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Donald H. Peters

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I am 60% disabled. Do I get 60% of my Social Security disability benefits?

No.  Under Social Security rules, there are no percentages of disability.  You are either disabled or not disabled.

I am disabled by mental illness.  Can mental illness serve as the basis for a Social Security disability claim?

Yes.  In fact, mental illness can form one of the strongest basis for approving a Social Security Disability claim.  Imagine a clinically documented case of Agoraphobia in which the patient is terrified of leaving his or her house.  Or, imagine a case of bipolar disorder where the patient is so depressed that he or she does not get out of bed and doesn’t even eat for several days at a time.

Will it help if I ask my Congressional Representative to help me get Social Security disability benefits?

It can.  Many Social Security Disability claimants become frustrated with claim delays and eventually ask their U.S. Representative or Senator to help. The local Congressional office typically will have staffers who are experienced with Social Security procedures and personnel. A “Congressional Inquiry,” as it is called at Social Security, may help to get a stalled process moving again.  Note that the inquiry will have no impact on how Social Security decides the outcome of the case.

How long does it take before Social Security makes a decision once I file a claim for Social Security Disability benefits?

In most cases Social Security makes the first decision within four months.

If my application is denied, how long will it take for my case to go to a hearing before a Judge?

In Michigan, it can take a couple of years.  SSA has been making efforts to help speed the process in Michigan by having Judges from other parts of the Country hear Michigan cases in an effort to decrease Michigan’s huge case-load.

How long does it take for Social Security to act upon a request for Appeals Council review after an unfavorable hearing decision?

History dictates about a year, maybe longer.

I am disabled.  I need help with medical bills even more than I need a cash income.  How do I get help with medical bills?

Getting help with medical bills is usually tied up with getting cash benefits, that is, you don't start getting help with medical bills until after you start getting the cash benefits, so you have to keep going with the Social Security disability claim in order to get the help with medical bills.  In Michigan, you are encouraged to go to the local Family Independence Agency and inquire as to what medical benefits may be available to you.

What is the difference between Medicare and Medicaid?

Medicaid is a poverty program and Medicare isn't. Many disabled people who get Medicaid get it because they are on Supplemental Security Income (SSI). This is called “categorical” Medicaid eligibility.  To get SSI and thereby get Medicaid you have to be poor and disabled.  Medicaid pays doctors at very low rates.  People who have only Medicaid can have a hard time finding doctors willing to take them on as patients. Medicaid does pay for prescription medications.  Medicaid can go back up to three months prior to the date of a Medicaid claim.  Note that it is possible to apply for Medicaid directly - through a local Medicaid office - without having a companion claim for SSI. For Medicare it does not matter whether you are rich or poor.  If you have been on Disability Insurance Benefits, Disabled Widows or Widowers Benefits or Disabled Adult Child Benefits for 24 months you qualify for Medicare. The good thing about Medicare is that it pays doctors at a higher rate than Medicaid.  Almost all doctors are happy to take Medicare patients.  The bad things about Medicare are that it does not begin until after a person has been on cash disability benefits for two years and that it generally does not pay for prescription medications.

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:

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