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Norristown, PA 19401

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News

News

Do I Need An Attorney?

Although you can represent yourself, statistics have shown that people represented by attorneys have been successful more often than those without representation. The key to winning an SSD/SSi claim is the proper preparation of your application and the presentation of your medical evidence of disability. Our goal is always to know more about your diagnosis and disability than Social Security and Administrative Law Judges. That way we control the claims process so that Social Security cannot arbitrarily deny your claim.

During Congressional testimony, California congressman Robert T. Matsui stated: “Professional representation is a valuable, and indeed vital, service. The disability determination process is complex. Claimants without professional representation appear to be far less likely to receive the benefits to which they are entitle. For example, in 200, 64% of claimants’ represented by an attorney, but only 40% of those without one, were awarded benefits at the hearing level”.1 At the same hearing, Congressman E. Claw Saw, Jr. of Florida provided the following testimony: “As Many of you know, filing for Social Security benefits, especially disability benefits, is so complicated that many claimants must hire attorneys to guide them through the process.”.2

1 November 16, 2001 Congressional Record, Testimony of Honorable Robert T. Matsui of California, regarding the Attorney Fee Payment System Improvment Act 2001. 
2 Novemeber 16, 2001 Congressional Record, Testimony of Honorable Clay Saw Jr. Of Florida, regarding the Attorney Fee Payment System Improvement Act 2001.

Can your family get disability benefits?

Certain members of your family may qualify for benefits based on your work. They include:

  • Your spouse, if he or she is 62 or older;
  • Your spouse, at any age if he or she is caring for a child of yours who is younger than age 16 or disabled;
  • Your unmarried child, including an adopted child, or, in some cases, a stepchild or grandchild. The child must be younger than age 18 or younger than 19 if in elementary or secondary school full time; and
  • Your unmarried child, age 18 or older, if he or she has a disability that started before age 22. (The child’s disability also must meet the definition of disability for adults.

NOTE:
In some situations, a divorced spouse may qualify for benefits based on your earnings if he or she was married to you for at least 10 years, is not currently married and is at least age 62. The money paid to a divorced spouse does not reduce your benefit or any benefits due to your current spouse or children.

Who can get Social Security Disability?

Social Security pays benefits to people who cannot work because they have a medical condition that is expected to last at least one year or result in death. Federal law requires this very strict definition of disability. While some programs give money to people with partial disability or short-term disability, Social Security does not.

Certain family members of disabled workers also can receive money from Social Security. This is explained in “Can my family get benefits?”

How do I meet the earnings requirement for disability benefits?

In general, to get disability benefits, you must meet two different earnings tests:

  1. A “recent work” test based on your age at the time you became disabled; and
  2. A “duration of work” test to show that you worked long enough under Social Security.

Certain blind workers have to meet only the “duration of work” test.

The table below, shows the rules for how much work you need for the “recent work” test based on your age when your disability began. The rules in this table are based on the calendar quarter in which you turned or will turn a certain age.

The calendar quarters are:

First Quarter: January 1 through March 31
Second Quarter: April 1 through June 30
Third Quarter: July 1 through September 30
Fourth Quarter: October 1 through December 31

Rules for work needed for the "recent work test"

If you become disabled… Then you generally need:
In or before the quarter you turn age 24 1.5 years of work during the three-year period ending with the quarter your disability began.
In the quarter after you turn age 24 but before the quarter you turn age 31 Work during half the time for the period beginning with the quarter after you turned 21 and ending with the quarter you became disabled.
Example: If you become disabled in the quarter you turned age 27, then you would need three years of work out of the six-year period ending with the quarter you became disabled.
In the quarter you turn age 31 or later Work during five years out of the 10-year period ending with the quarter your disability began.

The following table shows examples of how much work you need to meet the "duration of work test" if you become disabled at various selected ages. For the "duration of work" test, your work does not have to fall within a certain period of time.

NOTE: This table does not cover all situations.

