FAQs about SSD
Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits are based on accumulated work credits. This benefit is part of the program that you pay into when taxes are taken out of your payroll checks. If you have not worked at all or have not worked enough to accumulate credits to qualify for SSD, you may be eligible for Supplemental Security Insurance (SSI). SSI is a needs based program available to Americans that have not worked or have not accumulated enough work credits to qualify for SSD. Because this is a needs based program there are specific guidelines for financial eligibility. For more information, contact the Law Office of Robert D. Paulbeck, your local Social Security Office or refer to Social Security’s website SSA.gov.
There are two ways to apply for SSD and SSI benefits. You can apply directly with Social Security by visiting your local Social Security Office or you can apply online using the SSA.gov website. The Law Office of Robert D. Paulbeck can assist you with this initial application process.
If you have been denied SSD or SSI benefits, it is important that you appeal the decision within 60 days. If you do not appeal within the 60 day time frame, you will need to begin the process over again by completing a new initial application. The Law Office of Robert D. Paulbeck can complete your appeal, obtain medical evidence for you, and represent you at your hearing before an Administrative Law Judge.
Answer: I have been representing people seeking their Social Security Disability benefits for over 25 years. I am aware of all the legal nuances required to prove your case. My staff and I process all of your forms and medical records electronically so that you have a complete and updated electronic file for your hearing. Preparing your case is more complicated than it seems because some doctors take illegible notes, don’t respond to requests for copies of patient records, or don’t properly document the disabling conditions. Sometimes doctors don’t send their patients for objective testing, which is extremely helpful in proving disability. Many judges rely heavily on my Residual Functional Capacity Questionnaires that I will send to your doctors. These questionnaires provide details of your limitations that will make it easier for a judge to evaluate your ability to work. Many doctors dictate letters with good intentions but can include language that actually hurts their patient’s case. My questionnaires allow the doctors to make a statement regarding your disability using language that will be easy for the judge to evaluate. Finally, I research and summarize all of your very complex medical information into a concise brief or summary that is submitted before your hearing so that the judge can better understand your case.
Attorney Robert D. Paulbeck is available to answer your questions about the SSD or SSI process.
The fee that will be paid to the Law Office of Robert D. Paulbeck will be 25% of your past due benefits, not to exceed a cap of $6,000.00, unless it is necessary to appeal your case to Federal Court. If it is necessary to appeal your case to Federal Court, the fee will be 25% of your retroactive benefits with no cap. This fee is paid to us only when we are successful in winning your case.
The Social Security Administration defines disability in terms of ability to work. Persons who cannot work for a year or more, or whose condition is likely to result in death, may qualify for benefits. You do not need to wait a year after you are injured or become sick to apply for Social Security benefits. Because the process can take 18 months or longer, I encourage you to apply as soon as you know you will be unable to work.
Unfortunately, this process can take from 6 months to 18 months, or longer. As the baby boomer population ages, more and more people are filing for their disability benefits. Also, high unemployment is causing more people to file. On average 2.5 million new disability cases are filed per year. Fortunately, the Social Security Administration is becoming more efficient in processing claims. However, it still is a very long wait. We at the Law Office of Robert D. Paulbeck will do everything in our power to keep your case moving through the process.
In general, if you have worked for a period of 10 years over the course of your lifetime and, if you have worked for five out of the last ten years before you became disabled, you may be eligible for SSD benefits. If your work history is limited and you lack financial resources, you will likely be eligible for Supplemental Security Insurance (SSI).
The amount you will be paid monthly will be based on your earnings record. You can find out how much you are entitled to by looking at the document that Social Security sends you each year. This document shows you how much your monthly disability benefit will be.
Your disability benefits will be paid to you until you are no longer considered to be disabled, you eventually return to work, or you reach the age of 65 and are retired.
Dependent children under the age of 18 or those children that are over 18 and still in high school are entitled to benefits.
You can work, but your income cannot exceed approximately $985 per month.
Persons with a serious mental illness are just as entitled to disability payments as persons with a serious physical illness. If you, a relative, or a friend has a mental illness such as schizophrenia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, manic depression (bi-polar disorder), or another disabling brain disorder (mental illness), benefits may be available.
In Michigan, SSD Insurance comes with Medicare and SSI comes with Medicaid.
Social Security Links
Social Security Disability Benefits Handbook – http://www.dlcak.org/files/pdf/Publications/SocialSecurity.pdf
Social Security Administration’s Handbook
Social Security Administrations’ Adult Listing of Impairments
Social Security Administrations’ Childhood Listing of Impairments