Supplemental Security Income

SSI stands for supplemental security income. SSI is covered under title 16 of the social security act and adults who are unable to work, or no longer able to work, may file an SSI disability claim if they believe they are disabled.

For anyone who is considering filing an SSI disability claim, there are a number of questions that you should know the answers to.

1. How do you file an SSI disability claim? Contact your local social security office and advise them that you need to file for disability benefits. After you do this, you will be given an opportunity to be interviewed over the phone or in person for the purpose for the purpose of filing for SSI disability benefits.

2. How long does an SSI disability claim last? An SSI disability claim can last quite a long time and this may vary tremendously from one case to the next. However, we should be more specific. For individuals who are pursuing SSI disability at the initial claim level, the time spent waiting for an answer can easily exceed three to four months. In fact, in cases where an individual has had a heart attack, or surgery of various kinds (heart surgery, eye surgery), a case may take longer due to the necessity of deferring a decision until the claimant’s medical outlook and prognosis has become clearer.

Waits of over a year for a decision on an SSI disability claim are a bit unusual, but cases have been known to take that long. In most cases, however, an initial SSI disability claim will probably be decided in 90 to 120 days. Unfortunately, if the SSI claim is denied and the claimant decides to pursue the appeal process (usually, this is a wise decision), the entire process can stretch out to more than two years and perhaps as long as three years. Why so long? Partially because the first appeal (called a review or reconsideration) can take just as long as the initial SSI disability claim, but mainly because the second appeal (a request for a hearing) can sometimes take over two years! Yes, getting a hearing before a disability judge can take this long. For this reason, in particular, most claimants who are denied on an SSI disability claim will, at some point, find it necessary to seek out representation from a qualified attorney or non attorney claimant’s representative.

3. What are the chances of winning SSI disability at a hearing? Depending on the state you live in, your SSI disability or social security disability claim may stand a seventy percent chance of denial when you file an initial claim (application). And, at the first appeal step (known as a review or reconsideration), the chances of being denied for SSI disability benefits may be even higher, perhaps as high as 85 percent. At a disability hearing, however, the typical SSI disability claimant may see their opportunity for being approved rise. Without representation at a hearing(i.e. showing up at a hearing office alone and, in most cases, without the benefit of knowing how to prepare a case to be heard by a judge), the chance of winning disability benefits is about forty percent. With representation, the chance of winning SSI disability benefits is approximately sixty percent. Of course, individuals who are older will typically stand a better chance of winning due to SSA disability regulations leaning somewhat in their favor. For this reason, also, younger claimants may find it even more advisable to confer with a representative prior to attending a disability hearing.

4. Do you get health benefits with SSI disability? Currently individuals who are awarded SSI disability benefits receive medicaid benefits. However, though most states have medicaid, not every state does. Moreover, in the future, some states may decide to alter the benefits currently offered to medicaid recipients and this will likely affect SSI disability recipients who also receive medicaid benefits. However, it does not seem likely that SSI disability recipients will ever find themselves without some form of health benefits attached to their SSI, though the extent of these benefits may be subject to change at some point.

5. Should you get a lawyer for an SSI claim? There are different schools of thought regarding this issue. And, in truth, some individuals who file an SSI claim will be approved on their first application (about 30 percent…meaning 70 percent will not be approved and will have to appeal) making the need for representation a bit doubtful. However, for individuals who receive a denial on an SSI claim, representation will usually prove useful. At the first appeal step (a review or reconsideration), a disability representative (an attorney or non attorney representative) will manage a claimant’s case and work to ensure that all necessary deadlines are met (submitting appeal paperwork and ensuring that requests by SSA for information are complied with). At the second appeal step (the disability hearing), a disability representative will work to gather all the information that is needed to present a case before an administrative law judge. And, typically, representation at the hearing will substantially increase an SSI disability claimant’s chances of winning benefits.