At George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers, we assist individuals who are applying for social security benefits. With more than 40 years of experience in the field, our South Carolina personal injury lawyer knows what it takes to ensure our clients receive the benefits they deserve. Our attorney has handled thousands of personal injury cases and works to ensure the rights of disabled workers are protected. We recognize how confusing the social security system can be, and we strive to make sure the process is as simple for our clients as possible. Browse through the questions and answers we have provided below or, for any additional information you are seeking, contact our firm today.
How do I apply for Social Security disability benefits?
To apply for Social Security disability benefits, visit or call your local Social Security Field Office over the phone (1-800-772-1213), or apply online at www.ssa.gov. An attorney can provide assistance in this process and can even file your application in certain cases.
How long do I have to wait after becoming disabled before I can file for Social Security disability benefits?
You should apply for benefits as soon as you are unable to work due to long term injuries or mental impairment. Waiting a long time to apply for benefits may result in a loss of payments that you deserve.
How long does it take to get a hearing for a Social Security disability claim?
The average wait time for a disability hearing can be anywhere from six months to a year or longer. In order to have a hearing, make sure that you file an appeal within 60 days from the date of the disability claim’s last denial.
If I’m awarded Social Security disability benefits and my condition improves and I want to return to work, can I do so?
If you participate in Social Security’s Ticket to Work program, you can work or train to work, and continue to receive benefits for a certain amount of time. Once you are able to work on your own, your Social Security benefits will be withdrawn. Make sure that you never hide your work from Social Security if you are receiving payments. If Social Security finds out that you’re working, it might declare that you’re overpaid and require that you pay the money back.
What action do I take if Social Security terminates my benefits?
If Social Security terminates your benefits with a written denial, you should file for an appeal immediately. You have sixty days from the date on the written notification of denial to file an appeal, and even fewer days to ask Social Security to keep your benefits going through the appeal process. An experienced Social Security attorney can assist with your appeal and advocate on your behalf.
My benefits were denied. What are my options?
After your initial application is denied and your request for reconsideration is rejected, you will need to file another formal appeal of the denial. A hearing will then take place before an Administrative Law Judge, who will provide an independent review of your case. If the Administrative Law Judge denies your case, you can file an appeal at the Appeals Council in Virginia. If that request is denied, you can file a case against Social Security in the Federal court system. We recommend contacting an experienced Social Security attorney to help you with this process.
I have a physical or mental impairment that prevents me from working. Am I eligible for disability benefits?
There are two main types of disability payments: Disability Insurance Benefits and Supplemental Security Income. Under Disability Insurance Benefits, you are entitled to apply for monthly disability insurance payments from the Social Security Administration based on your history of paying Social Security taxes. If your income is low enough and you have limited assets, you can apply to receive Supplemental Security Income. In order to receive Supplemental Security Income, you must meet the same medical requirements that apply to claims for Disability Insurance Benefits.
Can my spouse or children also receive benefits if I am disabled?
If you are receiving Disability Insurance Benefits, a child under 18 years old or a child in high-school below 19 years may be entitled to an auxiliary benefit. Adult children of a disabled parent can receive disability benefits on the record of their parent if they too become disabled prior to age 22. Disability benefits for spouses are normally limited to widows and widowers over the age of 50.
I have to go to a hearing. What should I expect?
The hearing will most likely take place at your regional Office of Disability Adjudication and Review. You will not be in an open court room setting, but you will have to testify before an Administrative Law Judge. He/she wants to know how your personal injury or illness affects your ability to go to work. He/she will ask about your daily activities, whether you’re in pain from your injury, and whether the disability affects you. You will want to present any medical evidence that Social Security doesn’t have. Aside from yourself and the Judge, there will be a clerk and usually a Vocational Expert to provide testimony. You also have the right to have a representative at your hearing. The Judge will make a decision on your case within 2 or 3 months of the hearing, but the wait could even be longer.
I haven’t been going to the doctor because I don’t have insurance and I can’t afford treatment. Will that affect my ability to get Social Security?
Yes, not going to the doctor will definitely affect your ability to be approved for Social Security benefits. Medical documents are needed in order to support your claim that you have a disability. Without medical evidence, your claim can be denied and you won’t receive benefits. To find a clinic that may see you for free, go to http://www.needymeds.org/free_clinics.taf. For mental health clinics that may see you for free, go to http://store.samhsa.gov/mhlocator.
What are “work credits”?
Work credits are based on your earnings. The Social Security Administration will use your work history to determine your eligibility for disability benefits. In 2012, you will receive one credit for each $1,130 of earnings with a maximum of four credits per year. Each year, the amount of earnings needed for credits slightly increases as average earning levels rise.
What is Supplemental Security Income (SSI)?
Supplemental Security Income is a Federal income supplement program that provides a monthly check to help people who are blind, elderly or have a disability. Children are able to get SSI if they have a disability or blindness. To qualify for SSI, you will need to have a little or no income, limited resources, and be considered medically disabled.