The vast majority of Americans contribute to Social Security, but many are unaware of the full benefits that Social Security Insurance can provide. As common as Social Security is, many people are simply embarrassed to ask or are unaware of the resources available to them. Troutman & Troutman, P.C. is a law firm that understands that Social Security can be a daunting topic for some.
Every Social Security case is different, but many of the initial questions about disability benefits are the same. With that in mind, our legal team is providing answers to the most frequently asked questions that our attorneys receive.
If you have questions not answered on this page or questions specific to your disability claim, we provide disability case consultations at no charge so you can learn your best options to gain benefits.
What Is the Definition of a Disability?
The U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA) uses a five-step sequential process to determine if you have a qualifying disability.
The SSA typically considers someone disabled if:
- You cannot perform the basic standard of work that you did before
- You cannot adjust to other work because of your medical condition(s)
- Your disability has lasted or is expected to last for at least one year or will result in death
It is also important to note that Social Security pays only for total disability, and no benefits are payable for partial disability or short-term disability.
How Do I Apply for Social Security Disability Benefits?
There are three ways you can apply for disability benefits in Oklahoma.
- Apply in person at your local Social Security office
- Apply over the phone by calling 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778)
- Apply online through the SSA website
How Much Will My Disability Benefits Be?
There is not a set amount that each person will receive, and benefits can be higher or lower depending on certain variables that are connected to your occupation and the choices you made during your lifetime. Social Security Disability (SSD, SSDI, or DIB) benefits are determined by how much you have paid into the system and for how long.
While there are other differences between SSD and SSI benefits, each case is unique, and the SSA will compute the monthly check based on your needs and qualifying disability.
How Long Will It Take to Get Disability Benefits?
You should know that applying for Social Security Disability benefits is often a lengthy process. You should apply as soon as you become disabled, but it will generally take between three and six months for the initial decision.
If your disability application is denied, it could be another three to six months before there is a reconsideration decision and about a year until there is a hearing before a judge — add another two to three months until the checks start arriving. In all, it could be a two-year process from beginning to end. The government has implemented strict guidelines to reduce disability fraud, and the Social Security Administration does its best to ensure that disability benefits are truly going to those who need them most.
How Long Will My Disability Benefits Last?
Your disability benefits continue as long as your condition has not improved, and you cannot work. The Social Security Administration will review your case periodically to make sure you remain disabled, and you are responsible for telling them if your condition improves, if you return to work, or if there is a change in your ability to work.
Do I Have a Right to Appeal If My Social Security Application Is Denied?
If you disagree with the decision made by the SSA, you do have the right to file an appeal, or a Request for Reconsideration. However, you must do so within 60 days of the date you receive the initial decision, or your case will expire and be unavailable for appeal.
What Is the Difference Between SSDI & SSI?
These are two different recognized Social Security programs. While both offer benefits to disabled people, SSDI is for working people who have paid into Social Security over their lifetime, and SSI is for low-income individuals who are unable to meet the minimum employment requirements. SSDI typically offers more substantial benefits than SSI since it is a long-term investment.
Can I Get Social Security Benefits if I Have Not Worked in a While?
If you have worked five out of the last 10 years under Social Security before becoming disabled, you will have enough earnings in to apply for Social Security Disability benefits. For individuals 31 or younger, the requirements differ, since such individuals have not had a significant time working. Unless a person has been staying home for quite a long time, however, it is very possible that person will qualify for Social Security Disability benefits based upon their own earnings.
Do I Need to Work a Certain Number of Years to Qualify for Benefits?
Social Security Disability benefits are available to workers who have worked long enough and paid into the system. Even workers under the age of 24 can qualify for benefits if they have worked for a year and a half out of the past three years. The access to benefits may be limited based on their health situation.
How Can I Replace a Lost Social Security Card?
Have you lost or misplaced your Social Security card? You should know that you can always request a replacement from the Social Security Administration (SSA).
Unfortunately, you cannot just do this over the phone or online. You must visit your local Social Security field office or do it through the mail. In order to obtain a new card, you must be able to provide the SSA with identifying documents, including a U.S. driver’s license or a state-issued identification card. Additionally, you may be able to use your passport.
In addition to these items, you may want to bring a birth certificate, medical records, or school identification to verify your identity. This is especially true if you are seeking a replacement card for a child who may not have a license yet.
Do I Have to Wait Until I File for My Social Security Retirement Before Filing for Social Security Disability?
No. However, depending on your age and employment status, you may not be eligible for disability benefits. If you are still working, you are not eligible for Social Security Disability. If you are 66 years old or older, then you can no longer receive disability benefits, because that is the age that you are eligible for full Social Security retirement benefits. Therefore, you can file for Social Security Disability if you are unable to work due to your disability and are under 66 years old.
If I Develop Health Problems After I File for Social Security Retirement, Is It Then Too Late to Apply for Social Security Disability?
If you under 66 years old, then it is not too late. However, depending on when you took your retirement, the benefits increase could be minimal. For instance, if you took early retirement at age 62, then you would be getting 75% of your full rate. Disability benefits are paid at a rate equal to the age 66 full retirement rate. However, if you were already receiving retirement benefits, you will have half of 1% from your pay rate for every month you received a retirement check. Therefore, if you received 24 retirement checks before switching to disability, then instead of the 100% pay rate, you would receive 88% of the full rate.
If I Am Already Receiving Social Security Disability Benefits, at What Age Will I Be Switched from Receiving Disability Benefits to Social Security Retirement Benefits?
Generally, if people are already receiving Social Security Disability benefits, they will not be switched over to Social Security retirement benefits until age 66. The reason for this is because age 66 retirement benefits pay the same rate as disability benefits. Therefore, you will not notice the change. It is just a bookkeeping issue that results in the source of your benefits being paid from the retirement fund instead of the disability fund.
Do You Have Additional Questions About Social Security?
Social Security benefits are not a black-and-white issue, and often, a Social Security Disability lawyer is necessary to navigate the process with you. The legal team at Troutman & Troutman, P.C. is available to answer your initial questions about disability benefits. Our legal team provides answers to any question that we receive. If you have questions that have gone unanswered on this page or questions specific to your disability claim, we provide disability case consultations at no charge so you can learn your options to gain benefits.
Do not hesitate to contact us today and get more information about your Social Security benefits.
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We understand that this can be a stressful and confusing time which, is why we pride ourselves on doing everything we can to keep you informed and knowledgeable about your case. Not only do we have an array of video and FAQs, but we also allow you direct access to your dedicated attorney.
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Our attorneys are passionate about disability law. Everyone who works at our firm is here because they believe in helping people. We commit to representing clients through every part of the Social Security Disability claims process.
Over 25 Years of Dedicated Experience
Since 1993, our attorneys have been helping people throughout Oklahoma get the Social Security benefits they deserve. Regardless of where you are in your case, our knowledgeable and experienced attorneys are here to help you obtain what you deserve.
Disability Law Is All We Do
Social Security Disability is a unique area of the law because it is about representing clients going through very difficult times. We help by getting people the benefits they have earned and deserve. Our firm is proud of the fact that disability law is all we do.