Social Security Disability Bankruptcy
UNDERSTANDING SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY
You Have A Right To Know
Am I eligible to apply?
What benefits am I entitled?
How do I file a claim?
What are the requirements?
Can I have a lawyer represent me?
This pamphlet is for persons who
are unable to work due to a serious illness or disability and are
interested in collecting Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits and
Medicare from the Social Security Administration (SSA). The SSD program
is for disabled workers who have worked and earned enough credits to
qualify. The SSA also administers the SSI program for those who do not
have enough credits, and are without income (a public assistance program
for the aged and disabled).
In order to qualify for SSD you must
have attained Insured Status. To obtain insured status you must have
earned enough credits by reporting a certain amount of income. A person
can earn up to four credits a year. For individuals under 30 years of
age special rules apply to the amount of credits needed to qualify.
Persons, ages 31 to 42, need at least 20 credits; if older than 42 you
need additional credits every year (at age 60, you need at least 38
Your benefits are determined by averaging your lifetime earnings. You
can obtain an Earnings Statement from SSA to see if you qualify. In
fact, it is a good idea to periodically check your Earnings Statement
|Who Else Is Eligible For Benefits:
If you're found
Disabled, other family members may qualify for additional benefits based
on your earnings: 1) unmarried children under age 19 and in high
school; 2) unmarried child, if Disabled before age 22; 3) a spouse if
caring for a child under 16 or Disabled; 4) a Disabled Widow(er) over
age 50 (the disability must have started within seven years after
|Qualifications For Disability
Social Security rules
require you to be totally disabled from any kind of work for over 12
months. You are entitled to receive disability benefits for the rest of
your life, or for a closed set period of time - if you returned to work
or are no longer disabled.
Applying For Social Security Disability Benefits:
can apply directly to your local SSA office. You should wait at least 6
months after the onset of your disability unless it is life threatening.
If you apply more than one year after disablement you should retain an
attorney. You can receive retroactive benefits only one year prior to
the date you file your Application. It is good to document your first
contact with SSA.
Your date of disablement can be very
important. The disablement date must be within 5 years you last worked
and you must have earned 20 credits within the last 10 years. Hence, it
is important to promptly see a physician who will document your
disability as early as possible.
|Levels of Decision Making
Perseverance pays off! Quite
often Social Security denies your initial application. You can appeal
and are entitled to a Hearing before an Administrative Law Judge. At
that time you will actually be able to tell your side of the story.
Statistics show that your chance of success increases when you get to
the Hearing level. You can appeal an unfavorable decision to the Appeals
Council and to the U.S. Federal Courts.
Medical & Vocational Requirements
All ailments and
illnesses will be considered. The complete the medical records and
reports are scribing your illness the better. The SSA looks if your
doctor believes you are totally disabled work. Different disabilities
can be combined in finding you disabled (low back, depression, lupus).
Security also considers the type of former employment, your age,
education and vocational. [Ex: A 55 year old person may be found
disabled, while a 45 year old with the same disability my not] A trained
lawyer familiar with these complicated set of regulations can be
crucial in determining whether you receive a favorable decision. I have
successfully handled hundreds of cases before Administrative Law Judges,
Appeals Council, and the U.S. District Courts.
You do not have to pay my firm a legal fee
unless we win your case. By law, in most cases, Social Security holds
25% of the retroactive benefits as a legal fee and pays the lawyer
directly. Expenses for medical records and reports must be paid for by
Persons are entitled to Medicare two
years after SSA determines your disablement date. Persons eligible for
SSI benefits are entitled to Medicaid. Medicare premiums are deducted
from the benefits checks.
|Returning To Work:
You are allowed to return to work
for a Trial Period for up to 9 months. After a Favorable Decision you
can earn up to $940.00 per month and still receive disability benefits.
You are allowed a Trail Work Period where you can work for nine months
and make as much money as can. If you return to substantial work, and
your disability causes you to stop work within 36 months thereafter, you
will be eligible to reinstate your benefits without filing a new
application. Medicare may continue for 39 months.
Role Of The Lawyer:
The SSA is a very large
governmental bureaucracy. A Social Security lawyer has a special
expertise in its procedures, rules and regulations. A lawyer is
necessary to question medical consultants and vocational rehabilitation
experts. Statistics show those represented by a lawyer have a higher
success rate. You should obtain a lawyer especially if SSA has denied
your claim. You may be losing a large amount of money by not retaining a
lawyer and appealing, rather than re-filing a new application at a
Persons eligible for disability who desire professional legal counsel
in Social Security Disability matters can call our law office directly
at (718) 726-6993. We welcome Referrals from Medical Professionals. We
answer doctors questions free of charge. We are always willing to help
explain things to doctors.