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FAQ

Winning disability benefits in Southeast Virginia, including Richmond, Norfolk, Newport News, and Williamsburg, can be complicated and difficult. We’ve compiled a list of frequently asked questions we get from those who are considering applying for Social Security disability. If you want to discuss your case further, contact us today, free of charge. It costs you nothing unless you win.

Who is eligible for disability benefits from Social Security?

Under the Social Security Act, “disability” is defined as the “inability to take part in any substantial activity by reason of any medical, physical, or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or has lasted or can last for a period of no more than 12 months.”

Just because you can still do some things well doesn’t mean you’re not disabled. Depending on what your age is, work experience, and other factors, you could be entitled to disability benefits.

The disability lawyers at the Gillette Law Group has helped residents of Southeast Virginia, including Richmond, Newport News, and Williamsburg. Find out if you qualify for Social Security disability benefits.

How does Social Security decide/determine if I am disabled?

You must be unable to do any substantial work because of your medical, physical, or mental condition.

Your medical condition must have lasted, or is expected to last, at least one year or be expected to result in death.

If you believe you are too sick or injured to work, The Gillette Law Group, PLLC, can help you file a claim for benefits with the Social Security Administration (SSA). The SSA evaluates every claim using a 5-step analysis to determine if you are disabled.

How can I find out if my medical condition qualifies for disability benefits?

Just about any medical problem that stops you from working can mean that you qualify for disability benefits.

Being disabled under Social Security’s rules means that a medical condition or injury is expected to prevent you from being able to work for at least 12 months. This can be due to a physical condition, a mental condition, or a combination of problems.

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

It is not up to your doctor to determine whether you are disabled. It is up to Social Security to make their own decision regardless of what your doctor thinks.

What is the difference between Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security Income (S.S.I)?

Social Security is responsible for two major programs that provide benefits based on disability: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), which is based on prior work under Social Security, and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Under SSI, payments are made on the basis of financial need.

How long does it take to obtain my disability benefits once a claim for benefits is filed?

It can take approximately six months to receive a decision on your initial application. If your application is denied, it can take an additional year and a half to obtain a decision as your claim works its way through the appeals process. However, certain circumstances can shorten that time period, so call our office today to determine if any are applicable to your case.

Williamsburg, VA – (757) 272-1268
Newport News, VA – (757) 926-5300

If I win my case, how much money will I receive?

The Social Security Administration pays disability benefits under two different programs:

SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY INSURANCE (SSDI) BENEFITS.

This is for insured workers, their surviving spouses and children of disabled, retired or deceased workers. Your benefit amount is calculated by different formulas that use the number of years you have already worked and the amount of taxes you have already paid.

SUPPLEMENTAL SECURITY INCOME (SSI).

This 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.

If you are found eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) Benefits, the amount you will receive each month is calculated based on your lifetime earnings, which differ for every individual. Please refer to your latest bi-annual statement from the Social Security Administration (SSA) to see how much (if any) SSDI you may receive. Also, if you have unmarried children under age 18 (or under age 19 if still in high school) that live in your home, you may receive additional money to help care for them.

If you are awarded Supplemental Security Income (SSI), you will receive a monthly payment of up to $733 for an eligible individual and $1,100 for an eligible individual with an eligible spouse. This amount may be reduced, however, if you and your spouse have too much income or resources.

If I need to apply, what should I do?

File your initial application through www.ssa.gov or call Gillette Law Group at 1-800-772-1213. You might be awarded benefits without the help of an attorney. However, you should contact an attorney if your initial claim with the Social Security Administration has been denied. The Gillette Law Group, PLLC, can help you plan a strategy to best present your case.

If I applied but was denied, what should I do?

Don’t give up, get Gillette! Most people are denied. If you want to appeal, you must make your request in writing within 60 days from the date you received a denial letter.

If I received notice that I will have a hearing, what should I do?

Contact an attorney today. 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 a testimony is taken under oath.

Medical records and a medical and/or vocational testimony may be accepted as evidence. The Judge or your attorney 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. Your attorney may make a closing argument that you are entitled to benefits under Social Security.

Why do I need a lawyer to help me?

An attorney can analyze your Social Security file, prepare your case, obtain important evidence, prepare your testimony, make helpful legal arguments, question witnesses, and cross-examine any medical and/or vocational experts who testify at your hearing.

What if I cannot afford an attorney for my disability case?

Federal law regulates attorneys’ fees in Social Security Disability cases. So, virtually every disability lawyer works on the same fee basis. The lawyer’s fee is 25% of the past due disability benefits you get. There is no fee if you lose. However there may be some minor costs to obtain medical records for your case.

What is the biggest mistake people make when trying to get disability benefits?

Failing to appeal. More than half of all claimants who are initially denied benefits do not appeal their case.

Another critical mistake is the failure to immediately get medical care. Medical records are your best defense and are your evidence in disability cases so it is essential that you see a doctor and continue to do so on a regular basis in order to chronicle the history of your disability.

Does the Gillette Law Group, PLLC offer telephone appointments?

Yes, the Gillette Law Group, PLLC, does accept telephone appointments. Call today to start your case. We encourage you to call us directly at the office closest to you.

Williamsburg, VA – (757) 272-1268
Newport News, VA – (757) 926-5300

I'm interested in talking with Gillette Law Group, PLLC. What should I do next?

Contact the Gillette Law Group, PLLC, today to protect your rights! We encourage you to call us directly at the office closest to you.

Williamsburg, VA – (757) 272-1268
Newport News, VA – (757) 926-5300

Or, if you’d prefer, submit your contact info and we will follow up with you. Fill out the Contact Us form and someone from our offices will contact you to schedule an appointment with Brian Gillette.

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