How many types of Social Security disability benefits are there?

Social Security Disability Insurance is the most important type of Social Security disability benefit. It is paid to those who have worked in recent years (five out of the last ten years in most cases) who are now disabled. Supplemental Security Income benefits, however, are paid to those who qualify financially and who are disabled. It does not matter for SSI whether an individual has worked in the past or not.

How does Social Security determine whether or not I qualify for disability benefits?

Social Security will obtain and review your medical records. The SSA will then evaluate your claim using its 5-step sequential evaluation process.

Do you have to be permanently disabled to get Social Security disability benefits?

No. You have to have been disabled for at least a year, or expect to be disabled for at least a year, or have a condition that is expected to result in death within a year.

I have several medical problems, but no one of them alone disables me. Can I get Social Security disability benefits?

Many people seeking Social Security disability benefits have more than one health problem that affects their ability to work. Social Security must consider the combination of impairments when determining disability. The combined effects of all of your medical impairments, including mental health impairments, must be considered by the SSA.

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

Most Social Security disability claims in Maine are denied at the time of the initial application. In New Hampshire, about half are initially denied. If your initial application is denied by Social Security, you should appeal that determination within 60 days. An experienced Social Security disability lawyer can help you. Many clients contact me for the first time after they have received a denial letter in the mail.

I have fallen behind financially because I can’t work. Is there a way to expedite my Social Security claim?

The Social Security Administration has a provision to expedite dire need cases. Dire need is when the claimant is without (and is unable to obtain) food, medicine or shelter. Mere hardship is not enough; the situation must be dire. Read more about dire need.

Do I have to hire a lawyer to represent me for my Social Security disability claim? What does it cost?

You should contact an attorney as soon as possible after receiving an initial denial. The sooner you contact an attorney, the sooner he will be able to take the steps necessary to develop your case. You have only 60 days to appeal a denied claim. Learn about choosing the best disability lawyer for you.

In most cases, your attorney receives one-quarter of the back benefits if you win, and no fee if you lose. Again, we receive no fee unless you are granted benefits. Read more about attorney fees.

How can I improve my chances of winning my Social Security disability claim?

Give complete information to Social Security about the medical conditions that prevent you from working.

Since your disability claim will be evaluated primarily based upon your medical records, you should obtain regular, ongoing medical treatment.

Lastly, you can hire an experienced disability attorney to represent you. Statistically, claimants with an attorney are much more likely to obtain benefits than those who go unrepresented.

How can I learn more?

You can read the Social Security Disability Lawyer blog.