Social Security Disability Frequently Asked Questions


What is Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)?

SSDI is a wage supplement program provided by the Federal Government for people who have previously worked and paid Federal Insurance Contributions (FICA Taxes) but who find themselves unable to continue to work as a result of their medication condition(s).


Why should I apply for Social Security Disability Insurance?

SSDI provides income support until your condition improves or ongoing income if your condition does not improve. In addition, SSDI can offer assistance to help you return to work. You may also qualify for other important programs like Medicare, and protect your future Social Security retirement benefits when you receive SSDI.


Am I eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance?

In order to quality for SSDI you must be fully insured under the Social Security Program. According to the Social Security Administration (SSA), a person qualifies for SSDI if:


  • They have a physical or mental condition that prevents them from engaging in any substantial gainful activity
  •  The condition is expected to last at least 12 months or result in death
  • They are under the age of 65
  • They have accumulated 20 Social Security Credits in the last 10 years prior to the onset of disability (normally four credits per full or partial year, additional credits are required for persons over the age of 42). However, the work requirement is waived for applicants who can prove that they became disabled at or before the age 22, as these individuals may be allowed to collect on their parent’s or parents’ work credit. The parent(s) experience no loss of benefits. Applying for SSDI can be daunting at times. At Scheine Law we are here to help you understand every step of the process.


What is the definition of “disability”?

Generally, disability is considered any physical or mental condition that prevents you from working


Is it difficult to get Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits?

The short answer is yes, it can be very difficult. The Social Security Administration denies more than 60% of claims received. The reasons for denials are varied, but in many cases denials can be avoided by proper completion of the application.


How long does it take to get Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits?

The speed at which you start receiving benefits very much depends on the accuracy of your initial claim documentation. It’s not a quick process. Initial decisions can take up to 6 months, subsequent appeals take about the same amount of time again. On average a claim takes between 12 – 24 months from the date of onset of disability


How much will I get?

That’s difficult to say at the outset of any claim. The Social Security Administration uses a very complex equation when calculating your benefit entitlement. That’s why it’s so important to make sure that you acquire proper representation to make sure you have every relevant piece of evidence that needs to be presented at the outset of the claim. An omission could lead to a reduction in the benefit you receive.


Can I lose my benefits?

Yes, if your condition improves. If the SSA can demonstrate that you condition has improved to the point of you being able to return to work, they could terminate your benefits.


What is involved in making a claim?

There are several key stages to processing a claim. At Scheine Law, the most common questions we receive nearly all involve how to file for Social Security Benefits. Even if you’ve done some research online, the process can be misleading and confusing.

While there are many different ways you can file for Social Security Disability, your general course of action will look something like this: Filing your claim: You can use a Disability attorney or file your claim in person at the Social Security office or online.

File for a Hearing before an Administrative Law Judge: If you are denied, an Administrative Law Judge will conduct a hearing at which you will present your case in person.

The Appeal: If your case is denied before the Administrative Law Judge, you must appeal the case to the Appeals Council. This process can take between six to eighteen months.

The process of filing for Social Security Disability is time consuming and can be stressful. It is important to acquire appropriate representation to guide you through these stages.


What will I need to prepare before I make a claim?

Prior to an appointment with us, or you making a claim on your own behalf, you will need to gather together your evidence that supports the SSDI claim. The following details some of the information you will need (more may be required depending on the nature of the condition):

  • Your Birth Certificate
  • Social Security Card or Number
  • Proof of U.S. Citizenship
  • Doctor’s information: names, phone numbers, all hospitals and clinics that you have been treated at
  • W-2 forms for last year or payroll slips


Do I need a representative to make a claim?

No, you can apply on your own, but working with a qualified attorney can dramatically improve your chances of receiving disability benefits. In addition, an attorney can help reduce the time it takes to complete the process – the fewer errors at the onset, the quicker the resolution will occur.


Why should I hire representation for my Social Security Disability Insurance Claim?

The process of applying for SSDI is complex and errors/omissions in your initial application can add serious time to the process (on average every review takes 6 months). An experienced attorney will help you avoid these errors, gather evidence to support your claim and can represent you in hearings to ensure that your best case is always presented to the Social Security Administration. An attorney can help you navigate the process and ensure that you don’t overlook important information which could cause your claim to be denied.


Why should I hire Edward R. Scheine, Esq. to represent me?

Mr. Scheine has represented claimants for Social Security Disability since 1976, with decades of experience and having obtained benefits for thousands of disabled workers Ed Scheine is dedicated to ensuring that everyone of his clients get the best possible outcome.


How much does representation cost?

The fee for a Social Security Disability claim, if approved, depends on how much you are entitled to in benefits and how much effort (work) your attorney provided. Scheine Law charges 25% of the retroactive benefit award to a maximum of $6,000 and a minimum if successful of $3,000. All fees require the approval of the Social Security Administration. We must win your claim to be entitled to a fee.

Expenses and costs are the responsibility of the claimant applying for the benefit. Our office charges $450.00 for each claim we handle. The claimant is also responsible for the costs of all medical record charges their doctor or hospital may bill to provide the evidence.

We do not charge for our initial consultation and your conversation with us is completely confidential. We do not charge a fee unless we are successful in obtaining you benefits.


What is the difference between an advocate and an attorney?

Social Security Administration allows a claim to hire a representative to file a SSDI claim on your behalf. An attorney is licensed to practice law in a particular state and an attorney is held to an ethical standard and must be devoted to represent their client. An advocate can file a claim on your behalf without being licensed to practice law in your state. An advocate may be well versed in the Social Security System, but often times may be unaware of other entitlement programs and other related legal issues.


Where do I go to file a claim?

You can contact Scheine Law @ 631-951-4300 or fill out our online contact form.