Social Security Disability & SSI Law
Can I Apply for Short-Term Disability (STD) or Long-Term Disability (LTD) through Social Security Disability?
In order to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits, you have to prove that you have been or will be unable to work for at least a full year. Social Security doesn't offer any types of "temporary" disability assistance. Therefore, STD and LTD are not associated with Social Security. However, both STD and LTD can impact the non-medical guidelines for SSI (Supplemental Security Income) through Social Security.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Does MSA Utilize Attorneys?
MSA utilizes Non-Attorney Representatives that specialize in Social Security Disability claims. These representatives have passed an exam provided by the Social Security Administration.
What is a Professional Disability Representative?
A professional disability representative has passed Social Security’s rigorous testing requirements. The professional disability representatives at MSA bring many years of qualified and tested experience in representing disabled individuals in their claims for Social Security disability and SSI benefits. MSA's disability representatives represent disabled individuals from the beginning to end at all administrative levels.
Social Security disability law is the only focus at MSA. If a client requires help to file a claim, then MSA's disability representatives can do that. If a client requires someone to represent them at an oral hearing before a federal administrative judge, then MSA's disability representatives can do that. If a client requires someone to review their case for a second opinion, then MSA's disability representatives can do that. If a client requires someone to file an appeal, then MSA's disabilty representatives can do that.
How Long does the Process Take?
The process of filing for Social Security Disability primarily consists of 4 stages:
Stage 1 - Initial Application
The Initial Application can take anywhere between 3-4 months for a determination is made.
Stage 2 - Reconsideration
The Reconsideration is the next step you can take if you are denied on the initial application. This step can take about 3-4 months for a determination.
Stage 3 - Administrative Law Hearing
If your claim is denied a second time, then you can request to have a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). The wait times in Kentucky are typically 9-14 months to get a hearing scheduled and completed. Another 1-3 months are then needed for a determination.
Stage 4 - Appeals Council
If your case is denied at Stage 3, then you can ask for your claim to be reviewed by the Appeals Council (AC). The review time is usually considered to be 12-18 months. The AC can make 3 decisions:
The AC denies your claim, which means you could either appeal to Federal Court and/or start a new claim.
The AC remands your claim back to Stage 3 - ALJ Hearing. You would then wait another 3-9 months for followup hearing with an ALJ. You would then wait another 3-4 months for a decision.
The AC approves your claim.
What Are The Standard Fees?
MSA is only paid if you are approved for benefits. The Social Security Administration will determine how much we can charge; they withhold the amount from any past due benefits awarded to the claimant. The total amount cannot exceed 25% of the past due benefits, up to a maximum of $6000 dollars. There is also an expense fee which covers out-of-pocket expenses (only due if the claim is approved for benefits) for administrative costs.
Is Medical Evidence Important?
Medical evidence is crucial in nearly every Social Security Disability claim. The Social Security Administration (SSA) uses medical evidence to determine if a claimant is disabled as per the eligibility criteria. In most cases SSA will not rule favorably if there is a lack of reoccuring and recent medical treatment. SSA does at times schedule a medical evaluation for the claimant. If an appointment is scheduled, it will be with a doctor who is paid by Social Security to perform a short examination to assess the claimant's physical and/or mental conditions. While their findings will be considered when making a decision on your claim, these doctors do not have the final determination.
What Can the Claimant Do to Make the Claim Stronger?
Continue to seek medical treatment. In order to prove that you are disabled, Social Security wants to see medical records that show you have been getting ongoing treatment that clearly document your disability. If you see any new doctors or start any new medications let your case manager know so we can stay up to date with your treatment. The ACA (Affordable Care Act) and KYNECT allow for low-resourced clients to procure medical insurance via Medicaid.