Social Security Disability Lawyer FAQ

 

Social Security Disability Videos


Social Security Dos …

  • Seek necessary medical treatment
  • Give your doctor a complete and accurate history
  • Seek legal advice if:
    • You need help filing your initial claim
    • Your claim has been denied at reconsideration
    • At any time if you do not understand what is happening

Social Security Don’ts …

  • Provide any false or misleading information to your doctor, or to the Social Security Administration

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What are the steps involved in filing for Social Security Disability?

A person who becomes ill or injured and, as a result, is unable to work should take the following steps to apply for disability benefits:

1. First, get medical care and make sure you clearly document your medical condition.

2. File an application with the Social Security office. When to file a claim depends on many factors. The key is that your disability must prevent you from working for at least 12 consecutive months. That year can have passed or be in the process of passing. You can file by phone, mail, or in person.

3. Your application will be sent to Disability Determination Services (DDS). Based on your medical data and your application, DDS will determine if you are qualified. If they need more medical information, you may be asked to undergo an examination. These medical exams can be quick and superficial.

4. Once DDS makes a decision, you will receive a written notice. If you’ve been denied, the notice will state why.

The Social Security disability benefit system is one of the most complicated and confusing of all the federal bureaucracies. You only have two months (60 days) to take action after you receive your initial denial notice. If you fail to appeal it, you could lose all of your rights. We handle Social Security disability claims every day, but we know this is not an everyday experience for you. We will guide you through every step in the process. Our Social Security disability lawyers and our professional staff will get to know you and your situation well, because the better we know you, the better we can represent you.

Don’t delay. Contact our law firm today to arrange a free consultation and case evaluation. Call our main office toll free 800-525-2099.

Oregon Social Security Disability Attorneys at the Law Offices of Black, Chapman, Petersen & Stevens represent clients throughout Oregon, Northern California and the entire United States.

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What determines if a person is disabled?

Your inability to work. If you have a physical or mental condition that causes you to be unable to do the work that you are suited for (given your age, education and experience), and the disability is expected to last for at least 12 consecutive months or result in your death, then you can be considered. Obviously, the key debate is around your ability to work.

The Social Security disability benefit system is one of the most complicated and confusing of all the federal bureaucracies. We handle Social Security Disability claims every day, but we know this is not an everyday experience for you. We will guide you through every step in the process. Our Social Security disability lawyers and our professional staff will get to know you and your situation well, because the better we know you, the better we can represent you.

Don’t delay. Contact our law firm today to arrange a free consultation and case evaluation. Call our main office toll free 800-525-2099.

Oregon Social Security Disability Attorneys at the Law Offices of Black, Chapman, Petersen & Stevens represent clients throughout Oregon, Northern California and the entire United States.

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Social Security Questions

Q: WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SSD AND SSI?

A: Social Security Disability (SSD) is for people who have worked and paid in to social security 20 out of the last 40 quarters (approximately 5 out of the last 10 years). Social Security Income (SSI) is for those who have not paid in during the relevant quarters.

Q: HOW DOES SOCIAL SECURITY DECIDE IF I AM DISABLED?

A: Social Security is based on your inability to work because of a medical condition. You must be unable to do any sort of work. Your disability must last or be expected to last one year or result in death.

Q: CAN I APPLY FOR SHORT TERM DISABILITY BENEFITS?

A: Social Security pays only for total disability. No benefits are payable for partial or short term disability.

Q: HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO RECEIVE AN INITIAL DECISION?

A: The length of time is takes to receive a decision is from 3 to 6 months.

Q: IF I RECEIVE A DENIAL AND DISAGREE WITH SOCIAL SECURITY’S INITIAL DECISION, WHAT CAN I DO?

A: We can request an appeal within 60 days for Social Security to reconsider their decision.

Q: IF I RECEIVE A DENIAL ON RECONSIDERATION AND DISAGREE, WHAT CAN I DO?

