How Do I Get
Social Security Disability?

Social Security Disability Part Two:

After the hearing, if you win your case, you will get a decision and it's only a matter of time until you get the money they owe you and start receiving benefits. Unfortunately, this can take another 2-3 months. Sometimes it can be longer. If you lose your decision, you will get a written decision and you will have two more levels of appeal.

The first level of appeal is still within Social Security and it is called a request for review. The request for review is sent to the appeals counsel which is essentially the internal supreme court of the Social Security judicial system. Appeals to them are done on paper. The appeal generally tries to point out that the judge made either errors of law or errors of fact or both and if you win your appeal you don't get found disabled you get a new hearing with the same judge. The theory is that the judge is supposed to learn from his/her errors.

1. Some judges will not change their minds.
2. Some judges will find you disabled because the appeals counsel sent the case back.
3. Some judges will look at the case again and attempt to make a fair hearing.

Before you go back to a judge on appeal it's important to know what the judge's attitude and philosophies are. If your appeal to the appeals counsel is lost, your last step of appeal is an appeal to The United States District Court, where you file suit against Social Security. 25% of all cases in Federal Court are against Social Security. That tells you that they aren't doing something exactly right. The percentage of cases that are won in District Court has been declining in resent years.

An appeal to The Appeals Counsel may be up to 18-24 months. After waiting 18-24 months if you have to go into the Federal Court System the case can linger from another year and a half to two and a half years.

What Disability Mean Under the Social Security Act:

A condition which is expected to result in death, or which will keep you from working for 12 months. There is a five step process to determine if someone is disabled.

1. The first is, are you working? If you are working you can not be disabled under the law. The one exception is working means earning more than $500.00 dollars a month. Although it's not considered work, it shows you have the ability to work more than you are now.

2. Proving you have a severe impairment. If you have a condition that affects your ability to perform what are termed basic work related activities, you have a severe impairment.

3. Proving that you have a condition that is specifically listed in the regulations, with the symptoms that are outlined there, you are disabled.

4. Can you establish that you cannot do your past work (previous 15 years).

5. Can you prove that you can't do any other job that exists in the national economy.

Age is a factor. The older you are the easier it is to establish that you are disabled. Education is also a factor. The more educated you are the more difficult it is to prove you are disabled.

Long Term Disability (LTD) Policies will take whatever you get from Social Security Disability. If Social Security determines that you are NOT disabled, most LTDs will use that to cut you off from that policy. Social Security is not affected by any policies. If you win you case, you get your money and benefits.

Despite the fact that this is a frustrating process, don't give up. You have the right to appeal on a number of occasions, take that opportunity and appeal. Don't let them wear you down. You have enough problems with your health, Mr. Grossman stresses, if you need to concentrate on your health have somebody that specializes in the field take care of it for you. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Social Security Disability Benefits

Lupus: Support and Survival

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© 1998 - 2004 Brenda "Rion" Sewell