Common Questions



1. What are Social Security disability benefits?

Social security benefits are monthly benefits paid by the Social Security Administration to people who are disabled from employment. In order to qualify, you must meet the definition of “disabled” used by the Social Security Administration. The fact that you may not be able to return to a previous job doesn’t necessarily mean you are disabled.. If you are 50 or older, the disability guidelines make it easier to get benefits than for those younger than 50.

2. How much would I receive if Social Security decides I’m disabled?

That depends upon which type of benefit you are awarded. The two types of monthly disability benefits available are:

DISABILITY INSURANCE BENEFITS (DIB) These benefits are based upon what you have paid into the Social Security system over the years of your employment. The more money you made in the years before you became disabled, the higher your monthly payment will be. The Social Security office can tell you approximately what your benefit will be if you are awarded disability.

SUPPLEMENTAL SECURITY INCOME (SSI) This benefit is for people who have not paid enough Social Security taxes to be “insured” for DIB. This may be because you have been out of work for a long period of time or have never worked and paid taxes into the Social Security system. In addition, you must have limited income, assets and resources to qualify. The benefit amount is the same for everyone and generally increases slightly every year.

3. How do I apply for Social Security disability benefits?

Call or visit your local Social Security office. In this area, there are offices in Bemidji, Brainerd/Baxter, Hibbing, Duluth and St. Cloud. Explain that you would like to make an application for disability benefits and they will assist you with the process.Or visit the Social Security Administration website for more information.

4. What do I do if my claim is denied?

The majority of applications for disability benefits are denied. If your claim is denied, you should request a reconsideration as soon as possible. You have a limited time (60 days) to request a reconsideration and the instructions for doing so will be on your denial letter.

If your claim was denied the first time, you will most likely be denied again on reconsideration. The next step is to request a hearing with a Social Security administrative law judge. Again, the instructions for requesting a hearing will be in your denial letter.

5. When should I hire a lawyer to represent me?

Except in rare cases, we generally do not become involved in a claim until after your second denial. That’s when you are requesting a hearing with a Social Security judge. At that point, we would begin to serve as your representative. We obtain medical records, request reports from your doctors and make sure that Social Security has everything in its file that might be helpful to your claim. We meet with you ahead of time to prepare you for the hearing and attend the hearing with you as your representative.

6. How do I pay a lawyer in a Social Security disability case?

Fees are paid on a contingent basis, which means that we only get paid if we win. Attorney fees are regulated by the Social Security Administration and are limited to 25% of any back pay that we recover for you. We do not receive any portion of your ongoing monthly benefit and you don’t owe us anything over and above the 25% fee we receive from your back pay. We may ask you to reimburse us for our out-of-pocket expenses spent to obtain medical records or reports.



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This blog/website is intended to provide general information and is not intended to substitute for individual legal counsel on any specific problem. No attorney-client relationship is created or intended to be created by use or viewing of this blog/website. Any visitor seeking specific legal advice should contact an attorney. Any links provided from this site, other than to Bradt Law Offices, are for informational purposes only. We have no control over and make no warranties as to the accuracy of information contained on any linked sites. The information presented on this website is based on the laws of the state of Minnesota. Anyone viewing this website who resides outside of the state of Minnesota should be aware that the laws in their state may differ. Every effort has been made to present accurate and current information on this blog/website. If you have a question about the accuracy of any of the information presented here, please contact Bradt Law Offices at 218-327-1235.
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