Law Office of Christina A. Apfel, Esq

Frequently Asked Questions:

What is the difference between Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI)?

Am I disabled under the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) definition? 

To be considered disabled under SSA’s definition, you must have a severe physical or mental impairment(s) or combination of impairments that is likely:

What are the physical or mental impairment(s) that SSA recognizes?

There are many disabling impairments.  Below are some of the more prevalent disabilities that might make you eligible for SSI or SSDI benefits.

 NOTE:  The above is only a partial list of disabilities.

Do I have to wait one year after becoming disabled to apply for benefits?

No, you should apply for benefits as soon as you become disabled.  It can take anywhere from three to five months to process the application for disability benefits.

I applied for SSDI benefits and have been turned down.  How long do I have to appeal?

Generally, you have 60 days to file an appeal of any denial of benefits.

What if I disagree with the determination?

If you disagree with the initial determination, you can appeal.  Most people, about 70 percent, are denied at the initial level.  The first appeal is called Reconsideration.  This appeal is a review of your case by a team that was not involved in the original determination.  If your case is denied at this level, you can request a hearing before an administrative law judge, who is not bound by the previous determinations.  If you are denied after the hearing, you can ask for a review by the Appeals Council.  If you lose at the Appeals Council, you have a right to file a civil lawsuit in U.S. Federal District Court.

If I get disability, will I be entitled to health insurance?

If you receive SSDI benefits, you are eligible for Medicare twenty-nine months after your onset date or two years after the first date you were eligible for benefits, whichever is later. 

If you receive SSI benefits, you will receive Medicaid effective the day you applied for SSI. 

People with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (“ALS” or “Lou Gehrig’s disease”) or those with End Stage Renal Disease (kidney disease) are eligible for Medicare without the normal waiting period.

What is your fee?

We will not charge a fee unless we win your case.  If you are approved, SSA will pay our approved fee from your back pay.