Social Security Disability and
Veteran Disability Benefits
FREE DISABILITY SEMINARS AVAILABLE!
You may qualify for Social Security Disability Benefits if:
- You can't work due to a medical problem or serious injury, and
- You have worked long enough and paid enough work credits into the SSA system
We can help you:
- Improve your chances of getting benefits
- Get the maximum benefits you are due
- Obtain medical records
- Complete your application and supporting documents
- File your Appeal if you get denied benefits
- Prepare for and attend any hearings
You may qualify for Veteran Disability Benefits if:
- You have a service-related illness or injury, or
- Are a Widow of a veteran, or
- You may be entitled to cash benefits if you are a veteran receiving medical coverage
In addition to Social Security benefits, you may qualify for other types of benefits, including private
disability benefits paid through a former employer, purchased with home owner's insurance or
private disability through employer sponsored health insurance.
What is the difference between Disability and SSI?
- The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program pays monthly benefits to you and
certain family members if you have worked long enough to earn sufficient work credits and
paid Social sufficient Security taxes.
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a Federal income supplement program which is
designed to help aged, blind, and disabled people, who have limited income and resources
provide for basic necessities such as food, clothing, and shelter. Click here to access the
Benefit Eligible Screening Tool to determine if you qualify for SSI benefits.
Disability Process Stages
1. Initial Application
The process of applying for Social Security Disability benefits, starts with you filing claim with the
Social Security Administration. This can be done by visiting the local office, by phone or online.
Each method has benefits. Applying online or by phone may be more convenient and allow you to
avoid waiting for an appointment at the disability office. The following information will be needed to
complete the application:
•Names, address, and dates of treatment for all medical care providers or
anyone who can provide information about your medical condition (including
doctors, hospitals and clinics) Note: Provide copies of your medical records
if you have them to save time.
•Names and dosages of medicines you are taking and who prescribed them.
•Names and dates of medical tests you have had and who sent you for them.
•Types of jobs and dates you worked for your last 5 jobs.
•Details of any insurance or workers' compensation claims you filed.
The completed application is sent to a state agency called Disability Determination Services, or
DDS for short. At DDS, your application is assigned to disability specialists known as Examiners.
Examiners are the individuals who make decisions on Social Security cases. The time that it takes
to get an decision can vary (from a few weeks to several months) and determined in large part on
how long it takes the Examiner to get the records and other information needed to evaluate the
application. However, the Social Security Administration will often suggest an average of 90 days.
During the evaluation, the Examiner will request copies of all your medical records. They may
contact you or your friends and relative to obtain information about your medical condition; contact
your medical care providers or independent physicians and specials to review your records; or send
Send the claimant to a medical examination paid for by DDS.
You can't call the Social Security office to speed up this process. However, you can get the number
of the DDS from the Social Security office and contact their office to check on your claim. Note: Be
reasonable in calling. Calling on a daily basis will not result in your claim getting approved.
2. Request For Reconsideration
If you get denied on a reconsideration (social security disability approves less than 50 percent of
these), you need to immediately file a request for hearing, which is the second stage of the process.
During this process, you should provide you most recent medical records and any updates regarding
you medical condition or new symptoms develop. The deadline to file this appeal is 60 days of
getting the denial of your initial application. Don't waste time. Get your paperwork filed immediately.
3. Administrative Hearing
The Social Security Hearings office (formerly known as OHA, or office of hearings and appeals) is
where the majority of social security disability claims will reach a favorable end. Going by statistics
published by the federal government, more than half of all claims that are heard by judges at a Social
Security Hearings office are approved for disability benefits.
During this stage of the disability application process, your case may "sit" for a year or longer simply
waiting to be assigned to a particular Administrative Law Judge and then scheduled for a hearing
date. You won't hear much, if anything, about your case. Usually, the only official correspondence that
a disability applicant will receive will be an acknowledgement or confirmation letter following a
request for hearing that has been submitted. You may also receive a request for verification of
updated or additional medical records or treatment before you get your notice of hearing. Most
social security hearings offices will provide an exhibit list and allow access to the claimant's file
before a hearing. This allows you to confirm that all of your medical documentation is in your file.
