Social Security defines "disability" as the "inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months."
What is the difference between SSI and Social Security Disability?
SSI stands for supplemental security income. It is a means tested "welfare" program that is available for persons who have limited income and resources and who meet the medical and vocational criteria for disability. Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits are payable based on the same medical and vocational criteria, to a person who has "paid in" to the Social Security system with enough work credits to be insured for this program. Sometimes, based on a person's earnings record, they will be eligible for both programs.
How much money will I get each month?
This is determined on a case-by-case basis based on your earnings record and, in the case of SSI, any other household income.
What is a non-attorney representative?
Social Security law and regulations provide that you can be represented by an attorney or "a person who is capable of giving valuable help in connection with your claim" (20 C.F.R. 404.1705 b(2)). These persons are referred to by Social Security as Non-Attorney Representatives. All representatives before SSA are responsible to follow the same Rules of Conduct and Standards of Responsibility found at 20 C.F.R. 404.1740. A Non-Attorney may appear at all levels of administrative appeal before the Social Security Administration.
As Non-Attorney representatives, Christopher Marois and Michele Anderson Marois are proud to say that they have met the Social Security Administration criteria for participation in the Non-Attorney Fee Withholding Demonstration Project. They have presented documentation of successful claims, provided evidence of education and insurance, continue their education in Social Security matters with ongoing educational seminars and have passed an examination in Social Security law, regulations and rulings.
If my doctor says I have a 10% impairment rating, do I get 10% of my Social Security?
Impairment ratings given by your doctor are very different from a disability determination by Social Security. A disability determination takes in to consideration your age, education, past work experience as well as your physical and mental impairments. In a Social Security determination, you are either found "disabled" or found "not disabled". There are no percentages of disability in the Social Security system. So although your doctor's opinion on your impairment is important evidence in your claim for Social Security it does not mean you will be found disabled by SSA.
Is it hard to apply for Social Security disability benefits?
No. There are several ways to apply for a Social Security disability claim. The first is to go to your local Social Security District Office and file the claim in person. The second way is to call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213. They will arrange for a telephone interview for you. Once the interview is finished they will send necessary forms for you to fill out. All the basic information will have been collected during the phone interview. Lastly, you can also file a claim on the Internet using the www.ssa.gov website. All of the forms and information are available on line.
How long do I need to wait to file for Social Security Disability or SSI Benefits?
You can file for Social Security disability and SSI benefits on the day that you become disabled if you believe that you will be out of work for one year or more. It is not necessary to wait. It is the opinion of Anderson Marois & Associates that it is best to hire a representative to help you as early in the process as possible.
How do I find a qualified representative to help me with my Social Security disability claim?
You have come to the right company! Anderson Marois & Associates have experienced and qualified representative to help you through the entire disability process. Additionally, The National Association of Disability Representatives www.nadr.org offers a referral service. You may call NADR at 1-800-747-6131.
I can't work, how can I pay for a representative?
You don't have to worry about fees or out of pocket money. Anderson Marois and Associates will take your case and work on a contingency fee. This means we only get paid if we winback benefits for you. We do not charge an initial consultation fee. If we can't win you owe us nothing! There is no financial risk for you to hire Anderson Marois and Associates. Our fees are regulated by law and must be approved by SSA. They are limited to 25% of the back benefits we win for you with a cap of $6,000. Once hired we will begin work right away and gather all of the important records supporting your disability. Anderson Marois and Associates does not ask our clients to gether their own records or pay for them. We do the work, pay the costs required to get the evidence we need, and only get paid when we win benefits for you!
My claim has been denied by Social Security and I still can't work. What should I do?
Do not give up! You have a right to appeal your decision. Call Anderson Marois & Associates at (727) 327-0931 and ask for help with your appeal.
How long does the whole process take?
Unfortunately it is a long process and time periods vary from area to area. In the Tampa Bay area Initial and Reconsideration time frames are generally 90 to 120 days. Waits for Hearings can extend 12 to 15 months and the Appeals Council has a backlog of over 18 months. However, with proper preparation and presentation of evidence your claim can be won at any point in the process, thus shortening this time frame, We understand how financially devastating the wait time is for our clientsso we do our best to win your case as quickly as possible.
Is there a difference between Medicare and Medicaid?
Yes. Medicaid is associated with SSI and Medicare is associated with Disability Insurance Benefits. Medicaid begins immediately upon receipt of SSI. Medicaid pays for prescription medications. Medicaid can be retroactive up to three months prior to the date of a Medicaid claim. Medicare begins after you have been entitled to Social Security disability benefits for two years.