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Social Security Claim Questions

When you are attempting to collect Social Security Disability benefits, because the system is large and complex, you may be overwhelmed as you move forward. Here are some of the most common Social Security claim questions and answers to help familiarize you with the process.

How long do Social Security claims take? It depends on your particular issue, but a general rule of thumb is that it will take three to four months from the time you apply until your first decision is approved or denied. If you ask for reconsideration, it could take another four months or so to have your case heard. If you appeal and get a hearing in front of an Administrative Law Judge, that could add another 12 to 18 months, plus another two months until the judge renders a decision.

How far back will Social Security pay me benefits if I am approved for a disability claim? Even if you have been disabled for a longer period, Social Security will only pay you past due benefits one year prior to the day you filed your application.

Are Social Security benefits only for people who have a permanent disability? No, but you must demonstrate that your disability is expected to last for at least a year or will result in your death within one year.

How much do lawyers charge to represent me in challenging a disability claim? Attorneys who handle Social Security disability cases will charge 25% of your past due benefits up to $5,300. They only get paid if you win your case.

Can I go back to work if I am receiving Social Security disability benefits? In some instances, the answer is yes. Social Security may grant you a trial work period for nine months to see if you are able to work or not.

Does collecting unemployment benefits affect my Social Security benefits? Social Security does not count unemployment benefits as earnings. However, income from Social Security may reduce the amount of unemployment compensation you receive. Laws vary from state to state and it is best to check with your state’s unemployment benefits administrator to see how your earnings are treated.