This will also help you complete a Pre-Hearing Brief to compile your case into a short, concise report
for easy viewing by the Administrate Law Judge.
You will be allowed to provide live testimony at the hearing, including witnesses who can provide
information about your medical conditions and their effect on your ability to work and/or complete
everyday work tasks.
4. Appeals Council
If you are denied or disagree with the hearing decision, you may ask for a review by Social Security’
s Appeals Council.
The Appeals Council looks at all requests for review, but it may deny a request if it believes the
hearing decision was correct. If the Appeals Council decides to review your case, it will either decide
your case itself or return it to an administrative law judge for further review.
If the Appeals Council denies your request for review, we will send you a letter explaining the denial.
If the Appeals Council reviews your case and makes a decision itself, their office will send you a
copy of the decision. If the Appeals Council returns your case to an administrative law judge, we will
send you a letter and a copy of the order.
The purpose of this stage of the appeals process is not to evaluate the merits of a case, but, rather,
to determine if the Administrative Law Judge who denied the claim was in error. You can file an
appeal at your local Social Security Office. To help your appeal, you can write a brief and point out
the areas were the ALJ has made reversible mistakes. The arguments that can be made to get a
decision reversed or remanded (sent back to ALJ for a new hearing) are numerous and differ from
case to case.
5. Federal Court
If you disagree with the Appeals Council’s decision or if the Appeals Council decides not to review
your case, you may file a lawsuit in a federal district court. The letter that the Appeals Council will
send you about the Appeals Council’s action also will tell you how to ask a court to look at your case.
NOTE: Most cases are denied at the initial stage of Social Security
Disability process, but don't give up hope. This simply means that
many applications who are entitled to an ultimately receive disability
benefits are denied at the initial application stage.
What can the Metts Law Firm, LLC do for you? We can:
The Social Security Disability application process is very long and complicated. If you are suffering
from a physical or mental condition, the wait can be excruciating. With family depending on you, this
long process can add to your family stress and financial hardship. You and your family need the
back pay an monthly benefits paid by Social Security. Considering how long this process takes and
the toll that it can take on your life, don't try to do it alone. And most importantly, don't give up. Help is
just a call or click away.
- Guide you through all steps of the Social Security Disability application process,
including the Initial Disability Application, Reconsideration, Hearing Requests, and
- Focus on your case and make sure that any information that supports your claim is
provide, file you paperwork quickly
- Obtain copies of all medical records and help you find referrals for first and second
- Help develop the best legal argument for your case following the regulations and
guidelines regarding disability eligibility requirements
- Prepare your case for hearings, including a Pre-hearing Brief for the Administrative
Hearing to help increase you chances of winning Social Security Disability
- Provide legal advice and counsel throughout the process, answering any questions
you may have, while helping you fight for your benefits.
|For a FREE case evaluation of your case,
please complete the form below and
someone from my office will get in touch
with you to discuss your case. This
evaluation is free of charge and you are not
obligated to retain our services.
Q. How do I qualify for Social Security Disability?
A. You may quality to receive money benefits
paid by the Social Security Administration if you have a
medical condition or injury that prevents you from working for
a minimum of one year.
Q. How does the Social Security
Administration determine disability?
The Social Security Administration has a five step process in
Step One -The first step involves determining if you
are working. The amount of money you make if you
are working is limited. If you make more than allowed,
you will not be considered disabled. (See Publication
No. 05-10003 for current figure Update )
Step Two - The second step is to consider the severity of
your medical condition(s) if you make less than the current
guideline amount. This involves determining whether your
medical condition(s) significantly affect
you ability to perform basic work activities, i.e. sitting,
standing, walking, for at least one year.
Step Three - If the condition is severe enough to limit basic
work functions, the agency will determine if the medical
condition(s) are on a List of Impairments for adults and
children developed by the agency. The impairments
described are considered so severe by
the agency that you can automatically be defined by
law as disabled. If your condition is not on the list, the agency
can determine that you are disabled if your condition(s) are
as severe as those on the list of impairments.
Step Four - If your medical condition(s) are not on the list of
impairments or meet or exceed the severity of
an impairment on the list, the agency will then
consider whether you medical condition(s) prevent
you from doing the type of work you did before.
