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What is disability according to Social Security Disability law?

By   /  March 3, 2016  /  101 Comments

Learn about disability as defined by the Social Security Administration and see how working while disabled fits into getting Social Security disability.

DefinitionHow Social Security Defines Disability

For adult claimants, including disabled adult children, the Social Security Administration, known as SSA, answers the question “What is disability?” with the following definition: “[Disability is] the inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment 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 twelve months.”

Work and Social Security Disability

As you see, the definition is made up of several requirements, but before we go into detail about what each part of the definition means, we’d like to point out that it is often difficult to tell whether or not work that you performed after the date you claim disability will prevent you from being approved. Sometimes the only way to know for sure is to file a claim; however, you may also find it helpful to talk with a lawyer who is experienced in Social Security Disability claims.

More about SSA’s Definition of Disability

Now for a closer look at Social Security’s definition of disability. The definition contains several special terms that have legal definitions. For example, substantial gainful activity, abbreviated as SGA, is work activity that the Social Security Administration determines is “substantial” and “gainful.”

“Gainful” work is work performed for pay or profit, or a type of work that is generally performed for compensation, or work that is intended to result in a profit, whether or not you have a profit. This means that “gainful” is not always defined just by the amount you earn. Substantial gainful activity is determined differently for employees, for self-employed individuals, and for the blind.

For employees, there is a dollar amount that serves as a general guideline for substantial work. The amount has increased over the years, due to inflation. In 2016, monthly gross earnings of $1,130.00 or more are generally defined as substantial for non-blind workers. The SGA guideline for blind workers is usually $1,820.00. However, for the self-employed and sometimes even for employees, additional factors can apply when the Social Security Administration assesses whether a person is performing SGA.

The SGA assessment for self-employed workers is even more complex than for employees. For example, the work of blind, self-employed workers is evaluated considering “countable” earnings; however, under Social Security rules, some types of income earned by a blind person are not counted when assessing whether the work is substantial.

This discussion of Social Security’s definition of disability provides an overview answer to the question “What is disability?” For a discussion of how this definition is applied to your Social Security Disability claim, visit our article “How Does the Social Security Administration Apply Social Security Disability Laws to Determine If I Am Disabled?”

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  • Shanta

    Hey Kay, I talk to the person that is working my claim a week ago and she stated she had everything she needed except for the knee xray from the consulting dr. I called them and they sent them the next day. How long do you think it will be before i get a decision? What do you think my chances are for getting approved? I have high blood pressure, bipolar severe depression, morbid obesity with bmi over 70 and uterine cancer that cant be remove due to the morbid obesity. All the meds make me extremely tired and weak all the time and i cant sit or stand for longer than 10 mins. Thanks in advance for your reply

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Shanta,

      Based on your description of your medical and psychiatric conditions, I’d say that you have a possibility of approval.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Patty

    Hi Kay, thank you for all you do on this site! Here’s my situation: I’m 53, will be 54 in October. I’ve worked in the insurance and financial services field most of my career working my way up to a stockbroker supervisor. I have an Associates Degree in Secretarial Science and am short about 6 credits to complete my Bachelors in Business Administration (I stopped my education a few years ago when my father got ill).

    I have been under continuous care after being diagnosed with depression, anxiety and panic attacks since the mid 1990’s. I have been put out of work by my doctor a couple of times after starting treatment- never hospitalized.

    Things really got bad when I was fired from my position as a stockbroker supervisor in 2008 along with 4 other employees as I was middle management (they fired one of my brokers, my boss, his boss). I had a strong case for wrongful termination but not the deep pockets my employer possessed. Ever since then, I’ve bounced from job to job, never staying more than a year or two.

    The anxiety and depression have worsened the last several years and early this year my dr realized that I am bipolar and suffer from manic depression. This was after I thought I was having a heart attack and was taken to the ER. It was diagnosed as a severe panic attack and further probing from my psychiatrist revealed the bipolar diagnosis. (I’ve learned to be a great actress and tried to never let others see my perceived weaknesses. No one knew how bad it was, not even my husband of 28 years realized the depth of things until I finally opened up).

    While it’s always been hard for me to be in crowds..almost agoraphobic at times, the bi polar is really bad. My psychiatrist has changed my meds several times and I’m now on high doses of 4 different meds that take the edge off, but many of the symptoms remain. I’ve not worked since Feb 2016 when my psychiatrist put me out of work for a month and I subsequently quit/fired from my office manager position.

    I filed for SSDI in March and in the last couple days had a physical exam and then a mental exam. I’ve looked at the grid and I’m confused. With my level of education it says I would be denied; however, I can’t even function some days from the meds and lack of sleep or exhaustion. I’ve tried retail in the past, the constant people interaction is too much for me. I was very honest and open with the Disability Psychiatrist. I truly don’t know what I can do for employment anymore and this comes from someone who started working Summer’s at the age of 9 and never stopped.

    I’m sorry for the dissertation here…I’m wondering what you think my approval chance might be based on your experience? I know that I will never be able to do any of my previous type of work. Frankly, I doubt I’ll ever return to the workforce. Just looking at job postings start my heart racing and takes me into an attack.

    Again, thank you for taking the time to read and comment. I truly appreciate all you do on this site.

    Patty

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Patty,

      If your illness is sufficient to be considered severe, the amount of education you have and fairly high-level work experience will not keep you from being approved. If you are denied, I recommend that you appeal with the assistance of an experienced Social Security attorney. When you hire a Social Security attorney, you do not have to pay any legal fees up front and you will pay attorney fees only if you are approved for benefits. Social Security law sets the amount your attorney can charge, and the Social Security Administration pays the attorney directly from your retroactive award before they send your back pay to you.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • shana Lathan

        Hey Kay ,My name is Lori and I applied for SSI in April 2016 for memory loss from a comma I had suffered in March 2016…dds schedule me to go to a physical dr an psychiatric CE …I went to them in Sept 2016 anyhow I called the local office and they told me they had not made a decision but it’s looking like an approval so I wasn’t sure so then a few days later I called the 800# and spoke to someone they also told me I was approved but I need to wait on a letter.So it’s been 2 weeks I called them back they said it was back at dds office so I called her she told me she need my obgyn #or address also said she need me to fill out some papers about my limitations and things like that I’m confuse…anyway I went on to ask her was I approved or denied she told me it was out of QR and order for them to make a final decision I need to send in paper work..can u please tell me whats going on?

