Allsup Answers The Top Ten Questions About Social Security Disability

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Allsup Inc., the nation's leading Social Security disability representation company, has researched and answered the top 10 questions about disability and Social Security.

Allsup Inc., the nation's leading Social Security disability representation company, has recently researched and answered the top 10 Social Security disability questions. The company recently released these findings after successfully gaining Social Security disability awards for more than 84,000 people.

1. What is Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)?
Social Security Disability Insurance is a payroll tax-funded, federal insurance program. Its purpose is to provide disability income to people unable to work because of a disabling impairment.

2. How do you qualify for SSDI?
You must be insured. That means you must have worked and paid into the program (mandatory payroll taxes) for five of the last 10 years. You must also have been disabled before reaching full-retirement age (65-67) and you must meet Social Security's definition of disability. Your full-retirement age varies depending on your birth-date and specific details can be viewed on the Social Security Web site.

3. What is Social Security's definition of "disability"?
Generally, it's being unable to work because of a medically determinable mental or physical impairment expected to result in death, or has lasted, or is expected to last, for at least 12 months.

4. Is it difficult to get SSDI benefits?
Yes. The Social Security Administration (SSA) denies over 60 percent of the people filing initial applications.

5. Do I have to have a disability representative, or disability advocate, working for me?
No. However you have a greater success rate with a professional representative working for you.

6. How long does it take to get a decision on my disability claim?
Unfortunately, it's not a quick process. Generally, it takes about three to five months for the initial decision. Reconsideration (first appeal) will take another three to five months. The second appeal is before an administrative law judge in Social Security's Office of Disability Adjudication and Review. The average time to receive a decision at this level in 2006 was 483 days and currently there are almost 1.3 million cases awaiting a decision.

7. How much will I receive?
It's a complicated formula largely determined by the amount of your past earnings that have been subjected to FICA taxes. The maximum monthly benefit for an individual is usually about $2,000. The maximum that a family can receive is usually about $3,400 a month.

8. Can Social Security take away my SSDI benefits?
Yes. It doesn't happen often, but you can lose your disability benefits if your condition improves to the point that you no longer meet SSA's definition of "disabled." SSA must show there has been medical improvement related to your ability to work before they can cease your SSDI benefits.

9. Can I get additional benefits if I have children?
Children up to age 18 or who have not graduated from high school are entitled to benefits if a parent is deceased, retired, or disabled. Generally, dependent children of a disabled parent will receive about 50% of the disabled parent's monthly benefit. The 50% is divided equally among all eligible dependents.

10. Where can I get more information about SSDI?
Go to the Social Security Administration's Web site or Allsup's Web site. We also recommend a recent Web chat discussing 61 questions about SSDI that took place on About.com.

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Dan Allsup
Allsup Inc.
800-854-1418+5760
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Mark Sutherland
Allsup Inc.
800-854-1418+5065
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