Step Five - If the agency decides that you can do the type of
work you did before, then it will decide you are not disabled.
If not, then the agency will evaluate your medical condition(s),
age, education, past work experience and skills learned from
that work, to determine if you can do any other type of work.
If you can, then the agency will decide that you are not
Q. How long will it take to settle my Social Security
A. This is a hard question to answer as there is no definite
answer. The current estimated time for disposing of a case
from the filing of the initial application to a hearing is
approximately 24 months (give or take a few months). This
can be a very long
and stressful process. Put your case in our hands
and let us help you through this process.
Q. How much will the Social Security Administration
pay me if approved?
A. The amount of benefits is determined by your average
lifetime earnings and whether your benefits
will be reduced based on the receipt of other types of
compensation for you medical condition(s), such as workers'
compensation. The Social Security Administration sends out
a yearly statement providing your lifetime earnings and
provides an estimate of
your disability benefit. See the following publications provided
by the Social Security Administration:
How Workers’ Compensation And Other Disability Payments
May Affect Your Benefits (Publication No.
05-10018); Windfall Elimination Provision (Publication No. 05-
10045); and Government Pension Offset (Publication No. 05-
Q. How far back will Social Security pay me if I am
A. If you are approved for social security disability, your
first check will be paid for the sixth full month after the date
your disability started.
Q. What can I do to help win my Social Security
A. You need sufficient medical documentation to support
the severity of your medical condition(s).
You should keep up with your medical treatment and doctor
appointments. It may also be helpful to keep a diary to help
document on a daily basis your disability keeps you from
performing your past work; your medications and side effects;
your aches and pains;
and how disability or medications affect daily activities such as
driving, shopping, taking care of family,
walking, standing, sitting, memory, concentration,
coping with stressful situations, and dealing with other people
Q. Can I work and still receive Social Security
A. Yes. However, the agency limits the amount can make.
See current limits.
Q. Do I have to be permanently disabled to receive
social security disability?
A. You are entitled to benefits if your medical condition(s)
are severe enough to prevent you from working for a period
of at least one year. If your condition improves your benefits
can be terminated.
Q. Will I receive Medicare?
A. You will get Medicare coverage automatically
after you have received social security disability
benefits for two years.
Q. How much will an attorney charge?
A. The Social Security Administration will withhold
25% of your past due benefits to compensate legal fees.
Q. Will my family receive anything if I am approved?
A. If you are approved for Social Security Disability
benefits, members of your family may qualify for benefits.
They include but are not limited to the following:
Your spouse, if he or she is 62 or older;
Your spouse, at any age if he or she is caring for a
child of yours who is younger than age 16 or disabled;
Your unmarried child, including an adopted child, or,
in some cases, a stepchild or grandchild. The child
must be under age 18 or under age 19 if in elementary or
secondary school full time; and
Your unmarried child, age 18 or older, if he or she has
a disability that started before age 22. (The child’s disability
also must meet the definition of disability for adults.)
|Metts Law Firm, LLC
3531 River Drive
Columbia, SC 29201
Common Medical Conditions
Arthritis & joint pain Links to Listings of Impairments
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Heart Disease & failure & anxiety
Hearing Loss & impairment
Hepatitis C & liver failure
Disability Intake Form
Appointment of Representative
Residual Function Capacity
Evaluation- Physical Impairment
Residual Function Capacity
Evaluation- Mental Impairment
Pre Hearing Brief
Ways to Win Your Case
Below are 3 very important ways to prove your eligibility
for Social Security Disability benefits. Proving one of
these methods makes you eligible for benefits.
1. You may win by proving a condition on the
The Social Security Administration has Impairment
Listings which describe, for each major body system,
impairments or medical conditions that are considered
severe enough to prevent an individual from doing any
gainful activity (or in the case of children under age 18
applying for SSI, severe enough to cause marked and
severe functional limitations). Most of the listed
impairments are permanent or expected to result in
death, or the listing includes a specific statement of
duration is made. If you have one of these impairments,
you are eligible for disability benefits under the Social
Security guidelines. For all other listings, you must
show that your impairment has lasted or is expected
to last for a continuous period of at least 12 months.