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Shana,

          The quality assurance review resulted in a determination that the claims examiner’s decision to approve was not sufficiently documented. Your claim could still be approved after the documentation is received, but it is very important that you submit everything that is requested. If you need help because of your brain injury, ask someone reliable to help you get everything together.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • I am on SSDI and tired too work after 3 years I lost 2 jobs in the last 3 month period. Iam now working again and was told I can make 1130 a month above my ssdi. Iam worried as I have to survive on my own. I do go to a therapist and a shrink for meds that I pay for. I go 2 times a month. This I feel is my last chance at working as I lost my other 2 jobs. I have severe anxiety attacks and panic disorder Iam bipolar and ptsd and have mood disorder been hospitalized in the mental part of the hospital four times due to not wanting to live. The 1130 a month is that also calculated in a year format for the year we are in? someoen told me to multiply 4.333 which doesnt make sense to me and I dont want to lose my ssdi and social security nver said anything about this. What does the 4.333 mean and what do I do. I called social security to let them know I started a job at the school cleaning but she didnt put it in my file and I was on hold over 20 minutes.If I was able to hang on to my partime cleaning job for 3 years does that mean I will lose my social security if Im still making less than the 1130?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Teri,

      Currently Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) is typically defined as $1,130 a month. If your health has not improved substantially so that you have recovered medically, you can work and earn any amount during a nine-month Trial Work Period (TWP) during which full Social Security Disability benefits will be paid. The nine months can be sequential or scattered. After that for the next thirty-six calendar months, you will be paid full benefits for any month you do not perform SGA (now typically $1,130). If you earn $1,130 gross or more in a month, your payment will be suspended for that month. After the thirty-six month Extended Period of Eligibility, your benefits will terminate and your claim will be closed the first month that you perform SGA.

      With regard to the 4.333 weeks, the average number of weeks in a month is 4.333. Most pay periods are weekly or bi-weekly (every other week). If you are paid weekly, every three months you will get a fifth paycheck; if you are paid by weekly every six months you will get a third paycheck. These “extra” paychecks can result in your being paid at or above the SGA level even though you did not work at the SGA level in any month. To get the amount you actually earned in each month (assuming your work schedule was regular), you would take one week’s pay and multiply it times 4.333 weeks. Or you can prorate down to the daily rate and multiply the daily rate times the exact number of days worked in each month. If Social Security says that you performed SGA in months that you were paid an “extra” check, you may have to do or ask them to do this calculation to prove you did not perform SGA.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • BOB

    My mother will become U.S citizen this year but she never had job. She has disability. She can’t read or write and also have memory problem. I need to know, since she never worked in U.S, does she qualify for SSI?

    Thank you

  • sammy t

    I am 59 year old male. I am a grocery store mgr and I work 50 to 60 hours a week,a job I have done for 35 years.i was diagnosed with parkinsons 5 years ago,and have slowly gotten worse. I have extreme rigity in my right side and I find it extremely difficult to do the simpliest things such as writing.using a computer mouse .etc,,all that said.2 years ago I had total knee replacement. I enjoy workind but can no longer work the hours required as a mgr. if I step down to another position I would also take an extreme paycut,which I cant afford to do,what are my chances of getting disability and maybe workin part time.if that is allowed.i certainly cant afford to quit work while tryin to get approve

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Sammy,

      You can apply for Social Security if you are working and earning less than $1,130 gross a month. If you have to stop work or change to a different substantially less compensated position, I suggest that you check with your employer to find out if you are covered by a company-sponsored short-term disability policy that could provide income while you a Social Security claim is processed and during the first five full-calendar months of disability that are not paid by Social Security. If not, check to see if you live in one of the states that has a short-term state disability insurance.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • I have been fighting disability since 2009 due to breaking my arm and shattering my wrist and now having a titanium wrist arm and wire and web and Nash gland my hand my hand has no mobility chronic pain constantly and doesn’t do much of anything this is a big disability and doing anything I also have but I have just by weeding and time going on I have A torn rotator stuff I had my like a third of my like ripped out but I lost my nerves my muscles ligaments planter Fisher Titus nerve damage sciatica that is severe that also causes the bottom my feet to go into excruciating pain I have carpal Tonnele on my right hand which does not seem like a very big deal to me it doesn’t but I have compression fractures in my spine I had C diff from all the antibiotics I also have diverticulitis colitis , ulceralative colitis, poor bone density ,known by a test . Dr felt caused not only by A hysterectomy but also now nutrition I believe more than seven times in one year from the stomach issues and me not being able to eat do to me needing my hands to make something TE and that caused too much pain and when I’m into much pain I can’t eat and when I have any of these colitis is for C diff the food does not stay and up with dehydration among other problems like mom education I have compression fractures I have bulging disc herniated disc degenerative disc disease 2014 I broke my foot I broke my heel and I broke my ankle in several places and it up with more screws The screws were working themselves out so the doctor had to take them out but he had to do an MRI first to see if they were healing so I have a records from them our ice dating my bones have healed as much as are going to heal and are non-further feeling ever I have been homeless for five years going from place to place staying in one place the longest still going to other places I’ve been through all the shelters they didn’t want me there it wouldn’t let me stay because I’m disabled I’m not a drug attic to the judge when I did my hearing the judge was the toughest and a The one who told everyone and anyone know but due to my records and the fax I didn’t see how I could lose but I did my attorney and information from 2012 and did not turn them into 2014 year I broke my foot there so much I don’t see why my attorney held onto a lot of serious information for two years and then turned and then before we went to court now I have been turned down I found out that I did not have an attorney and court Mike I thought I did I had a advocate never opened his mouth my titanium arm was never brought up about me being able to work with that arm which I cannot this is even affected my heart at this point I have a chronic anxiety disorder sleep disorder PTSD panic attacks I’m bipolar also now I got turned down but my I recently fired my advocate because they want to wait for another hearing instead of going through the having another just look at it three different ways and I’m at my final disability before I have no more work history behind me when I work since I was 14 I don’t know what to do at this point here I am at hearing review this what I want I review the advocate did put in for that but kept saying that they did not get their CD that they were waiting on but they have already used ice use in the past years and turned and material late due to that seems to things they do hurt me because they want to go back to court so they can make more money I don’t know what to do please help me my wreckers speak for themselves and I just have more and more going on in such chronic depression it’s hard to get up and do anything ortrust in what I might do . They say to send them that you want a review and I letter and send in new records or anything I’d like them to look at well I compiled all my papers going to go to my primary doctor and have him put it all in one functional report and letter because he wants to see me get my disability otherwise he feels that I will not make it much longer and I’ve had three other doctors right that same whether to saying I won’t make it much longer I will die and one saying our decompose if something doesn’t happen soon for me with all my medical issues it’s been hard to keep up with going to all the doctors all the time because of have to have a doctor for every single part of my body amateur The judge managed to completely twist turn everything upside down like she could not add 2+2 you would think I was in shock seeing all that and I can show report and explain every single thing that she said to turn me down but do not know what to do I’m I know I need an attorney to represent me but an attorney and advocate and I don’t know what mine was trying to do to me except make more money so I did fire them I only have a few days left of the 60 days to write my letter to ask for more time to be able to find a new attorney can you tell me anything I should do Please understand this was voice writing on my iPad so I hope you’re able to understand please give me some advice

