This question is more complex than it may seem on its face, but I will try to explain my answer in some detail. To begin with, applying for disability requires that your inability to work result from diagnosed medical issues, whether physical or mental. In other words, no matter how long you have been out of work, you cannot qualify for disability benefits unless medical conditions caused your inability to work. Additionally, to qualify for Social Security disability benefits, you must expect to be disabled for at least 12 months.
If you are unable to work because of medical problems, federal law identifies a set amount of time that you must wait before you can claim disability. To be considered disabled under the Social Security Act, you must have been out of work — or be expected to be out of work — due to medical problems for at least one year. This means that, if you have already been out of work for one year as a result of your disabling medical conditions, you would be eligible to apply.
May I Collect Disability Benefits if I Can Work?
If you can work, you generally cannot collect disability benefits. However, if you are expected to be unable to work for at least 12 months because of your medical conditions, then you may qualify immediately, even if you have not been out of work for one day when you apply.
A lot of people call my office indicating that they want to apply for Social Security disability (SSD) benefits because of their medical problems. They describe their medical conditions and explain how awful they are. When I ask them how long they have been out of work, they often say that they still work full time. At that point, I tell them they have no claim at all.Claiming disability requires an inability to work.
Before you can claim disability benefits, you must generally be unable to work in any significant capacity.If you are still working, then you cannot claim an inability to work. Again, you must have been out of work or be expected to be out of work for at least one year before you may apply for disability benefits.
The toughest scenarios I encounter are when someone has been seriously injured but it is not entirely clear whether they will be out of work for a full year. Under those circumstances, I usually recommend that the person apply for disability benefits and then see what happens later. If you apply and end up returning to work before a year is up, then you can just drop your disability application at that time.
If you end up not being able to work for a year or longer, then you will be glad that you got the process started when you did. If you are over 50 years old, I would always recommend being on the safe side and applying for benefits as soon as possible.
How Long Does It Typically Take for the SSA to Approve a Disability Claim?
The duration can vary from person to person. It also depends on the thoroughness of your paperwork and the length of time the Social Security Administration (SSA) needs to verify your medical documents and other evidence you have submitted in support of your application.
The initial stage of the SSD benefits application process can take about three to four months to complete. If your disability case is strong and you submit sufficient evidence of your disability with your application, following all SSA guidelines, your application is more likely to be approved. For this, you must submit all necessary documents that demonstrate your long-term disability.
If you fail to provide sufficient evidence or do not follow the steps outlined by the SSA, your application for disability benefits may be denied, requiring you to move forward with the appeals process. You can appeal the SSA’s decision within the 60 days of a benefits denial. An experienced SSD attorney can represent you during your hearing and will fight for your rights.
Because the process can be long, it is important to seek the counsel of an experienced disability lawyer who can analyze your case and provide you with the guidance you need to do it right the first time.
How Can I Win a Social Security Disability Federal Court Appeal?
It is possible to get approved for Social Security disability benefits on your first attempt if you follow every step of the process in accordance with the SSA guidelines. When people initially file for disability benefits, they typically do not even consider the possibility that their application will be denied or that their appeal will end up in federal court. But when a denial actually happens and it is time to appeal, many people become paralyzed at the thought of what to do next.
If you encounter such a situation and want to win your Social Security disability federal court appeal, speak with an attorney regarding how to proceed. Experienced disability attorneys will have handled cases similar to yours, and will have the extensive knowledge that can help you avoid further obstacles in the process. They can provide you with the legal representation you need to ensure your case is handled efficiently and with the best possible outcome.
Many people worry about the legal costs of filing an appeal. However, if your attorney is willing to work on a contingency basis, you will not have to pay anything out of pocket at this point in the process.
If you cannot afford these fees in the future, you may file a written request for a waiver with proof that you are not in a financial position to pay.
Filing the appeal is an important step following a denial for disability benefits. When you have an attorney by your side, you can file an effective appeal in federal district court, detailing why you seek an appeal and including information about why the denial was improper.
This process may sound complicated, but a reputable attorney can handle the process efficiently and effectively.
How Long Does It Take to Get a Disability Payment Once Approved?
If the SSA approves your application, it typically takes a month or two before you will receive your first disability benefits payment. In most cases, it will take even longer for you to receive your back pay. The SSA will calculate your back pay from the date on which you first became disabled.
In total, the disability claims process can take months or years to complete. But, if your case becomes delayed for unexpected reasons, such as an appeal in federal court, you might not have to worry about whether the amount you will finally receive will be decreased. This is because the SSA will calculate what you should have received beginning as soon as you became disabled, even while you go through the appeal, and these sums will be included in back pay.