Social Security Disability FAQS
The law firm of Bailey & Galyen, located in Dallas, Texas, answers frequently asked questions about Social Security Disability benefit applications, claims, appeals and related income taxes.
What is Social Security Disability Insurance?
Employees, their employers and those who are self-employed pay for Social Security Disability insurance as part of their payroll Social Security taxes. Based on work history, workers qualify for disability benefits. The amount you receive in benefits is calculated based on your earnings.
What is Supplemental Security Income?
SSI benefits are intended to help you with your basic needs for food, clothing and shelter. You may be eligible for SSI even after you are no longer eligible for SSDI benefits. To be eligible for SSI you must meet Social Security’s definition of disability and have limited income and resources.
According to the Social Security Administration, what is a disability?
The Social Security Administration (SSA) defines a disability as a physical or mental impairment that is severe enough to prevent you from working and earning above a set amount per month for 12 months or results in death.
How do I apply for Social Security Disability?
You may use one of three methods to file an application for Social Security Disability (SSD).
- Internet – file online at ssa.gov
- Call your local Social Security office to arrange an appointment to apply.
- Walk into a Social Security office without an appointment to apply.
When am I eligible to apply for Social Security Disability?
There is no waiting period before you file for disability. You are eligible to file an application for SSD the day after you stop working. If you are still working and considering filing for disability, it is best to contact an attorney to discuss how to proceed.
Will I need a doctor to verify my disability?
Yes. Your doctor must provide evidence to support your claim that you are disabled. Clinical findings and laboratory reports must support your doctor’s opinion.
What should I do if my application is denied?
A majority of claims are denied early on by Social Security. You will generally be given 60 days to appeal a denial from Social Security. Contact attorney, Jennifer Scherf at Bailey & Galyen for help with an appeal.
If I am notifed that I will receive SSD benefits, when will I receive my money?
Social Security Disability benefits will not begin until after a five full calendar months (”waiting period”) from the onset of the disability. Your first check will include your past-due benefits less any attorney fees and then you will begin to receive monthly checks for as long as your disability continues.
Will I have to pay income tax, if I receive Social Security Disability benefits?
Up to 50% of Social Security benefits are taxable if total ”provisional income” (adjusted gross income, tax-exempt interest and one half of Social Security benefits) exceeds a base amount: $25,000 for single taxpayers and $32,000 for married taxpayers who file jointly. If your taxable income is over $34,000, you will have a higher tax rate.
When you receive SSD benefits, the Social Security Administration will send you a SSA-1099 by February 1 of the following year. The 1099 will specify how much of the Social Security benefit received in your SSD lump sum was really a payment for some prior year or years. The 1099 will also list the attorney fee. Often SSA-1099 forms are inaccurate. When you receive your SSA-1099, it is important for you to use your benefit award notices to double check the 1099.
Do I need a lawyer to get the Social Security Disability benefits?
Although a lawyer is not necessary to file a Social Security Disability application, we suggest you contact an attorney before your initial application is filed. People who hire an attorney are more more successful on appeal than those unrepresented.
When an appeal for Social Security Disability claim is denied, there is a very high likelihood the case will reach the hearing before an administrative law judge before it will be approved. When you have a hearing before an administrative or an appeals council, a lawyer is highly desirable to achieve the best results.
How much will the attorney cost me?
Social Security Attorney’s work under a contingent fee agreement. This means that unless you are awarded benefits, you do not owe the attorney money.
Have You Been Denied Disability?
If you have questions about Social Security Disability or one of our firm’s other areas of practice, we invite you to call our office at 1-866-380-3369 to arrange an appointment.