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Doreen,

      File the request for an Appeals Council review on your own to be sure you file within the appeals period. Do not try to make a case for the appeal. Say that you are trying to find an attorney and expect to have an attorney soon and that the full brief for the appeal will be submitted by the attorney within about one to two months. (Appeals Council reviews are backlogged so the delay should not be a problem.) Then look for someone who has experience in Appeals Council reviews and discuss the errors you see in the judge’s decision with the attorney. Note that in most cases, new evidence cannot be submitted because the review if to see if the judge made an error based on the information the judge had at the time of the hearing.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Sharavia moore

    I have been dealing with depression since adolescence..i never wanted meds and tried to maintain a healthy life no matter my issues..however these last couple years I have noticed my depression and Bipolar disorder play a major role in my personal life,work,parenthood,everything. I find as of late that i care about nothing,I eat maybe once a day,I call out constantly because I wake up angry or aching from my spondylolsis..I feel I was never given a fair chance at life because I am not supposed to be here.but fact is is I have kids and at the very least would like to provide for them..workimg full-time is an extreme mental and physical struggle. If I am denied yet again what can/should I do?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Sharavia,

      If you do not already have an attorney assisting you with your claim, I suggest that you hire an experienced Social Security attorney to help present your case. When you hire a Social Security attorney, you do not have to pay any legal fees up front and you will pay attorney fees only if you are approved for benefits. Social Security law sets the amount your attorney can charge, and the Social Security Administration pays the attorney directly from your retroactive award before they send your back pay to you.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Denise

    I have been suffering from depression for a while now. I have been experiencing panic attacks, insomnia and I cant lay or sit long what has finally been diagnosed as peripheral neuropathy after almost 2 years of checking with physical therapy, having MRIs, x-rays and now waiting to see a neurologist. I have been out of work since January waiting to see if Hartford will approve my long term but I am still waiting. I am going to a therapist for my depression and now they want to send me to partial hospitalization. Will I qualify for disability I don’t think I can function long anymore?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Denise,

      As you describe your health, you may qualify for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits. I suggest that you file an application now because there are several benefits to filing both claims. If you are approved, let The Hartford know that you have been approved. If you are denied either benefit, appeal with the help of an attorney.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Denise

        Hi Kay,

        I found your response. Thank you so much I will go ahead and begin the process.

        • Kay Derochie

          You are welcome, Denise.

  • Latoya

    I have a chronic eye disease in both eyes in which I was diagnosed in 2008. It is treatable but no cureable. It had progressively gotten worse and does well but flares back up. It causes blindness and I haven’t worked since February 2016. Applied for disability but it just says medical records being reviewed. What are my chances of approval?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Latoya,

      If you are legally blind, your claim will be approved. If you are not legally blind, you may be eligible based on low vision and/or other symptoms associated with the disease. In the latter case, your eligibility will depend on whether your limitations keep you from working in any occupation for which you would be qualified if you did not have your vision limitations.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • I’m 47, my husband passed 8 yrs ago June , 6, 2008. I was denied spousal death benefit because I made to much money but our two children were approved until age 18. I have lupus, fibromyalgia , hashimotos desease and in the last two years severe depression. I have been having issues with what is listed for the past two years, I am on fmla intermenent and have exausted my sick and vacation so if I’m out I am being docked and my checked is very short which does not help mydepression since I am a single parent with kids, the stress triggers my lupus to flareup and fibromyalgia pain so it is a constant cycle. I have been considering going on medical leave to short term, to longterm and once on longterm I can draw from my state pension and my work will pay my health insurance up to two years because of my 15 years I have worked. Can I draw my state pension and still get social security? Is so, would it be better to retire because of my disabilities and apply for social security. How would my widow benefits apply or help me. I believe if I am able to take the time to concentrate on my illness and take time to get the treatments needed to get to what 100% is for me that I can live with with minimal pain and get my depression and anxiety under control, I can return to work a healthy person and work until retirement age. I’m getting information from my work that it is in my best interest to retire early and my family saying to go out on leave where I can return to a job. It may not be the same position but one equal to my level and pay.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Cori,

      I cannot tell you what is best for you to do: apply for STD and Social Security or take your pension and apply for Social Security. I can provide some information. Your situation touches on several factors:

      1. If your wages from the state are taxed for Social Security, you will be insured for Social Security Disability benefits (SSDI). If they have not been taxed (no FICA taxes withheld from your paychecks), you are not insured for Social Security unless you were working a second taxed job.

      2. If you are insured and you expect to be disabled for a period of twelve months, you can apply for Social Security Disability (SSDI) as soon as you stop work or now if you are grossing less than $1,130 a month. You can receive short-term disability (STD) and long-term disability (LTD) benefits while you wait for a Social Security decision and even while receiving SSDI, although the STD and LTD would likely be reduced for the SSDI.

      3. If your wages have been taxed for Social Security and you are insured, you can receive SSDI and the state pensions withhout any offset (reduction).

