Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What does it mean to be disabled?
A: You are considered "disabled" by the Social Security Administration if, due to a severe mental or physical condition, you will not be able to do substantial work for at least one year. Your inability to work must be shown by medical evidence.
Q: Is Social Security Disability welfare?
A: No. Throughout your working life, you have had money taken out of your paycheck. It appears as "FICA" on your pay stubs. Among other things, that money pays your insurance premiums for Social Security Disability Insurance.
Q: What is SSI?
A: Supplemental Security Income (SSI) provides an income to disabled people who have not worked enough years to be covered by Social Security Disability Insurance. If you have not worked at all, if you have worked very little, or if your last job was a long time ago, you might be eligible for SSI. The definition of disability is the same for Social Security Disability and SSI. However SSI has the additional requirement of financial need.
Q: I've got a good case. Why was I turned down?
A: The state agency determination on your claim is generally made by someone who has not met you. They have to rely on medical records and those records often don't tell the whole story.
Q: Will I receive medical coverage if my claim is approved?
A: If you receive Social Security Disability Insurance, you may receive Medicare benefits, but usually not until two years and five months after the date that your disability began. If you receive SSI, you may be covered by Medicaid (TennCare in Tennessee).
Q: Do I have to have a lawyer?
A: No. You can go through the process alone if you choose. However, there is a lot at stake and having someone who knows the system, understands your rights and represents you can be very helplful. Government statistics show that people who are represented are more likely to win their claim.
Q: When should I speak with my lawyer about the case?
A: We are willingto meet with you before you even file an application for benefits. We can help you complete the required forms that can be critical to your claim. We will help prepare your case to be presented to an Administrative Law Judge, if necessary.
Q: Will you charge me if I call you?
A: There is no charge to speak with us and no fee unless we win your case. If we win your case you may be entitled to a retroactive benefit. Our fee is a percentage of your retroactive benefits, usually 25%.