We help lots of constituents who are having problems with Social Security benefits and eligibility. If you have tried to resolve a problem with the Social Security Administration and have run into problems, we might be able to help.
The Social Security Administration has a very informative and helpful website. Many forms can be downloaded or completed online.
How do I apply for disability benefits? Up Top
To apply for benefits, contact the Social Security Administration (SSA) at 1-800-772-1213. They have a TTY phone connection at 1-800-325-0778.You can request forms for application or to appeal a denial in a current case as well as get answers to many questions you may have.
In order for you to qualify for disability benefits, you must be unable to perform work at the substantial gainful activity level ($780 per month). Your condition must be severe and have lasted or be expected to last twelve months or result in death. To qualify for insured benefits (Title II), you must have worked and paid into the system and have enough quarters of earnings/credits within a certain time frame. If you do not have enough qualifying credits to receive Title II benefits, you may qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) under Title XVI. The disability criteria for each of these programs are the same, however, the financial or technical eligibility differs. There are other factors that may be considered under each of these programs and you may ask questions specific to your case by calling the toll free number listed here. If you are awarded benefits, the benefits will not begin until the sixth full month after the date of your accepted onset of disability. You may apply for both programs at the same time or concurrently. During the sixth months waiting period, you may qualify to receive the SSI benefits if you are medically and technically eligible and are a concurrent applicant. You may qualify for Medicare benefits twenty-four months after you are eligible to receive disability benefits.
Because of the large volume of applications, it can take a long period of time to receive a final decision in your claim for benefits. Should your initial application be denied, there are several levels of appeal. You will have sixty days to request your appeal from the receipt of the denial notice at each level. If you have special circumstances, such as a pending foreclosure, eviction, dire medical need, or have been diagnosed with a terminal illness, you may request that your claim be expedited. You or your medical provider will need to include documentation of these circumstances to the Social Security Administration when making the request. Your case will receive special handling and move faster in the process under these circumstances.
Disability applications are evaluated in a five step sequential evaluation. It is as follows:
- Step one: Is the claimant engaged in substantial gainful activity (SGA)?
- Step two: Is the impairment(s) severe?
- Step three: Does the impairment meet or equal the medical listing of impairments in the regulations?
- Step four: Does the impairment(s) preclude/prevent the ability to perform past relevant work?
- Step five: Does the impairment preclude/prevent the ability to perform other work?
Any decision by the agency that is less than favorable to you can be appealed. If you have more specific questions feel free to contact my staff at the district office nearest you.
How do I apply for Supplemental Security Income (SSI)?Up Top
To apply for benefits or to ask questions, contact the SSA at 1-800-772-1213. They have a TTY phone connection as well at 1-800-325-0778.
Supplemental Security Income is a needs-based income assistance program administered by the Social Security Administration for people who are elderly (65 or older), blind, or disabled (physical or mental problem expected to last at least one year or result in death) who don't have many assets and who don't earn much money. These amounts are specific and they change periodically. For the most current information, call SSA at the above number or visit the SSA Website.
How do I apply for retirement benefits? Up Top
To apply for benefits or to get more information about the SSA retirement program, call 1-800-772-1213. They have a TTY phone connection as well at 1-800-325-0778.
In order to be eligible for retirement benefits, you have to have enough "credits" (10 years of work--you earn one credit per certain amount of money that you make) and have paid into Social Security.
You are eligible for SSA retirement benefits when you reach age 65 (however, beginning in 2003, the age at which you can apply for retirement benefits will increase gradually from 65 to 67), but you can apply early at age 62. If you apply early, the benefits you receive will be reduced, but you will receive them for a longer time.
The amount you receive depends on how much you earned when you were working.
You can also delay applying for Social Security retirement. If you do so, your extra income may increase your benefit amount, and you will receive a credit. To find out more about credit you may receive, contact the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213.