      4. If you receive SSDI and your health improves somewhat but you have not clearly recovered for a successful return to work, you get a Ticket to Work and may be eligible for a nine-month Trial Work Period during which SSDI benefits are paid in full while you try to reestablish yourself in the workplace. You can read more about return-to-work incentives in the Red Book, which is available online at http://www.ssa.gov and in local Social Security offices.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Im waitin on a court date sense dec2015.im diagnosed with ptsd.major dipression with syckotic featers.take busporin sertralin and lutura.filed for disability in jan 2015.been goin to therapy every week and takin my meds.dont have a work history iam 47 yrs old below .left school first month of ninth grade.was in special ed .have affects from the meds do you think i will be approved a attorney took my case now were waitin for the court date

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Roxanna,

      You have a possibility of being approved. The attorney would not have taken your case if he or she didn’t believe there was a reasonable chance of approval. However, you won’t know until you have the hearing and get the hearing decision letter.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Margaret Dotson

    Hi Kay, my 20 yr old daughter had a cancerous brain tumor at the age of 7, she had radiation and chemo to treat the cancer. We are now living with long term affects of her treatment .. She has balance issues and falls, weakness on her left side, learning difficulties, she process’s things slower and different from a normal 20 year old. She has to follow up with a MRI every year to make sure the cancer doesn’t come back. I have been told by several people that she she be on disability. My question to you is do you think she would qualify for some type of disability.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Margaret,

      If your daughter is unable to work and earn at least $1,130, she may qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability. If she has worked some, she might also qualify for a small amount of Social Security Disability (SSDI). Both are administered by the Social Security Administration. Information on how to apply can be found under the “Apply for SSD” tab at the top of this web page.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Mike

    I recieve SSDI surviving adult child benefits from my deceased father’s earnings. I broke my neck at 17. I called SSA to check if it would affect my benefits if I got married. The person I spoke with assured me it would not make a difference. I married. The person I talked to was mistaken. I got a bill for the Amount I received during the years of my marriage and my medicare was going to be stopped. We legally qualified for an annulment. This allows me to still have healthcare and the SSDI. I am 63. I have been a quadriplegic 46 years. My marriage was the best thing that ever happened to me. As an adult child I am not allowed to marry. Is there any way we can marry without my wife claiming disability, too?My brother’s wife wants my share of my families inheritance and my estate to stay in the family,she resents that I married and will not accept my wife. My wife is a nurse but unable to work because my care is pretty time consuming and we don’t live in an accessible community for someone that needs my care. We don’t know how many years we will have together in the future, but would like to live as a man and wife together. Would there be a compassionate allowance for my case or any other solution other than living together unmarried?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Mike,

      The benefits you receive on your father’s earnings record are paid because you were dependent upon him when you became disabled. Marriage ends dependence on parents; and, therefore, benefits based on being dependent upon a parent end.The only exception I know of is marriage to someone who also receives childhood disability benefits on a parent’s earnings record.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • A.D .Mack

    I had a stroke November 2014,I applied for disability and was sent a letter denying me because they said that I said that I have osteoarthritis in neck,back,hip,knee,sleep apnea and poor circulation in my right leg.But my doctor sent a physical capacities evaluation form to them with my diagnosis and prognosis and stating that I am and not ale to work again and I still have to go in front of the ALj for a hearing.Why is this?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear A.D.,

      If you have been denied only once, you can request a Reconsideration, which does not take as long to get a decision as a hearing. (If you are denied again, you will have to request a hearing). When you file your appeal, you must make a case for your not being about to work in any occupation, not just the one you were in (unless you are an older worker and have worked in the same occupation for many years). Be sure to say that the limitations related to your stroke were not addressed and that the physical capacities assessment by your doctor was not sufficiently considered and resubmit a copy of it.

      If you are denied again, I recommend getting an experienced Social Security attorney to assist you. You do not have to pay any legal fees up front and you will pay attorney fees only if you are approved for benefits. Social Security law sets the amount your attorney can charge and the Social Security Administration pays the attorney directly from the retroactive award before sending your back pay to you.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Kim

    I’ve had a bulging disc in my back for about 19 years, causing me to go on short term disability 7-8 times during this 19 year time span. I went on disability again in 2013 due to my back pain, knee pain (diagnosed with arthritis in knees), and muscle pain throughout my body (diagnosed with fibromyalgia). Even with medicine, I am constantly in pain and often have trouble walking. Later found out that I have arthritis in both hips, worse on left side with a huge goede/cyst and that my arthritis is too advanced for my age 43. It’s suggested that I have hip replacement surgery. I applied for social security in early 2014, haven’t worked since 2013. Social Security recently called and asked about a job that I was hired for earlier thus year. I explained that I couldn’t take the job due to my severe pain and inability to walk. Will this affect my disability claim? If they are calling to verify that I’m not working, us it a sign that I’m close to approval or I’ve been medically approved?

    Thanks,
    Kim

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Kim,

      I would say that the call you received indicates that your claim is actively being reviewed versus waiting to be reviewed, but it is not an indication of whether or not you will be approved.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Can anyone out there assist me, I have been bother with an old football injury that ended me from playing professional football, it have been bothering me off and on, and now it has caught up with me, it pops, I have constant swelling, it often of times give out while standing or moving, I oftentimes of times need assistant with a cane, and cannot stand or walk on it for long period if times, nor can I set for long period of times without it stiffing; I was diagnosed by a knee specialist that I have a torn muniscas in both knees, and a sever degeneration occurring in both knees am I’m eligible for disability, and can I apply for Compassionate Allowance. Please help.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Nataneil,

      You do not qualify for a passionate allowance, which usually applies to individuals who are are terminally ill. I don’t know whether you qualify for disability benefits. It depends on your work history and education as related to whether you are disabled from working in occupations that don’t require much standing or walking.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

    • Katherine Rose

      Nataneil,

      I recently went through the entire disability process in Dallas Texas. I filed my claim later in 2012 and just got approved by the Judge who saw me during my hearing on March 20th. It was almost 6 months for them to give me final approval. Before that, I was denied my first application and my first appeal. Granted this was all with the help of a lawyer. You need a lawyer, like Kay has said over and over, it makes the process more efficient, they will be honest and tell you if you have a good case, otherwise they won’t take it. Also, they only get paid if you get approved and only a percentage of your back pay. Shop around for a good lawyer, don’t just pick the first one you see or one of those Ambulance chaser types, you know the ones. You need one that specializes in Disability cases. My sister is a corporate lawyer but I couldn’t use her for this since it is not her field of expertise. Know that almost everyone gets denied the first application and many, the second. That is ok but once you have been denied twice, you then will have to wait 6 months to 1 year in some states for the trial date to be set. I waited exactly 6 months. Then my trial was a month later. A good lawyer will tell you to dress up for court like you would for an interview. You would be shocked at the outfits people were wearing trying to make themselves look worse for the Judge. The Judge doesn’t like this and it won’t fool him or her. Also, I got to court to see people meeting their attorneys for the first time to go over what to prep for. I didn’t have to prep, my lawyer had already met me two weeks prior with a list of things to write or type and print to have ready that the Judge or my lawyer might ask. He also gave me directions and all I needed to know to get to trial as well as what time and where to meet him. I met my lawyer much later than the others because I was prepared. The trial is where you get your chance to correct any mistakes made by the system such as missing medical information, add letters from your doctors stating what your illness hinders you in doing, etc. I can go on but with a great attorney, you don’t need me to. I have a question for Kay. I got my approval letter 2 weeks ago and was told by my attorneys assistant that it could take a few months for them to calculate my monthly check and back pay check. I know I have worked enough credits to qualify for Medicare and most likely the highest amount of monthly payments. They had me look at my last Social Security Statement online. The back pay will start from December 28, 2011 until the check is written minus %10 or %15 for my lawyer not sure could be less. How can I find out what my monthly check will be and is it monthly or bimonthly? Or do I just have to wait? Also, I told them at the start I didn’t want Medicare taken out of my check because my plan on the marketplace was great but now I want it for January, they will send something in the mail but if it isn’t here by December, who do I contact to have the money taken out of my check?

