Common SSI Disability Questions

Below are answers to frequently asked questions about the Social Security Disability application and appeal processes. For more information, request your free Social Security Disability Eligibility Evaluation or Contact DCS.

Why should I apply for Social Security benefits based on disability?button
Do I need a representative to help me apply for Social Security disability benefits?
What will DCS do for me as my Social Security representative?
How will I pay for your help?
How long does it take Social Security to approve or deny my application?
When will payments begin after disability income benefits are approved?
What is a Lump Sum payment?
What is an Onset Date
What if my application for disability benefits is denied?
Why should I appeal my denial instead of filing another application?
Why should I use a DCS attorney for my appeal?
How important are success rates when choosing a representative?
How much monthly income will I receive?
Does Social Security ever take away SSD benefits?
What is Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or a Disability Insurance Benefit (DIB)?
What is Supplemental Security Income (SSI)?

Why should I apply for Social Security benefits based on disability?
The primary reason to apply is that you receive monthly disability income benefits, if approved for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and/or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). In addition, many other benefits may be available to you and your family as described below.

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Do I need a representative to help me apply for Social Security disability benefits?
No. You can apply for disability benefits on your own, but your odds of success are lower without a knowledgeable guide. When you choose DCS as your representative, you get a helping hand from proven disability specialists and lawyers. We lead you through the process step-by-step, cut through as much red tape as possible to accelerate the process, and improve your chances of receiving benefit approval in the shortest possible time.

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What will DCS do for me as my Social Security representative?

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How will I pay for your help?
There is no cost to you during the process, or ever if your benefits are denied. DCS never bills you for postage, phone calls, or copies of your medical records. You only pay fees if you are approved and receive a lump sum for back benefits that are due you. Fees are governed by law and approved by SSA. When we agree to represent you, you will sign a Social Security form appointing DCS as your representative and a DCS Fee Agreement.

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How long does it take Social Security to approve or deny my application?
While there are some claims that are approved "presumptively" during the process, it usually takes three to eight months for SSA to approve or deny your initial disability benefit application. When there is a delay, it is often because SSA does not yet have enough proof of disability to approve your claim.

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When will payments begin after disability income benefits are approved?
It depends on the SSD program for which you are qualified and the onset date established by Social Security for your disability. Monthly income benefits may begin as early as the date that your application is filed, or they may not begin for up to six months after the onset date. In addition, unless you are approved presumptively, you will receive a lump sum payment for back benefits due you.

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What is a Lump Sum payment?
A Lump Sum is a retroactive benefit payment. This amount represents the total monthly income payments due you between the date you became entitled to benefits and the date Social Security finally approves your benefits.

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What is an Onset Date?
An Onset Date is the date Social Security determined your disability began.

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What if my application for disability benefits is denied?
Applications are denied for many reasons. For instance, you may not be able to prove that you will remain disabled for the required 12 months at the time of Social Security's decision. If your application is denied and you're still unable to work, DCS can help you appeal the decision. A DCS attorney who specializes in SSD law will represent you. You have 60 days after receiving your Notice of Denial to request a hearing with an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ).

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Why should I appeal my denial instead of filing another application?
When you file a new application instead of appealing a denial, you risk losing retroactive benefit payments. Individuals forfeit thousands of dollars in lump sum benefits by filing new claims instead of appealing a denial. During appeal, many denials are reversed and benefits approved.

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Why should I use a DCS attorney for my appeal?
A Social Security Hearing is similar to a court trial. You testify about your condition and at least one expert appears as an expert witness. How your case is argued and how expert witnesses are cross-examined can make the difference between winning and losing your appeal. DCS is unique in that you have a team of medical experts plus a qualified attorney, not just a certified representative, to represent your interests. DCS attorneys are specialized in this area of law and work closely with DCS disability experts to thoroughly understand your medical issues. As a result, your chance of winning your appeal and receiving benefits is greatly improved with DCS as your representative.

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How important are success rates when choosing a representative?
Approval rates are dependent upon the type of cases selected. For example, if a representative chooses to represent only wheelchair-bound clients their success rate should be close to 100%. Other representatives may have lower success rates because they accept the more difficult cases that others refuse. Many representatives who brag about their very high success rates accept only cases that are easily proven disabled.

Since DCS is a mission-driven organization we accept difficult cases that others decline to represent. In accepting difficult cases and winning many of them, we hone the skills we need to represent all clients in the most capable manner. There is nothing for you to lose and much to gain by having the best specialists represent you. Why settle for less?

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How much monthly income will I receive?
The amount of your monthly disability income benefit is calculated based upon your past earnings and reported on your Social Security Statement which is mailed to you each year. This statement describes whether you've earned enough credits to quality for disability benefits based on current law, and how much your benefit payment would be if you became disabled. You may also call SSA at 1-800-772-1213 for an estimate of payment.

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Does Social Security ever take away SSD benefits?
Social Security re-evaluates your medical condition from time to time. If it is determined that your condition has improved sufficiently for you to work, your benefits may end as a result. If you are notified that your benefits are to be discontinued, you may appeal the decision.

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What is Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or a Disability Insurance Benefit (DIB)?
SSDI is a federal insurance program funded by payroll taxes. When individuals cannot work and are considered disabled in accordance with SSA's eligibility criteria, they receive a monthly Disability Insurance Benefit (DIB) based upon their reported and taxed earnings. Unlike Supplemental Security Income (SSI), SSDI is not a needs-based program. In other words, you may have assets and other income from investments and still receive disability income benefits. In some cases, family members of the disabled individual may be eligible to receive money from Social Security too.

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What is Supplemental Security Income (SSI)?

Individuals without sufficient earnings who become disabled prior to age 65 may qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI). This needs-based program provides monthly income to individuals with limited income and assets who are disabled, blind, or age 65 or older. Children can also get SSI benefits if they are disabled and the family has limited income and assets. In most instances, SSI beneficiaries are also entitled to receive Medicaid to provide for their medical needs.

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