"Dealing With the Present While Planning For the Future"
I am confused about the Social Security disability process.
If you become ill or injured and believe that you are no longer able to work, you may be entitled to receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits or eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. Each type has certain rules and requirements.
After you file an application for benefits, it may take the Social Security Administration (SSA) three to five months, or more, to decide whether you are disabled. If SSA says that you are not disabled, you can file a "Request for Reconsideration." If SSA again finds that you are not disabled, you can request a hearing with an Administrative Law Judge. If you receive another decision finding that you are not disabled, you can either request a review of your case by the Appeals Council or go directly to Federal District Court and file a lawsuit.
There are two things to keep in mind about appeals. First, legal representation can be very helpful and, some would say, essential when filing an appeal. Second, statistics show that filing an appeal of a denial, rather than filing a new claim after a denial, has a better chance of resulting in an award of benefits.
I was receiving Social Security disability benefits. Now I am being charged with an overpayment. What does this mean, and what should I do?
An overpayment occurs when the Social Security Administration finds that a person who has been receiving Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income benefits has had a change in circumstances and has now been paid too much in benefits. An overpayment can happen when, for example:
- you get married; - your income goes up; - you go back to work; - your disability changes; or - some other change takes place.
If you receive a "Notice of Overpayment" and you do not agree with the overpayment, or if you believe that a mistake has been made, the first step is to file a "Request for Reconsideration" and a "Request for Waiver." Be sure that you respond to the "Notice of Overpayment" - you have only a limited time to appeal. Legal representation can be helpful in overpayment situations.
Can children receive Social Security benefits?
Yes. There are two ways. The first way is when the parent or stepparent of a child, or in some cases a grandparent, is disabled, retired, or deceased. The child may be eligible for benefits on the record of the parent, stepparent, or grandparent. The benefits may continue after the child turns 18 if the child is a student or is disabled.
The second way is when the child is disabled or is an adult who became disabled in childhood. In this situation, the child or disabled adult may be eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits or for "child's benefits." Certain rules pertaining to disability, income, and resources apply.
If the child or disabled adult has certain conditions, including HIV infection, total blindness, total deafness, Cerebral Palsy, and Muscular Dystrophy, among others, it may be possible to receive SSI payments immediately and continue receiving them, for up to six months, while the State Agency working for the Social Security Administration makes a decision. If the State Agency decides that the child or disabled adult is not eligible for benefits, the benefits already received do not have to be repaid.