If you are unable to work due to a disability or if the same has happened to a loved one in North Carolina, you may have lots of questions. At Lloyd King Law Firm PLLC, we believe the best client is an informed client. Below are some of the most commonly asked questions we get from new clients. If you still have questions or want answers to questions more specific to your case, contact us today to schedule a free initial consultation.
Social security disability can be a daunting and confusing process. Here are some short answers to common questions.
Workers' compensation and social security disability insurance (SSDI) benefits are meant to help you when you most need the financial assistance. If you qualify for both at the same time, you can receive both benefits at the same time. Workers' compensation is a separate program from SSDI. You will have to go through your employer to receive workers' compensation while you must apply for SSDI on your own or through an attorney. One thing to keep in mind, however, is this: workers' compensation may cause the reduction of your SSDI benefits. It depends on the amount of the workers' comp payments, but the net payments will remain the same.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and SSDI are both administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA). It is general practice that persons eligible for these benefits apply for them at the same time. That said, because you qualify for one program does not mean you will qualify for the other. SSI has certain income and asset restrictions while SSDI has employment requirements.
It depends, and it varies depending on whether the Social Security disability benefits are from the SSDI program or the SSI program.
You can receive SSDI benefits while also receiving benefits from other sources, like a pension or workers' compensation as mentioned above. SSDI benefit payments, however, stop upon the age of retirement, at which point you will start to get your Social Security retirement checks in the same amount as the disability benefits. As such, you will not receive SSDI benefits at the same time you receive Social Security checks.
With regard to SSI benefits, things like pensions are counted as part of your income. To qualify for SSI benefits, your income and assets are restricted. If the pension provides enough income to exceed the maximum income allowed, then you cannot receive benefits from both sources. The same is true for other retirement accounts.
Typically, no, getting financial help from friends, family, and other people will not have an impact on eligibility for Social Security disability benefits. This is true regardless of whether the financial help is in the form of clothes and food or cash.
The only factor that could interfere or prevent you from claiming your Social Security disability benefits is employment. If you are working or start working again, you will no longer qualify for SSDI benefits, and chances are you may not qualify for SSI benefits, too.
You do not have to work for a certain period of time to qualify for SSI disability benefits, but you must have worked a minimum number of hours to qualify for SSDI benefits. For SSDI benefits, you earn work credits according to how long you've worked and how much you've made.
Typically, though, you should have enough work credits to qualify if:
you are under the age of 24, you must have worked for at least 1.5 years;
you are between the ages of 24 and 31, you must have worked half the years from the age of 21 to your current age (e.g., if you are 30 years old, then you must have worked for 4.5 years);
you are 31 or older, you must have worked at least 5 out of the 10 years before becoming disabled (e.g., if you are 40 years old at the time of disability, you must have worked at least five years between the age of 30 and 40).
If you become disabled and unable to work again after you already applied for disability at an earlier time, you will have to reapply. This is true even if the disability is the same you had had initially.
There is one thing to note, however, and that's this: you are subject to a five-month waiting period before the SSA will process Social Security disability payments. If you re-apply for disability within five years, you will not be subjected to this five-month waiting period if approved for disability benefits. If, however, you re-apply more than five years from the initial application, you will be subjected to the five-month waiting period again.
That said, even if you are subjected to the five-month waiting period, many people never even realize it because it can already take months to process the disability claims.
There are different ways to apply for Social Security disability benefits. Most people apply online, but you can apply in-person at a local SSA office or through a Social Security disability attorney in North Carolina.
There are many medical and technical reasons a person's Social Security disability claim may be denied. The most common reasons include:
insufficient medical evidence
not enough work credits for SSDI
too much income for SSI benefits
failure to follow treatment
failure to cooperate with Social Security agents.
You can appeal a denied disability claim. First, you will request reconsideration through the SSA. If your application is not approved via the reconsideration stage, you can appeal that decision. This time, an administrative law judge will hear your case and decide as opposed to an SSA agent.
If you have specific questions about Social Security disability benefits, contact the Lloyd King Law Firm PLLC today. We dedicate our practice to helping North Carolinians who can't work because of a disability.