• What Do Disability Benefits Provide?

    Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits provide an economic cushion for people with substantial work records who can no longer work because of serious health problems.
    This is what you get with SSDI benefits:

    • A monthly check to help with your expenses, calculated based on your past income.
    • Like with all Social Security benefits, the amount you receive goes up along with annual, national increases.
    • Access to Medicare health care, which would normally cover people who’ve reached retirement age. Your Medicare eligibility begins after a waiting period starting from the time Social Security decides that your disability officially began.
    • Continued support as you start to move back into the workforce, if you’re ready.
    • Benefits for dependents, such as if you have an adult child with a disability who was never able to work much and had their medical conditions before age 22.
    • Benefits for your survivors, such as spouses and children.

    In addition to Social Security Disability Insurance, Social Security runs another disability program called Supplemental Security Income (SSI). SSI is for people who can’t work and have limited income and financial resources—and they don’t need to have a substantial recent work history.

    This is what SSI disability benefits provide:

    • Monthly checks based on standard amounts set by the government, which also typically go up every year with cost-of-living adjustments.
    • Health care coverage from Medicaid (with no waiting period like with Medicare and SSDI).

    Any of the above benefits can make a major difference when your life has been disrupted by health problems.

    The disability advocates at Hanley Disability in Indiana help people secure benefits—and regain peace and stability.

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  • My doctor says I am disabled so why is Social Security denying my disability claim?

    Your doctor’s opinion is important, but that alone does not qualify you for benefits. The Social Security Administration has its own criteria for determining disability.

  • What is Supplemental Security Income?

    Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is for people with little or no income and resources. Your SSI monthly amount is based on a financial need. It is also determined by different formulas that use such factors as total household income and your entitlement to a DIB benefit, long-term disability benefit or workers’ compensation benefit.

  • Social Security said that I would be able to return to work. Should I wait to see if my health improves or should I appeal?

    You have a limited time to appeal your initial denial – don’t wait to see if your health improves. Contact Hanley Disability today. Let our experience help win you the benefits you deserve.

  • How much does it cost to hire Hanley Disability for my Social Security Disability claim? How can I afford help? What does the firm get paid?

    Federal law regulates representatives’ fees in Social Security Disability cases. So, virtually every disability representative works on the same fee basis. The fee is 25% of the past due disability benefits you get – not to exceed $6,000. There is no fee if you lose.

  • What are the important deadlines I need to watch?

    • INITIAL FILING — You need to apply for Social Security Disability benefits within a certain timeframe (usually five years) after you’re unable to work. However, every month you wait will reduce the total amount of benefits. If you wait longer than five years to apply, you may not qualify for any benefits. We strongly recommend that you apply for Social Security Disability benefits as soon as you are unable to work.
    • APPEAL — The next important deadline is the appeal. If your initial claim is denied (and most are), you’ll only have 60 days from the date of your decision letter to file an appeal with Social Security. If you don’t file an appeal within 60 days, you give up your rights to the appeal process. Even worse, you’ll have to start the application process all over again. We strongly recommend you engage an attorney to help you file your appeal.
    • FEDERAL APPEAL – If your claim qualifies for benefits, but has been denied on appeal, it can still be appealed outside the Social Security system by appealing in Federal court.
  • If I need to apply, what should I do?

    Get in touch with Hanley Disability as soon as you can, so we can help. We’ll make sure your application is complete, accurate and strong. You will need to provide information on your medical conditions, treatment, medication and work history. We help gather all the right documents.

  • What will happen at my hearing?

    A hearing is conducted by the Office of Disability Adjudication & Review of the Social Security Administration. An Administrative Law Judge will preside over your case and testimony is taken under oath.

    The hearing is also private. The only people present will be the Judge and the Judge’s assistant, you, your attorney, and any witnesses you may want to have present. Often the Judge may ask a vocational expert and/or medical expert to testify about your ability to work.

    Medical records and a medical expert will be accepted as evidence. The Judge or your representative will ask you about your present medical condition, medical history, abilities, education, training, work experience and the limitations in your daily life caused by your disability. You or your advocate may make a closing argument that you are entitled to benefits under Social Security.

  • Is Hanley Disability very experienced in Social Security Disability?

    Yes. We’ve been helping people get Social Security Disability benefits for over 45 years. At Hanley Disability, Social Security Disability is all we do.

  • How can I improve my chances of winning my Social Security Disability claim?

    Be completely honest with Social Security in their requests for information, both financial and medical.

    Go to your doctors and treatment providers for two reasons. The first reason is for your health. The second reason is because Social Security bases its decisions on the medical evidence in your file. If you are not going for treatment, Social Security can assume that your condition is not severe enough to require treatment.

