Frequently Asked Questions
Supplemental Security Income is for low or no income citizens or for a “qualified alien” who is 65 years of age or older, blind or disabled. It provides money for basic needs. One must have less that $2,000 in resources ($3,000 if married) to qualify for SSI. Benefits are paid the month after the application is filed.
Social Security Disability, on the other hand, is available to those who are ‘insured’. This means that you have worked long enough and paid Social Security taxes. You also must be a citizen or qualified alien. If you are not a citizen you must meet one of the exceptions.
Yes, if your case involves a:
- terminal illness
- military service casualty
- suicidal or homicidal claimant
- compassionate allowance
- dire need
Generally, attorneys who handle Social Security Disability Income (SSD or SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) cases will charge 25% of past-due benefits. At present, $6,000 is the most that can be charged. They will only get paid if you win your case.
It depends on your individual case. Those with limited resources should apply for Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Anyone who has worked for a significant amount of time should see about applying for Social Security disability (SSD or SSDI). Many people may qualify under both programs.
Social Security will evaluate your claim on all of your conditions combined and how they together affect your ability to work. In fact, Social Security must evaluate your conditions even the ones that are not as severe.
A child up to 18 years old may receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) child benefits if they are found disabled by Social Security and the parents income and resources are low enough. Social Security defines disability in children. Under title XVI, a child under age 18 will be considered disabled if he or she has a medically determinable physical or mental impairment or combination of impairments that causes marked and severe functional limitations, and that can be expected to cause death or that has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months.
- Is the child working at substantial gainful activity (SGA) level. If the child is working the claim for child’s SSI will be denied. If the child is not working, we move to step 2.
- Does the child claimant have a severe impairment. If not, the child will be denied. If the child has a severe impairment we move to step 3.
- Does the child impairment meet, medically equal or functionally equal one of the listed impairments.
If a child clearly meets a listing, the child will usually win fairly quickly if all supporting medical records are in. For a child to functionally equal a listed impairment, the child must have marked limitations in two domains or an extreme limitation in one. The six domains are:
- Acquiring and Using Information
- Attending and Completing Tasks
- Interacting and Relating with Others
- Moving About and Manipulating Objects
- Caring for Yourself
- Health and Physical Well Being
- The appeal process varies from State to State.
- When you first apply, the field office will verify age, marital status, employment and if you qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance by determining the amount of taxes paid. If denied, you usually must file a request for reconsideration.
- At the reconsideration stage, the Disability Determination Services (DDS), a State Agency, will determine if you are disabled based on your medical records and their doctors’ evaluations. If DDS finds you disabled, the field office will determine how much you are entitled to. If DDS finds your not disabled, your case will move to a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge. Most cases are denied at the reconsideration stage.
- When in front of an Administrative Law Judge, you will have a judge determine if you are disabled. Most cases are won at this stage.
- If denied, you can have your case reviewed by the Appeals Council.
- Appeals can be filed online, at your local social security office or by mail.
- The appeals process could take up to several years.
Arthritis and related disorders
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA)
Degenerative Joint Disease
Degenerative Disc Disease (including herniated, ruptured, and bulging discs)
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS)
Cubital Tunnel Syndrome
Thoracic Outlet Syndrome
Brachial Plexus Neuropathy
Myofacial Plain Syndrome
Chronic Pain Syndrome of the neck, back, and/or extremities
Internal Derangement, shoulder
Impingement syndrome, shoulder
Torn rotator cuff, shoulder
Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome
Severe sprains and strains
Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD) / Complex Regional Pain Sydrome
Connective Tissue Disorders
Systematic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE)
Bipolar Disorder (types 1 & 2)
Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
Intracranial disease (including brain tumor, cerebral vascular disease/stroke, cerebral infections)
Spinal cord disease
Peripheral nerve disease
Neurologic manifestations, including chronic pain, headache, seizures, tremors, vertigo
Hepatic and Biliary Disorders
Hepatitis A and B
Coronary artery disease, including Angina Pectoris and Myocardial Infarction
Mitral Valve Prolapse
Congestive Heart Failure
Pulmonary Edema Hypertension
Peripheral vascular disorders
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Step One: Social Security will determine if you are working.
- Step Two: Is your condition “severe.”
- Step Three: Social Security will decide if your condition is a “listed” impairment.
- Step Four: Social Security will decide if you can do your previous work.
- Step Five: Social Security will determine if you can do any other work.
- Spouse if he or she is at least 62 years of age
- Divorced ex-spouse
- Unmarried children under the age 18
- Disabled children of the age 18 or older
- Disabled widow