Representing Disabled Clients for Over 25 Years

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Donald H. Peters

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What is the definition of disability used by Social Security?

Under the Social Security Act, "disability" means "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 has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months."

How many different types of Social Security disability benefits are there?

There are at least five major types of Social Security disability benefits. Disability Insurance Benefits is the most important type of Social Security disability benefits.  It goes to individuals who have worked in recent years (five out of the last 10 years in most cases) who are now disabled. Disabled Widow's and Widower's Benefits are paid to individuals who are at least 50 and become disabled within a certain amount of time after the death of their husband or wife. The late husband or wife must have worked enough under Social Security to be insured. Disabled Adult Child Benefits go to the children of persons who are deceased or who are drawing Social Security disability or retirement benefits. The child must have become disabled before age 22. For Disability Insurance Benefits, Disabled Widow's or Widower's Benefits and Disabled Adult Child benefits, it does not matter whether the disabled individual is rich or poor. Benefits are paid based upon a Social Security earnings record. Supplemental Security Income benefits, however, are paid to individuals who are poor and who are disabled. It does not matter for SSI whether an individual has worked in the past or not. SSI child's disability benefits are a variety of SSI benefits paid to children under the age of 18 who are disabled. The way in which disability is determined is a bit different for children.

How do I apply for Social Security disability benefits?

You can apply online by clicking here.

You can call (800) 772-1213 and arrange to apply at a local office in person or over the phone.

You can appear in person at a local office. Find your local office using the SSA Office Locator.

I am disabled, but I have plenty of money in the bank. Do I have to wait until this money is gone before I apply for Social Security disability benefits?

No.  If you have worked in recent years or if you are applying for Disabled Widow's or Widower's benefits or Disabled Adult Child benefits, it does not matter how much money you have in the bank.  There is no reason to wait to file the claim.

I used to work but lately I have been staying home taking care of the kids.  I have now become sick and I don’t think I could perform a job.  Can I get Social Security disability benefits?

Possibly.  If you have worked five out of the last 10 years before becoming disabled, you will have enough earnings in to potentially qualify for Social Security Disability benefits.  For individuals 31 or less, the requirements are a little different, since such individuals have not had such a long time to work.  Unless a person has been staying home and taking care of their children for quite a long time, however, it is very possible that they will qualify for Social Security disability benefits based upon their own earnings.  Also a homemaker, if poor enough, can qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) whether he or she has worked in the past or not.

How long do I have to wait after becoming disabled before I can file for Social Security disability benefits?

Not even one day.  You can file for Social Security Disability benefits on the very same day that you become disabled.  Many individuals make the mistake of waiting months and even years after becoming disabled before filing a Social Security disability claim. There is no reason to file a Social Security disability claim if one has only a minor illness or one which is unlikely to last a year or more.  However, an individual who suffers serious illness or injury and expects to be out of work for a year or more should not delay in filing a claim for Social Security Disability benefits.

I am still on sick leave from my employer.  Can I file for Social Security Disability now or do I have to wait until the sick leave is exhausted?

No, you do not have to wait until the sick leave is exhausted.  You should file for Social Security Disability benefits now, if you believe that you will be out of work for a year or more.

I got hurt on the job.  I am drawing worker's compensation benefits.  Can I file a claim for Social Security Disability benefits now or should I wait until the worker's compensation ends?

You do not have to wait until the worker's compensation ends and you should not wait that long.  An individual can file a claim for Social Security Disability benefits while receiving worker's compensation benefits.  It is best to file the Social Security Disability claim as soon as possible because otherwise there may be a gap between the time the worker's compensation ends and the Social Security Disability benefits begin.

End FAQ

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Southfield Lawyer Donald Peters of the Law Office of Donald H. Peters, P.C. in Southfield, Michigan, handles Social Security Disability claims throughout Michigan and in the Tri-County Metro Detroit area including Detroit, Southfield, Novi, Warren, Royal Oak, Roseville, Livonia, Mount Clemens, Sterling Heights, Farmington Hills, Birmingham, Berkley, Oak Park, West Bloomfield, Ann Arbor, Eastpointe, Waterford, Flint, Canton, Taylor, Romulus, Westland, Clinton Township, Troy, Dearborn, Brighton, Howell, Pontiac, Rochester Hills,  as well as Wayne County, Oakland County, Macomb County, Ingham County, and Livingston County, Michigan.

Disclaimer

Material presented on the Social Security Professionals website is intended for general informational purposes only.  It is not intended as professional advice in any manner and should not be construed as such.  Individuals should never act upon any information provided in a website except that you should seek the advice of an Attorney. 

For the most up to date content regarding Social Security Disability please reference the Social Security Administration's website.

You may call Social Security Professionals and discuss your claim for free at:

(248) 549-3485