Frequently Asked Questions about SSDI
(Note: the following answers to frequently asked questions about SSDI provide generalized comment on SSDI law and procedure in Colorado and may not apply in all fact situations. They are not a substitute for consultation with an experienced attorney.)
1. Will SSDI replace all my lost income?
No, it is more of a “safety net” and will pay monthly benefits to you based upon the amount of money that you have paid into the system through employment taxes.
2. Can I receive SSDI if I have money and assets?
SSDI benefits are not based on financial need and therefore your assets and passive, unearned income are not relevant. As long as you meet quarters worked requirements and SSA determines that you are totally disabled, you are eligible.
3. How long does it take to receive SSDI benefits?
If your claim is among the approximately one-third of claims that are approved initially, the process generally takes several months. For most people, however, the appeal process must be used to secure benefits.
If your claim must proceed to the hearing stage at the Office of Hearings and Appeals, it may be more than a year before payments begin after a successful appeal.
4. If I can’t afford a doctor, how can I prove my medical condition?
While you can ask that the Social Security Administration provide doctors for “consultative exams”, these are a poor substitute for the reports of a treating physician. If you cannot afford a doctor, perhaps you may be able to obtain treatment through a hospital clinic or county health services.
5. What should I do if my doctor won’t support my claim of disability?
Any decision you make should first take into account what is best for you from a medical care standpoint. However, it may be wise to consult with another doctor as you treating doctor’s opinion is extremely important in your claim
6. What should I do if Social Security denies my application?
You should seek legal advice from an experienced SSDI lawyer regarding your chances on appeal. If you feel that an appeal is proper, you should obtain the proper forms and file your appeal within the sixty days allowed from the date of the decision. Either hand-deliver the appeal and obtain a date stamped copy or send it by certified mail, return receipt requested.
7. What should I do if I didn’t file my appeal within sixty days and still want to appeal?
You generally have 60 days to submit an appeal after receiving a denial notice and may be allowed five extra days for the mailing to get to you. Under certain circumstances, the SSA will accept a late appeal for “good cause”. Some reasons the SSA may consider a “good cause” for filing a late appeal are diminished mental capacity or state, hospitalization, lost mail, etc. However, do not delay even one day in filing your appeal and letter of explanation for the late filing.
8. What should I do if SSA does not allow my late appeal?
If you feel that your claim is meritorious, by all means immediately file a new claim.
9. Can I earn income while I am receiving SSDI benefits?
When your benefits start you will be advised by SSA about your duty to report future work and its effect on your benefits. Generally, SSA does not consider earnings under about $700.00 per month as substantial. However, any ability to earn money by working could possibly be used against you. The closer the amount is to $700 per month, the greater the risk that SSA will decide you are capable of working.
10. Does the fact that I have been on Temporary Total Disability under Workers’ Compensation help prove my claim?
No, as the definition of TTD under workers’ compensation is not the same as for SSDI. You may receive TTD under workers’ compensation if you are treating and unable to perform the regular employment. SSDI requires that you are unable to perform any suitable gainful employment.
Please contact our office to discuss your case, without cost or obligation at 303.797.3311
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