Social Security Disability FAQS

Social Security Disability FAQS

Tennessee Attorney

Attorney, Joe H. Byrd, Jr., with Byrd & Byrd, has been helping clients obtain Social Security Disability benefits for 27 years. Among the questions his clients most often ask about Social Security Disability benefit applications, claims, and appeals include the following:

What is Social Security Disability Insurance?

As part of regular payroll deductions, employers, employees, and self-employed individuals pay for Social Security Disability Insurance. Workers qualify for disability benefits based on their work history and the amount of benefits received is calculated using earnings as a base.

How do I qualify for benefits?

There are several requirements to qualify:

  1. You must have paid into the Social Security Administration for a long enough period and in large enough amounts to be considered insured.
  2. You must not be gainfully employed.
  3. You must be under a disability which has lasted or is expected to last 12 months.
  4. Your disability must be severe enough to keep you from performing your past job, or any other jobs in the local or national economy.

How does the Social Security Administration define a disability?

The Social Security Administration defines a disability as a physical or mental impairment that is severe enough to prevent an individual from working and earning above a set amount per month for 12 months or the rest of his life.

How do I apply for Social Security Disability?

There are three easy ways to file an application for Social Security Disability.

  • File online via the Internet
  • Call a local Social Security office to arrange an appointment to apply.
  • Apply in person at your local Social Security office without an appointment.

When am I eligible to apply for benefits?

There is no waiting period. You are eligible to file an application for benefits the day after you stop working, or the day after your earnings drop below $830.00 per month.

Will a doctor have to confirm that I am disabled?

Either through medical records or laboratory results or through an assessment by a physician or some other specified health care providers you must provide proof of your disability. Clinical findings and laboratory reports which support your doctor’s findings are ideal.

Do I need a lawyer to get approved for Social Security Disability benefits?

While a lawyer is not necessary to file a Social Security Disability application, most Social Security claims are denied upon the initial application. If your application is denied, you have 60 days in which to appeal the denial. For assistance with your appeal, contact Byrd & Byrd at (731) 410-7981.

Will my chances of benefits be greater, if an attorney represents me?

Yes, before approval, a great percentage of cases reach the hearing level, where an administrative law judge renders a ruling. The process of obtaining Social Security Disability benefits has many pitfalls for individuals who represent themselves or retain the services of a non-attorney representative. They risk missing important deadlines and often fail to get specific details from the doctor because they were not aware of the sort of information which would be required. The assistance of an attorney is not only valuable to ensure you meet deadlines and obtain the medical details you need, but an attorney is also is trained to deal with cross-examination of vocational experts or doctors brought to a hearing to testify against you.

How long will it take to get my money if I am notified that I will get my benefits?

Benefits are usually paid within four months of receiving a favorable decision.

Will I have to pay income tax on Social Security Disability benefit payments I receive?

Up to 50% of Social Security benefits are taxable if total “provisional income” (adjusted gross income, tax-exempt interest and one half of Social Security benefits) exceeds a base amount set at $25,000 for single taxpayers and $32,000 for married taxpayers filing jointly. If your taxable income is over $34,000, you will have a higher tax rate.

The Social Security Administration will send individuals who receive disability benefits, a SSA-1099 by February 1 of the following year. The 1099 will specify how much of the Social Security benefit received in your SSD lump sum was really a payment for a prior year or years. The 1099 will also list the attorney fee. Sometimes SSA-1099 forms are inaccurate. When you receive your SSA-1099, it is important for you to check your benefit award notices with the 1099 form you receive.

When you need expert legal help with a social security disability appeal, call our law firm at (731) 410-7981 to arrange an appointment with attorney, Joe H. Byrd, Jr.

What is Supplemental Security Income?

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a program financed through general revenues. SSI Disability benefits are payable to adults or children who are disabled or blind, have limited income and resources, meet the living arrangement requirements, and are otherwise eligible. The monthly payment varies up to the maximum federal benefit rate, which may be supplemented by the State or decreased by countable income and resources.

Am I eligible for Supplement Security Income?

The SSI program provides monthly income to people who are age 65 or older, or are blind or disabled, and have limited income and financial resources. Effective January 2008 the SSI payment for an eligible individual is $637 per month and $956 per month for an eligible couple. If you are married, and only one person is eligible, a portion of your spouse’s income may be counted. In addition, your financial resources (savings and assets you own) cannot exceed $2,000 ($3,000 if married). You can be eligible for SSI even if you have never worked in employment covered under Social Security.