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Disability FAQs

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When health problems have forced you off work—and you don’t know how you’ll keep supporting yourself while you deal with your medical issues—it’s scary and confusing.

Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits could make a difference in your life, but you have a lot of questions.

The Ohio attorneys at Horenstein, Nicholson & Blumenthal want to be a resource for you, to help you understand how disability benefits work and get you through this difficult time.

To make things as easy as possible, below we provide answers to common SSD questions.

When you think of us, we want you to think “Helping me, that’s HNB.”

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Do I Qualify for Social Security Disability benefits?

To qualify for Social Security Disability, you must be unable to work in any capacity due to severe health problems. And your medical condition must be expected to last at least one year.

For one type of benefit—Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)—you also must show a substantial recent record of working and paying into Social Security through deductions from your paychecks.

For another type of benefit—Supplemental Security Income (SSI)—your income and assets must be below a certain level.

Does my medical condition qualify for Social Security Disability?

Social Security keeps a list of impairments that qualify for disability benefits.

If your diagnosis is on the list, that can give you a path toward receiving benefits.

However, your condition doesn’t have to be on the list for you to qualify for benefits. The key is that your health problems, whatever they are, make it impossible for you to work.

You can receive Social Security Disability benefits for many physical and mental impairments.

Does Social Security Disability cover mental health problems?

Yes. If a mental illness prevents you from working, you can receive Social Security Disability benefits to help you pay for basic expenses.

In fact, mental health conditions are among the most common impairments for people already receiving benefits.

How much do I get with Social Security Disability benefits?

For Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), the amount varies depending on what your income was when you were working. In 2019, Social Security estimated the average national payment for workers with disabilities to be $1,234. The maximum possible payment was set at $2,861.

For Supplemental Security Income (SSI), you receive a standard amount set by Social Security. In 2019, SSI paid $771 per month for an individual and $1,157 per month for a couple.

Can I get help with health-care costs if I’m receiving Social Security Disability benefits?

Qualifying for Social Security Disability benefits also qualifies you for government-run health-care coverage to help with the medical expenses of treating your conditions.

With Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), you have to wait two years from the date Social Security decided you were qualified for benefits to receive Medicare coverage.

However, time you spent waiting to be approved for disability counts against that two years, so your wait may be shorter once you know you’ll be getting benefits.

With Supplemental Security Income (SSI), you qualify for Medicaid health insurance coverage immediately.

What’s the difference between SSDI and SSI?

Both Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) provide benefits when you can’t work because of bad health.

The difference is in your work history and financial situation.

SSDI is for people with substantial recent work history who have paid enough into the Social Security system from their paychecks.

SSI doesn’t look at work history. It’s for people with limited incomes and assets.

The two programs also pay different amounts and qualify you for different government health coverage programs.

Does my age make a difference in my disability claim?

It can. When deciding whether you qualify for benefits, Social Security will consider whether your health allows you to continue in your job—or switch to a new job.

When you reach a more advanced age, particularly over 50, Social Security considers you less likely to be able to adapt to a new line of work. So at age 50 and up, your chances of winning benefits improves.

Work with a disability lawyer who knows how to present your age, education, work history and other background in a way that maximizes your chances of winning benefits.

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How long does it take to start receiving Social Security Disability benefits?

It can take several months for Social Security to give you a decision on your disability application. If Social Security denies your benefits, you can appeal the decision, but the appeals process can take more than a year.

A major step in appealing is seeing a Social Security administrative law judge. In 2018, the average wait time for a hearing in Ohio was 18 months.

How hard is it to get Social Security Disability benefits?

It’s not easy. For a recent 10-year period, Social Security said only 22 percent of people were awarded benefits after their initial applications. When you add appeals, the award rate rose to 33 percent.

This is why it’s important to work with an experienced disability lawyer. An attorney like the ones at HNB Law can make sure your claim is as strong as possible.

A report from the US Government Accountability Office found people were almost three times more likely to win benefits after their disability hearings if they brought a representative with them.

HNB is here to help with your claim.

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What happens if my benefits are denied?

When you’re denied Social Security Disability benefits, you should appeal. Appealing gives you at least four more steps to keep fighting for benefits.

The appeals process makes your wait for benefits longer, but it also increases your chances of winning benefits in the end.

A report from the US Government Accountability Office found people were almost three times more likely to win benefits after their appeals hearings with disability judges if they brought representatives, like a lawyer, with them.

When you win, you’re awarded back benefits for the time you waited.

Why is Social Security denying my claim if my doctor says I have a disability?

Doctors don’t always understand what Social Security considers to be a disability and what information Social Security is looking for.

An experienced disability attorney can help you get the kind of information you need from your doctor to present your case to Social Security.

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What does a disability lawyer do for me?

Social Security has thousands of rules and an entire separate legal system for deciding who gets disability benefits.

Applying for benefits—or appealing a denial—is complicated, time-consuming and hard work.

While your energy level is low because of your health problems, a lawyer takes on much of the work and makes the process easier for you.

Your lawyer helps you with Social Security’s lengthy forms, gathers the medical evidence you need, speaks for you at your disability hearing with a judge and more.

A report from the US Government Accountability Office found people were almost three times more likely to win benefits after their disability hearings if they brought a representative with them.

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How much does a lawyer cost?

For Social Security Disability claims, you don’t pay any attorney fee until you win benefits.

Even then, the pay for your attorney comes out of back benefits you’re awarded for the time you spent waiting for approval. So it doesn’t come out of your pocket or your benefit checks going forward. And attorney fees are subject to limits set by Social Security.

To start your case, it costs you nothing to get HNB to evaluate your claim.

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Your Ally against Health and Financial Struggles

When you’re facing health and money problems, you shouldn’t have to struggle alone. Having a lawyer by your side can help you regain a sense of independence in your life. This is the mission of HNB Law.

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Hear from HNB Clients:

Laurie Ruscillo
in Google Reviews

“During a very difficult time, there was compassion and a truly dedicated effort from the staff for a favorable outcome with a disability claim from the Social Security Administration.

Dean Williams
in Google Reviews

“They met all of my needs, suggested avenues of approach in my case that I hadn’t thought of. The lawyers that handled my case at different levels were fully knowledgeable of all aspects of my case. Highly recommend this firm for your legal needs.

Horenstein, Nicholson & Blumenthal can handle your case by phone. Stay home and safe.

As an essential service, we are still open and conducting business for both new and existing clients by phone, email, and mail whenever possible.

We have set up "touch-less" contact options for dropping off paperwork when necessary. Any older or medically vulnerable clients intending to come by the office should call ahead for special scheduling.

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