Social Security Disability FAQs
Our Chattanooga SSD Lawyer Explains
Jackson Law Firm, PLLC,
we have helped hundreds of clients navigate the complex process of applying for SSDI benefits. Most of our
clients come to us with a long list of questions and concerns, worried
about their chances for a favorable outcome.
If you are considering applying for SSDI benefits, we want you to have
the answers you need so you can make the necessary informed decisions.
The following are some of the most frequently asked questions our experienced
Chattanooga Social Security Disability attorney has encountered.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is SSDI?
The Social Security Disability Insurance program is one of the largest
federal programs providing financial assistance to individuals who are
disabled. SSDI pays benefits to individuals and certain family members
if they have worked for the required amount of years, paid into Social
Security, and are deemed disabled and unable to work.
2. How is SSDI eligibility determined?
Simply put, a disability is a medical or mental impairment that prevents
an individual from working in gainful employment for more than a year
or have a condition that is expected to result in death. You must have
a doctor state that you are medically unable to work and provide documentation
to prove it. In Tennessee, the Tennessee Disability Determination Services
(DDS) is the agency that initially determines if applicants are eligible.
Determining SSDI eligibility is a very confusing and complex process. If
you are unsure whether or not you may qualify for benefits, an experienced
Social Security Disability attorney can help you determine your likelihood
of receiving benefits.
3. When should I apply for SSDI?
Right away! SSDI cases can drag on for a long time, sometimes even years
if you need to appeal. Most claimants are eligible to apply for benefits
the day after they stop working.
4. Can I work part time and still receive benefits?
Possibly, if you were working full time and your disability now prevents
you from working a 40-hour work week.
5. How long does it take to get a decision?
Unfortunately, it takes a while. The initial decision typically takes between
three to four months, with most applicants denied the first time. In Tennessee,
less than 24% of applicants are granted SSDI benefits with their initial
applications. Most applications go to appeal before an administrative
law judge (ALJ). Hearing dates usually take anywhere between six months
to two years to get scheduled.
6. I have a severe illness, can my claim process be accelerated?
Yes, if you have a severe medical condition with a clear diagnosis. The
Social Security Administration has programs that expedite certain SSDI
claims. These include:
Compassionate allowances program for certain cancers and illnesses such as early onset Alzheimer's
disease or ALS.
Terminal illness program for individuals who are not expected to survive their medical
Presumptive disability program for individuals who have a condition automatically presumed to
prevent them from working such as blindness or HIV infection.
7. I am collecting early retirement, can I still collect SSDI?
If you can prove your disability occurred before your retirement date, then yes.
8. Are my family members entitled to receive SSDI benefits?
They may be. Any children who are under 18 and / or are still in high school
can receive benefits. Additionally, your spouse may receive benefits if
he or she is age 62 or older or caring for a child under the age of 16.
9. Do I need to be permanently disabled to qualify?
No, but you do have to be disabled for more than a year. Once you are no
longer disabled or you return to work, your benefits will be discontinued.
10. I have been denied. Should I appeal?
Yes! And soon! If an appeal is not filed in a timely manner, you will be
required to start the process all over again. While the DDS in Tennessee
typically denies most claims initially, more than 60% of the claims review
by an ALJ are approved.
11. Should I hire an attorney to help with my SSDI claim?
Absolutely yes! As with most processes involving the government, applying
for SSDI benefits is highly complex. Even the minutest mistake or omission
can cause your application to be rejected. An experienced SSDI attorney
will be familiar with all current regulations, can assist you in obtaining
your necessary medical records, and will understand what ALJ judges are
looking for when evaluating your case.
your odds of winning your case can increase substantially when you are
represented by skilled legal counsel. Applicants who retain representation typically are awarded more back benefits
than individuals who go through the process alone. Social Security Disability
lawyers usually work on contingency, which means there is no fee involved
unless you win your case.
We can help you fight for the benefits you deserve!
If you are considering applying for SSDI benefits, don't do so without
legal help! Our Chattanooga Social Security Disability attorney can provide
the diligent attention to detail and assertive representation you need
for a favorable outcome. As your advocate, we will be by your side for
each and every step of the process.
Take the first step in garnering the maximum SSDI benefits to which you
Contact us today
a free case consultation!