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Frequently Asked Questions

General Information

What is Supplemental Security Income (SSI)?


SSI is a federal income supplement program that is funded by tax revenues (not Social Security taxes). It pays benefits to disabled adults and children with limited income and resources. SSI is available for those disabled adults who have not reached the "work credits" requirement needed for SSDI.




How do I apply for SSI benefits?


Click here to learn how to apply.




What will I receive if I am granted SSI benefits?


The basic monthly SSI payment for 2020 is $782 for one person, and $1175 for a couple. However, not everyone gets the same amount. You may receive less if your family has other income, i.e. a spouse's income. If you get SSI, you usually can get SNAP and Medicaid benefits, too.




Can I work after applying or while receiving SSI benefits?


See here.




Will any other income or resources reduce my benefits?


Yes. Additional income into your household, by a variety of means could reduce your SSI benefits.




Am I still eligible for SSI benefits if I receive other public service benefits?


Yes and no. The intricacies of how SSI interacts with other benefits you may be receiving is complex. Give us a call so we can walk you through your specific situation.




If I get married, will I still be eligible for SSI benefits?


Yes. Getting married will not affect your eligibility. However, if your new spouse has an income, it will affect the amount of benefits you receive. SSI takes your entire household income into account when awarding you benefits.




Will I receive medical insurance through the SSI program?


In Ohio, if you qualify for SSI benefits, you also get Medicaid health coverage automatically. No need to file a separate application.




What is a Plan to Achieve Self-Support (PASS), and how can I get one?


PASS is a provision to help individuals with disabilities return to work. You could qualify if you are eligible for SSI benefits. Typically, SSI eligibility and payment amounts are based on income and resources. PASS allows disabled individuals to set aside money or resources they own to pay for items or services needed, without affecting the amount of their SSI benefits. You can contact a local SSA office or click here to get a PASS form to complete. Then you can mail it or bring it into a social security office yourself.




How does reaching retirement age impact my SSI benefits?


If you are receiving SSI and are 62 or over, you may be able to receive retirement benefits in addition to your SSI if you have worked and paid into Social Security long enough to be eligible. Contact us to review your options.





 

The Administrative Process

How do I apply?


Click here for information on the 3 ways to apply for Social Security Disability benefits.




What are the steps in the administrative process?


Click here to find a detailed graphic of the administrative process.




How long does the process take?


The process takes a variable amount of time, depending on when you get granted. After your initial application, it takes about 3 months on average to get a decision. If you are denied, the reconsideration may take another 2 months. If you are denied on reconsideration, you may have to wait about a year to get a hearing date in front of a judge.




How will my claim be evaluated?


  • When you file your initial application, the Social Security Administration will begin to take your application to a sequential step process. The first question they ask is are you “engaged in substantial gainful activity?" This essentially asks are you currently working and making at least $1220 a month. If you are not, they will move on to the next step.Do you have an impairment or combination of impairments that is likely to last more than 12 months or death? Do any of your “impairments” meet or equal in severity any of the medical conditions contained in the Social Security Administration’s List of Impairments. Usually the answer to this question is no and the Social Security Administration moves on to the next question. Do your impairments individually or in combination prevent you from doing any of the occupations that you have performed in the last 15 years? If the answer to that question is yes, then they will move on to the last question. Are there any other jobs that exist in significant numbers in the national economy that you could perform on a sustained and regular basis. This last question is the most complicated question of all because it will determine whether or not your claim will be granted. To answer this question they will look at four factors:
    • What you are still capable of doing on a sustained and regular basis despite your physical and/or mental health limitations
    • Your Past Relevant Work
    • Your education
    • Your age




Who decides if I am disabled?


During the initial and reconsideration stages of the process, all of your information is reviewed by examiners at Disability Determination Services. These examiners are not federal employees but are medical professionals (MDs, DOs, etc.) that are contracted by the government to assess your medical evidence. At hearing level, your claim will be reviewed by the Administrative Law Judge assigned to your case.




Can I work while applying for benefits?


The quick answer is yes. But there are qualifications to your pursuing work during this process. Part of the evaluation of your disability claim involves determining whether you have the ability to work at a level that reaches "Substantial Gainful Activity." This means, "have you worked enough to make enough money to live?" The amount of money you can make monthly is determined by the Social Security Administration. As long as you are making less than what is listed here, you are allowed to continue working.





Legal Representation

What is Supplemental Security Income (SSI)?


SSI is a federal income supplement program that is funded by tax revenues (not Social Security taxes). It pays benefits to disabled adults and children with limited income and resources. SSI is available for those disabled adults who have not reached the "work credits" requirement needed for SSDI.




How do I apply for SSI benefits?


Click here to learn how to apply.




What will I receive if I am granted SSI benefits?


