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THE SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY BLOG

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P: 828-252-2852

What happens if I am able to return to work before my Social Security Disability claim is determined?

The Social Security disability process can be very lengthy, sometimes taking three (3) years or more for a final decision to be made. Most claimants have to make an initial application, a Reconsideration appeal, and go through an Administrative Law Judge hearing before receiving a favorable decision. Due to the time period between application and hearing, some claimants may find that their condition has improved to the point they are able to return to gainful employment before their disability claim has gone through all the steps for a final determination.

If the Social Security Administration determines that you were disabled, but your condition improved while you were still waiting on a disability decision, then you can still be awarded disability benefits from the established date of onset of your disability until you became able to return to gainful employment. This period of time is known as a “closed period benefit.” To be eligible for closed period disability benefits, the period of disability must have lasted at least twelve (12) months.

Any retroactive pay for the closed period benefit is still subject to the five (5) month disability waiting period and the Social Security Administration automatically subtracts the first five (5) full months from the disability pay. In other words, if you were found to be disabled for a period of fifteen (15) months, you would only receive disability pay for 10 months. This rule does not apply to retroactive Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

Disability claimants are more likely to be successful in receiving disability awards if they are able to return to work because the Social Security Administration assumes less risk in awarding benefits for the closed benefit period than in situations where the disability is ongoing and possibly continuing for decades (or until you reach your SS retirement age). If you are able to return to work, the period for which you were found to be disabled is excluded in determining your future work credits which may impact the amount of Social Security retirement income you are entitled to receive.

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FREQUENTLY ASKED SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY QUESTIONS

Q. What happens when I am denied?

Most claimants are denied several times before they receive a favorable decision on their claim. DO NOT GIVE UP. Your best opportunity to prove your disability occurs with a lawyer at an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) hearing. You have paid SS taxes for years and should pursue your rights to get SS benefits aggressively.

Q. What type of disability is required before I qualify?

You may be eligible for Social Security (SS) if you have mental and/or physical problems severe enough to keep you from working for a period of twelve (12) months or more at a regular paying job you are qualified to do. You must be unable to work at any reasonable job, not just the one you had before your disability. The inability to return to your present job, your age, education and work experience are all factors that SSA will consider.

Q. How do lawyers get paid for handling SS disability cases?

A. Most attorneys charge a contingent fee which is the lesser of $5300 or 25% percent of your back benefits. A contingent fee means that if your claim is denied, no attorneys fees are owed. The Administrative Law Judge must review and approve employment agreements before any legal fees can be charged. Most lawyers will advance the expenses of a claim with the understanding that these costs will be recovered when the claim is approved.

Q. Can a child disabled since birth get SS disability benefits even if he has never worked?

A. Yes. If the child is under age eighteen (18) and you are poor enough, he may be able to qualify for SSI child's disability benefits. If the child is over age eighteen (18), he may be able to qualify for SSI disability benefits without regard to your income. If you or your spouse get some kind of Social Security benefit or if your spouse is deceased, your son may be eligible for disabled adult child benefits.

Q. Can I draw Social Security if I have never worked full time?

A. Yes. If you are unable to work at any job for a period of twelve (12) months or more AND have financial need, you may be eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI). SSI is a special program of the Social Security Administration that provides benefits to individuals who have not worked on a full time basis. Even if you have worked in the past, you might be eligible for SSI. You should consult a qualified lawyer to understand the types of Social Security programs for which you may be eligible.

Q. What is an Administrative Law Judge Hearing?

SS hearings are held by a judge called an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). The Western North Carolina area has been blessed with very competent and reasonable ALJs. The hearings are relatively informal and have no District Attorney or U.S. Attorney on the "other side" trying to trick or confuse you. Some ALJs will ask questions, some will let your lawyer ask all the questions. Your testimony to the ALJ should emphasize specific physical and/or mental problems and how these ailments prevent you from working. The ALJ will hear all the evidence and make a decision based on your medical records and testimony heard at the hearing. Sometimes, the ALJ will request a Vocational Expert or Medical Advisor to testify. No jury or other panel will...

SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY VIDEOS

Our Video Library is not closed-captioned.  Instead of embedding our videos, we have created posts for them, where full transcripts of can be found. Click on the links below to view the video and its transcript.

Social Security Detail

Social Security – Detail

Social Security part 4

Social Security Part 4

Social Security part 3

Social Security Part 3

Social Security part 2

Social Security Part 2

Social Security part 1

Social Security Part 1

Rules Regarding Social Security Disability and Your Employment

Rules Regarding Social Security Disability and Your Employment

Social Security Hearing Timeframe

Resolution of Social Security Disability Cases: A Timeframe Overview

Contemporaneous Workers’ Compensation and Social Security Disability Claims

Contemporaneous Workers’ Compensation and Social Security Disability Benefit

Working While on Social Security

Social Security Disability and Your Employment

Appealing Social Security Denials

Appealing the Denial of Your Social Security Disability Claim

Work History Requirements

Work History Requirements for Social Security Disability

Drug and Alcohol Dependency and Social Security Disability

Drug and Alcohol Dependency and Social Security Disability

Child Eligibility for Social Security

Child Eligibility for Social Security Benefits and Social Security Insurance

The Administrative Law Judge’s Role in Social Security Disability

The Administrative Law Judge’s Role in the Social Security Appellate Hearing

Compassionate North Carolina Social Security Disability Lawyer

David Gantt describes his History in Helping People with Workers’ Compensation and Social Security Disability Cases

~ What Our Clients Say ~

Yelp Review 2019

December 19, 2019

David Gantt and his staff were excellent very informative, kept me updated on every move and with this dedication I was able to win my Social Security hearing. Highly Recommend.

