenues-not through Social Security trust funds. SSI disability benefits are paid to people who have a disability and who don't own much or have a lot of income.

Social Security disability insurance is a program that workers, employers and the self-employed pay for with their Social Security taxes. You qualify for these benefits based on your work history, and the amount of your benefit is based on your earnings.

Q: When should I apply for SSDI?

A: When you believe you qualify or will qualify under the definition. You do not have to wait until you have been disabled 12 months, it must only be expected to last at least 12 months or result in death.

Q: Can I work and earn income while on SSDI?

A: Substantial gainful employment is defined as $720.00 per month. If you have nominal earnings that do not exceed that amount, you can earn the money. But if you are able to maintain substantial gainful employment, you are no longer eligible.

Q: Can I get SSDI if I am already receiving workers compensation?

A: Yes.

Q: Can my child receive disability benefits?

A: Yes a child can receive either SSI or SSD is they are disabled. There is a set of criteria for children. They can get SSD based on their parents earning record, or SSI if no earning record or a combination up to the maximum SSI amount.

Q: If I am entitled to benefits, do I need to have an attorney in order to receive them?

A: Depends. For your initial application, an attorney or non-attorney representative is most likely not necessary. If you are denied, you may want to seek representation to assist in presenting your case for your appeal. It would be highly recommended to have an attorney prepare for your hearing before the administrative law judge or appeals council and would almost always be needed for a court appeal.

Q: How does Social Security define a disability?

A: To be eligible for benefits, a person must be unable to do any kind of substantial work because of a physical ,mental, or combination of impairments which is expected to last at least 12 months or end in death.

Q: Is there a list of diseases or illnesses that Social Security automatically covers?

A: Social Security has a listing of impairments that if you meet ALL of the specifications and the condition keeps you from substantial gainful employment, you can be found eligible based on your condition.

Q: How long do I have to wait before benefits start?

A: Benefits begin the month following the fifth full month of disability for SSDI and the date of application or the date of onset of disability for SSI.

Q: I am disabled. Can I apply for, and receive SSDI, if I already have some money in the bank?

A: Yes.

Q: I received a notice from Social Security saying it over paid me. Do I have to return the money if it was their error?

A: Not necessarily; if you appeal their decision and win the appeal or if the mistake was theirs and it would be a hardship for you to repay the amount, you can apply for and receive a waiver of the overpayment.

Q: My claim was denied. What do I do now?

A: In most cases, you'll be turned down automatically the first time you apply for benefits. When this happens, you should appeal the decision. The instructions on how to appeal should be on the notice turning you down.

Q: If my condition worsens, will my monthly benefit amount be increased?

A: No, the benefit is a set amount based on your earnings record and it is for full disability for SSD. For SSI, it is a set amount for all recipients and also cannot be increased, although it may be supplemented in a few states.

Q: What if I'm not permanently disabled? Can I still receive SSDI?

A: That is contingent upon the nature and severity of your disability. If your disability will not last 12 months, then you are ineligible. If your disability does not prevent you from doing any kind of substantial gainful employment, then you are ineligible.

Q: What is a trial work period?

A: A trial work period is an opportunity to try and go back to work to see if you can do it without jeopardizing your benefits. A trial work period last for 7 months and must be reported to SSA. If you are unable to maintain substantial gainful employment, your benefits will not be terminated because you tried to go back to work.

Q: Will my SSDI be reviewed, and if so, when? Could I lose my benefits?

A: All SSDI and SSI cases are periodically reviewed because of medical advances. The shortest time between reviews is 3 years; the longest can be 10 years. If your medical records and examination show that there has been substantial medical improvement so that you could return to substantial gainful employment, your benefits will be stopped.

Contact a Florida Social Security Disability lawyer for a free initial consultation to discuss your disability claim, today!

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