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Answers to Frequently Asked Questions about Social Security Disability Benefits

If you have questions about your application for Social Security Disability, you are not alone. The inner workings of the Social Security Administration are a mystery to most. Below are answers to some basic questions people commonly ask. You may find more information from our Resources page as well. If your application for benefits has already been denied, you can trust Walton Law, LLC in Fairhope to represent you throughout the process of appealing the denial to help you ultimately get the benefits you deserve. Call 251-455-5819 for assistance throughout Mobile and Baldwin County.

How soon can I start receiving disability benefits?

For Social Security Disability (SSD), benefits begin after five full months from the established date of your disability. This date is established by the Social Security Administration and may be the date you indicated as the “alleged onset date” of your disability in your application, or it may be a later date determined by an Administrative Law Judge.

For Supplemental Security Income (SSI), disability benefits can start as early as the month after the month in which you applied.

These eligibility dates are important in considering back due benefits. For SSD, if the judge issues a Favorable Decision in your case, you can receive back due benefits from the date following that five-month waiting period, as far back as one year prior to the date of your application, in most cases. If you are found to be eligible for SSI, you can receive back due benefits from the month after the month in which your application was filed.

How is the amount of my benefit determined?

The benefit amount for SSD is based on your entire work history and the amount of “work credits” you have built up over your lifetime. Generally speaking, the more you have worked and paid into the system, the greater your benefits will be. Other factors come into play as well, such as how long it has been since you last worked.

If you are applying for SSI, your benefit amount is calculated based on your income level and the makeup of your household/living arrangements.

Can I go back to work and still receive disability benefits?

Social Security Disability benefits are intended only for people who are permanently disabled from working. However, the Social Security Administration makes it possible for people to test their ability to work without losing their rights to disability benefits or Medicare/Medicaid. These rules are often called “work incentives” and are different depending upon whether you are receiving SSD or SSI. If at any point you plan to attempt to return to work, please make sure to inform your attorney immediately to protect your rights to receive benefits during any trial work period.

What is the difference between Medicare and Medicaid?

Medicare helps pay hospital and doctor bills for persons who are 65 years old or older or who are disabled or retired and who have been determined to be eligible for SSD benefits. Medicare coverage for disabled individuals begins approximately 24 months after they first start receiving SSD. Medicare in general covers 80% of reasonable medical bills.

Medicaid provides medical coverage to low-income individuals who qualify. If you qualify for SSI, then you qualify for Medicaid. Medicaid will cover all of the approved charges of the patient, and eligibility begins as soon as you receive your first dollar of SSI.

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