You may have heard of disability benefits, though you may have questions regarding the regulatory maze that disabled individuals must work through to obtain them. A major area of confusion is the distinction between Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplementary Security Income (SSI). Both programs are administered through the Social Security Administration and have different criteria and requirements. This blog is meant to help demystify these two important federal programs and help you understand whether you or a loved one qualify.
If you served our country and suffered a serious injury during combat, or developed a debilitating injury or condition after being discharged, you may be tempted to pursue both Social Security and veterans’ disability benefits. It is quite common for veterans to have claims going on simultaneously. You can receive VA disability benefits and Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) benefits at the same time. This is because VA disability benefits are not tethered to income, unlike SSDI insurance claims.
It is unusual to have a social security hearing without a vocational expert present to offer testimony. Very often, the vocational expert makes or breaks your social security claim.
The vocational expert, hired by Social Security, assists the Administrative Law Judge by analyzing your residual functional capacity (advising the Judge what activities you are able to do despite your disabilities and limitations) and determines whether jobs exist in the national economy that you can still perform given your limitations.
The Judge will ask the vocational expert a hypothetical question incorporating your physical and mental limitations and ask the vocational expert whether and how many jobs exist that you can still perform. If the vocational expert can identify jobs within your residual functional capacity, most often you will be found to be “not disabled” because there is work available, even if you can’t find it.
After running through five consecutive years of deficits, many experts anticipate that the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) Trust Fund is about to run dry in roughly two years. If Congress fails to take necessary action before 2016, there may be a 19 percent cut to SSDI benefits across the board. For the ordinary citizen depending on this financial lifeline, this would mean a $218 reduction in monthly benefits — from $1,146 to $928, thereby lowering the average benefit below the federal poverty level.
According to official reports, nearly 60 million people receive SSDI benefits, including 42 million retired workers and dependents, 11 million disabled workers and 6 million survivors of deceased workers. A sudden reduction of benefits by 19 percent will likely be crippling for many recipients.
Social Security Disability Insurance (commonly referred to as SSDI) is a federal program run by the Social Security Administration that provides monthly disability benefits to people who become disabled before their age of retirement and cannot earn enough money to support themselves. However, as per the latest statistics, almost one-third of the SSDI applications received each year are flat out rejected. Read on to learn the most common mistakes people commit while filing for SSDI and how best to avoid them.
Insufficient “working credits” to qualify
In order to fit the bill for Social Security disability benefits, you need to have worked for a sufficient period of time in the past. The SSA requires a work history of at least 1.5 years of work if you get disabled before 28 for example. Basically, the older you are and the more you have worked as of late, the better probability you have of getting your benefits.
If you are blind, elderly, and/or disabled and already receiving Social Security disability benefits, you may be able to qualify for Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”). SSI does exactly what its name implies – it supplements your income to cover necessary expenses.[Read more…]
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
Almost 1.2 million Floridians suffer from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD. COPD is an umbrella term that refers to a group of lung diseases that block airflow and make it difficult for an individual to breathe. Two of the most common conditions that make up COPD are emphysema and chronic bronchitis.
Many Floridians mistakenly believe that if they hire a lawyer to handle their Social Security disability claim, they are going to have to pay a big retainer fee or a huge sum of money per hour for the lawyer’s services. This misconception is understandable since the stereotype of lawyers is that they charge hundreds of dollars per hour just to talk to clients.
This is NOT the case with the Social Security disability insurance lawyers at Hoffman, Larin & Agnetti, P.A.
Understanding the Fee Structure for Social Security Disability Cases
Fees for legal representation in these types of cases are “contingent.” This means that if you do not get awarded benefits, no fee is due to your lawyer. This is a key reason why you need to reach out to a Florida Social Security disability lawyer. It is a low-risk, high-reward proposition. If you do not get awarded benefits, you leave the same way you began. You will not have to pay your lawyer a large sum of money for an unsuccessful venture.
Some people think that filing for Social Security Disability Benefits is easy; you fill out some documents and in a matter of weeks, you are receiving a check. Unfortunately, this is a complete misconception. In fact, at the initial application stage, less than 27 percent of applicants in Florida are approved to receive SSDI benefits. Florida’s rate is actually lower than the national average rate of 31 percent. It gets even worse – Florida’s rate for reconsidering an application and setting an appeal hearing is lower than the national average as well. The typical wait time for a hearing in Florida is 367 days (i.e. over a year).
This Is Where a Florida SSDI Law Firm Can Help
Since roughly seven out of ten SSDI claims are denied in Florida at the initial disability application stage, you should consider speaking with an experienced SSDI attorney. We can help with the paperwork and assist if you have to go through a disability application interview with an SSDI claim representative in a local Florida office.
Social Security Disability Insurance
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a federal program that provides financial assistance to people with disabilities. The program is administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA) and there are eligibility requirements to qualify for benefits. When an individual applies for SSDI benefits, the SSA collects medical and other information to determine whether the individual meets the SSA’s definition of “disability.”
Disability and Disabling Conditions
Under Social Security law, a disability is defined as the inability to engage in any “substantial gainful activity” (SGA) because of a physical or mental impairment (or impairments) that a) can be expected to result in death, b) can be expected to last for a continuous period of at least 12 months, or c) has already lasted for a continuous period of at least 12 months.