A: We can request a hearing within 60 days to appear before a judge where we can present your case for disability.

Q: HOW LONG WILL IT BE BEFORE I HAVE A HEARING?

A: Generally, we estimate 16 months from the time the hearing is requested.

Q: WHY DOES IT TAKE SO LONG?

A: The time it takes depends upon the number of requests for hearing in the Eugene office of hearings and appeals. Hearings are set based on the date of your request for hearing.

Q: HOW DO I SURVIVE WHILE WAITING FOR MY HEARING?

A: We suggest you contact all sources available to you for help: family, friends, state agencies, churches and food banks may be able to assist you. In many cases, people have to sell their belongings to get by.

Q: HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO GET A DECISION AFTER THE HEARING?

A: We estimate 30-60 days. Sometimes it takes longer.

Q: IF AWARDED BENEFITS, HOW LONG BEFORE I RECEIVE ANY MONEY?

A: After the written decision is received, we estimate that it will be 90-120 days before you start receiving money. You may receive monthly benefits before you receive any past owing benefits.

Q: DOES HAVING AN ATTORNEY SPEED UP THE PROCESS?

A: Having an attorney does not speed up the process. Hearings are scheduled by the hearing request date.

Q: HOW MUCH SHOULD I EXPECT FOR COSTS?

A: If you are able to obtain your medical records, you may be able to save money. However, if you want us to get them, the doctors will charge us and we will send you a copy of the bill. Costs must be paid whether or not we are able to assist you in obtaining benefits. Costs normally do not exceed $250.00.

If the attorney needs a consultation with a doctor, we will contact the doctor’s office and let you know the estimated cost in advance and ask for payment.

Q: WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN COSTS AND FEES?

A: Attorneys fees are awarded out of your past owing benefits and are determined by the social security administration based on our fee agreement. Costs are monies spent by our firm for obtaining records, reports, consultations, etc. and are paid by the client regardless of outcome.

Q: WILL THE ATTORNEY FEE BE WITHHELD FROM MY PAST OWING BENEFITS?

A: Our attorney fee should be withheld, but there have been times when this has not happened and in that case, it will be your responsibility to pay us.

The best thing to do is contact us whenever you receive any money so we can contact social security to find out what action has been taken or needs to be taken. A notice of award should be issued to let you know your monthly benefits and past owing amount along with information on attorney fees, but it often comes after you receive money.

Q. IF I AM AWARDED BENEFITS WITHOUT HAVING A HEARING, DOES THAT CHANGE THE AMOUNT OF THE ATTORNEY FEE?

A. No, it does not. Our fee agreement states that we are a contingency practice and if we are successful in assisting you in obtaining benefits, we are paid our full statutory fee, regardless of the amount of time spent. Our firm has been very successful in overturning social security denials and we believe that in close cases, because of who we are the and quality of our work, social security occasionally awards benefits without a hearing.

Q: HOW MUCH MONEY WILL I RECEIVE EACH MONTH?

A: If you have an SSI case, it will depend on factors such as household income and assets. Social Security will then determine the amount of monthly benefits.

If you have an SSD case, your monthly benefit is based on the amount you have paid in to social security. Your monthly benefit will be determined by a benefit pay authorizer in the payment center.

Both SSI and SSD cases could be affected if you have received benefits such as unemployment, workers’ compensation, a personal injury settlement, etc..

Q: WILL I RECEIVE MY PAST OWING BENEFITS IN A LUMP SUM?

A: SSD will pay the past owing in a lump sum.

SSI is only allowed to pay past owing benefits in increments of 3 monthly payments with six months between payments. (For example 3 x $500.00 = $1500.00) if your backowing benefits are more than $1500.00, you will receive a second installment in six months and any balance remaining will be paid in the third installment.

If you have received general assistance during this time, social security will pay back the state of Oregon out of your SSI past owing monies prior to sending you any lump sums.

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Why does it take so long to settle a social security claim?

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