Welcome to the frequently asked questions. Below are the most frequent and common questions we encounter. Clicking on any of the questions will reveal the answer. If you have a question that is not listed here please contact us.

1. How do I find a qualified representative to help me with my Social Security disability claim?

By finding this website, you just did! Call our office at (530) 225-8695.  You can also contact the National Association of Disability Representatives for a referral to a qualified representative in areas of the United States. You may call NADR at 1-800-747-6131.

2. How much will it cost to hire a representative?

We work on a contingency basis and are paid only when we get your case approved. Once approved, we are paid 25% of your back pay total, with a maximum of $6,000; whichever is the less. Our fee is the same regardless of when we begin our work for you; whether during the first initial claim stage or before your hearing with an Administrative Law Judge. These fees are closely regulated by the government, and all fees are calculated and disbursed by the Social Security Administration.

3. How does Social Security define disability?

Social Security defines “disability” as the “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.”

4. What is the criteria needed to be found disabled?

You must have a severe medical impairment that prevents employment in any position on the national economy. With this statement in mind, there are other factors that will be taken into consideration by the Social Security Administration such as age, education, and past work experience. There are also a number of specific diagnoses that, with medical support, can be approved as a disability by the Social Security Administration.

5. Can I get Social Security disability benefits if I have gotten better, expect to get better, or have returned to work?

Social Security has a durational requirement for disability benefits: a claimant must have been disabled for at least one year, expect to be disabled for at least one year, or have a terminal illness. If the 12-month duration requirement has been satisfied, even if you are no longer disabled, you should consider filing a claim for Social Security disability benefits which is referred to as a “closed period” of disability.

6. Do I need to be disabled for a certain period of time before filing for Social Security disability benefits?

No, as long as you believe that your disabling condition(s) will last for at least one year, you can file for Social Security disability benefits on the day that you become disabled.

7. If I win my claim, how much will I receive, and for what period of time?

A claimant’s monthly benefit amount is dependent on many factors. For Disability Insurance Benefits (DIB) and Disabled Widow’s and Widower’s Benefits (DWB), the benefit amount is determined largely by the earnings posted to the claimant’s or wage earner’s record over his or her lifetime. A claimant’s dependents may be eligible for additional benefits, once a claim is approved. For DIB and DWB, there is a waiting period of five full calendar months following a claimant’s date of disability before benefits become payable. For example, if a claimant’s established onset date is 1/1/13, the claimant’s entitlement to benefits under these programs would be 6/1/13. If the onset date was 1/17/13, entitlement would be 7/1/13. In addition, benefits cannot be paid retroactively any further than one year prior to the date of application. However, previous applications that were not appealed may be subject to reopening and revision, which could result in benefits going back even further.

Other types of claims have different rules regarding benefit amount, entitlement, and retro-activity  For SSI benefits, the monthly benefit amount is currently $721.00 per month for an
individual claimant. There are no additional benefits payable for dependents; there is no waiting period, nor are there any retroactive benefits, again, unless a prior application can be reopened. Benefits usually begin at the start of the month following the date of the application or the month following the month disability is established, whichever is later.

8. Social Security has denied my claim for disability benefits; now what should I do?

You should file an immediate request for reconsideration of your claim(s), no later than 60 days following receipt of your denial notice. You should also consider hiring a qualified representative to help you with your appeal.

9. How long will it take Social Security to process my application and/or appeal?

Processing times can vary widely, depending on where you live and the circumstances of your claim(s). Unfortunately, this is not a quick process and claimants should explore all financial avenues to survive while their claim(s) are pending. There are certain ways, however, to have claims expedited at all levels. Call us for current average processing times for your area and to find out whether or not your claim satisfies Social Security’s criteria for expedited handling.

10. Is it possible to expedite my claim?

Expedited claims are granted on rare basis. Examples that may be expedited include a terminal disease with medical support, pending homelessness with an eviction notice, and other severe circumstances. Unfortunately, the claims process is lengthy and an initial claim can take up to six months. It is our advice that you plan for your claim to be heard by an Administrative Law Judge; a process that may take up to two years from initial claim to hearing.

11. How can I obtain more information about Social Security’s disability programs?

Call us at (530) 225-8695 to discuss your claim, send us an e-mail using our Contact Us page or visit Social Security’s website at www.ssa.gov.