      • Kay Derochie

        Dear Katherine,

        Your attorney will be paid 25% up to a maximum of $6,000. Part B Medicare premiums will automatically be withheld. When you want to have it stop, notify Social Security. Before you do that, be sure that you are allowed to continue in the Affordable Care Act marketplace when you are Medicare eligible. You will have to wait to find out the amount of your monthly benefit unless you have an old earnings statement that would give you an idea.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

  • Eric DeWeese

    Kay –

    Great website! If I withdraw money (with or without an early withdrawal penalty) from a 401K or IRA before I’m 591/2, does that money count towards my substantial gainful activity amount that month for SSDI purposes?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Eric,

      Withdrawals from retirement accounts are not earned income and are not considered in determining whether you are performing substantial gainful activity.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Eric DeWeese

        Kay –

        If I publish a book, does royalty income count towards SGA?

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Eric,

          Whether or not royalties count toward determining work to be Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) depends on a number of factors, and each situation is determined on a case by case basis. If you wrote the book before your entitlement to Social Security Disability began, the answer is no, the royalties wouldn’t count. If you wrote it afterward over a period of time, it might be treated as sort of hobby that happened to produce money in which case it would be determined that the writing activity was not SGA or the royalties might be prorated out over the time it took to write the book. More information is available in item F at the following link: https://secure.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/0410505010.

          If you have not worked while on disability and you have not recovered medically, you are now entitled to a nine-month Trial Work Period during which full benefits are paid even if you perform SGA. More information about work incentives can be found in the Red Book, which is available from local Social Security offices and online at http://www.ssa.gov.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • Lisa

    I have been out of work since July 2014 what was to be a simple procedure for a herniated disc left me with failed back surgery which contributed to diagnosis of peripheral nerve damage and radiculopathy. I have had Drs write detailed letters on my behalf, I have had 4 adjusters at my state level. I tried all the conservative treatments I continued to follow up with the state level they were very quick to get me off the phone and told me because of hippa laws they could not discuss which reports they had which would include surgical reports procedure reports when my STD discontinued all my PT notes that I failed in PT . 11 months of a mis diagnosed disc issue which led to another surgery and I did have to file a reconsideration I filed in April. which I did right away the loss of income forced us to go bankrupt I included that in my file every test, dr, procedure was sent then I got a letter from the state dept saying they didn’t have all my medical I called my adjuster never returned my call I panicked I had all my med records resent and then I’m told that was an auto generated letter… Now I’m not driving . As I mentioned a second back surgery the state sent me for it was only 8 weeks post op I was still in acute surgical pain I had a very invasive bone fusion procedure which will take up to another year IF I don’t’ have a second failed surgery . By this time I am out of work since July 8th 2014 so over a year and I called because I was told after the IE I should know in a month. Now I’m told they randomly selected my records and they have 90 days to review. They’ve been reviewing my medical records, and application since January 2015 of my original file date . They most likely have more then 1 copy of my medical because k always follows up even though they were quick to get me off the phone. I don’t understand all of my letters from my physicians have listed in detail my restrictions. I am wearing a body corset and walking with a cane and always in pain . Why do I read so much contradiction on time for an approval . I did not hire an attorney because when I called they said I did all the work at this point they’d just be collecting on the work I did she thought I would have received word by now . I’ve been in reconsideration since May/early April 2015, and disabled since July 2014. I’ve worked since I was 16 all active jobs what should I do now? Call someone it just seems that I got lost in the system. And the state doesn’t have it anymore . It went to quality review how long can they legally review it? I dk what will happen after that I read it takes another year to appear for a trial? Is that true? Please help .

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Lisa,

      If your claim is in quality review, a decision has been made on the claim and it was randomly selected for quality review, which hopefully will not take longer than a month. At this point, all you can do is wait.

      If your appeal is denied, do hire an experienced Social Security attorney to help with the hearing. (Most appeals do wait about a year for a hearing date.) When you hire a Social Security attorney, you do not have to pay any legal fees up front and you will pay attorney fees only if you are approved for benefits. Social Security law sets the amount your attorney can charge and the Social Security Administration pays the attorney directly from the retroactive award before sending your back pay to you.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Lisa

        Kay

        Thank you. I called the main number today SSD said there was a message left from quality review to call my local office. I’m so afraid to call. Does this mean I’m denied if it went back to my local office? The representative on the phone on the main line was very nice but she said there was no notice of a letter going out just a special notice for me to phone the local office. What do you think bad news?

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Lisa,

          I can’t say why you are being asked to call, but the thing to do is to call. Perhaps more information is wanted or perhaps you have been medically approved and you need to provide financial information for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits to be calculated.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • Sarah

    i was awarded to be medically disabled from a judge, my case was 3 months ago from a workers comp injury almost 3 years ago . If I was awarded to be medically disabled will I get ssi benefits? I’ve 2 daughters and married and haven’t received any money from comp in a year.. Will my girls also get benefits they are young..

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Sarah,

      The Social Security Administration administers two disability benefit programs: Social Security Disability (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). The definition of disability is the same for adults under both programs. For SSDI, you must have enough work credits, including in a specified period of time before your disability began. If you are eligible for SSDI and you have worked enough to provide a family benefit, your daughters will receive benefits. SSI requires that your family income and assets fall below certain limits, which vary depending on the type of income and number in the family. SSI does not pay benefits to your family. Your award letter from the judge should tell you which program or programs you have been approved for. If you have SSDI benefits for the same months as you had workers compensation and/or you got a lump sum workers comp settlement, your SSDI may be reduced somewhat in an offset for workers comp.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • BDB

    Hi Kay, I’ve been waiting on my hearing and finally I have a date. My question is I have twin boys who are disabled and receive SS beneifits, Will my case change their benefits? They both receive 733.00 a month. I have a lawyer but I’m concerned. I have a list of diagnoses from anxiety,PTSD,depression,bipolar,high blood pressure, hypertension,chronic migraines, vertigo, fatigue,insomnia, sensitivity o light and noise, weakness, pain all over body ect. My husband is also the only one who can work but also has to care for my twins. Will he be eligible for benefits also?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear BDB,

      Your disabled children are receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI), not SS (Social Security) benefits. Because you say that you have not been working, I assume that your application is also for SSI. If it is and you are approved, your approval will not affect your children’s SSI benefits. Your husband will not be eligible for benefits because SSI does not pay dependent benefits.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • rico

    I recently reinjured my back at work from an old auto accident.I had to resign a week ago. I laid on the floor for 10 minutes while my coworkers laughed at me while I was face down in water and chicken blood. I had to go to the emergency room and was told I strained my back and was put on pain meds and pills for my spasms and and inflammatory meds. I’m in a lot of pain that goes from my head to my neck to my back.can I apply for disability and what can I expect please help me out..I’m in a lot of pain .

