Social Security disability questions

Struggling to work or being unable to  do so because of a medical condition is extremely frustrating. Disabled workers need to understand their rights to collect Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). You may have a lot of questions about applying for SSDI or appealing denials because the process is long and complicated. Below are answers to some of the most common questions our attorneys receive.



What are Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security Income?

Both Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are disability plans regulated by the Social Security Administration (SSA).

SSDI is for those who had a relatively steady work history prior to becoming disabled. SSI is a benefit for those who may have only worked briefly, or not worked at all, prior to becoming disabled. To be eligible for SSI, you must meet the financial guidelines for Public Assistance.

Learn more at Pond Lehocky Stern Giordano Disability


What is the difference between SSDI and SSI?

The key difference is that SSDI benefits are available to workers who have accumulated a sufficient number of work credits, while SSI disability benefits are available to low-income individuals who have either never worked before or who haven’t earned enough work credits to qualify for SSDI.

SSDI is a benefit program that is based on your work history before becoming disabled, while SSI is a needs-based benefit program for those that have only worked briefly, or never at all, before becoming disabled. You must meet financial guidelines for Public Assistance to receive SSI.

To learn more, visit Pond Lehocky Disability.


Who is eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance?

In order to qualify for SSDI benefits, you must demonstrate that you are unable to perform any work you have previously done. You must also be able to prove that there is no work available for which you could reasonably be trained given your age, education level and degree of physical and mental fitness.

In general, you are eligible for Social Security disability if you:

  • Suffer from an injury or illness that prevents you from working for at least 12 months
  • Have worked for the last 5 of 10 years
  • Are unable to perform any regular job or work-like activity
  • Are under 66 years old
  • Have paid taxes
  • Have a diagnosis from a doctor that supports your claim

To learn more, contact the Social Security disability advocates at Pond Lehocky Disability.


What are the requirements for SSDI benefits?

To be eligible for SSDI benefits, you must either be out of work or earning less than $1,220.00 per month in gross wages because of your medical conditions. Your medical conditions need to be documented through medical treatment and severe enough to keep you from performing your past work. If you are under 50 years old, you may also need to demonstrate that because of your medical conditions, you cannot perform any jobs in the national economy.

To learn more about the requirements for SSDI or to see if you may be eligible, click here to speak with an advocate from Pond Lehocky Disability.


What are the requirements for SSI benefits?

The requirements for SSI benefits are different for an individual than for a married couple. As a single individual, you must have less than $2,000 in resources, own only one car and own only one home. If married, you must have less than $3,000 in resources and own only one car and one home, which must be your primary residence.

The SSI program has strict limits on the amount of income and assets you can have and still be eligible.

To learn more about the requirements for SSI benefits, consult the advocates at Pond Lehocky Disability.


What is the SSDI process for determining whether you are disabled?

The Social Security definition of disability is based on your inability to work for a long period of time. You are considered disabled and eligible  if you meet the following conditions:

  • You are not working at all or earning less than $1,220 per month
  • Your condition is so severe that it interferes with work-related activities you must perform to do your job
  • You are unable to do the work you did prior to becoming disabled
  • You are not able to perform other types of work that your background may have prepared you to perform

It is vital to note that this is a simple explanation and does not take into account special situations that may make you eligible for disability benefits even if you have not fulfilled all the above conditions.

If you think you may be eligible for Social Security disability, do not hesitate to contact the advocates at Pond Lehocky Disability, who can advise you regarding your eligibility and help you apply.


How long do you have to be disabled before applying?

In order to be approved for SSDI, you will need to demonstrate that your disability is expected to last at least one year or be life ending. You will also need to demonstrate that you are unable to perform any substantial gainful activity, meaning that you cannot work eight hours per day, five days per week on a consistent basis.

However, you should apply as soon as you believe you may have a long-term disability because there are delays between applying and receiving benefits. There are certain requirements regarding the expected length of disability and certain waiting periods during which benefits are not payable.

Pond Lehocky Disability can explain these to you.


Will my workers’ compensation benefits be affected if I receive Social Security disability?

It depends on your circumstance. In some cases, there are offsets (reductions) against your Social Security disability benefits for workers’ compensation benefits you have received during the same time.

This must be reviewed on a case-by-case basis by an  appropriate attorney. Generally speaking, Veterans Administration benefits and private pension benefits do not offset (reduce) Social Security disability benefits.

To learn more about your combined benefits, speak with Pond Lehocky Disability to receive the answers you need.


How can you afford a lawyer when you are applying for SSDI because of financial problems?

There is no fee unless our Social Security disability lawyers are successful in obtaining benefits for you.

If successful, the Social Security Administration pays your lawyer a percentage of your lump-sum benefits, as dictated by the Social Security Act. There is not out-of-pocket cost to you.

To learn more. speak with Pond Lehocky Disability or fill out a free consultation form.


How do I pay my student loans if I’m found disabled?

If you have suffered an injury or medical condition that prevents you from working for an indefinite period of time, you may be eligible to cancel any student loans you have. If you have a student loan you took out before July 1, 1993, you may be able to defer loan payments for up to three years if you can show that you, your spouse or a dependent has suffered from a temporary total disability.

Under new U.S. Department of Education guidelines, those who have borrowed federal loans may be eligible to have their Title IV federal loans forgiven.

To learn more about whether you qualify for student loan forgiveness, speak with our team by calling 800-773-1300.


What is a trial work period?

The Social Security Administration allows you nine trial work months during any five-year period. Generally, you will not be entitled to another trial work period once you have used these nine months.

However, there are a few exceptions to keep in mind. Did your disability benefits end because you started working? Did you later qualify for benefits again? Have five years or more passed since your trial work period?

Speak with our team to learn more about these trial work period exceptions.


How long does it take for you to start collecting benefits?

Obtaining Social Security disability benefits can be a long, confusing and tedious process. It typically takes anywhere from 18 to 24 months.

At Pond Lehocky Disability, however, you will be guided through the process as quickly and effectively as possible.