Frequently Asked Questions -
What are the fees that DAA charges?
Typically, Disability Appeals Advocates enters into a fee agreement with the claimants for a fee that is paid only after the case is won. There are no up front fees or costs to you as the fee is paid through direct withholding from the Federal Government for 25% of past due benefits capped at $6,000.
How does the Social Security Administration define "disability"?
Social Security defines "disability" as "the inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical and/or mental impairment that is expected to result in death, or has lasted or is expected to last, for a continuous period of not less than twelve months."
How long will it take Social Security to process my application, and my appeal if necessary?
Processing times vary greatly depending on the region in which you reside. Generally, Social Security takes approximately 4-6 months to make a decision on your initial claim. If your claim is denied and you decide to pursue an appeal, these times also vary and it is not typically a quick process. We advise our client's to pursue all avenues of financial assistance that are possible, such as State Disability Assistance through the Department of Human Services. We recommend that you contact us for processing times in your region if you have reached the appeal level. There are, however, circumstances in which your claim may be eligible for expedited handling and a much quicker decision. Contact us to determine if your case meets the Social Security criteria for expedited handling.
Social Security has denied my claim, what should I do now?
Depending on the region you live in, you will need to file for either reconsideration, or a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge. Most importantly, the appeal must be filed within 60 days from receipt of your denial notice. We highly recommend hiring a qualified representative at this point if you haven't already due to critical deadlines and complex policy and procedures at the appeal level.
If I win my claim, how much will I receive and for what period of time?
A claimant's monthly benefit amount depends on multiple factors. For SSDI, also known at Title II benefits, your monthly benefit amount is based upon a complex calculation using your lifetime earnings record. A claimant's dependents may also be eligible for auxiliary benefits once the claim has been approved. There is also a five month waiting period from the date your disability is established before benefits are payable to you. In addition, retroactive benefits can only be paid for twelve months prior to the date of your application. In certain circumstances, if you have prior applications that were not appealed, your claim may be subject to reopening or revision of a prior decision resulting in your benefits going even further back retroactively.
For individual who do not qualify for SSDI or Title II benefits, because of a limited earnings history and insufficient quarters of coverage, SSI benefits are examined. SSI benefits, also known as Title XVI benefits, are payable beginning the calendar month following the month in which you applied, with a monthly maximum of $733.00 per individual, and $1,100.00 for an eligible individual with an eligible spouse.
I have been receiving disability benefits and have recently received a notice that Social Security is conducting a Continuing Disability Review (CDR) on my claim. Are my benefits going to be terminated, what do I do?
This is a very common practice with the Social Security Administration and does not mean they are going to end your benefits. Whether you are receiving RSDI or SSI, your medical records will be reviewed periodically to determine if your disabling condition(s) has changed. You should comply with any request from Social Security in a timely fashion and contact a qualified representative immediately if you are informed that your benefits will be terminated. Most importantly, if a denial is received after a Continuing Disability Review, you must file an appeal within 10 days for your benefits to continue while the appeal is pending.
Can I get Social Security disability benefits if I have gotten better, my condition has improved, or I have returned to work?
Social Security has a durational requirement of twelve consecutive months. If your condition has lasted for at least one year, but has improved, you can still be eligible for disability benefits. If the durational requirement of 12 months has been satisfied, even if your condition has improved and/or you have returned to work, you should consider filing an application for Social Security disability benefits. (referred as a closed period of disability).
Do I have to pay income taxes on the benefits that I receive?
You will have to pay federal taxes on your Social Security benefits if you file a federal tax return as an individual and your total income is more than $25,000.00. If you file a joint return, you will have to pay taxes if you and your spouse have a total income of more than $32,000.00 The Social Security Administration has no authority to withhold state or local taxes from your benefits. Many states and local authorities do not tax Social Security benefits. You may choose to contact your local taxing authority for more information depending on the region you reside in.