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Rico,

      To be eligible for Social Security or Supplemental Security Income benefits, you must be disabled or expected to be for twelve months. Disability for younger workers (under fifty and in some circumstances under sixty) means being unable to perform any occupation, not just the occupation in which you were working. I suggest that you discuss your condition with your doctors to get their opinions on about how long it will take you to get well and whether they think you will have any restrictions after that.

      Also, check with your employer to find out whether you are covered by a company-sponsored short-term disability policy or live in a state with state disability insurance for shorter disabilities.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Kathryn

    My Husband has had Bipolar with axiety all his life. He has had to be hospitalized several years ago. The medications he has been on now are slowing down his decision making and he was fired because of it. He has had to take FMLA several times in the last 4 years due to depression. He did speak with an Attorney and was told because he has worked his whole life and did not ask for accomodations he does not have a chance of getting disability. Is this true? He was afraid to ask for accomodations because he was afraid he would be fired because they had been micro managing him. I find it hard to believe that he would not be considered. He will never be able to bring in the incone and because of his meds it will be difficult if at all.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Kathryn,

      You do not say how old your husband is. If he is under fifty (or depending on his education and work background, even under sixty), to be considered disabled, he has to be unable to perform any occupation for which he has the education, training, or experience. That said, your husband might consider getting a second opinion from a different Social Security attorney. Also, he might talk with his physician about his limitations and see if the doctor would be willing to make a statement as to the cognitive side-effects of his medications. If he decides to file a claim, he might also try to get a statement from his employer that he was fired for job performance related to slow work. At the same time as he is investigating a disability claim, he might talk to your state’s Department of Vocational Rehabilitation or employment office to get some direction on another occupation that might be more suitable for his current capabilities.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Susan

        Dear Kay,

        I would like to know if I am able to apply for disability while working? I am a widow and must work unless I can get disability. I have rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia which is documented with labs and Doctor’s reports. I have carpal tunnel due to these conditions but it is inoperable do to the nature of my illness. I work but I am in a lot of pain and also am chronically tired not to mention the effects of my meds like methotrexate. Is it possible to file as must work but in pain? I would appreciate any information you might be able to give me. My age is 56, 57 all too soon.

        Thank you,
        Susan

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Susan,

          If you are earning $1,090 or more gross per month and you file a claim, the claim will be denied. I suggest that you check with your employer to find out whether you are covered by a short-term disability policy that would pay benefits while you wait for your Social Security claim to be processed.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • lisa

    hi feb 8 1998 i got married to Gary, was 15 yrs older than i. (gary 45 yrs old & i was 30 yrs old). at that point he had 25 yrs in as a union crane operator & continued to work every day.
    on march 26 1998 he died suddenly only leaving us married 6 weeks.
    2010 i qualified for SSDI, today i get 842.00 monthly.
    do i qualify for widowers/survivors benifets? or any type of bennefit & his retirement? we didnt have kids together, however he provided for my son & i. at garys time of death my son was 9 yrs old please help thank u

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Lisa,

      The general requirement is that you be married to the deceased worker for nine months before his death. However, if your husband died in an accident, the nine-month marriage requirement is waived. There are also some other exceptions that will allow payment of widow’s benefit without a nine-month marriage. Because the law is complex, I suggest that when you are within three months of age fifty that you make an appointment with a Social Security claims representative to see whether any of the exceptions apply to you. If you do qualify, you will not be eligible for benefits until you are age fifty, the earliest age at which a disabled widow or widower can receive benefits

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • I was Hospitalize for Depression and overdose , later down the road i was diagnos with Major depression , PTSD , OCD and Pantic Attacks now i now why i was never really able to hold a job with out just , Don’t like to be around people and have always been a loner but anyway can i apply for benefits for this reason i have work all my life but i have jump job to job also

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Shawnta,

      I cannot predict whether you will be approved if you apply for disability benefits. The only way to find out is to apply and if you are currently unemployed because of your health, it could be appropriate to do so. I suggest that you also contact your state’s Department of Vocational Rehabilitation to see whether you might qualify for training into an occupation that does not have much contact or interaction with other people.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • sandy

    I was in car accident Dec 2014 no there’s driver involved. I tore my rotator cuff broke shoulder and now an MRI found a herniated disc in my neck pressing on nerves and spinal cord after I told drs that I have been having terrible headaches and neck pain since accident .I have been out of work since accident an insurance comp. is paying medical and wages part of anyways. My question is I have been told I won’t be able to go back to my current job because it involves lifting 50-100lbs which is right in job description my HR sent me. I’m 57 and it took me 3 yrs to get this job do I qualify for disability

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Sandy,

      Whether or not you will qualify will depend on whether you can do any of the occupations you have done in the past about twenty years. If you are uncertain about your eligibility, I suggest that you apply. Information about how to apply can be found under the “Apply SSD” tab at the top of each page of this Disability Advisor website. If you are denied and disagree with the reasons and decide to appeal, it would be advisable to get legal assistance. You do not have to pay any legal fees up front and you will pay attorney fees only if you are approved for benefits. Social Security law sets the amount your attorney can charge and the Social Security Administration pays the attorney directly from the retroactive award at the time it sends your back pay to you. So, it’s all very easy and risk-free.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Veronica Orejel

    I’m 38 yrs old I was diagnosed with hairy cell leukimia last year in July, I received chemotherapy and I’m in remission but I’m suffering from depression, anxiety, insomnia, fatigue and weaknesses. I applied for ssi what are the possibility i will get approved?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Veronica,

      If you are disabled by your psychiatric conditions, side effects from ongoing medications and treatment modalities, and/or residual weakness or fatigue from the leukemia and its past treatment, you may be approved.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Danielle

