Frequently Asked Questions page

If your answers match the ones below, the Social Security Administration (SSA) is likely to award you benefits.
  • Are you gainfully employed? No
  • Do you have a severe impairment? YES
  • Will your impairment last 12 months or result in death? YES
  • Does your disability meet one of SSA’s listed impairments? If YES, you qualify. If no …
  • Are you able to work? NO
Unless you have an obvious long-term disability, the best time to apply for Social Security disability benefits is 6-9 months after you stop working.
The big-picture answer is: analyze what needs to be proven to win benefits, figure out how to prove it, and gather the necessary evidence. Some of the specific tasks are:
It can take up to two years from request until a hearing is held and a decision issued, but the time varies from state to state.
They are private, held in a small conference room, and last an hour or so. You will be asked about your education, training, work experience, symptoms, limitations, and daily activities.
If you have not filed your appeal within 65 days of the date on your denial letter, you have to start over with a new claim. That new claim may result in the loss of back benefits.
Because the majority of appeals are granted at a hearing, failing to appeal a denial to the hearing level is the number one error … and unfortunately very common.More detailed information on these and other common claimant questions is available in the library below.