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Q&A

Q&A

I only want to get back the money I put in Social Security. Why do they make it so hard for me to get my own money back?

Actually, when you file a Social Security disability claim, you are not trying to just get “your own money” back. The money that an individual may have paid into Social Security over the years would not last very long if that was all that an individual could draw from Social Security.

from NOSSCR

Why does Social Security turn down so many claims for disability benefits?

There is no simple answer to this question. One reason is that there is no simple way to determine whether an individual is disabled. Most people who are disabled suffer from pain. There is no way of determining whether or not another individual is in pain, much less how much pain they are in. A second reason is that Social Security over the years has been more concerned with making sure that everyone who is receiving Social Security disability benefits is "truly" disabled than with making sure that everyone who is disabled receives Social Security disability benefits. An underlying reason is that Congress has always believed that, given a chance, many people will "fake" disability in order to get benefits.

from NOSSCR

What do I do if Social Security denies my claim for Social Security disability benefits?

First, do not be surprised. Only about 40% of Social Security disability claims are approved at the initial level. If you are denied at the initial level, unless you have already returned to work or expect to return to work in the near future, you should appeal. In most states you do this by fling a request for reconsideration. You should also consider employing an attorney to represent you. In a few states you file a request for a hearing before an Administative Law Judge and do not need to go through the reconsideration step.

from NOSSCR

If I am approved for Social Security disability benefits, how much will I get?

For disability insurance benefits, it all depends upon how much you have worked and earned in the past. For disabled widow's or widower's benefits, it depends upon how much the late husband or wife worked and earned. For disabled adult child benefits, it all depends upon how much the parent worked and earned. For all types of SSI benefits, there is a base amount that an individual with no other income receives. Other income that an individual has reduces the amount of SSI which an individual can receive.

from NOSSCR

How do I find an attorney to represent me before on my Social Security disability claim?

The National Organization of Social Security Claimants' Representatives (NOSSCR) offers a referral service. You may call NOSSCR at 1-800-431-2804 during regular Eastern Time business hours.

from NOSSCR

Is there a list of illnesses that Social Security considers disabling?

Not really. Because most types of illness can vary from minor to severe, there is no one simple list of illnesses which Social Security considers to be disabling. However, if an illness has reached a very severe level with certain medical hallmarks, Social Security will award benefits on the basis of medical considerations alone.

from NOSSCR

Why does Social Security consider my age in determining whether I am disabled?

Social Security has to consider age, because that is what the Social Security Act requires. As people get older, they become less adaptable, less able to switch to different jobs to cope with health problems. A severe foot injury which might cause a 30- year- old to switch to a job in which he or she can sit down most of the time, might disable a 60- year- old person who could not make the adjustment to a different type of work.

from NOSSCR

Who decides if I am disabled?

After an individual files a Social Security disability claim, the case is sent to a disability examiner at the Disability Determination agency in your state. This individual, working with a doctor, makes the initial decision on the claim. If the claim is denied and the individual requests reconsideration, the case is then sent to another disability examiner at the Disability Determination agency, where it goes through much the same process. If a claim is denied at reconsideration, the claimant may then request a hearing. At this point, the case is sent to an Administrative Law Judge who works for Social Security. The Administrative Law Judge makes an independent decision upon the claim. This is the only level at which the claimant and the decision maker get to see each other.

from NOSSCR

How does Social Security determine if I am disabled?

Social Security is supposed to gather your medical records and carefully consider all of your health problems, as well as your age, education, and work experience. In general, Social Security is supposed to decide whether you are able to do your past work. If Social Security decides that you are unable to do your past work, they are supposed to consider whether there is any other work which you can do considering your health problems and your age, education, and work experience.

from NOSSCR