When it comes to disability, looks can be very deceiving. There are many people who look quite healthy but who are quite disabled by anyone’s standard. For instance, many individuals who suffer from very severe psychiatric illnesses are physically healthy and able to do things such as outdoor chores and other physical activities.
After an individual files a Social Security disability claim, the case is sent to a disability examiner at the Disability Determination Service agency in your state. This individual, working with a doctor, makes the initial decision on the claim. If the claim is denied and you request reconsideration, the case is then sent to another disability examiner at the Disability Determination Service agency, where it goes through the same process. If a claim is denied at reconsideration, you then request a hearing. At this point, the case is sent to an Administrative Law Judge who works for Social Security and holds an in-person or video teleconference hearing. The Administrative Law Judge makes an independent decision upon the claim. This is the only level at which you and the decision-maker get to see each other.
Medicaid is a poverty program and Medicare isn’t. Many disabled people who get Medicaid get it because they are on Supplemental Security Income (SSI). To get SSI and thereby get Medicaid, you have to be very low income and disabled. Medicaid pays doctors at very low rates. People who only have Medicaid can have a hard time finding doctors willing to take them on as patients. Medicaid does pay for prescription medications. Medicaid can go back up to three months prior to the date of a Medicaid claim. It is possible to apply for Medicaid directly through a local Medicaid office without having to apply for SSI.
For Medicare, it does not matter whether you are rich or poor. If you have been on Disability Insurance Benefits, Disabled Widows or Widowers Benefits or Disabled Adult Child Benefits for 24 months, you qualify for Medicare. The good thing about Medicare is that it pays doctors at a higher rate than Medicaid. Almost all doctors are happy to take Medicare patients. A couple unfortunate things about Medicare is that it does not begin until a person has been on cash disability benefits for two years and it generally does not pay for prescription medications.
Our fee is 25% of your “back benefits”– that is the checks you would have received while you were waiting for your benefits to be approved. This is a standard fee that is applied by law firms throughout the country. Social Security will withhold this fee from your back pay check for us, so you don’t need to worry about paying us directly, and you’ll keep all subsequent payments. We will only collect a fee if you win your case.
This question does not have a simple answer because there are so many variables that affect each individual case, such as your age, education, work skills, medical conditions, medical records, whether or not your doctor is supportive, and the Social Security adjudicator that is working on your case. You have a significantly greater chance of winning if you have doctors that see you on a regular basis and support your application for disability by providing input about your disabling conditions. It usually helps your case if you can get a letter from your doctor (a paragraph or two is all that is necessary) stating what your disabilities are and their degree of severity. With a supportive letter from your doctor, your chances of being approved go up substantially, to as high as 65-70%. However, there are no guarantees when dealing with Social Security, but with a letter from a supportive doctor; we believe it is far more likely than not that your claim will be successful.
The Social Security Act does allow for you to do some work and still be eligible for benefits. As a general rule, work activity of any type in particular, work activity that is similar to your prior occupation has the potential to negatively impact your case. As a general rule, the Social Security Administration considers “disabled” as meaning that you can’t work. With this in mind, you should be very careful to understand how the work you are doing (or want to do) may affect your case. Social Security will allow you to work 20 hours or less a week and make less than $1,000 a month and still keep your case open.
This question is a difficult one to give a definitive answer. In order to receive unemployment compensation, you have to certify to the unemployment office that you are willing and able to work, but that you just can’t find a job. If you are capable of work, you are not disabled under the Social Security Act. To get disability compensation, you have to tell the government that you can’t work. You can, of course, see the contradiction and, if you apply for both disability and unemployment at the same time, the Social Security Administration will think that you are not telling the truth to either them or to the unemployment office. Nevertheless, the Social Security Administration will not necessarily reject your application if you are receiving unemployment, but please be aware that it can affect your case. Ultimately, the decision is yours as to whether you decide to simultaneously apply for unemployment benefits while seeking Social Security compensation.