Frequently Asked Questions

Top Ten Most-Asked Questions

  1. I applied for SSI disability and got a letter saying that my disability wasn't severe enough. Do I need a lawyer to get my benefits?
  2. Do I have to be 65 to get disability benefits from Social Security?
  3. What's the difference between Social Security disability and SSI disability? And what does that mean to me?
  4. Do I need help in the first application for Social Security and SSI?
  5. What is "back pay" and how is a representative’s fee figured?
  6. Do I have to pay for help on my disability case or does Social Security pay?
  7. I was hurt on the job, and I get workers compensation. Can I still get Social Security Disability benefits?
  8. I have worked and paid into Social Security all my life, and now I can't work. I have children. Can they get help from Social Security too?
  9. I am not a U.S. citizen but I am here legally and admitted for permanent residence. Can I qualify for Social Security and SSI disability benefits?
  10. I can’t get health insurance, and I can't work. How do I get Medicaid or Medicare?

  1. I applied for SSI disability and got a letter saying that my disability wasn’t severe enough. Do I need a lawyer to get my benefits?

    After your application has been turned down twice, you will probably have to go to a hearing before a Social Security Judge. You do not want to go to a hearing without a trained and experienced representative. Many lawyers do help with disability cases. DHI is not a law firm, but most of our representatives worked for the Social Security Administration, and are very familiar with SSI and Social Security Disability. We will be glad to conduct a free consultation with you to see if we can help you. If we take your case, there is no charge unless we win and you receive benefits.
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  2. Do I have to be 65 to get disability benefits from Social Security?

    No, you can be any age and get disability benefits. There are many other issues that Social Security uses to decide whether you get benefits. We know the questions they will ask. Many of those questions and answers are on this web page, and we will be glad to answer additional questions you have.
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  3. What’s the difference between Social Security disability and SSI disability? And what does that mean to me?

    Both programs – SSI (Supplemental Security Income) and SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance) – require that you be unable to work full-time (32 hours weekly) and that your disability or disease will keep you from working for at least a year. That year can be in the past, in the future, or a combination of the past and future.

    Once you have been found to be disabled, you can get Social Security disability benefits if you have worked and paid Social Security taxes (FICA) for some period of time. The amount of your Social Security disability benefits depends on how long and how much you paid into Social Security. The average disability benefit is around $1,064 a month.

    If you’re unable to work and you haven’t paid enough Social Security taxes, you might qualify for SSI. To get SSI you must have very little other income and very few resources or assets, such as land or savings. SSI benefits are usually about $674 a month, and people who get SSI usually get Medicaid insurance. We can find out your situation and what you might qualify for by talking to you and asking the same questions Social Security will ask. There’s no fee for talking to us.
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  4. Do I need help in the first application for Social Security and SSI?

    You normally don’t need any help in applying for Social Security retirement benefits. But if you are applying for disability benefits, read on! , You can apply on your own and Social Security will fill out your application forms. This works for many people, but Social Security will often ask you to fill out the disability forms. These are the forms that ask you for doctors’ names, medications, and a description of your medical condition. How you complete this form is very important, and Social Security uses your answers to help decide whether you are disabled. You should get help in filling out the disability form.

    After you apply, Social Security will probably send you forms in the mail asking you to describe what you do during the normal day. They will give you ten days to return the form and can turn down your application if you don’t return it. You should have help in filling out this form, seeing that it’s sent back on time, and that you have proof that Social Security got the form.

    There’s much more involved in getting approved for benefits than just applying. We can fill out all your Social Security application forms, your disability forms, daily activity forms, and send them all to Social Security for you. If you are turned down the first time, we’ll know why, since we helped you apply, and we’ll be better able to help you with the appeals.
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  5. What is “back pay” and how is a representative’s fee figured?

    “Back pay” or retroactive benefits are the monthly benefits that accrue or build up while Social Security is working on your case. The benefits usually start building up the month you apply. In some cases, you may be due benefits for months before you apply. The amount of your back pay depends on your individual monthly benefit and the number of months Social Security takes to approve and pay your claim.

    Social Security regulates how much representatives can charge, and the fees cannot be more than 25% of your back pay and cannot be more than $6000. You will be asked to sign an agreement with us if you decide you want DHI to help you. Once we know your situation, we can give you a better idea of the fees.
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  6. Do I have to pay for help on my disability case or does Social Security pay?

    DHI will not charge you any money unless we take and win your case. The amount of the fee is regulated by Social Security, as explained in Question 5. In most cases, Social Security will withhold money from your back pay and send it to the representative if you approve the fee. But you are responsible for the fee, and if for some reason Social Security does not hold the money back, you will have to pay it. Your representative can explain all this to you and will work with you on the fee payment process while he or she is working to get your claim approved.
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  7. I was hurt on the job, and I get workers compensation. Can I still get Social Security Disability benefits?

    You should apply for Social Security disability. You still have to have a long-term disability (at least 12 months), and Social Security will reduce the amount of any Social Security disability checks by a complicated formula involving the amount of your workers compensation benefits.

    But if you apply for Social Security disability early on, your Social Security checks will start or increase sooner when your workers comp runs out. You probably cannot get SSI disability if you are getting workers comp checks. We’ll be glad to discuss your situation and help figure how much your Social Security checks could be. We don’t charge a fee for talking to you about your case.
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  8. I have worked and paid into Social Security all my life, and now I can't work. I have children. Can they get help from Social Security too?

    Your minor children can get monthly checks from Social Security if you get checks. They’ll get benefits as long as you do, or until they reach the age of 18. The amount of your checks is based on how much you paid into Social Security. The combined amount of your children’s checks will be about 40% to 50% of your check. Their benefits do not reduce your checks. Of course, you must qualify first. We’ll be glad to discuss your case for no consultation fee.
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  9. I am not a U.S. citizen but I am here legally and admitted for permanent residence. Can I qualify for Social Security and SSI disability benefits?

    Non-citizens who are in the country legally and who have been given permanent residence status can qualify for Social Security disability just like a U.S. citizen. You still must have worked and paid Social Security taxes for a substantial period of time. We can explain and find out if you have paid enough Social Security taxes, and discuss your disability case with you.

    Most of the time, SSI is paid only to U.S. citizens. There are some exceptions, and our representatives know those exceptions and when a lawfully admitted permanent resident can get SSI and Medicaid.
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  10. I can’t get health insurance, and I can’t work. How do I get Medicaid or Medicare?

    Medicaid is a state-run health insurance program, and the qualifications vary depending on the state where you live. If you have minor children, you can often get Medicaid from your state human services office. If you don’t have minor children, you will probably have to apply for SSI (Supplemental Security Income) disability. Our representatives can discuss this program with you and assist you in applying if we think you qualify. We may also be able to refer you to the right state office if that’s where you need to apply.

    Medicare is federal health insurance, and normally you have to be either age 65 or qualify for Social Security disability benefits. We can discuss your eligibility for Social Security disability benefits, when Medicare might start, and tell you if we think you qualify.
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