San Jose Social Security Disability FAQs

Eligibility

Who is eligible for disability benefits from Social Security?

Under Social Security rules, you’re only considered disabled (and eligible for benefits) if a medical condition or injury is expected to keep you from working for at least 12 months (or result in death). Your disability can be a physical condition, a mental condition or a combination of both.

Who decides if I’m disabled and eligible for benefits?

After a Social Security Disability claim is filed, the case is sent to a disability examiner. The examiner makes the initial decision on your claim.

What’s the biggest mistake people make when trying to get disability benefits?

Trying to win benefits on their own. The process of winning disability benefits is complex and requires a lot of patience since it’s a time-consuming process. If you try to win benefits alone, you can make mistakes that harm your chances.

Whether you need to apply or appeal, consider working with a disability attorney like Angelina Valle. An experienced attorney can help organize your claim and make a difference throughout the complex process.


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Applying for Disability Benefits

How long does it take to get my disability benefits once a claim for benefits is filed?

It can take approximately four months to receive a decision on your initial application. If your application is denied, it can take an additional year and a half to get a decision as your claim works its way through the appeals process. However, certain circumstances can shorten that time period, so let our attorneys determine if any are applicable to your case.

If I win my case, will I receive medical help in addition to cash benefits?

That depends. If you’ve been eligible for Social Security Disability for two years – whether you’ve actually received the benefits or not – you qualify for Medicare. If you’re awarded Supplemental Security Income (SSI), you won’t receive Medicare, but rather MediCal, a needs-based program that provides for a number of prescriptions and doctor visits each month.

What type of medical benefits/insurance will I receive?

If the Social Security Administration (SSA) decides you are eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits (SSDI), you will be eligible for Medicare coverage after a waiting period of 24 months.

If you are awarded Supplemental Security Income (SSI), you will be eligible for MediCal coverage as soon as your entitlement to SSI begins.

If I applied but was denied, what should I do?

Now you file a written request for reconsideration within 60 days of the denial notice. After receiving a denial letter, there are four levels of review: Reconsideration, Hearing, Appeals Council, and Federal Court.

If you were denied, we strongly recommend you contact an attorney. The appeals process is complex so you should contact someone who knows the law of the Social Security system.


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Denied Disability Benefits

I was denied. Should I appeal?

You should definitely appeal. We can help you get started with your appeal by filing a written request for reconsideration within 60 days of your denial notice. After that, there are four levels of review: Reconsideration, Hearing, Appeals Council, and Federal Court.

My neighbor received Social Security Disability and is not even disabled. Why was I denied?

Most people who apply for Social Security Disability benefits are, in fact, denied. You may have been denied for any number of reasons – often through no fault of your own. For example, you may be denied benefits if your doctor doesn’t know what’s important to your particular claim.

It’s important to contact a lawyer if you’ve been denied. The clock is ticking and you only have a limited time to appeal. The attorneys at Angelina Valle and Associates can request “reconsideration” of your claim denial. Contact us today!

My doctor says I’m disabled so why is Social Security denying my disability claim?

It is not up to your doctor to determine whether you are disabled. It is up to Social Security to make their own decision, but your doctor’s opinion definitely helps.

Social Security said that I would be able to return to work. Should I wait to see if my health improves or should I appeal?

You have a limited time to appeal your initial denial – don’t wait to see if your health improves. Contact Angelina Valle and Associates today. Let our experience help win you the benefits you deserve.

If I received notice that I will have a hearing, what should I do?

At this point, it’s best to contact an attorney to represent you at your hearing. An attorney can gather all the medical evidence and records necessary for you to have the best chance of winning disability benefits. Social Security’s own statistics show that you are more likely to win disability benefits when represented by an attorney.


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Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

What is Supplemental Security Income (SSI)?

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a program for people with little or no income or resources that have not paid enough money into the Social Security system to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits.

If you have a disability and have not paid enough into Social Security, you may qualify for SSI. The monthly amount for SSI is based on financial need and determined by several factors including household income, your entitlement to SSD benefits, long-term disability benefits and/or Workers’ Compensation benefits.


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Working With A Disability Attorney

Why do I need a lawyer to help me? Why should I hire Angelina Valle and Associates?

The Social Security Disability system is laced with pitfalls and involves thousands of different rules, regulations, and procedures. You can be denied benefits if your doctor doesn’t know the legal definition of disability. You can also be denied benefits if Social Security doesn’t receive enough evidence on your behalf. Your case can be dismissed altogether if an appeal is handled improperly.

An experienced attorney – like Angelina Valle – who knows the Social Security system can help your doctor explain your disability to you, submit important supporting medical evidence, analyze each part of your Social Security file, prepare your testimony before a court hearing, and even cross-examine medical experts who may testify at your case hearing.

What’s the difference between a lawyer and a non-attorney advocate?

Non-attorney disability advocates are trained in the Social Security process, but have not received a law degree. They can help you file your initial claim, but if your claim is denied (and most are) you may need sound legal counsel to proceed to the next step. If your appeal goes all the way to federal court, you will definitely need an attorney.

If you have questions about your eligibility or doubts about your employer’s intentions, you should probably be working with a disability attorney.

What can’t a lawyer do for me?

No lawyer can push around the federal government, or change the law to your benefit. An experienced lawyer, like the disability lawyers at Angelina Valle and Associates, can make the Social Security system work for you and can make the difference between winning and losing your case.

When should I contact an attorney about representation?

You should contact an attorney before you file a claim with the Social Security Administration. Our attorneys at Angelina Valle and Associates can help you plan a strategy to win your case from the beginning. If you wait to get an attorney after your claim has been denied, you may harm your case with different damaging statements or other information. This information can be used against you on appeal.

If I lose my case after my hearing, can a lawyer still help me?

Yes. A lawyer can help you request review from the Appeals Council. If denied there, a lawyer can file a civil action in the United States District Court or appeal your claim to the United States Court of Appeals.

At Angelina Valle and Associates, we’re with you at each stage of your claim. Should you lose your case during your hearing, we can help appeal in Federal Court by submitting written legal arguments and attending oral arguments if necessary.

How much does it cost to hire Angelina Valle and Associates for my Social Security Disability claim?

The law regulates attorneys’ fees in Social Security Disability cases. So virtually every disability lawyer works on the same fee basis. The lawyer’s fee is 25% of the past due disability benefits you get. There is no fee if you don’t win.

I’m interested in talking with Angelina Valle and Associates. What should I do?

Contact our office today. We’ll arrange a consultation to determine whether you qualify for Social Security Disability benefits. If you do, we’ll help you start the proceedings for the best chance to win.


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