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7 Most Common Misunderstandings About Social Security Disability

1) How long does it take to get approved for Social Security Disability?

Rejected social security disability claim

From the date you apply for benefits, the process can take 36 months or longer to get to a hearing with an Administrative Law Judge. You can be accepted at any point in the 36+ month period, but a claimant must be both emotionally and financially prepared for the process to take as long as three years. With very few exceptions (such as veteran injured in combat), there is no way to speed up the process.

2) What does “Date Last Insured” mean?

Date Last Insured (“DLI”) is the date by which you must be found disabled in order to receive Social Security Disability Insurance (“SSDI”). Generally speaking, you must have worked consistently for five of the past ten years in order to qualify for disability. In general, if you have not worked in more than 5 years you will be past your DLI and will only be eligible for Supplemental Security Income benefits (“SSI”).

3) What does “Alleged Onset Date” mean?

Alleged Onset Date (“AOD”) is the date you contend on which you became unable to work. It will typically be based on your actual last day at work, or on some significant medical event. It is the AOD that must pre-date your Date Last Insured. Typically, you should apply for disability no more than 12 months after your AOD in order to avoid losing valuable back pay.

4) When does cash payments start?

Your cash disability payments begin in the fifth full month following your Alleged Onset Date as decided by the Administrative Law Judge. For example, if your AOD is July 15th, your five month waiting period for cash benefits will be August through December and your first check would come in January.

5) When does Medicare eligibility starts?

Generally speaking, your medical (Medicare) benefits begin in the 24th full month following your Alleged Onset Date as decided by the Administrative Law Judge. For example, if your AOD is July 15th, your Medicare benefits will not start until the August, which is two years away.

6) What employment is permitted while on/applying for disability?

Disability is the inability to perform substantial gainful activity, which the Social Security Administration defines as earning $1,070.00 per month for 2014. That means that as long as you earn less than $1,070.00 per month, you should be able to work and apply for/collect disability payments.

7) The difference between SSI and SSDI?

SSI is Supplemental Security Income. SSDI is Social Security Disability Insurance. Both have the same medical requirement for qualification, but SSI does not require any past work history and is also based on household income and assets. Receipt of SSDI benefits is not dependent on household income or assets, only your work history and medical condition.


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