Areas of Practice
Social Security Disability

Social Security Disability

The Social Security Administration pays disability benefits under two programs:

  1. One is referred to as Disability Insurance Benefits, which is based upon your work record. You may see it referred to as a Title II Benefits on Social Security forms. Remember the FICA deduction that came from your paycheck? That deduction paid your insurance premium for Disability Insurance Benefits and Medicare. A disabled applicant must have had a sufficient work history or quarters of coverage in order to be eligible for payment. An adult child may also qualify for benefits on his or her parents’ earnings record if he or she has a disability that started before age 22.
  2. Another program under which Social Security pays benefits is the SSI Program. SSI stands for Supplemental Security Income program, also referred to as Title 16 or Title XVI benefits on Social Security forms. This program is needs based and pays benefits to children and adults who have limited resources and are disabled, or meet other qualifications. Some people qualify to receive both benefits if the Disability Insurance Benefit is less than the regular SSI payment.

The disability applicant has the burden to prove, primarily by objective medical evidence, that he or she cannot return to their prior work during a look back period of 15 years. It’s like a tennis match; once the applicant proves he or she cannot return to prior work, the burden shifts to the government to prove that there is other work that the applicant can perform. Once those alternative jobs are identified, then it is the applicant’s burden to prove that he or she cannot do the alternative work. This often plays out in a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge with a vocational expert and a push of medical record documentation.

Disability for Children

There are separate standards for determining disability for children as they do not typically work. You can learn more about children’s benefits by clicking here.

It is important that you apply for disability benefits as soon as you have the inkling that you are disabled and no longer able to work. Why? Because in some instances, you can only get back pay to the date of your application. Your date of contact will serve as your application date if you call by telephone. When you call to apply, you may be given a date in which to submit your information by telephone. Your application date will be considered as the date you initially called in to apply.

To apply for benefits, you can:

If you select to go to an office in person, it is best to call ahead to find out what documents you will need to take with you. Minimally, you will need a picture ID, social security card, and birth certificate for you and your minor children. Some locations may require an appointment for an in-person visit.

If you have minor children and are applying for disability insurance benefits, remember that they do not automatically get benefits, so don’t forget to also apply for dependent benefits.

If your application for disability is denied upon claim that a disability does not exist, appeal up to the next level in a timely manner, instead of reapplying. Contact our office for a free consultation if you are denied disability benefits.