The basic monthly SSI payment for 2020 is $782 for one person, and $1175 for a couple. However, not everyone gets the same amount. You may receive less if your family has other income, i.e. a spouse's income. If you get SSI, you usually can get SNAP and Medicaid benefits, too.




Can I work after applying or while receiving SSI benefits?


See here.




Will any other income or resources reduce my benefits?


Yes. Additional income into your household, by a variety of means could reduce your SSI benefits.




Am I still eligible for SSI benefits if I receive other public service benefits?


Yes and no. The intricacies of how SSI interacts with other benefits you may be receiving is complex. Give us a call so we can walk you through your specific situation.




If I get married, will I still be eligible for SSI benefits?


Yes. Getting married will not affect your eligibility. However, if your new spouse has an income, it will affect the amount of benefits you receive. SSI takes your entire household income into account when awarding you benefits.




Will I receive medical insurance through the SSI program?


In Ohio, if you qualify for SSI benefits, you also get Medicaid health coverage automatically. No need to file a separate application.




What is a Plan to Achieve Self-Support (PASS), and how can I get one?


PASS is a provision to help individuals with disabilities return to work. You could qualify if you are eligible for SSI benefits. Typically, SSI eligibility and payment amounts are based on income and resources. PASS allows disabled individuals to set aside money or resources they own to pay for items or services needed, without affecting the amount of their SSI benefits. You can contact a local SSA office or click here to get a PASS form to complete. Then you can mail it or bring it into a social security office yourself.




How does reaching retirement age impact my SSI benefits?


If you are receiving SSI and are 62 or over, you may be able to receive retirement benefits in addition to your SSI if you have worked and paid into Social Security long enough to be eligible. Contact us to review your options.





Eligibility

Am I eligible for benefits if I am receiving Social Security Retirement benefits?


No. Once you start receiving your Social Security Retirement benefits, you are no longer eligible for Social Security Disability benefits.




Am I eligible for benefits if I am receiving military retirement or VA disability benefits?


Yes. Receiving military retirement or VA disability benefits has no effect on your eligibility for Social Security Disability benefits.




Am I eligible if I was a government worker?


It depends. Federal government employees hired before 1984 who are grandfathered into the Civil Service Retirement System do NOT qualify for Social Security Benefits, unless they earned enough benefits through another, non-government job. Government workers who are covered by the Federal Employees Retirement System are eligible for Social Security Benefits. State and local employees who are paying into a different system (like OPERS in Ohio), will not receive benefits because they typically are not paying into the Social Security System. These employees typically receive pensions from their employers.




Are children eligible for benefits if their parent receives benefits?


  • Yes. Children may be eligible for benefits if their parents receive Social Security Disability. The children can be your biological child, adopted child, or stepchild. A dependent grandchild may also qualify. To receive benefits, a child must be unmarried and be:
    • 18 or older and have a disability that started before age 22.
    • 18-19 years old and a full time student (no higher than grade 12); or
    • Under age 18; or

Benefits will usually stop when the child reaches age 18.




Can I get benefits if my deceased spouse was on disability?


Yes. When a person receiving Social Security Disability benefits passes away, the surviving spouse is eligible to receive their spouse's benefits, as long as you are at least 50 years old.




Can I get benefits if my deceased parent was on disability?


Yes. Children who are unmarried, and younger than 18 years old will receive 75% of their deceased parent's SSDI benefit until their 18th birthday. Adult children 18 years and older may also be eligible to receive benefits from a deceased parent. If the child is under 19 years old and a full time student in high school, they will receive 75% of their parent's SSDI benefits up until high school ends, or 2 months before turning 19. Disabled children, who became disabled before the age of 22 are also eligible to receive benefits, and they will receive 75% of their parents SSDI benefits as long as they are disabled and unmarried.




Can I get benefits as a divorced spouse of a deceased individual that was on disability?


  • Yes, if you meet the following criteria:
    • You have not remarried
    • Were married to that spouse for at least 10 years
    • You are 60 or older
    • Your ex-spouse was receiving SSDI benefits

Give us a call for answers to your specific situation.





Understanding the Importance of Treatment

What kind of medical conditions qualify me for benefits?


Technically, any impairment that is preventing you from working and has lasted or is expected to last at least 12 months or result in death could qualify you for benefits. Common impairments we see at our firm include:

  • Degenerative Disc Disease
  • Spinal injuries
  • Herniated discs
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Diabetes with neuropathy
  • Chronic issues to any weight bearing joint
  • Ehlers Danlos
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Lupus
  • Chronic Kidney Disease
  • Heart issues (Hypertension, Heart attacks, etc.)
  • Amputations
  • Carpal Tunnel
  • Blindness
  • COPD
  • Head injuries
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Schizophrenia
Contact us with any questions you have regarding your impairments.




What if I cannot afford to go to a doctor for regular treatment?


