Free Lecture Outline for August 3, 2010 at Center Place in Brandon: The Basics of Social Security Disability
THE BASICS OF SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY
I. Introduction: History
II. The Application Basics
III. The Claims Process
IV. Tips On Pursuing The Claim
The Speaker: David W. Magann, Esquire
Training / Education/Background:
United States Marine Corps Veteran
Criminology Degree from The University of South Florida
Law Degree from The University of Miami
Law Intern with The United States Custom Service Associate Chief Counsel’s Office
Associate with B. Lee Elam, P.A., the oldest law firm in Brandon
Law Offices of David W. Magann, P.A. (Tampa & Brandon Offices) established March 2000.
Social Security Representative in over 1000 Social Security Hearings
Speaker: State Seminar; “Handling a Social Security Case in Florida”
BLOG: See, www.DavidWMagann.com, www.BrandonSSA.com, www.TampaSSA.com
Sustaining Member of the National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives (NOSSCR)
Member of the Brandon Chamber of Commerce
Member of the Brandon Bar Association
President of the Brandon Bar Association 2001-2002
Brandon Bar Association Board of Attorneys
Past Member of the Hillsborough County Bar Association
Past Co-Chair of the Hillsborough County Bar Association, Social Security Section
Life Member of Pi Kappa Alpha and Order of Omega
Past Member of the American Bar Association
Past Member of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America
Past President of Seffner Chamber of Commerce 2003
Member of the Brandon Lion’s Club
Past Board member of the Bread of Life Mission
*This seminar is for informational purposes only. The statements made by the speaker are not legal advice. All questions answered are given for informational purposes only. For legal advice you must seek an in person office consultation with a lawyer. This seminar is brought to you on behalf of the Brandon Bar Association.
“We can never insure one-hundred percent of the population against one hundred percent of the hazards and vicissitudes of life, but we have tried to frame a law which will give some measure of protection to the average citizen and to his family against the loss of a job and against poverty-ridden old age.”
– Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Statement on
Signing the Social Security Act (Aug. 14, 1935).
The federal government provides benefits under two separate programs administered by SSA. The older program, known as the Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance program (OASDI), was originally proposed by Franklin D. Roosevelt and passed by Congress in 1935. At
first, benefits were available only for retired workers. Through amendments made in 1956 and 1960, Congress expanded the program to provide benefits to workers who become disabled before retirement and to their dependents, called Social Security Disability Insurance (SSD). OASDI is for individuals who have worked or for their family members. The benefit amount depends on how much a wage earner paid into the Social Security system.
Congress created the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program in 1972 (The program came into effect in October, 1974)to provide benefits to a separate and more vulnerable group—needy individuals unable to work as a result of disability or advanced age. SSI is for individuals who are disabled or elderly, have little or no work experience, and who are very poor. Their benefit amount is fixed. To qualify for SSI, it is income sensitive.
II. The Application:
1. Online Application www.SSA.gov
2. In person at your local SSA office.
3. Over the phone.
A. Phone numbers for SSA (Social Security Administration).
1. 1-800-772-1213 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 1-800-772-1213 end_of_the_skype_highlighting (call center)
2. 1-866-331-2317 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 1-866-331-2317 end_of_the_skype_highlighting (Tampa – local)
3. 1-866-593-8721 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 1-866-593-8721 end_of_the_skype_highlighting (Valrico/Brandon – local)
The easiest method of applying is the phone interview. You must call and specifically request the “phone interview” and then an SSA intake person will give you a date and time for your at home, over the phone SSA application interview generally within 2 weeks of your initial call to SSA.
B. Protective Filing Date: Protective filing is a Social Security term for the first time you contact the Social Security Administration to file a claim for disability. Protective filing dates may allow an individual to have an earlier application date than the actual signed application date. This is important because protective filing often affects the entitlement date for disability along with their dependents.
C. Key Terms:
1. SSI (Supplemental Security Income) also known as Title XVI benefits and “welfare benefits”.
2. SSD, DIB, OASDI, SSDIB (Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits) also known as Title II benefits and “insurance benefits”.
3. Auxiliary Benefits also known as “child dependent benefits” which is calculated via a “Family Maximum” amount.
4. PIA (Primary Insurance Amount) the amount of “insurance” benefits you receive IF you have a SSD Title II claim.
5. DLI (Date of Last Insured) this refers to SSD Title II benefits and is an actual date of “last” being insured such as any other insurance policy.
