At Ryan Bisher Ryan & Simons, our attorneys have decades of experience representing claimants for Social Security Disability benefits. We have a strong understanding of the law. We offer assistance from the application phase through all stages of the appeals process.
Answers to some frequently asked questions about Social Security Disability follow. If you have specific questions about your individual Social Security Disability claim, don’t hesitate to call us or contact us online for a free consultation.
Is There a Waiting Period for Social Security Disability Benefits?
According to the Social Security Administration (SSA), there is a five-month waiting period for Social Security Disability benefits. This means that the SSA will start paying you for benefits beginning the sixth full month after the date it determines your disability began.
This waiting period helps the SSA make sure that it does not pay claimants for disabilities that are relatively short-term. You are not entitled to payment for benefits during the five-month waiting period, even if the SSA determines you were disabled during this time.
To qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), you must have a recognized medical impairment that has lasted for at least a year, is expected to last for at least a year, or is expected to result in death. If you have a disability that is not terminal and is only expected to last for a few months, you might not be eligible for SSDI or SSI unless your condition lasts longer than expected.
In addition to the official waiting period, you will also have to wait for the SSA to issue a decision for your claim. There are millions of people who apply for disability benefits every year. It takes the administration some time to process a claim. According to U.S. News World Report, it takes an average of eight months from the date you apply for benefits to the initial determination for your claim.
The SSA states that the amount of time it takes to issue an initial decision on a claim depends on:
- The nature of your disability
- How quickly medical evidence can be obtained from your health care providers
- Whether you must undergo a medical examination
- Whether it reviews your application for quality purposes
Because it can take a long time to begin receiving your benefits after you apply, it is important to work with an experienced Oklahoma Social Security Disability lawyer who can advise you during the process, help you avoid delays, and answer any SSDI or SSI questions you may have. Your lawyer may also be able to check in with the SSA to determine or estimate how much longer your claim may take.
What Questions Does the Social Security Administration Ask?
You should expect to answer many questions when you apply for Social Security Disability benefits. These questions are often part of one or more of the following categories:
Background and identifying information
SSA representatives may ask a number of questions to identify you and the potential benefits you may be qualified for.
This may include information such as your:
- Full legal name
- Phone number
- Marital status
- Previous marriages, divorces, and widowhood
You will also need to provide information about your physical and mental medical impairments, such as:
- The types of medical conditions you have
- When, where, and with whom you have sought treatment
- Your response to treatment
- Whether you were prescribed any medications
- Your response to those medications
- Whether you suffered any side effects from taking medication
You will also need to answer many questions about your work history. Ultimately, the SSA wants to determine the type of work you performed in the past, and if you are still able to complete it or other available work.
Expect to answer questions, such as:
- What was your occupation?
- Where did you work?
- What date periods did you work?
- What were your job responsibilities?
- Why can’t you work your former job now?
Education and skills
SSA representatives may also inquire about your education, certifications, job training, and job skills.
One of the most important things that you must be prepared to describe is how your medical impairments affect your daily life and ability to work.
You may have to explain any limitations you have in completing everyday activities like:
- Getting along with others
You may also need to describe limitations that affect how long you can stand, sit, walk, or bend before you need to take a break and how much you can lift.
An SSDI or SSI lawyer can help prepare you for your interview with the SSA and how to answer these questions.
How Often Are Social Security Disability Benefits Reviewed?
Social Security Disability benefit awards are reviewed every six months to seven years, depending on the severity of your condition and whether SSA believes it is likely that your medical condition will improve.
If your SSDI case is set for review, you will receive a letter from the SSA that informs you of the review and your responsibilities. If you receive this type of letter, you should consult with an experienced SSDI or SSI lawyer who can help during this review.
Can I Return to Work If I’m Receiving SSDI?
Your SSDI benefits continue as long as you remain disabled and until you reach full retirement age.
If you think that you might be able to return to work, the SSA offers several programs to help you try this out, such as the Ticket to Work Program. Under this program, you can work for a nine-month trial period.
During this time, you can still receive your full SSDI benefits. Each month in which you earn more than the established limit, the month counts toward your nine months’ trial period. For the three years after the trial period, you will receive full SSDI benefits for any month when you received less than the income threshold. The threshold for non-blind, single recipients is $1,310 as of 2021.
If you are unable to continue working because your condition gets worse, you may be able to have your full benefits reinstated.
How Much Does a Social Security Disability Lawyer Cost?
There are strict guidelines on how much and when a Social Security Disability lawyer gets paid. An SSDI lawyer cannot charge you upfront for services. Instead, they are paid out of any award you receive once a favorable decision is made in your case. If your claim is denied and this decision is not reversed during the appeals process, your lawyer is not eligible to receive any compensation.
Your social security disability lawyer can only receive up to 25% of your accrued benefit amount or $6,000, whichever is lower. Your lawyer should have a written fee agreement that spells out how you will be charged for their services.
It is important that you carefully select an SSDI or SSI lawyer who is experienced in this area of the law, which is highly complex. Ryan Bisher Ryan & Simons was founded in 1984 with a mission to help Social Security Disability applicants and injury victims recover the compensation they need. Our disability lawyers provide one-on-one attention and have an in-depth understanding of Social Security Disability law.
How Much Money Can I Get Each Month From Disability Benefits?
The average monthly benefit for disabled workers in 2020 was $1,258, according to U.S. News World Report. However, the amount of your particular monthly award depends on many factors, including:
- How much money you earned and contributed to the SSA over the course of your career
- The number of years you have worked
- The median income for the position you worked
- Whether you receive SSDI or SSI (or both in some cases)
Why Do I Need to Reapply for Social Security Disability?
In some situations, your SSDI lawyer may advise you to reapply for Social Security Disability benefits, such as if you have developed an additional medical impairment, your condition has worsened, or something was wrong or missing from your original claim that you can modify at this point.
Are Disability Benefits Taxable?
Generally, disability benefits are not taxable. However, there are times when they may be. For example, if you work and receive SSDI or SSI benefits, your benefits might be taxed. However, even if your benefits are taxed, all of them may not be subject to taxation. For example, if you are single and made more than $25,000 but less than $34,000, half of your benefits might be taxed.
You might also be taxed on a lump-sum payment for back payments owed you or for spousal / death benefits.
An experienced SSDI lawyer may be able to help you lower your tax liability or structure your payments to minimize your tax liability. For example, you may be able to apply some of your back payments to previous years to lower your current tax year payment.
SSDI Legal Representation You Can Rely On
At the personal injury and disability law firm of Ryan Bisher Ryan & Simons, our attorneys have been representing clients just like you for more than 30 years. We know how to help clients navigate the most complex of Social Security Disability claims. We have the experience needed to help you pursue the comprehensive benefits you deserve.
When you hire our firm, you can have peace of mind knowing that you have hired a law firm with an exceptional record of success. Contact us today for help with your claim. The consultation is free, confidential, and without obligations.Get Started