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Frequently Asked Questions

Disability Advocates, Inc.


What can a representative do for me?

The Social Security disability claims process is complex.  To see just how complex, click here:  http://www.ssa.gov/disability/disability_process_frameset.html 

Once you appoint a representative, he or she can act on your behalf by: 

    • Getting information from your Social Security file;
    • Helping you get medical records or information to support your claim;
    • Coming with you, or for you, to any interview, conference, or hearing you have with the Social Security Administration;
    • Requesting a reconsideration, hearing, or Appeals Council review; and
    • Helping you and your witnesses prepare for a hearing and questioning any witnesses.

Your representative also will receive a copy of the decision(s) made on your claim(s).

How does Social Security define disability?

Social Security defines disability as the "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 expectd to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months."   

If I win my claim, how much will I receive? 

A claimant's monthly benefit amount is dependent upon many factors.  For Disability Insurance Benefits (DIB) and Disabled Widow's and Widower's Benefits (DWB), the benefits amount is determined largely by the earnings posted to the wage earner's record over his or her lifetime.  The date of disability and the applicaiton date are also factors.  Once a claim is approved, a claimant's dependents may be eligible for additional benefits. 

For SSI benefits, the 2006 benefit amount is $603 per month for an individual claimant.  The application date and claimant's financial situation can affect the amount of SSI benefits.

How long will it take Social Security to process my application and/or appeal?

Processing times can vary widely, depending upon where you live and the circumstances of your claim(s).  Generally, from the time an application is filed, it takes four to six months to receive the initial decision.  If it is a denial and you file a Request for Reconsideration, that will take another four to six months.  Following that, a hearing with an Administrative Law Judge will take an average of 12-16 months.  Unfortunately, this is not a quick process and claimants should explore all financial avenues to survive while their claims are pending. 

There are certain ways, however, to have claims expedited at all levels.  A qualified representative can advise you whether or not your claim satisfies Social Security's criteria for expedited handling.

How can I obtain more information about Social Security's disability programs?

These are only brief answers.   There are many factors to consider when deciding whether or not to pursue a claim for disability.  Call Disability Advocates, Inc., to discuss your claim at (866) 435-7924.  Consultations are always free and most questions can be answered by phone. 

Have a question for us? Use the form below, and we'll respond to you personally.

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The Disability Advocates, Inc., web pages are intended to provide general information on selected topics as a public service. The information is intended - but not promised or guaranteed - to be correct or current. It does not contain legal or medical advice. The information is provided solely for informative purposes and does not create a professional relationship. Each individual situation is different and unique. The information contained in these web pages should not be relied on as applicable to you.  A competent representative should always be consulted for adv ice on any Social Security disability matter. Internet links on this site allow you to "jump" instantly to other online resources. Disability Advocates, Inc., does not intend links to other web pages and their owners to be considered referrals or endorsements of the linked entities. We will gladly remove any link from this site upon request from the linked entity. This web site is not sponsored or associated with any particular linked entity unless specifically stated. The existence of any particular link is simply intended to imply potential interest to the reader.