Social Security Disability
It's nice to know Social Security will be there when we retire. But if life deals you a difficult hand, you may find yourself needing that help sooner.
Don't wait for things to work themselves out, let us represent you and assure that you are supported in the ways you need to continue your daily life.
Why Kaplan and Grant?
When we first got into this business 31 years ago, we did it because we love representing people and ensuring they are fairly treated and compensated. We come to work each day because we care about our clients, and want to help them.
With us, you can put your trust in knowing we will fight for your rights, and will always put your first. You are why we made this law office, and we won't stop until you have security in your future.
If you want to find out whether you qualify for social security disability, contact us, or give us a call at 207-780-6700.
You can also submit your case here.
Q: What does it mean to be disabled?
A: Under the Social Security Act, disability means the inability to engage in any meaningful work paying $1070.00 per month or more because of a physical or mental impairment which is expected to result in death or will last for a continuous period of at least 12 months.
Q: How do I apply for social security disability benefits?
A: The best way to file a social security disability claim is to go in person to the nearest social security office, speak with a representative of the Social Security Administration (SSA), and arrange to file a claim in person. Alternatively, you can contact the SSA by telephone and arrange for a telephone interview in which you can file a claim. You can also file an application on the internet at WWW.SSA.GOV.
Q: If I have assets, such as money in the bank, will this affect my eligibility for social security disability benefits.
A: If you are applying for social security disability insurance benefits (SSDIB), the amount of money you have is irrelevant. The value of your assets is relevant only to claims for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, which is a need-based program.
Q: Does anyone qualify for social security disability benefits?
A: In most cases, you must have worked long enough to be insured for social security disability purposes. For most people that means five or more years. You must also have worked five out of the last ten years to be eligible for benefits.
Q: How long after I become disabled do I have to apply for benefits?
A: If you become disabled, you have five years in which to prove your eligibility.
Q: Can you receive retroactive benefits?
A: You can only receive benefits retroactively for 12 months prior to the date you filed your application. The earliest you can receive benefits is five months after the date on which it is determined your disability began.
Q: If I am disabled as a result of a work-related injury, can I receive workers' compensation benefits as well as social security disability benefits at the same time?
A: It is possible to be eligible for benefits under both the Workers' Compensation Act and the Social Security Disability Act, but there is a limit on the benefits one can receive from both programs at the same time. If you are awarded social security disability benefits, the Social Security Administration will take an offset from your workers' compensation benefits. You may still be eligible to receive some social security disability benefits depending upon your earnings during the last several years you worked prior to your disability.
Q: Do I have to be permanently disabled to obtain social security benefits?
A: No. You qualify for benefits if you: (1) have been disabled for at least a year, (2) are expected to be disabled for at least a year, or (3) have a condition which is expected to result in death within a year.
Q: How does the Social Security Administration decide if I am disabled?
A: The Social Security Administration will gather your medical records and consider all of your health problems. If the Administration decides you are unable to perform your past work, then they will decide whether you are able to perform any other work generally available in the regional or national economy. In making this determination, the SSA will consider your health problems, as well as your age, education, and work experience.
Q: Am I eligible for benefits if my medical problems keep me from being hired for any jobs?
A: The Administration is not interested in whether an employer will hire you; only whether you are able (despite your medical problems) to perform jobs which exist in significant numbers in the national or regional economy.
Q: If I am denied benefits on my first application, what should I do?
A: You can appeal that decision by requesting that the Administration reconsider their decision. You can do this by calling your local social security office and telling them you want to request reconsideration of the denial you received. After several months, you will receive a Notice of Reconsideration from the Administration. If you are denied at this stage, you can request a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge.
Q: Is there anything I can do to improve my chances of winning my social security disability claim?
A: The best way to increase your chance of being awarded benefits is to provide the Administration with all the information they request, accurately and honestly. You should not exaggerate or minimize your problems. You should be candid about all of your problems, both physical and emotional. If you are denied on both the initial application and on reconsideration, your chances of winning your claim at the hearing before an Administrative Law Judge are better if you hire an attorney to represent you. Statistics from the Social Security Administration show that people who hire an attorney to represent them are much more likely to win their claims than those who do not.
Q: How long does the average social security claim take from start to finish in Maine?
A: Generally, although each case is different, each stage of the process takes approximately three months. Therefore, it takes about three months to receive a decision on your initial application, three months to receive a decision following a request for reconsideration, three months to receive a hearing after you have requested one, and three months to receive a decision after a hearing.
Q: What happens at a social security hearing?
A: Social security hearings are relatively informal. Oftentimes, a doctor and/or a vocational person will be present at the hearing to assist the judge in determining whether you are disabled. The judge, or your lawyer if you have one, will ask you questions about your educational and vocational backgrounds, as well as your medical problems. The judge and/or your lawyer may also ask questions of a medical advisor or a vocational expert if they are present at the hearing. Following the hearing, the judge will issue a written decision indicating whether you have won or lost your claim.
Q: If I hire a lawyer, how will that lawyer be paid?
A: In almost all cases, an attorney receives 1/4 of the retroactive benefits if the claimant wins, and no fee if the claimant loses.
Q: If I receive social security disability benefits, will I also get Medicare?
A: Yes. If you are approved for any kind of social security disability benefit other than Supplement Security Income, you will also receive Medicare after you have been entitled to social security disability benefits for two years.
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