Social Security Disability FAQs

Do I have to wait 12 months after being out of work before I can apply for benefits?
No. You can and should apply shortly after going out of work if you suffer from a condition you believe will last at least 12 months. It is best to apply as soon as possible because it will likely be longer than 12 months from your application until you get a final decision or any benefits.

Does my doctor have to say I am disabled or agree to help me before I can apply for or get benefits?
No. You do not need any health provider to say you are “disabled” or even say that you cannot work in order to apply for and receive your benefits. The decision about your disability is up to the SSA. Only the judge can determine disability. The decision is based upon your age, education level, past work experience and all of your physical and/or mental limitations.

Do I have to wait until my Workers’ Compensation or personal injury case settles or ends before I can apply for benefits?
No. As long as you have a condition that you believe will cause you to be out of work 12 months, you should apply. No matter when you actually became disabled, SSI benefits cannot begin until the month after you first apply and SSDI benefits only back one year prior to application with exceptions. (If you previously applied, we may be able to re-open your prior applications.) Failing to apply until the conclusion of your other case could cost you lost benefits and extra delay in Medicare eligibility.

Do I get Medicare as soon as I win my disability?
Not necessarily. With a few limited exceptions, you are not eligible for Medicare benefits until two years after you have been eligible for disability insurance benefits. If you only get Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, you receive Medicaid only.

How do I receive Medicaid?
Medicaid for the disabled adult is administered through your county’s Department of Social Services. You need to apply in person at your county DSS. This is in addition to applying for SS benefits through the SSA office. These are separate programs with separate application processes and rules. They both require you be “disabled” and both use the same definition of disability. However, you need to appeal both your SS disability and your Medicaid denials. Appealing one does not appeal the other. Leah Broker will represent you through the hearing level of your Medicaid application.

Click here for more information on Workers Compensation