    I am requesting some advice, I am currently 28 years old, have fibromyalgia, asthma, GERD, Lupus, depression and anxiety, as well as physical defects in my legs that sometimes causes me to be unable to walk. I suffer often from pneumonia, and skin rashes, and am constantly in pain, and have had three surgeries in the last year. I rarely am able to work a full 40 hour week, what are my chances of receiving benefits?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Danielle,

      If you are working and have gross wages of $1,070 or more ($1,090 in 2015), you are not eligible for disability benefits. If you are earning less than that, I suggest that you file a claim. If your conditions are severe enough, you will be approved. To support your claim, gather together your medical records for the last three years and any before that time that would document any conditions that have not changed. Be thorough in providing full contact information for all your medical providers.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Crystal

    If your claim for mental disability takes over 120 days are you likely to be approved or denied ?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Crystal,

      The length of time a claim pends is not an indicator of whether it will be approved or denied.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • I have TRIGGER FINGER on my right hand middle finger , I am right handed , and it becomes difficult to do the simplest things (example -turning a door knob) is this something SSI will recognize to qualify for benefits ?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Donna,

      The only way to find out whether you could be approved would be to apply for benefits. You might also consider consulting your physician about the possibility of surgery to correct the problem and/or contact the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation to see whether there are occupations that you could perform that require little use of hands.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • ee

    can a a.l,j judge make me go to a general medical exam if my doctor says i can not take that kind of physical test ?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear EE,

      You are in a difficult situation because, of course, you don’t want to do anything that would be injurious to your health and, at the same time, if you don’t attend the examination, your claim could be denied. I suggest that you have your doctor write a letter to the judge, stating his opinion that it is not medically safe for you to take the examination and the medical reasons why. If it is only a certain part of the examination, then that part should be identified. If you have an attorney, talk to your attorney about the situation.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Frank Simon

    I am a 100% disabled (Bi-Polar) American Navy Vet (58 years old) who lives in England with my British wife who is my carer. I have applied for SSDI benefits and have not worked gainfully since August 2011 and want to know if my VA Benefits would fall into the SGA category? Also is it possible to draw both SSDI and VA Benefits at the same time? Frank

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Frank,

      Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) applies only to work earnings. You can receive both Social Security Disability (SSDI) and Veteran’s Administration (VA) compensation benefits at the same time. If you are receiving VA pension benefits, your Social Security benefits would cause your VA pension to be decreased or stopped.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Nicole

    Hello
    I applied for benefits due to PTSD .My question is if I make 980$ a month would I qualify for benifits and if so would the check be small because I have income?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Nicole,

      If you apply for Social Security Disability (SSDI), your earnings, if they are gross earnings, would not affect your eligibility and there would be no reduction in benefits. If you apply for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and are approved, your earnings would reduce your benefit by about $442 a month. If you had no other income, your SSI payment would be about $279.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  • Sherri

    Hi Kay
    My sister is 100% disabled and has been since birth. As her legal guardian am I allowed to open a my Social Security account for her? We had to change her bank account and I need to change her direct deposit information. If so can you direct me to a site where I can print an official statement that this can be done to protect us in the future?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Sherri,

      Please explain what you mean by your “Social Security account” so that I can respond. Are you referring to a bank account or to your Social Security earnings record?

      Thank you,

      Kay

  • Chris

    Dear Kay:
    I’m bipolar and am a convenience store clerk. Dealing with the public is getting really hard for me, as I feel my disease is worse than in years past. I currently make just a tad bit more than the SGA. Is there any hope that I could get disability?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Chris,

      Your claim would most likely be denied because you are performing Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA). It would be a good idea to talk to a psychiatrist about your increasing symptoms to see whether your medications can be adjusted. You might also consider looking for work that is more suited to your psychiatric needs. Goodwill Industries and similar organizations offer vocational guidance to individuals who have barriers to employment or need specific work situations to continue working.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  • Alfred

    Hi Kay,

    Thanks for all your input and advice. I have my approval! I had left a message on voicemail for the disability rep, and she called me back, saying a decision was made, and I’d be getting a letter in a few days. I asked her “are you able to tell me what it is? She said “you have nothing to worry about.” I guess they are not really allowed to tell people over the phone, totally understandable, but I’m glad she let me know. It really is a load off my mind, and now I can plan the rest of my life! God takes care of us, and I am so happy right now!

    Have a great day!

    Alfred

    • Kay Derochie

      Thanks, Alfred.

  • Alfred

    Thanks Kate.

    I went yesterday to apply, the woman interviewing me asked a lot of questions, but I think it went well. She even asked about my savings, checking, stocks, etc. I don’t remember now if she asked me about 401k (which I do have), or my work pension, but that doesn’t kick in until 59 anyway(( turn 50 next month). They will see that anyway when they look at my records.

    She said that may send me a questionnaire for further information, or even send me to one of their doctors (which is understandable). I have faith that all will go well, but waiting three months or so to get a decision will drive me crazy.

    Alfred

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Alfred,

      If you are medically approved for disability, your 401K will not affect your Social Security application; however, it will be a determining factor in your eligibility for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. If you are found to be disabled, you have the right to withdraw from your 401k before age 59 1/2 without a tax penalty, and the amount in your 401K will count toward the $2,000 SSI resource limit. This means that if you have more than $2,000 in your 401K or your 401K and other countable assets exceed $2,000, you will not be eligible for SSI. Again, the 401K will not affect your eligibility for Social Security.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

      • Alfred

        Thanks Kay,

        The DDS sent me a questionnaire (disability report) to fill out on my activities of daily living,. I filled it out and mailed it back to them on Thursday, April 10. I know it’s not even two weeks yet, but how long should I expect to hear back from them? Should I call and follow up if I don’t hear from them by a certain point (2 weeks, 4 weeks, etc.)?

        Thanks,

        Alfred

        • Alfred

          Hi Kay –

          I ended up calling DDS, and they were very nice. They are waiting for my eye doctor to send them my records (they sent a request on April 4). I called and e-mailed my doctor’s office, and the receptionist in the records department will look into it for me. The rep at DDS said they will send a follow up request as well this week. She said once they get the records stating my condition, they will put the application through. Not sure if that means approval, or just the next step in the process.

          The waiting game is frustrating, but I’m glad I called.

          • Kay Derochie

            Dear Alfred,

            It sounds as if your claim will be approved if the information from your eye doctor’s office supports the diagnoses and limitations you are claiming.