These criteria apply to the Social Security
Administration's evaluation of claims for disability
Part A of the Listing of Impairments (included on this
site to the right) contains medical criteria that apply to
the evaluation of impairments in adults age 18 and over.
The Listing of Impairments criteria apply to one step of
the multi-step sequential evaluation process. At that
step, the presence of an impairment that meets the
criteria in the Listing of Impairments (or that is of equal
severity) is usually sufficient to establish that an
individual who is not working is disabled.
The lack of a listing-level impairment does not mean
the individual is not disabled. Rather, it requires the
adjudicator to move on to the next step of the process
and apply other rules in order to resolve the issue of
2. You may win by proving Limited Capacity
This involves proving that your medical condition
hinders or reduces your capacity for work. The
Social Security Administration refers to this as
“residual functional capacity.” Residual means that
which is left over. Functional refers to your ability to
perform in a work or work like environment. Capacity
describes your ability to perform in a competitive work
environment. So, if your residual functional capacity
is less than sedentary, it means that you do not have
the ability to perform even a simple, sit down, unskilled
job 8 hours a day, 5 days a week.
If you have medical records and physician opinion
evidence sufficient to prove that your residual
functional capacity is less than sedentary, you are
eligible for disability benefits. Judges give medical
opinion evidence (especially if the physician has
been treating the claimant on a long term basis) lot
of weight if it supported by the medical records history.
A residual functional capacity evaluation form or RFC
can be completed by your medical for use with your
disability application. Your doctor will be asked to
comment about your exertional capacity and your non-
exertional limitations. Exertional capacity has to do
with your physical abilities - things like standing,
walking, lifting and carrying. Non-exertional impair-
ments have more to do with things like pain,
endurance and concentration. You can download
a RFC form from this site for completion by your
medical care providers. This form can also be
customized and amended for you as needed.
3. Prove a “Grid Rule”
This involves the effect of age and education on your
ability to work.
The third way to win your disability case is by proving
that you meet the “grid rules,” as they are referred
to by the Social Security Administration. These rules
apply when you are 50 or older and have a physical
type of impairment. These rules do not apply to
claimants with non-physical impairments like
depression or pain.
The grid rules take into account your age, education,
work skills and physical capacity for work. You can
line up each of these elements on the grid chart to
determine whether you meet one of the rules and
thereby qualify automatically. SSA recognizes by use of
these "grid rules" that workers who are older and less
education will have a harder time finding an entry level
job. Realistically, fewer jobs are offered to workers over
50, even if those jobs are simple and unskilled.
Workers between the ages of 18-49 are considered
to be younger individuals. Workers between the ages
of 50-54 are considered closing approaching
advanced age. Workers over 55 are considered by
Social Security to be in advanced age.
Sedentary: Sedentary work means that you are able
to sit for up to 6 hours in an 8 hour day, and lift up to
10 lbs. occasionally during a day
Light: Light work means that you can stand and walk
for up to 6 hours in an 8 hour day, lift 10 lbs.
frequently and 20 lbs. occasionally
Medium: Medium work means that you can stand and
walk for up to 6 hours in an 8 hour day, lift 25 lbs.
frequently and 50 lbs. occasionally
For example: Grid rule 201.01 provides that a
worker between the ages of 50 and 54, with limited
or less than a high school education whose has no
transferable work skills or performed unskilled work
will be considered disabled.
The older a worker becomes, the more Social
Security accepts that simple, entry level work really
does not exist in significant numbers in our economy
to consider that the worker is able to find work.
Click on the link to see the grid rules. Use of the grid
rules may be beyond the knowledge of the average
disability claimant. Therefore, it is very important to
seek information about any element that may help
prove your eligibility for Social Security Disability
benefits and win your case.
Disclaimer: M. Rita Metts and Metts Law Firm, LLC provides the information in this web site for informational purposes only. This website and the information obtained therein does not constitute legal advice or an offer of representation. The use
if you wish to discuss your personal situation or the details the contents of this web site.
Counties Served: I represent Social Security Disability applications and appeals throughout South Carolina including Richland, Lexington, Kershaw, Fairfield, Sumter, Lancaster, Chester, Orangeburg, Bamberg, Newberry, Laurens, Lee, Greenville,
Spartanburg, and Darlington counties.
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