Social Security Disability Law Frequently Asked Questions

Answers from an attorney with significant expertise in AL and FL

Social Security disability law is complex and obtaining benefits from the overburdened Social Security Administration can be highly frustrating, if not completely overwhelming. With more than 30 years of legal expertise, Byron A. Lassiter & Associates, P.C. has the experience to help make this process easier for clients. Our firm is dedicated to listening to your concerns and answering your questions so that you understand your rights to benefits and how we can help. To this end, we are pleased to provide answers to some of our clients’ most frequently asked questions.

Social Security disability

Social Security disability appeals

Social Security disability questions

Who is eligible for Social Security?

You may be eligible for Social Security benefits if you worked long enough in jobs covered by Social Security and you reach retirement age, you are disabled and unable to work or the family member of a disabled former worker, or you are eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.

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Who is eligible for SSDI?

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits are available when you have worked long enough in jobs covered by Social Security and you have a disability that meets the Social Security Administration’s definition. To learn more, see our Social Security disability insurance page.

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Is there a time limit on Social Security disability benefits?

No. Your disability benefits continue as long as you are unable to work and your medical condition has not improved. If you are still receiving disability benefits when you reach full retirement age, your payments automatically convert to retirement benefits.

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How long does it take for the Social Security Administration to approve or deny my claim after I file for disability?

In general, it takes the Social Security Administration (SSA) from three to five months to send you a decision on your disability claim. The length of time varies depending on many factors:

  • The nature of your disability
  • How long it takes to obtain medical evidence from your doctors and others
  • Whether your medical evidence is insufficient and the SSA decides to send you in for an additional medical exam
  • Whether your claim is randomly selected for review

In addition, there is a five-month waiting period for benefits after your application is approved to ensure that your disability is long term. The SSA does not pay benefits for these first five months.

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What happens if I return to work after disability?

If you return to work after a disability, your Social Security disability benefits may be affected depending on your age and how much you are able to earn. To learn more, please see our information on returning to work.

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Social Security Disability Appeals Questions

What is your win rate for Social Security disability appeals?

In an average year, we represent clients in about 300 cases. Although we cannot guarantee any type of results, due to our experience and expertise, we are generally able to win benefits for about 90 percent of our clients. Whether we are able to obtain benefits on your behalf through an appeal depends on your disability, ability to work and other qualifications.

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How long does an appeal take?

The length of an appeal varies greatly depending on how many levels of appeal we must go through before we are able to obtain your benefits. To learn more about the appeals process, please see our information on appeals or contact our office.

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What can I do if the Social Security Administration denies my claim?

If the SSA denies your initial application you can — and probably should — file an appeal. You only have 60 days from the time you receive their decision to file your appeal. The SSA assumes that you get the decision within five days of the date of their notice. When you appeal the decision, you are requesting a hearing before an administrative law judge. You should be represented by an attorney if you choose to appeal, as the laws concerning disability are complex.

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What happens if the administrative law judge rules against me?

If the administrative law judge issues an Unfavorable Decision you have 60 days from the date of the decision to file another appeal to the Appeals Council. These appeals are complex, but, as a board-certified specialist in Social Security disability law, Byron Lassiter has the experience and legal expertise to prepare a strong case to help you obtain your benefits.

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How long does it take the Appeals Council to review my case?

The average processing time for a request for review is at least eighteen months from the date that the request is filed. Recently, the Council has been able to process about half of its actions in 105 days, although it is not unusual for delays on requests for review to last up to 30 months. Any case that is pending more than 30 months may be considered for expedited processing.

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