November 2019 AVVO Review

November 27, 2019

Amazing! When my husband was injured, we didn’t know who to turn to. I started googling to find a attorney, I called Mr. Gantt, I couldn’t be more thankful! The nightmare was over as Mr. Gantt and his amazing team handled everything from that very moment! Not only was professional but extremely caring, taking time…

November 2019 AVVO Review

November 27, 2019

David Gantt and his staff handled my disability claim and they were excellent. I highly recommend him, he is the best in Western North Carolina. Mrs. Kelly Reaves 5.0 stars November 5, 2019

October 2019 Martindale Hubble Review

October 29, 2019

David is clear, precise, and delivers as promises.

2019 Google Review

August 7, 2019

The entire staff were welcoming, knowledgeable, helpful, and nice people! David was professional. He knew exactly what he was talking about and did what he said he was going to do. I have had a wonderful experience with this firm and will not hesitate to use them in the future.

2019 AVVO Review “Get ‘er done Gantt!”

July 10, 2019

I was very satisfied with David Gantt’s expertise and knowledge in all aspects handling my case. He dealt with all the paperwork and contacted all necessary providers to get my medical history – it was extremely hassle free! He communicated and counseled me on what to expect – being very forthcoming (he’s a straight shooter)!…

2019 Facebook review

June 5, 2019

I highly recommend Mr. Gantt. He is very kind and always professional. He prepared me for my disability hearing and calmed my nerves. Everything happened exactly as he said it would. I honestly do not think that I would have been approved for disability without his help. Also, his office staff were always ready to…

2019 Google Review

May 28, 2019

Mr. Gantt took good care of me. I will be forever grateful for him getting me the social security payments I need for a disability due to military service. He seems like a genuine compassionate good man. I highly recommend! ~C.M.

2019 Google Review

May 10, 2019

David and his entire staff are so nice and show compassion to everybody. He was there when I had any questions. David Gantt is the best attorney in his field, he goes above and beyond. I am extremely grateful to him and his staff. ~M.H.

2019 Google Review

May 9, 2019

Very nice and friendly service. They always answered any of my questions. Had a great experience working with them on my disability case. I highly recommend there services! After trying for 6 years and 2 unfavorable decisions, David and his team did a great job representing my case and won. I appreciate there time and…

2019 Google Review

May 9, 2019

The whole office is very respectful. Answered all my questions. So Glad they were there cause I had no clue after fighting for 2 years. Thank you guys soo much. ~K.H.

2019 Google Review

May 9, 2019

I am very grateful to David Gantt & his staff! They were wonderful and made the confusing process much easier to understand. I wish I had contacted them sooner. They were super to work with and such nice people! Thank you so much! ~K.S.

Avvo Review 2019

May 7, 2019

Mr. Gantt is a highly compassionate and professional lawyer. He worked hard for me to show my disabilities. Always pleasant and supportive, while being very much on top of his cases. I recommend David Gantt to anyone. Great Attorney! 5 Stars. ~ Dakota

Google Review 2019

April 10, 2019

Wonderful client services..very friendly and willing to go the extra mile to help clients. highly recommend him for anyone needing assistance for the Disability SSI. ~T.D.

2019 Google Review

April 9, 2019

I am so grateful to Mr. Gantt & his staff. They have been so professional and knowledgeable. They’ve answered all of my questions and made a very stressful situation, bearable. I would not hesitate to recommend Mr. Gantt. He is knowledgeable, professional & caring. ~J.H.

Avvo Review 2019

April 8, 2019

Linda Calloway Mundy David Gantt is an outstanding Lawyer. I highly recommend him. He was beside me all the way and I would like to thank him. ~Linda 5 Stars

2019 Google Review

March 9, 2019

David Gantt and his staff are very professional, upfront, honest and nice. They made me feel at ease discussing my case. They helped me with every step of the way towards my disability approval. I would recommend them to anyone. They kept me updated on everything. Just wish I had contacted them sooner. ~D.P.S.

2019 Google Review

February 10, 2019

When I applied for Social Security Disability I saw no reason that I would need a lawyer since my case seemed clear. It wasn’t until the second rejection that I realized that I had no idea how the system worked. A couple of local lawyers I had contacted suggested that I talked to David Gantt…

2019 Google Review

February 10, 2019

This office is fantastic. The staff is helpful and friendly. He is honest with you about the pros and cons of your case. He works hard to get a positive result. ~S.G.

Martindale Review 2019

January 21, 2019

5.0/5.0 in Social Security. David was very professional, pleasant and focused on me and my situation while I was in his office. He did not allow interruptions. His office staff was helpful and readily available when I had questions.