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Senior Citizen's Guide to Baltimore

Social Security Disability
Frequently Asked Questions

What is the definition of disability used by the Social Security Administration?

Under the Social Security Act, “disability” means “inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months.”

What is the difference between Social Security Disability Benefits and Supplemental Security Income (SSI Benefits)?

Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits goes to individuals who have worked in recent years (5 out of the last 10 years) who are now disabled. Benefits are paid based upon a social security earnings record.

Supplemental Security Income Benefits, however, are paid to individuals who have no work history or limited work history and who are disabled. It does not matter for SSI whether an individual has worked in the past or not. Typically, SSI Benefits are for individuals who have not earned enough work credits.

The medical/disability standard is the same for both Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits and Supplement Security (SSI) Benefits. The medical criteria is the same for both programs.

How do I apply for Social Security Disability Benefits?

An individual may file a social security disability application via the Internet. My staff and I have been formally trained by the Social Security Administration so we can assist individuals in the comfort of our office to apply for both Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Benefits. We have found that applying for Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Benefits in our office relieves the stress, tension, and anxiety of going directly to the Social Security Administration District Office. Furthermore, there are attorneys and trained staff to assist in the application process.

Alternatively, an individual can apply for Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security (SSI) Benefits by filing a claim at the local Social Security District Office, or by calling the toll free Social Security number at 1-800-772-1213.

How long does an individual have to wait after becoming disabled before a claim for Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Benefits can be filed?
An individual should not wait after they have become disabled. An individual should file disability benefits the same day they believe they are disabled and unable to work. Many individuals make the mistake of waiting months or even years after becoming disabled before filing a Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security (SSI) claim. If you suffer a serious illness or injury and expect to be out of work for a year or more, you should not delay in filing a claim for Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security (SSI) Benefits.

Can I get both Workers’ Compensation and Social Security Disability Benefits?

Yes. An individual can obtain both Workers’ Compensation and Social Security Disability Benefits. However, there may be an offset. However, an individual can be no worse off by applying and obtaining both Workers’ Compensation Benefits and Social Security Disability Benefits.

Which medical problems will allow an individual to obtain Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Benefits?

Both physical medical problems and mental medical problems can be classified as causing a disability in order to receive Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Benefits. The Social Security Administration has a manual of physical and mental problems that can be classified as disabilities under certain conditions called the Listing of Impairments.

The Listing of Impairments cites disorders in 14 categories.

• Musculo skeletal disorders
• Special senses and speech disorders
• Respiratory systems disorders
• Cardio vascular system disorders
• Digestive system disorders
• Genito-urinary system disorders
• Hematological disorders
• Skin disorders
• Endocrine system disorders
• Multiple body systems disorders
• Neurological disorders
• Mental disorders
• Malignant neoplastic diseases
• Immune systems disorders

Each individual category has specific sub-sections of disorders. The severity of the disorders is also identified.

What are examples of disabilities?

• Asbestosis
• Asthma
• Severe allergies
• Back pain and chronic back disorders
• Blindness
• Cancer
• Carpel Tunnel Syndrome
• Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
• Fibromyalgia
• Diabetes
• Depression
• Anxiety
• Emphysema
• Epilepsy
• Herniated discs
• Hip replacement
• Fractures that do not heal within 12 months
• HIV / AIDS
• Heart disease
• High blood pressure
• Hypertension
• Psychiatric impairments
• Mental retardation
• Leukemia
• Arthritis
• Multiple sclerosis
• Severe migraine headaches
• Neck pain
• Joint pain
• Stroke
• Seizures
• Lupus
• Hepatitis C
• Personality disorders

Can an individual combine multiple health problems to qualify for Social Security Disability Benefits or Supplement Security Income (SSI) Benefits?

The Social Security Administration will consider the combination of impairments that the individual suffers in determining disability. Many individuals who qualify for Social Security Disability have multiple medical problems. The Social Security Administration will consider all medical problems.

What are the procedural stages in the Social Security Disability claim?

1) File an initial claim
2) Request a Reconsideration
3) Request for AdministrativeHearing
4) Appeals Council Review
5) Federal District Court Appeal

How long does it take to get a hearing date scheduled?

It can take anywhere from 12 to 18 months to get a hearing date scheduled.

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