Common Questions About Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) in Georgia

How long does it take to get Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits?

Social Security Disability benefits can mean peace and stability in your life when you’re dealing with bad health.

But the process of getting Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is unfortunately long.

Lately at Silver & Archibald, our Georgia disability lawyers have seen it take a year for people to get responses from the Social Security Administration (SSA) on their initial applications for benefits.

When they do get an answer, it’s usually a denial. At that point, you need to appeal to Social Security for a reconsideration of the decision. If the answer is still no, your next step is asking for a disability hearing.

And then it takes four to six months to reach a hearing with a Social Security administrative law judge, which is likely your best opportunity to win benefits.

HERE’S ONE BIT OF GOOD NEWS: When you wait a long time for disability benefits and you finally get approved, you get a lump sum in back pay to start out your benefits.

This could be a sizeable check.

Back pay is how Social Security makes up for the drawn-out time you spent waiting even though you were qualified for benefits all along.

Is there any way to speed up the Social Security Disability process?

Social Security has backlogs of disability cases and not enough people to process them. You and your disability attorney can’t do anything to change that.

You can, however, avoid making the wait worse by building a stronger case for benefits, responding promptly to requests for information from Social Security and staying on top of deadlines they give you.

Your Social Security Disability lawyer makes sure your claim stays on track.

Besides managing your disability claim well, there is one special situation where you can speed up your case: if you have an acute, life-threatening disease.

For certain ailments such as some cancers, Social Security recognizes that your case is urgent and could grant a “Compassionate Allowance,” approving you for benefits without going through all the usual steps.

An experienced disability lawyer knows when and how to file for a Compassionate Allowance.

How can I support myself while waiting for Social Security Disability?

The long wait for disability benefits puts you in an extremely difficult situation.

At Silver & Archibald, we understand.

We’ll help point you to any resources available to hold you over until you receive benefits.

That could include making a long-term disability insurance claim if you have coverage, getting help from family and friends, getting assistance from programs such as food stamps, going to free clinics for your medical care and more.

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How much pay do you get from Social Security Disability benefits?

For Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), you must have a substantial history of working and paying Social Security taxes to be eligible for benefits in the first place.

They calculate the amount of your monthly benefits check partly based on what you earned when you worked. You can’t expect it to match what you once made, though. It will only be a portion of your past income.

To give you some idea of what Social Security Disability pays, the national average as of 2024 reached $1,537 a month. The highest possible amount you could get was set at $3,822. Most people don’t get the maximum.

If you receive the other type of disability benefits run by Social Security—Supplemental Security Income (SSI)—it’s different.

For SSI, the government sets the same amount of pay for everyone. It’s not tied to any past income. (And you don’t need a work history to qualify for SSI.)

In 2024, Social Security set the maximum monthly SSI payment at $943 for individuals and $1,415 for eligible couples.

SSDI and SSI amounts increase most years with cost-of-living adjustments.

What does it cost to work with a Social Security Disability attorney?

With so many people getting denied, so much information to gather, and so many hoops to jump through, you can feel more confident if you know your disability case is being handled by a professional with years of experience—your Social Security Disability lawyer.

But what do you have to pay your disability lawyer?

This is one part of the system that is mercifully easy on you.

You pay nothing up front.

You can get a lawyer to support your case—collecting evidence, helping you with forms, building legal arguments, representing you in a disability hearing with a judge, and more—without paying them anything.

Your lawyer only collects a fee when you win benefits. If you don’t win, your lawyer doesn’t get paid.

When you do win, your disability attorney’s fee comes out of the one-time back benefit check you receive because you probably spent a long time waiting for a decision. And Social Security puts a limit on how much of those back benefits attorneys can collect.

So getting a disability lawyer is low risk for you. And a lawyer can make the process easier and help you get the best possible chance of approval.

Do I have a strong case for Social Security Disability?

To have a good case of Social Security Disability benefits, you must have severe health impairments that make it impossible to work much at all.

A strong disability claim includes showing you’ve received a lot of medical treatment for your health problems. You’ll need to include medical records and evidence to back up what you say about your symptoms and how they limit you.

You’ll need to explain your past jobs to show how your current health struggles prevent you from meeting the demands of those jobs.

For Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), you’ll need a record of working and paying into the system. For Supplemental Security Income (SSI), you’ll need to show you have few economic resources.

It costs nothing to have an introductory conversation with the Silver & Archibald Georgia disability lawyers to learn more about your potential case for benefits and how the process works.

