Social Security Disability FAQ
WHAT ARE SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY BENEFITS? Social Security Disability is a benefit received from Social Security Administration by disabled workers and in some cases their dependents, similar to those received by retired workers.
WHO QUALIFIES? To receive benefits under Social Security Disability program, you must have a physical or mental health problem (or a combination of problems) severe enough to keep you from working in any regular paying job for at least one year. The test isn't whether or not you are able to go back to your old job, and test isn't whether or not you have been able to find a job lately. Rather, test is whether you are capable of doing any job available in national economy. By using an extensive set of regulations, Social Security Administration takes into account your medical condition, your age, your abilities, your training and your work experience in deciding your case.
WHAT HAPPENS IF I QUALIFY FOR SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY BENEFITS? If you are found eligible for Social Security Disability benefits, you will get paid retroactive benefits beginning 5 full months after you become disabled, but only for a maximum of 12 months before you applied for benefits. (Please see below for additional information on duration and amount.)
HOW MUCH MONEY WILL I RECEIVE IF I QUALIFY FOR SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY BENEFITS? A disabled claimant will receive same monthly benefit that he would receive had he retired at full retirement age (65 years old or more depending on age). The sum of money received will depend on one's previous work record.
HOW LONG WILL I BE ABLE TO RECEIVE SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY BENEFITS? You will receive Social Security Disability benefits as long as you remain disabled and unable to work. Your benefits will not run out because you did not contribute enough into Social Security system.
WHEN SHOULD I APPLY FOR SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY BENEFITS? You should apply for Social Security Disability benefits as soon as possible after you become disabled and unable to work. You do not need to wait 12 months to apply, your disability need only be expected to last for at least one year or will result in death.
HOW DO I APPLY FOR SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY BENEFITS? You can fill out an application for Social Security Disability benefits at local Social Security office nearest to your home or by telephone. The address and telephone number of your local Social Security office can be obtained by calling 1-800-772-1213. When applying you should be prepared to give Social Security a list with names, addresses and phone numbers of all doctors, hospitals or clinics who have treated you for your condition. You should also bring a list of where you have worked in past 15 years.
You will also need to provide Social Security with an original or certified copy of your birth certificate, your last earnings documents (W-2, last pay stub, statement of your employer, etc.) and copies (keep originals) of any medical records you may be able to obtain.
Please note, however, that you should not delay filing for benefits if all documents are not immediately available.
WHAT DO I DO IF I AM DENIED BENEFITS? Appeal! Many disabled people become disheartened and frustrated after they receive a disability benefits denial notice and do not appeal. This is often a mistake. Nationally, about 75% of all applicants are denied intially and about 90% are denied at first appeal stage--Reconsideration. But many of these people ultimately receive their benefits, nationally about 70%.