Will I qualify?
This is quite a complex question that really needs to be explored with someone who understands the program. Essentially, there are up to five steps or hurtles before the Social Security Administration can find someone disabled.
How long does it take?
If a claim has to be appealed to a hearing with an Administrative Law Judge, it can take TWO or more years to get a hearing date.
Isn't everyone denied the first time they apply?
It is a common misconception that everyone is denied the first time that they apply. Plenty of claimants are allowed on their very first application. Whether someone is allowed or denied is largely based upon the nature of their impairments, the severity of those impairments and how well those impairments are documented, as well as age, education level and past work considerations. It is, however, true that statistically most claims are denied at the Initial and Reconsideration levels and must be appealed to the hearing level.
Can I work and file for disability?
Social Security's definition of disability is:
"For all individuals applying for disability benefits under title II, and for adults applying under title XVI, the definition of disability is the same. The law defines disability as the inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity (SGA) by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment(s) which can be expected to result in death or which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months."
Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA), in 2017, is $1,170 per month. Therefore, the SSA makes very little provision for someone to work and obtain their disability. Technically, if you are working and earning under $1,170 per month, you may apply for disability. If you earn more than $1,170 in a month, your claim will be denied by the SSA.
How do I obtain partial or temporary benefits for the SSA?
The simple answer is, you don't! Social Security disability is total and permanent disability. No benefits are payable for partial disability or for short-term disability.
Do I have to be represented to file for and obtain my benefits?
Absolutely NOT. You can go to ssa.gov, click on the disability tab and file your application on your own. However, many individuals, (particularly those who are trying to manage their life with a disability), find that dealing with the government, as well as all of the necessary paperwork overwhelming and find that they need competent representation.
Are you an attorney?
Terry IS NOT an attorney. Terry is what the Social Security Administration calls an "Eligible for Direct Pay Non-attorney" (EDPNA) representative and an Accredited Disability Representative (ADR), with the National Association of Disability Representatives. Unlike many attorneys who might practice many facets of law, WDA's only business is Social Security Disability. Terry has eleven years experience with Social Security disability, has thousands of claims to his experience and is approved by the SSA to represent claimants through the Appeals Council level of the process.
What are your fees?
Whether you choose WDA, another representative across the state or someone halfway across the country, all fees are supervised by the SSA and all representatives can only charge the fees which are approved by the SSA. And the only fees approved by the SSA are of 25% of any past due benefits to a maximum of $6,000. This means that you generally cannot be charged anything out of pocket, you cannot be charged a retainer and you will only pay fees if you win your case.