            Sincerely,

            Kay

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Alfred,

          How long it will take to get a decision depends on whether or not the Disability Determination Services (DDS) is waiting for other information such as from your doctors and on how heavy the workload is at the time. You could call to make sure the form has been received and to ask if they are waiting for anything from anywhere else so you can follow up to get the doctor or other party to submit it.

          Sincerely,

          Kay

          • Alfred

            Thanks Kay! I spoke to my doctor’s office this morning, and they will fax my records to the DDS rep working on my case, so it was good that I called to follow up. The rep said that once they get the records showing my (legally) blindness, they can put the application through. I’m not sure if she meant it will be approved, or just moving it to the next step.

            Thanks,

            Alfred

            • Kay Derochie

              Dear Alfred,

              As noted in my comment of a few minutes ago. I believe that the claims examiner is saying that your claim will be approved if she receives confirmation of your being legally blind.

              Sincerely,

              Kay

  • Alfred

    I was born legally blind, and have worked (for the same company) since I got out of college in 1988. A few years ago, I knew the time would come that I would apply for social security disability.

    Two weeks ago, I was laid off from my job (my official termination / separation date is tomorrow, 4/1). After some thought, I decided to apply for SSDI, and I am going on Thursday.

    My eyesight is 20/200 in one eye, and 20/400 in the other. I never went much to a doctor, as my eyesight never really changed, but I have gone for the last three years, so I do have those medical records. I also have a letter from both the state commission for the blind and Helen Keller Services for the blind as well, recognizing me as a (legally) blind person. I will bring all this documentation with me when I apply.

    A couple of questions:

    1. The benefit I would receive, that would be the around the disability benefit that is on my Social Security annual statement – correct (it says “this is what you would receive if you became disabled right now)?

    2. Would they ask me something like “you worked all these years, why are you suddenly applying?” I just want to know what to expect.

    3. I am receiving severance pay through August, would that hurt my chances of applying/getting approved right now?

    Thanks!

    Alfred

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Alfred,

      Yes, your benefit, if approved, would be approximately what is shown on your annual earnings statement. You may be asked why you are now stopping work, but regardless of the reason, if you are legally blind and not working, there should be no impediment to approval because of the severity of your condition. Just tell them the reasons. (Lay off, downsizing, declining job performance, whatever it might be.) Lastly, be sure to tell Social Security that the pay that you will get for April through August is severance pay and that you will not be working.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  • rebekah

    I’m 24 years old. I have been on SSI for 6 years for Bipolar, Agoraphobia, PTSD, ADHD. I was recently reviewed and was still determined disabled and will be reviewed again in 3 years. I get $730.00 a month. How does Social Security expect a person to survive on that alone, and with a child? I’m not married. I live in an apartment with our daughter and my boyfriend. Both of our names are on the lease. I don’t get any assistance otherwise besides food stamps only for myself. My daughter isn’t eligible because her father makes too much. We are struggling really bad. And honestly if I wasn’t with my boyfriend how would i make it? It’s like they expect someone else to take care of you forever! I don’t have the luxury of any family to allow me to live with them or friends. It’s just me. I tell my ssi case worker how my whole check goes right to my rent every month and that isn’t even paying my rent. My rent is 925.00 + sewage + electricity+cable+phone. I’m not even making it, and that is with my boyfriend. It is a set up for failure honestly! I’m someone who is severely mentally ill, and can’t work, my doctors agree, ss obviously agrees, and I’m lost. My illnesses aren’t ever going to go away, their getting worst. Weight is just dropping off of me not being able to afford any food.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Rebekah,

      The only think I can think of that might help your situation would be for you and your boyfriend to evenly divide the rent and utilities so that your share was less than your whole check and possibly see whether you qualify for energy assistance to help with your heating bill. Also, sometimes disabled individuals can get a break on their telephone rates.

      Best regards,

      Kay

    • KATHRYN JUNE AGUILAR

      if your were approved for the things that you mentioned then do you think i will get approved for mine heres mine agarphobia ptsd generixed axiety panic attacts tricallimania skitzo effective and bi polor 1 disorder with phycotic epposodes my mental health doctore diagnosed me with theses

      • Kay Derochie

        Dear Kathryn,

        This site is not set up for visitors to communicate with one another. The best way to find out if you are disabled according to Social Security law is to file a claim.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

  • Ramona S

    I am a bus driver I had rotator cuff repair on right shoulder 9/2010 now I had left rototor cuff repair 10/2013 I went out on short term diabilty from the job which turn out to be 90 days my insurance and short term disability from my job ended no more theraphy. I was getting theraphy for neuropathy for my feet n angles has pins and needle sesations I have to get shots n my knees n lower back all this is from driving that bus for 18 years my arm cant raise up now iam trying to theraphy myself its January now the doctor still have me down cant drive the bus shouldn’t I have a chance to apply for disability im 57

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Ramona,

      To be eligibible for Social Security Disability, you must be disabled or expected to be disabled for twelve months. I suggest that you talk with the doctors who were treating you to get their opinion of whether you will be disabled twelve months. If they say yes or that they don’t know or can’t be specific on when you might be able to drive bus again, I suggest that you file for Social Security Disability. Be sure to explain that your treatment stopped for lack of funds. (You might also investigate coverage opinions and premium subsidies under the Affordable Care Act [Obamacare] to get treatment going again.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  • kathy Stokes

    I’ve had a lawyer for 4 yrs now just today after all the appealing and waiting for a yr from dds they denied me and in the letter they said they used medical records from back in May but where askin for current records they haven’t even used now wat do i do

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Kathy,

      I am unclear from the information that you gave whether you were denied at the first reconsideration appeal or denied by a judge at the hearing level of appeal. Either way you can appeal. When you appeal, you and your attorney need to address the specific reasons for the denial and why you disagree with those reasons. In addition to following whatever advice your attorney has, it seems you would want to call attenti to the fact that your more current records were requested but not considered.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  • deborah ewig

    had surgery on sept. 9 2013 for 6.5 brain anerysym. am waiting for short term disibility to start. go back to neurology dr in 4 months & epelepsy clinic in 6 months while making sure medications are going be right. had continuous seizures after surgery. stayed in icu for week then went to rehab hosp for a week. can i apply for social security disibilty benefits while i am out of work all this time.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Deborah,

      Your must be disabled, or be expected to be disabled for twelve months to qualify for benefits; and the first five months are not paid. If you are expected to be off work for twelve months, then it would be appropriate to file an application. A chat with your neurologist should help in deciding whether to apply at this time.

      Best regards,

      Kay