Social Security & Veterans Benefits FAQs

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Like dealing with many government programs, applying for Florida Social Security & Veteran Benefits or Veterans Administration (VA) benefits can be a daunting process. Too many deserving applicants are rejected over technicalities or for other reasons.

social-security-disability-faqsIf your application has been denied, the SSD and VA benefits attorneys of the Disparti Law Group, P.A., can assist you. We will work hard to seek the benefits you deserve.

Below are frequently asked questions and answers that our disability and veterans’ benefits lawyers deal with on a regular basis. We can go into further detail about these programs and the facts of your case. Contact us today to get started.

You will need to meet certain technical and medical requirements to be eligible for SSD benefits.

First, you need to have worked in a job covered by Social Security and to have paid Social Security taxes on your wages. This includes most employment. Second, you need to have a medical condition, disabling injury or terminal illness that is expected to prevent you from working for a year or longer. In other words, you must meet the Social Security Administration’s definition of “disabled.”

Essentially, your disability must be total and prevent you from holding any kind of gainful employment. This requires you to show that you cannot do the work you did prior to your injury or illness, and that you cannot adjust to other work because of your medical condition.

Please see our list of types of disabling injuries and diseases that may make you eligible to receive SSD benefits.

If you are like most people, you will quickly discover that the disability claims process is complex and confusing. But there’s an easier way to do it.

First, gather your medical records and work history before you apply. You can visit your local Social Security office to fill out the appropriate forms, or you can apply online.

The easier way to do it is to enlist the help of an experienced SSD attorney. A lawyer can guide you through the process and help you to present the strongest application possible for disability benefits.

You can see a list of some – but not all – of the forms that are involved in filing for SSD benefits by going to the Social Security Administration website.

You should appeal your denial. However, be prepared: The appeals process is a lot like the application process. It can be extremely complicated.

But we can help.

There are several levels of appeals available. At each stage, you will be allowed to present evidence in support of your claim for benefits.

See the Social Security Administration’s explanation of the Appeals Process.

We suggest that you contact an experienced SSD claims lawyer for a free case evaluation. A Disparti Law Group, P.A., attorney will review your claim and develop a strategy to reverse the denial if we believe that is possible based on our decades of experience handling SSD claims.

If you are suffering from a disability, but you have not paid enough money into the Social Security system, you may still be able to obtain benefits through the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program.

SSI benefits are based on need. If you are 65 years old or older, disabled or blind and a U.S. citizen or a legal alien, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will determine whether your income and assets indicate you need supplemental income.

However, like other Social Security benefit programs, SSI requires a lot of information from you.

You will have to document your current income, including:

  • Social Security benefits and pensions
  • Your real estate other than the house you live in
  • Bank accounts
  • Cash
  • Stocks and bonds.

The SSA will also consider a portion of your spouse’s income if you are married.

You qualify for SSI if you are single and your assets do not exceed $2,000 or, as a couple, if you and your spouse’s assets do not exceed $3,000.

The way to get the best results is to file a complete and accurate SSI benefits application from the start and to have knowledgeable legal help if you have to appeal a decision.

In some cases, yes, you can get SSI along with age-related Social Security benefits. But SSI is based on income. So, your Social Security benefits are counted as income in determining whether you qualify for SSI.

If your assets do not exceed $2,000 or, as a couple, if you and your spouse’s assets do not exceed $3,000, you may qualify for an SSI benefit.

However, as it reviews your assets to determine whether you qualify for SSI, the Social Security Administration will consider any Social Security benefits you receive as part of your assets. If all your assets added up leave you still at a level that qualifies you for SSI, your old-age benefits should not be impacted.

Yes, we can help you appeal the decision. Many SSI applications are initially denied, but applicants eventually get a benefit through an appeal. However, there is a strict process and a deadline for filing an appeal.

You can appeal most Social Security Administration (SSA) determinations about whether you can get Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or about the amount of your benefit. After you receive your initial determination notice about SSI eligibility, you must request an appeal in writing within 60 days of the date you receive your notice (plus five days that you get for “mailing time.”)

There are four levels of appeal:

  • Reconsideration
  • Administrative Law Judge hearing
  • Appeals Council review
  • Federal District Court.

You do not need a lawyer at any of these appeal levels. However, it is advisable because appeals hearings follow established rules for presenting evidence, and appealing to federal court requires you to file a formal civil action.

Our disability claims attorneys at the Disparti Law Group, P.A., can take care of the paperwork required to appeal an SSI determination, gather evidence to present the strongest case possible and represent you in hearings.

Yes. In fact, most disabled veterans continue to work. It all depends on the rating you are assigned.

A veteran’s disability may be classified as a partial or total disability. The Veterans Administration (VA) will determine the monetary amount of the benefit accordingly.

Disabled veterans are assigned a disability rating ranging from 0 percent to 100 percent disability. Only those with the highest ratings are expected to remain unemployed in order to receive veteran’s benefits.

For more information, see our page on Getting Veterans’ Disability Benefits in Florida.

In some cases, yes, you can receive benefits in your situation. The first step is being able to prove to the Veterans’ Administration (VA) that your disability is service-connected.

Disability benefits are available to veterans who become disabled after their years of service if they have low income, can show that their disability is connected to their military service and they served during a period of war.

Proving that the veteran’s disability is connected to their military service is the main difficulty that veterans encounter when they apply for am “improved pension” or “non-service connected pension.”

Our veterans’ disability benefits lawyers can help you gather military records and other evidence, such as expert medical opinions. We can build the strongest case possible for disability compensation, including disability that occurred after years of service to your country.

Lack of combat experience does not affect a veteran’s eligibility for service-connected disability compensation. But you still have to clear the first, highest hurdle, which is proving your disability is service-connected.

Many service members suffer from injuries or diseases acquired or made worse during active duty even though their service did not include actual combat. These veterans have a right to compensation for their inability to work for a living just like other vets.

But, like combat veterans, proving that your disability is connected to your military service is the primary problem you are likely to encounter. Our veterans’ disability benefits lawyers can help you to obtain the benefits you deserve. We will help you gather and present military records and other evidence, such as expert medical opinions. This evidence can demonstrate your eligibility for disability compensation.

We will do our best to help you. Many military veterans we have helped found out that they were eligible for a better benefit. If you deserve more, we will seek it for you.

The amount of a veteran’s disability benefit is based on a rating of his or her disability, which is calculated on a scale of 0 to 100 percent. The Veterans Administration (VA) sets the rating based on a variety of medical records and documents.

You have the right to appeal a VA decision regarding your disability rating to prove you deserve a higher rating and, therefore, additional monetary benefits. There also may be steps you can take to obtain or increase your Social Security Disability (SSD) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. Such appeals of VA and Social Security Administration rulings can be painstaking, but they can also be successful in many cases.

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