Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Am I Eligible for Social Security Disability Benefits?

A: If you are an adult, review my explanation of SSA's 5 step process for determining eligibility here. If the claimant is a minor child, review my explanation of SSA's process for determining eligibility here.

Q: Why was I denied disability?

A:  Most people are denied disability on their initial application and after their first appeal. Just be patient! Most people are approved if they have good representation at the hearing before an Administrative Law Judge. Unfortunately, SSA rarely provides much of an explanation for the denial. This is why good representation early on in the appeals process is so important. In most cases, medical opinions must be obtained as to your limitations for full-time work.

Q: I was denied, what now?

A: You have 60 days to request an appeal from the day you receive your denial letter. Save the envelope with the dated postmark as proof of when you actually received the denial letter. SSA assumes you received the denial letter 5 days after the date printed on the letter. If you are in the Central Florida area immediately contact us. We will be happy to help you.

Q: Do I have to stop working before I file my application for disability benefits?

A: No. However, I recommend not earning more than $880 monthly gross income. For further explanation go here.

Q: Can I try to return to work while waiting for a disability hearing?

A: Yes. Claimants must wait several years for their appeals to be approved and many claimants ask this question. In fact, an unsuccessful work attempt will often clearly show your limitations and exactly why you believe you are disabled. An unsuccessful work attempt is an effort to return to work that ends or drops below SGA level after a short time (no more than 6 months) because of the claimant's impairments. In my experience, SSA will ignore unsuccessful work attempts that last 3 months or less. If a claimant has successfully performed a job at SGA levels for 4 or 5 months, his credibility might be questioned. If he has been able to work at SGA levels for 6 months, he is usually not eligible for for disability benefits. There is an exception for sheltered work environments when the claimant benefits from special accommodations such as job coaches, relaxed work schedules, tollerance for poor social skills or unscheduled breaks. An employer may, because of a benevolent attitude toward a handicapped individual, subsidize the employee's earnings by paying more in wages than the reasonable value of the actual services performed. When this occurs, the excess will be regarded as a subsidy rather than earnings. SSR 83-33. Again, provided you do not earn more than $880 monthly gross income, you are far enough below SGA levels that you need not worry. 

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