Social Security Questions and Answers

Can I work while receiving social security disability benefits?

If you are receiving benefits under the SSD (Social Security Disability) program you may work a limited amount that does not exceed SGA (Substantial Gainful Activity) - that is the amount of work you are able to perform and be paid for before you considered not disabled. SGA is expressed in terms of monthly income and changes from year to year. For the year 2019, the SGA income limit for someone who is not blind is $1,220.00 per month. The SGA income limit for someone who is blind is $2,040.00. If your income exceeds that amount, the SSA will consider you to be no longer disabled.
The rules are different for someone who receives SSI (Supplemental Security Income). The maximum income you can receive is determined by the FBR (Federal Benefit Amount). The monthly maximum Federal amounts for 2019 are $771 for an eligible individual, $1,157 for an eligible individual with an eligible spouse, and $386 for an essential person.

How does the Social Security Administration define "disability?"

The Social Security Administration defines "disability" as follows:
you have a medically determinable physical or mental impairment (including an emotional or learning problem) which:

  • results in the inability to do any substantial gainful activity; and
  • can be expected to result in death; or
  • has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months.

What is the Compassionate Allowance List?

According to SSA:

Compassionate Allowances are a way to quickly identify diseases and other medical conditions that, by definition, meet Social Security's standards for disability benefits. These conditions primarily include certain cancers, adult brain disorders, and a number of rare disorders that affect children. The CAL initiative helps us reduce waiting time to reach a disability determination for individuals with the most serious disabilities.
The Compassionate Allowances program identifies claims where the applicant's disease or condition clearly meets Social Security's statutory standard for disability. By incorporating cutting-edge technology, the agency can easily identify potential Compassionate Allowances to quickly make decisions. Social Security Administration (SSA) uses the same rules to evaluate CAL conditions when evaluating both Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) programs.
Click this link for a complete list of compassionate allowance conditions. If you have one of these conditions have been denied social security benefits, contact the Law Offices of Richard L. Sheppard III for assistance with your claim.

What does "Listing of Impairments" mean?

Some conditions are considered by SSA severe enough to constitute a disability if certain criteria are met. SSA has compiled a list of these conditions and the criteria required to be established. These can be found here It is very difficult to establish a listing impairment, which usually requires expert testimony at the hearing level.

How does my age affect my chances of receiving SSD and SSI benefits?

Your age makes a difference. The older you are, the better your chance of receiving social security benefits. That is because it is more difficult for an older person to transition into a new career. Just think of the adage, "You can't teach an old dog new tricks!"

How will my social security attorney get paid on my case?

Your social security attorney only earns a fee if you win your case. That fee is a percentage of the benefits owed to you from the time your disability began to the time you are awarded benefits. The percentage is set by law and is currently 25% but no more than $6,000.00. The fee is deducted from the amount SSA owed you and is usually paid automatically by SSA to your attorney.