The process of filing for Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income can be incredibly complex. Many people have numerous questions about the process. If you are in need of disability benefits, you may be wondering whether you qualify for SSDI or SSI and, if so, the amount of benefits you are eligible to receive. If your claim has been denied, you may be wondering if there are any ways you can still receive benefits.
Below, we’ve compiled a list of some of our clients’ most frequently asked questions about Social Security Disability benefits. The goal of our Chicago disability lawyers is to provide you with the information you need to stay informed throughout the process. If you need help with your SSDI or SSI claim, we are here for you.
Don’t see your question here? Have questions about your specific case? Contact Woodruff Johnson & Evans Law Offices online or by phone at (866) 891-9211 today for a free consultation.
- Do I need a lawyer?
An experienced Social Security Disability lawyer can guide you through the red tape and make sure your case is properly presented. Statistics from the Social Security Administration (SSA) show that claimants who are represented by lawyers win more often than those without an attorney. Our SSDI lawyers in Chicago, Aurora, and Champaign have a strong record of obtaining favorable decisions from the local administrative law judges.
- How much does it cost to hire an attorney for my disability case?
Lawyers’ fees are limited to 25% of past due disability benefits up to a maximum of $6,000. There is no retainer fee or upfront costs. There is also no fee if you lose. Usually, there are some costs that must be repaid at the end of the case for obtaining medical records.
- How long does it take to be approved for disability benefits?
Some cases can be won on the initial application or at the reconsideration level, within a year of applying for disability benefits. However, most cases require a hearing before an administrative law judge, which can take up to three years. If you win your case, you will receive past-due disability benefits from the date you are found disabled.
- If I win my case how much money will I receive?
The amount you will receive will depend on the amount of past-due benefits you receive and your disability benefit rate, which will be different for every individual. The average disability benefit rate is $1,171.00.
- Will I receive medical insurance?
If you are awarded disability benefits, you will be eligible for Medicare coverage after a waiting period of 29 months from the date you are found disabled.
- My doctor says I’m disabled. Why was I denied benefits?
The Social Security Administration has a very specific definition of disability, which requires medical and vocational proof that you unable to work. While a letter from your doctor can be helpful in winning your case, it is not always enough. Our lawyers can work with you to ensure we have the necessary medical and vocational evidence to establish your disability.
- How hard is it to win a claim for Social Security Disability benefits?
This depends on your medical condition and the severity of your disability. However, in recent years the Social Security Administration has been denying cases at a higher rate, and there is no question that it is becoming more difficult to win cases. Our lawyers work hard to ensure we present the strongest cases possible on behalf of our clients. We have years of experience arguing cases before the Social Security Administration and we know what information the government is looking for.
- My application was denied. Should I re-file or appeal the decision?
We almost always recommend appealing any denial of disability benefits before the hearing. An appeal keeps your original application and claim for past-due benefits alive. Re-filing is a new claim, and you give up your rights to past-due benefits through the date of your last denial. In Illinois, after two appeals, your case will be argued before an administrative law judge. This is your best chance to present your case and all the evidence that shows your disability.
- Isn’t Social Security going broke?
Surprisingly, this is a myth. The Social Security Disability Trust Fund is fully funded through 2028. In 2016, the Trust Fund actually took in more than it paid in benefits. If this trend continues, the Social Security Disability program will be around for a long time.