Frequently Asked Questions

 1.  Is it true everyone is denied the 1st and 2nd time they apply?
 2.  How do I prove I am disabled?
 3.  How do I apply for Social Security disability benefits?
 4.  When should I apply?
 5.  How long does it take to get benefits?
 6.  What kind of information will Social Security want?
 7.  How much will I receive?
 8.  What can I do to improve my chances of winning my claim?
 9.  SSA denied my claim/cut off my benefits, what do I do now?
10.  Is it true the SSA denies benefits when alcohol is involved?
11.  What is the difference between SSDI and SSI?
12.  Why should I hire a representative?
13.  What does ADA charge?


 1. Is it true everyone is denied the 1st and 2nd time they apply?

Absolutely not! Certain conditions are automatic allowances and are processed within days if not hours. Make sure Social Security gets all your medical records as early as possible in the process. Professional help at the start of the application process can speed the process and better the chances of you receiving benefits.

 2. How do I prove I am disabled?

Social Security defines disabled as an inability to perform work of any kind. Your condition(s) must be diagnosed and supported by medical documentation. In most cases, it is not enough that you are unable to perform your old job. You must be unable to perform work of any description. Under Social Security there is no “partially disabled.” Additionally, your disability must have lasted or be expected to last for one full year.

 3. How do I apply for Social Security disability benefits?

Our staff at American Disability Advocates, Inc. will complete the online and Social Security Insurance applications for you. This is a great services we offer our clients. We take the worry of having to deal directly with the Social Security Administration.

 4. When should I apply?

You can file for benefits the day you become disabled. Any individual who suffers a serious illness or injury and expects to be out of work for a year or more should not delay in filing for benefits.

 5. How long does it take to get benefits?

Social Security has come under fire because of long delays. It has responded by hiring more judges, computerizing and streamlining many of its operations. Still, the time required by the Social Security to process a claim may range from several weeks to more than 1 year.

 6. What kind of information will Social Security want?

It is critically important to have the names, addresses and phone numbers of your doctors, hospitals and medical service providers as so much of the Social Security's decision is based on medical information.

Social Security presents a checklist that includes: 1). An original or certified copy of your birth certificate; 2). Social Security card; 3). Social Security numbers for your spouse and minor children. The names and Social Security numbers of your spouse and children are important because they may be eligible for benefits on your account; 4). The names and addresses of your employers over the past 15 years.

 7. How much will I receive?

The amount of your monthly Social Security disability check depends on how much you have paid into Social Security. The maximum monthly benefits amount payable to an individual in 2014 under Supplemental Security Income is $721.00. Social Security no longer sends out yearly statements. You can call the Social Security office at 1-800-772-1213 to get an estimate of your monthly benefit amount or visit the location nearest you.

 8. What can I do to improve my chances of winning my claim?

Hiring a Representative will give an individual a greater chance of winning. This is probably the easiest way to boost your winning potential.

 9. SSA denied my claim/cut off my benefits, what do I do now?

Appeal! Instructions for appeal are presented in most every denial letter. Read your denial letter thoroughly. Act promptly as the time limits outlined may be strictly enforced. Using representation can better your chances with an appeal. If your benefits are cut off, you can usually ask that they continue while the appeal is in progress.

10. Is it true the SSA denies benefits when alcohol is involved?

Social Security no longer awards benefits based on alcoholism or substance abuse or, if alcohol or drug abuse contribute to the disability. If you have a past “history” of substance abuse and despite abstinence your disability continues – you have a bonafide chance of prevailing. Many judges will award benefits in cases such as liver cirrhosis where there is proof of dire limitation or functioning and irreparable organ damage. In situations where there is emotional disability the line is very difficult to draw and abstinence is frequently the only way to show that substance use is not a “material factor.”

11. What is the difference between SSDI and SSI?

Supplemental Security Income is also for people who are 65 and older.  They can apply without being disabled but must meet the income/resource requirements.

12. Why should I hire a representative?

An experienced representative can make a huge difference at any point in the application process. Because representatives are familiar with the system and what to expect from the Social Security Administration, they can streamline the process and better your chances of winning.

13. What does American Disability Advocates, Inc. charge?

A fee can be charged only if your case is won. Social Security general takes responsibility for paying the representative from the past due benefits. To protect the disabled individual, Social Security must approve all charges for representation. Typically, the fee is 25% of the past benefits, not to exceed $6,000.

Disclaimer: The American Disability Advocates, Inc web pages are a public resource containing information that is intended – but not promised or guaranteed – to be correct and current. The information tools contained herein do not constitute legal advice. Nothing included in the FAQs should be construed as creating a client relationship between American Disability Advocates, Inc and the reader.

Herman Bates