D. Application Checklist – Adult Disability Interview: The following is a check-list of items you should gather together for the phone interview:
You should have as much of the following information as possible ready for your interview. Keep your appointment, even if you do not have all of the information.
Check off the items below as you get them together for your interview.
1. Medical Information:
Names, addresses and phone numbers of all doctors, hospitals and clinics.
Patient ID number(s):
2. Names(s) of medicine(s) you are taking:
3. Medical records in your possession.
4. An original or certified copy of your birth certificate. If you were born in another country, SSA needs proof of U.S. citizenship or legal residency.
5. If you were in the military service, the original or a certified copy of your military discharge papers (Form DD 214) for all periods of active duty.
6. If you worked, your W-2 Form from last year, or if you were self-employed, your federal tax return (IRS 1040 and Schedules C and SE).
7. Workers’ compensation information, including date of injury, claim number and proof of payment amounts.
8. Social Security Number(s) of your spouse and minor children.
9. Your checking or savings account number if you have one.
10. Name, address and phone number of a person who we can contact if we are unable to get in touch with you.
11. Kinds of jobs and dates you worked in the 15 years before you became unable to work.
The check-list will help you collect the information you need for your interview. You should always default on making the application rather waiting to see if you might get better.
III. The Claims Process:
1. Initial Application – estimated process time: 120 days
2. Reconsideration – estimated process time: 120 days
3. Hearing – estimated process time: 18 to 22 months
The average claim takes 24-36 months before having a hearing in front of a Judge.
A. Whether or not you are aware you, the claimant, are alleging the following statement when you make an application for Social Security Disability:
“I am disabled and unable to engage in any substantial or gainful employment activity.”
B. Key Terms:
1. Disabled – can not competitively engage in work activity on a full time basis at Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA).
2. Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) – Currently SGA is $1000.00 gross pay for claimant’s and $1640.00 for Blind (20/200 both eyes best correction) claimants.
C. Part-Time Work: you can engage in part-time work while pursuing your application but you must consider three important claim fundamentals:
1. Have I already been out of work for 12 consecutive months without work activity? (If YES, other rules under a “Trial Work Period” (TWP) may apply).
2. How much am I making, per month, for the part-time work, more than SGA?
3. Under what rules am I trying to be found disabled? See, Listing of Impairments under the Social Security Act.
Applicants and recipients are required to report events and changes of circumstances that may affect their SSD & SSI eligibility and benefit amounts. Such reports are required, for example, when an individual has a change in the amount of his/her income or resources, changes living arrangements, or leaves the United States. Failure or delay in submitting a required report can result in monetary penalties or ineligibility for SSD & SSI benefits and cause “overpayment” issues.
IV. Tips On Pursuing The Claim: Top Ten (10)
1. Have a theme, theory, or basis for the claim and focus on those medical problems which have or will last 12 consecutive months or more.
2. To identify the theme, theory, or basis of the claim inform yourself on what are the medical impairments you can obtain disability for under the Social Security Act. (“Listing of Impairments” and the “Grids”)
3. Limit your verbal communications with the SSA Adjudicators, SSA employees and Judges. All information should be sent in writing U.S. Certified Mail.
4. Allow your medical records to speak for themselves.
5. Tell your doctors that your are pursuing a Social Security claim.
6. Cooperate in completing all SSA forms on time.
7. If you have a private disability insurance policy do not allow any “third party” recommended by your insurance company to “monitor” or “assist” you with your Social Security claim and obtain a private Florida Bar licensed attorney immediately.
8. Generally, keep the status quo, for example, if you decide to go to school full-time during the application process then SSA Adjudicators may conclude you can do at least “sedentary” or “light” work activities.
9. Do not go to a hearing without an attorney. At the very least the cross-examination of the Vocational and Medical Expert should be done by an experienced attorney. Do not hire a non-attorney. Look at your fee agreement and go to www.FloridaBar.org to look up the person. Do not allow a non-attorney to sign the fee agreement or appointment of representative form (SSA-1696). If you find out at the hearing before the Judge that a non-attorney is your representative tell the Judge immediately that, “I want an actual attorney”. SSA can provide a list of actual attorneys. Interview the attorney to find out his/her experience, if he or she will be the one actually representing at the hearing and get it in writing, e.g., he or she solely, should sign the fee agreement with you!
10. Call an experienced attorney and speak with him or her about the claim. The consultations are FREE! Even if you do not hire an attorney you at least can get some insight on your claim.