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Yocum Law Office FAQ

How does Social Security define disability?

There are several factors:

  • You must be unable to do the work you did before.
  • You aren't able to adjust to other work due to your medical conditions, age or a combination of both.
  • Your serious medical or mental health condition(s) must last or be expected to last for at least 12 months or result in death.

My doctor said I'm disabled, so why did I get turned down for Social Security disability?

The Social Security Administration (SSA) makes its own determination on disability. While it is always helpful to have a supportive doctor, their word alone will not guarantee a favorable decision on your disability claim. At Yocum Law Office, we help you build your case and gather the evidence needed to support your doctor's statements.

What is the difference between Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI)?

Yocum Law Office FAQ

In order to be eligible under either program, a person must be disabled. In addition, to be eligible for SSDI, a person must have worked (generally five out of the last 10 years) and have sufficient earnings to be insured for SSDI benefits. SSI is a needs-based program that provides benefits for disabled individuals who have very limited assets and income, and do not qualify (i.e. have not worked enough in the last 10 years) for SSDI benefits or whose work history results in very low monthly disability benefits.

Why do I need a lawyer to apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits?

Most people get denied on their initial application and again on their first appeal. To win benefits, you often need to go before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) and present your case. An attorney who handles a lot of SSDI cases can help you build a more consistent case and help you avoid making mistakes along the way that can delay the processing of your claim or even cause your claim to be denied. We gather medical evidence and physician statements to support your claim and provide advice on what additional evidence might be needed to prove your claim. We also track the dates for filing your appeals to make sure your case doesn't get closed for late filing.

How much does it cost to have a lawyer help me with my disability claim?

The Social Security Administration oversees the attorney fee process, so most lawyers use a standard approved fee agreement of 25 percent of the individual's back pay or $6,000, whichever is less. If your case requires a second hearing, or work beyond the first hearing (Appeals Council or Federal Court), then most attorneys will submit a fee petition to collect 25 percent of the back pay (without the $6,000 cap). At Yocum Law Office, we follow this standard fee practice, as outlined above, and we never charge a fee unless you win your case.

Will I have to pay for expenses like medical records?

At Yocum Law Office, we do not charge expenses separately. This is a cost of doing business and covered by the approved fee. Some attorneys do charge expenses in addition to the standard fee, so be sure to review the fee agreement carefully.

Will it cost me anything if I lose my case?

At Yocum Law Office, there is never a fee unless you win your case. Some attorneys do charge for expenses, such as medical records, whether or not you win your case, so review the fee agreement carefully.

When should I get a lawyer to help me with my Social Security disability claim?

Ideally, before you file! An experienced disability lawyer can help you avoid mistakes, build your case and gather the medical evidence and statements necessary to help you prove disability. At Yocum Law Office, we help people apply for SSDI by starting their initial application. If your application has been denied we can help you appeal your SSDI claim, and if you are waiting for a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), we can help you prepare your case and represent you at the hearing.

How long does it take to get Social Security disability benefits?

In general, it usually takes one to three months for SSA to review your initial application. If it is denied, they generally take another one to three months to decide on your appeal, called a Reconsideration. If your claim is denied at the second level and a hearing is required, as a general rule, it is taking 11-15 months to get a hearing date. The entire process could take two years or more depending on processing times at your local SSA offices as well as your individual situation.

Can I work and file for Social Security disability benefits?

Under the law, you can work while filing for disability benefits. However, your gross income is limited to no more than Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) levels, which in 2015 is $1,090 a month for non-blind applicants and $1,820 a month for blind applicants. However, realistically, if you are able to work 30-40 hours a week, even if your income does not exceed SGA limits, you are not likely to be found disabled. The better option for you might be retraining or lighter work rather than filing for disability at this time.

Will I be eligible for Medicare if I win my disability claim?

If you are found disabled and are eligible to receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits (i.e. you have worked enough and your earnings were enough to be insured tor SSDI benefits), then yes, you will be eligible for Medicare benefits. Benefits will not start, however, until 24 months after your first SSDI monthly benefit payment begins. You have options at that time for enhanced coverage. Check out our Yocum Insurance Agency page for more information about Medicare Advantage Insurance options that can help you maximize your insurance benefits.

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