About Social Security Disability

The Social Security and Supplemental Security Income disability programs are Federal programs that provide assistance as cash benefits to adults (who are under retirement age) and children with disabilities.  Benefits are paid to individuals who qualify by meeting certain medical criteria and meet Social Security’s definition of a disability. 
There are two types of disability programs administered by the Social Security Administration: Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) pays benefits if you are “disabled”  (by Social Security’s definition), meet certain medical criteria, and have worked long enough and paid Social Security taxes.  
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) pays benefits to aged, blind, or disabled people based on financial need and provides cash for basic needs for food, clothing and shelter.

Social Security’s Definition of Disability

The definition of disability under Social Security is different than other programs. Social Security pays only for total disability. No benefits are payable for partial disability or for short-term disability.

"Disability" under Social Security is based on your inability to work. Social Security considers you disabled under Social Security rules if:

  • You cannot do work that you did before;
  • It is determined that you cannot adjust to other work because of your medical condition(s); and
  • Your disability has lasted or is expected to last for at least one year or to result in death.

This is a strict definition of disability. Social Security program rules assume that working families have access to other resources to provide support during periods of short-term disabilities, including workers' compensation, insurance, savings and investments.

When to Hire an Attorney

Social Security denies approximately 70% - 75% of the applications for disability. Approximately 60% -70% of these denials are subsequently turned into accepted claims after either reconsideration or a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge.   If you are appealing a denial at either the reconsideration or Administrative Law Judge hearing level, having a Social Security disability lawyer that has experience and a strong knowledge of how the claims process works is critical and can greatly improve your chances of a favorable decision.
Winning your Social Security disability case is very important not only because of the basic financial support these benefits provide, but also because of the medical care that is provided under the Federal Medicare program once you win your case.  In some instances this can mean the difference between homelessness and no medical care, and having a safety net of a monthly benefit payment and life-saving medical care.
Statistically, persons using an experienced Social Security lawyer have a better chance of success for a favorable decision.  Although the Social Security Administration (SSA) does not require you to have an attorney and allows you to represent yourself,  a majority of claimants use an attorney to increase the likelihood of success as well as to support every aspect of the complicated appeals process.

When your Social Security disability benefits claim has been denied, you need an advocate at your side.  Elizabeth H. Scherer Attorney At Law, LLC. will fight for your rights and help you get the benefits you are entitled to.
We provide an initial consultation to claimants who have filed and been denied Social Security disability benefits.  Contact us for a free case evaluation.