If you become disabled… Then you generally need:
Before age 28 1.5 years of work
Age 30 2 years
Age 34 3 years
Age 38 4 years
Age 42 5 years
Age 44 5.5 years
Age 46 6 years
Age 48 6.5 years
Age 50 7 years
Age 52 7.5 years
Age 54 8 years
Age 56 8.5 years
Age 58 9 years
Age 60 9.5 years

taken from ssa.gov

Adult disabled before the Age of 22

An adult disabled before age 22 may be eligible for child’s benefits if a parent is deceased or starts receiving retirement or disability benefits. We consider this a “child’s” benefit because it is paid on a parent’s Social Security earnings record.

We make the disability decision using the disability rules for adults.

The “adult child”—including an adopted child, or, in some cases, a stepchild, grandchild, or step grandchild—must be unmarried, age 18 or older, and have a disability that started before age 22.

Frequently Asked Questions

What if the adult child never worked?

It is not necessary that the adult child ever worked because benefits are paid on the parent’s earnings record.

What if the adult child is currently working?

The adult child must not have substantial earnings. The amount of earnings we consider “substantial” increases each year. In 2011, this means working and earning more than $1,000 a month.

Certain expenses the adult child incurs in order to work may be excluded from these earnings. For more information about work and disability, refer to Working While Disabled–How We Can Help.

What if the adult child is already receiving SSI benefits?

An adult child already receiving SSI benefits should still check to see if benefits may be payable on a parent’s earnings record. Higher benefits might be payable, and entitlement to Medicare may be possible.

What if the adult child is already receiving disability benefits on his or her own record?

An adult child already receiving disability benefits should still check to see if benefits may be payable on a parent’s earnings record. It is possible for an individual disabled since childhood to attain insured status on his or her own record and be entitled to higher benefits on a parent’s record.

What if the parent never worked?

No benefits would be payable on the record of a parent who never worked.

Can an application be completed online for disabled adult child’s benefits?

At this time you cannot apply for child’s benefits online. If you wish to file for benefits for a child, contact Social Security immediately at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY number 1-800-325-0778) so that you do not lose any potential benefits.

Your disabled adult child cannot apply for benefits online, but he or she can get the process started by completing the online Adult Disability Report before contacting us.

How do we decide if an adult “child” is disabled for SSDI benefits?

If a child is age 18 or older, we will evaluate his or her disability the same way we would evaluate the disability for any adult. We send the application to the Disability Determination Services in your state that completes the disability decision for us. For detailed information about how we evaluate disability for adults, see Disability Benefits (Publication No. 05-10029).

5 Step Decision Critera for Disability

  1. Are you working?
    If you are working in 2010 and your earnings average more than $1,000 a month, we generally will not consider you disabled. The amount changes each year.

    If you are not working, or your monthly earnings average the current amount or less, the state agency then looks at your medical condition.

  2. Is your medical condition “severe?”
    For the state agency to decide that you are disabled, your medical condition must significantly limit your ability to do basic work activities—such as walking, sitting and remembering—for at least one year. If your medical condition is not that severe, the state agency will not consider you disabled. If your condition is that severe, the state agency goes on to step three.

  3. Is your medical condition on the List of Impairments?
    The state agency has a List of Impairments that describes medical conditions that are considered so severe they automatically mean that you are disabled as defined by law. If your condition (or combination of medical conditions) is not on this list, the state agency looks to see if your condition is as severe as a condition that is on the list. If the severity of your medical condition meets or equals that of a listed impairment, the state agency will decide that you are disabled. If it does not, the state agency goes on to step four.

  4. Can you do the work you did before?
    At this step, the state agency decides if your medical condition prevents you from being able to do the work you did before. If it does not, the state agency will decide that you are not disabled. If it does, the state agency goes on to step five.

    Additional information about Step 4.

  5. Can you do any other type of work?
    If you cannot do the work you did in the past, the state agency looks to see if you would be able to do other work. It evaluates your medical condition, your age, education, past work experience and any skills you may have that could be used to do other work. If you cannot do other work, the state agency will decide that you are disabled. If you can do other work, the state agency will decide that you are not disabled.