    Don’t give up. It is very common for Social Security to deny claims; it is easy to become discouraged and believe it is useless to pursue your benefits. Your greatest chance to win your claim is at the hearing level, when a judge will personally meet with you and hear your complaints and problem.

    It’s also important to hire an experienced advocate to represent you who understands Social Security’s rules and requirements. It is also imperative to do this at the earliest stage possible in your claim for Social Security Disability.

  • Can I collect Social Security Disability benefits while I work?

    Yes, as long as you don’t earn much. According to Social Security rules, you can collect Social Security Disability benefits if your income represents less than you could earn through Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA).

    The exact amount changes annually, and it depends on your disability, but in 2013, the maximum before taxes monthly income was $1,040 for most people, and $1,740 for the blind.

    The formulas can be complicated, however, so talk to a disability advocate before you start working. If your income is too high, your benefits could be denied altogether. It’s best that you contact us for an evaluation of your situation, free of charge.

  • How long do I have to wait after becoming disabled before I can file for Social Security Disability benefits?

    You can file for Social Security Disability benefits as soon as you become disabled. Anyone who suffers a serious illness or injury and is expected to be out of work for a year or more should not delay in filing a claim for Social Security Disability benefits.

  • Does my age matter when trying to receive disability benefits?

    Yes. The Social Security Administration looks at age as one of the factors when determining disability. The administration evaluates age as follows:

    • 18-49 is a younger worker
    • 50-54 is closely approaching advanced age
    • 55-59 is advanced age
    • 60-64 is closely approaching retirement age.
    • The Social Security Administration’s rules take into consideration that as people get older, they become less adaptable, less able to switch to different jobs to cope with health problems.
  • Will Hanley Disability represent me at a hearing if one is necessary?

    Yes. If it is necessary for you to attend a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge, an advocate from Hanley Disability will personally represent you.

  • I’m interested in talking with Hanley Disability What should I do next?

    Contact our office today. We’ll arrange a consultation to determine whether you qualify for Social Security Disability benefits. If you do, we’ll help you start the proceedings for the best chance to win.

  • Do I Need a Disability Lawyer or Advocate?

    Social Security Disability lawyers and advocates can increase your chances of winning benefits. And you don’t pay a fee for an advocate until you win benefits. So there’s little downside to getting professional help for your disability claim.

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  • How Do I Choose a Disability Advocate or Lawyer in Indianapolis?

    For something as important and personal as claiming your disability benefits—and protecting your financial future—you want to find the right person to help you through the process. Your disability advocate or lawyer should be experienced, dedicated and caring. You can look for certain qualities in a representative to know if they’re the right one.

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  • Do You Need an Advocate or Lawyer to File for Disability Benefits in Indianapolis?

    Having a disability advocate or lawyer can make the process of filing your first application for disability benefits much more comfortable for you. And working with an advocate can raise your chances of success in the end.

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  • What is a Social Security Disability Cessation Case?

    If Social Security decides that you no longer need disability benefits because your health has improved, or you’re working and earning more than disability benefits allow, it will send you a notice of disability cessation, ending your benefits. You can, however, appeal this decision.

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  • What is in the SSA Disability Listing of Impairments that Qualify for Benefits?

    Social Security provides guidance on how to qualify for disability benefits with dozens of different physical and mental health conditions on its official “Listing of Impairments.”

    The list has 14 categories of impairments, with multiple specific health problems in every group. The Social Security Administration (SSA) explains what kinds of symptoms and medical evidence you need to prove your case for disability benefits with each condition.

    It can be an important tool in your application for Social Security Disability. But it’s not the only path to winning benefits approval.

    Disability benefits claims often include showing how multiple different health impairments combine to leave you unable to work, and eligible for benefits.

    You can also include health problems that aren’t on the list in your disability benefits claim. Regardless of whether your specific diagnosis is on the list, you can win disability benefits by showing how your day-to-day functioning is affected by your health.

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  • Are Social Security Disability Benefits Taxable?

    If you get Social Security Disability benefits, it means you can’t work and earn an income. Your finances are tight. It’s galling to think you’d have to pay taxes on your disability benefits.

    If your income outside of disability benefits isn’t enough to require paying income taxes, you probably won’t have to pay taxes on your benefits, either.

    Talk to a tax professional to understand your own situation. If you need to get disability benefits in the first place, talk to the disability advocates at Hanley Disability, who don’t help with taxes but do handle disability benefit claims with determination and care.

    Check here for more background information on Social Security Disability and taxes:

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