This can be tricky, because examiners evaluating your claim base their decisions on your medical records. Without medical evidence, they will not have any proof that you are unable to work. If your insurance coverage is insufficient, and you do not have access to free or low cost medical services, Social Security would consider that an "acceptable reason" for failing to comply with treatment. However, if you qualify for low cost medical insurance, or Medicaid you should apply as soon as possible and begin seeing a physician regularly. Also look into free or low cost medical services near you. Click here to see some free and income based clinics in Cincinnati, OH.




If my doctor says I am disabled, am I eligible for benefits?


Unfortunately, no. Even if your doctor states that your disabled, it does not mean that the Social Security Administration will automatically approve your benefits. They will still go through the entire administrative process to decide on your claim.





Social Security Disability Insurance

What is Supplemental Security Income (SSI)?


SSI is a federal income supplement program that is funded by tax revenues (not Social Security taxes). It pays benefits to disabled adults and children with limited income and resources. SSI is available for those disabled adults who have not reached the "work credits" requirement needed for SSDI.




How do I apply for SSI benefits?


Click here to learn how to apply.




What will I receive if I am granted SSI benefits?


The basic monthly SSI payment for 2020 is $782 for one person, and $1175 for a couple. However, not everyone gets the same amount. You may receive less if your family has other income, i.e. a spouse's income. If you get SSI, you usually can get SNAP and Medicaid benefits, too.




Can I work after applying or while receiving SSI benefits?


See here.




Will any other income or resources reduce my benefits?


Yes. Additional income into your household, by a variety of means could reduce your SSI benefits.




Am I still eligible for SSI benefits if I receive other public service benefits?


Yes and no. The intricacies of how SSI interacts with other benefits you may be receiving is complex. Give us a call so we can walk you through your specific situation.




If I get married, will I still be eligible for SSI benefits?


Yes. Getting married will not affect your eligibility. However, if your new spouse has an income, it will affect the amount of benefits you receive. SSI takes your entire household income into account when awarding you benefits.




Will I receive medical insurance through the SSI program?


In Ohio, if you qualify for SSI benefits, you also get Medicaid health coverage automatically. No need to file a separate application.




What is a Plan to Achieve Self-Support (PASS), and how can I get one?


PASS is a provision to help individuals with disabilities return to work. You could qualify if you are eligible for SSI benefits. Typically, SSI eligibility and payment amounts are based on income and resources. PASS allows disabled individuals to set aside money or resources they own to pay for items or services needed, without affecting the amount of their SSI benefits. You can contact a local SSA office or click here to get a PASS form to complete. Then you can mail it or bring it into a social security office yourself.




How does reaching retirement age impact my SSI benefits?


If you are receiving SSI and are 62 or over, you may be able to receive retirement benefits in addition to your SSI if you have worked and paid into Social Security long enough to be eligible. Contact us to review your options.





Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

What is Supplemental Security Income (SSI)?


SSI is a federal income supplement program that is funded by tax revenues (not Social Security taxes). It pays benefits to disabled adults and children with limited income and resources. SSI is available for those disabled adults who have not reached the "work credits" requirement needed for SSDI.




How do I apply for SSI benefits?


Click here to learn how to apply.




What will I receive if I am granted SSI benefits?


The basic monthly SSI payment for 2020 is $782 for one person, and $1175 for a couple. However, not everyone gets the same amount. You may receive less if your family has other income, i.e. a spouse's income. If you get SSI, you usually can get SNAP and Medicaid benefits, too.




Can I work after applying or while receiving SSI benefits?


See here.




Will any other income or resources reduce my benefits?


Yes. Additional income into your household, by a variety of means could reduce your SSI benefits.




Am I still eligible for SSI benefits if I receive other public service benefits?


Yes and no. The intricacies of how SSI interacts with other benefits you may be receiving is complex. Give us a call so we can walk you through your specific situation.




If I get married, will I still be eligible for SSI benefits?


Yes. Getting married will not affect your eligibility. However, if your new spouse has an income, it will affect the amount of benefits you receive. SSI takes your entire household income into account when awarding you benefits.




Will I receive medical insurance through the SSI program?


In Ohio, if you qualify for SSI benefits, you also get Medicaid health coverage automatically. No need to file a separate application.




What is a Plan to Achieve Self-Support (PASS), and how can I get one?


PASS is a provision to help individuals with disabilities return to work. You could qualify if you are eligible for SSI benefits. Typically, SSI eligibility and payment amounts are based on income and resources. PASS allows disabled individuals to set aside money or resources they own to pay for items or services needed, without affecting the amount of their SSI benefits. You can contact a local SSA office or click here to get a PASS form to complete. Then you can mail it or bring it into a social security office yourself.




How does reaching retirement age impact my SSI benefits?


If you are receiving SSI and are 62 or over, you may be able to receive retirement benefits in addition to your SSI if you have worked and paid into Social Security long enough to be eligible. Contact us to review your options.





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