1. Home
  2.  → 
  3. Social Security Disability
  4.  → Social Security Disability FAQ

Read Some Of Our FAQs About Social Security Disability

At Heller, Maas, Moro & Magill Co., LPA, our attorneys are committed to helping people throughout Ohio recover the benefits they deserve. If you have a disability, we can help you understand your options, navigate the application system and appeal any denied claims. On this page, we have taken the time to answer some of the questions that our lawyers hear most frequently about Social Security Disability benefits.

More Questions? Get More Answers From An Attorney.

If you have more questions, you can ask them to our knowledgeable lawyers. Reach out to us at one of our convenient office locations in Youngstown, Warren, Salem, Kent or Akron to request a free initial consultation. You can send us an email or call us toll-free at 330-974-1231 to get in touch.

I am currently receiving Social Security Disability benefits, but I am afraid they will be stopped in the future. Can this happen?

The SSA does not cease benefits unless your medical condition has improved and you are able to return to work. The SSA does conduct reviews on a periodic basis.

I am disabled, but I have never held a job. Can I qualify for Social Security disability benefits?

You may qualify for Supplemental Security Income if you have limited income and resources, even if you have never worked before. You may also qualify for Disabled Adult Child benefits (based upon your parent’s income) or other spousal benefits (based upon your late husband or wife’s income).

What is the difference between Medicare and Medicaid?

Medicaid is based upon your economic need; Medicare is not. For more information on Medicare, go to Medicare or telephone 1-800-MEDICARE. For more information on Medicaid, go to Medicaid-Federal, telephone 877-267-2323, or you can call your county Department of Job and Family Services agency.

Can I appeal a decision by the Social Security Administration to the federal court system?

Once a claimant has been denied at every level, he or she may file a civil action in the United States District Court.

What happens if the administrative law judge denies my claim at the hearing level?

You may file an appeal with the Social Security Appeals Council. The Appeals Council will take a look at the decision rendered by the administrative law judge and make a determination based upon all of the information in the file.

Who appears at a Social Security hearing?

SSA hearings are not open to the public. Since the hearings are very informal, there are very few people present. There is no jury present at the hearing. The only people who will be there are the administrative law judge, a secretary, the claimant’s attorney, and possibly a vocational and or medical expert provided by the SSA, any additional witnesses you may call to testify, and an interpreter if needed.

Can I still hire an attorney to represent me in a Social Security claim if I do not have any money?

Yes, the SSA must approve all attorney’s fees and may withhold a portion of your back benefits to pay the attorney’s fee.

How are past due benefits determined?

For disability insurance benefits, benefits cannot be received until five months after the date the claimant became disabled. Also, in general, benefits may not be paid more than one year prior to the date of the initial claim.

How much money will I get if I am approved for Social Security benefits?

It all depends upon how much you have worked and earned in the past. For disabled widow’s or widower’s benefits, it depends upon how much the late husband or wife worked and earned. For disabled adult child benefits, it all depends upon how much the parent worked and earned. For all types of SSI benefits, there is a base amount that an individual with no other income receives. Other income that an individual has reduces the amount of SSI which an individual can receive.

Why is my age a factor in determining whether I am disabled or not?

Age must be considered because it is a requirement of the Social Security Act. As you get older, you become less adaptable to do different jobs. An injury which has a temporary impairment on a younger individual may totally disable an older individual.

What are the illnesses that are considered disabling by the Social Security Administration?

You may have an illness defined as disabling, however a qualified attorney should be consulted to review whether or not you have an impairment which would qualify you for disability immediately or whether your particular circumstances can be developed into a ruling for disability based on the sequential evaluation process used by the SSA.

I have been diagnosed with a psychiatric illness. Will this have an impact on whether or not I receive benefits?

Yes. Many claimants do not mention psychiatric problems; however, the presence of such conditions along with physical issues may impact whether you receive a favorable decision for disability.

How can I improve my chances of getting Social Security Disability benefits?

The best way to increase your chances of receiving a favorable decision on your claim is to hire an experienced attorney to represent you. Statistically, those who hire an attorney to represent them are much more likely to receive benefits than those who do not.

What is the process Social Security uses to determine if I am disabled or not?

First, the claimant must fill out an application which is then reviewed by a disability examiner at the Disability Determination agency in your area. The examiner, along with a medical doctor, makes the initial decision on your claim. If your claim is denied at the initial level, you may file a Request for Reconsideration. Your file is then sent to a different disability examiner, and another decision on your claim is made. If your claim is denied at the Reconsideration level, you may request a hearing. At the hearing level, the claim is decided by an administrative law judge who is employed by the SSA, but he is required to make an independent decision on the claim. It is best to retain counsel at the initial application stage.

How does the Social Security Administration determine if I am disabled?

The SSA collects all of your medical records and any information regarding your work history, education and age. First, the SSA is to decide if you can do the work you have done in the past. If they feel that you cannot, then they are to consider if there is any other work you are able to do. They are supposed to consider whether there is any other work which you can do considering your health problems and your age, education and work experience.

If I am currently receiving workers’ compensation benefits, am I eligible to receive Social Security Disability benefits?

Yes. However, there may be an offset because of the workers’ compensation benefits which may reduce the amount of Social Security benefits. It is very important that you file for Social Security Disability benefits as soon as possible to avoid any possible gap between the time workers’ compensation benefits end and Social Security disability benefits begin.

Once I become disabled and am no longer able to work, how long do I have to wait before I can apply for Social Security benefits?

There is no waiting period. You can apply for benefits as soon as you are no longer able to engage in substantial employment.

How does the Social Security Administration (SSA) define “disability”?

The SSA defines disability as the inability to engage in substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months. Even if you have not been disabled for 12 consecutive months you may apply for benefits.

How do I apply for Social Security benefits?

A) You may contact our office for a consultation regarding filing an application for Social Security disability benefits online.

B) You may also contact the Social Security Administration online by visiting www.ssa.gov.

C) You may contact the Social Security Administration by telephone to arrange a phone interview to file your claim or call the SSA at 800-772-1213.

Can I qualify for Social Security Disability benefits if I get Veterans’ Benefits?

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Social Security Administration (SSA) each have disability programs. It is possible to receive disability benefits from both; however, the criteria for receiving disability benefits through Social Security are different from the criteria for receiving disability benefits from the VA, and you must file separate applications. For example, the VA may pay benefits for partial disability, but SSA pays disability benefits only to people with impairments so severe they prevent any kind of substantial gainful activity (SGA). You may find that you qualify for disability benefits through one program but not the other, or that you qualify for both.

What kind of benefits can children receive?

Disabled children under the age of 18 are eligible to receive Supplemental Security Income. Children may also be eligible to receive benefits from an eligible parent who is disabled, retired or deceased. To receive benefits from a parent’s record the child must be under age 18; or 1819 and still a full-time student (no higher than grade 12); or 18 or older and have a disability that started before age 22.