Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Do I have a good case?
A. You might! I won’t know until I review your medical records. You might be having a difficult time just getting thought the day due to your injury or illness, however, if your complaints along with objective test and examination results are not in your records, then your case won’t be very strong. It is impossible to know until I review your medical records. Your medical records are the cornerstone of your case and the bottom line is that you must have medical records to win your case.
Quite simply, to have a good case, you need to be: (1) not working; (2) diagnosed with something that has lasted or will last 12 months or longer or end in death; (3) meet certain medical criteria spelled out by SSA; (4) if the medical criteria is not met, then, considering your limitations and restrictions, you are unable to return to any job that you’ve had in the last 15 years; and (5) you are unable to work in any job whatsoever.
Q. My doctor says that there is no further treatment, should I still keep going to the doctor?
A. You should go periodically. Even if there is nothing that your doctor can do, we will still need medical records documenting your subjective complaints and the objective test and examination results. Without regular medical records, your case won’t be very strong and you risk losing your case without records.
Q. Are you going to send forms to my doctor?
A. Probably, however I am required to submit everything to SSA, even if it is unfavorable to you. For this reason, I am very careful about which doctors I send forms or ask for letters from. I prefer if you, as the patient, first have an informal discussion about whether your doctor will fill out a form or write a letter on your behalf.
Q. Can you call my doctor and tell him/her what to write so that I win my case?
A. No. Although your doctor is welcome to call me if he/she has questions about the Social Security Disability process and what SSA considers “disabled,” I cannot (and will not) tell your doctor what to write. Keep in mind that anything that your doctor writes needs to be consistent with your medical records.
Q. How do I file for Social Security Disability benefits?
A. You can apply online or apply at any SSA office. If you have retained Yancey Disability Law, PC, we can complete your application for benefits with your either on the phone or in our Encinitas, CA office.
Q. What happens if my application is denied?
A. If you are a Yancey Disability Law, PC client, you should call us immediately. You have 60 days to appeal. We prioritize appeals because of the deadline involved. You have 60 days to appeal, and it is best to appeal as soon as possible. If you have not yet retained Yancey Disability Law, PC, that’s ok. Once you formally retain us, we can complete your appeal that day. Otherwise, you should either go online or visit an SSA office and complete your appeal as soon as possible.
Q. Why do I keep getting denied/does the government just want me to go away?
A. The process can be long and most people need to have a hearing before they are approved. Millions of people apply every year, and, unfortunately, most are denied after filing their initial applications and the first appeal, which is called the Reconsideration. I don’t know whether the government wants you to go away, but I encourage you not to give up!
Q. How much am I going to get if I win?
A. I’m not sure. SSA has a formula for determining your monthly benefit amount that has to do with how much you paid into the system over the years. The maximum you can receive is $2788 per month. The average monthly payment is around $1400 per month. For SSI, your monthly benefit is capped at $750 per month and California pays a supplement, bringing your monthly total up to $990 per month.
Q. Should I file right away or should I wait 12 months?
A. To be eligible for benefits, you must have an impairment that has lasted or is expected to last 12 months or longer. You do not have to wait the full 12 months to apply. Apply right away.
Q. Can I/should I file for unemployment benefits?
A. No. When filing for unemployment, you have to certify that you are physically and mentally capable of working. This is exactly the opposite of what you are telling SSA when you apply for Social Security Disability. If you receive unemployment during the time you are alleging that you are disabled, you risk being denied your Social Security Disability benefits.
Q. Do I need a lawyer?
A. No, you do not ‘need’ a lawyer. You can represent yourself, however, more people are approved with a lawyer! Let’s face it, you are not well. The system is complicated with hundreds of regulations. It is best to hire an experienced lawyer who can maximize your chances of winning.
Q. What is temporary disability?
A. Short term, or temporary disability, is something that is paid by private insurance companies. The State of California pays disability benefits for a year, provided that you have paid into it and your doctor certifies your disability. While you are on temporary disability, you can apply for Social Security Disability. You do not have to wait until your temporary disability runs out.
Q. Do you file State Disability claims?
A. No. Yancey Disability Law, PC specializes in Social Security Disability, which is a federal program.