Work with us in Atlanta, Augusta, Macon, Savannah, Athens, Columbus—and any place in Georgia.

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Can Social Security Disability help with my medical care?

When you’re struggling with your health, you need access to health care more than ever, but coverage is harder to afford than ever.

Social Security Disability takes this into account. In fact, the medical coverage you get with benefits can be just as valuable as the monthly checks.

When you qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), you also qualify for Medicare health coverage after a waiting period. Usually you cannot get Medicare until retirement age.

Getting into the program at a younger age can make a major difference in your life.

When you qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), you automatically qualify for Medicaid health coverage. Your Medicaid coverage starts immediately.

Social Security Disability benefits can put you in a better place in life when you can’t work.

For help getting there, reach out to the Georgia disability lawyers at Silver & Archibald.

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Common Questions about Veterans’ Disability Benefits in Georgia

What do I need to get Veterans’ Disability benefits?

Veterans’ Disability benefits allow you to live a financially secure life after your time in the service left you with lasting health problems.

It’s the least your country can do to support you in return for you protecting all of us.

Your claim for disability benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs relies on two major kinds of evidence:

  1. Medical records that give a clear picture of your health struggles
  2. Military documentation that shows how your physical or mental health impairments are connected to your service in the armed forces

In some situations the government has made it easier to get access to Veterans’ Disability benefits, such as cases of toxic exposure.

Under the new federal law the PACT Act, you now only need to confirm you were serving in certain places at certain times to qualify for VA benefits for toxic exposure. You don’t need further scientific proof that exposure to toxic substances caused your current ailments.

This includes veterans exposed to Agent Orange in Vietnam, burn pits in the Gulf War, and water contamination at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina.

An experienced Veterans’ Disability lawyer from Silver & Archibald can help you maximize the benefits you receive. We support military veterans in Augusta, Savannah, Columbus, and anywhere in Georgia.

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What benefits do I get with Veterans’ Disability?

VA Disability benefits come with monthly checks, which vary in size depending on the percentage rating of your disability and your marital and family status. Benefits can reach above $4,000 per month at the high end of the scale for someone with a 100 percent disability rating.

Veteran’s Disability benefits also include health care services and job counseling.

Can I get a better VA Disability rating?

To get the most out of Veterans’ Disability benefits, you need the highest possible disability rating.

Two paths can get you full benefits:

  1. Combining ratings for individual disabilities until they total 100 percent
  2. Proving that you’re unable to work

VA attorneys who deal with this every day can help you navigate the system, get everything you’re entitled to receive, and protect your future.

Can I get VA Disability benefits and Social Security Disability benefits at the same time?

If you can’t work because of your health limitations, you can get Social Security Disability benefits regardless of your VA Disability status.

And you can get both kinds of benefits, which is a major help when you’re living with injuries and illnesses.

But these are completely separate government programs with completely different processes for evaluating disability benefits. They don’t coordinate with each other. You can’t expect one to approve you because the other one did.

Social Security only grants disability benefits for total disability, not for degrees of disability like the VA does.

If the VA concludes you’re unable to work because of injuries lingering from your military service, they’ll award what’s called Total Disability Individual Unemployability (TDIU) benefits.

And even though Social Security’s standard is also that you must be unable to work, they will use their own process and definition of disability to decide your claim.

The disability lawyers at Silver & Archibald help people in Georgia with both kinds of disability benefits. Working with us on both claims may be the best way for you to see how these benefits could work together to provide a more secure life.

Can I get compensation if I went in for VA medical care and they made my health problems worse?

When you go to a doctor and the doctor botches your medical treatment and hurts you, outside of the VA system that’s called medical malpractice. It’s a type of personal injury claim.

If this happens to you inside the VA medical system, you also can seek compensation for the harm caused by the malpractice of your health care providers.

Under VA health care there are two paths for relief:

  1. You can file for more VA Disability benefits because of the new health problems that came out of your medical treatment. The VA will treat this as though it’s another impairment connected to your service even though it happened after your service.
  2.  You can file a claim for a financial settlement. In this case, you issue a complaint with the federal government that you were harmed by a federal employee. Ultimately you’ll likely file a lawsuit in federal court seeking a monetary settlement.

The Veterans’ Disability lawyers at Silver & Archibald help armed forces veterans with both VA Disability claims and VA malpractice claims.

Your sacrifice for your country means you should get the support you need to live a stable, peaceful, full life.

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