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Frequently Asked Questions: Your Ultimate Guide

Updated: Jan 8

Navigating the intricacies of Social Security disability benefits can be complex and overwhelming. To help address common concerns and provide clarity, this article presents a compilation of frequently asked questions related to Social Security disability. From understanding the differences between SSDI and SSI to knowing when to seek assistance, these questions and answers will shed light on key aspects of the disability benefits process.


What is the difference between SSDI and SSI?

  • SSDI: Social Security Disability Insurance is for individuals who have worked and paid Social Security taxes. Eligibility is determined based on work history, with at least five years of work in the past ten years required.

  • SSI: Supplemental Security Income is based on financial need and is available to those who may not have worked enough or have never worked. Income and asset limitations apply.

How much is the monthly payment for SSDI and SSI?

  • SSDI: The monthly benefit amount depends on the individual's past earnings. To determine the specific amount, contact Social Security at 800-772-1213.

  • SSI: The monthly payment for 2023 was $940, with retroactive payments usually distributed in three increments over an 18-month period.

What is the coverage for healthcare under SSDI and SSI?

  • SSDI: Medicare coverage begins 29 months after the individual's disability date (24 months plus a five-month waiting period). Clark County Social Services may provide coverage until Medicare becomes effective. Note that Medicare does not cover prescriptions.

  • SSI: Medicaid coverage is effective from the application date (or disability date if after application). Medicaid includes coverage for prescriptions.

How long does it take to receive benefits after a favorable decision?

  • Current benefits typically begin approximately 60 days after the decision. Back benefits may take 60 to 180 days from the decision date to be fully processed and paid.

Do I need to gather medical records for my representative?

  • No, you do not need to collect medical records or reports yourself. It is generally recommended to let your representative handle this task. If you obtain any medical documents, provide copies to your representative.

What should I do if I receive a notice for a doctor's appointment from Social Security?

  • Notify your representative immediately when you receive a notice for a consultative examination. Attending the exam is mandatory, and failure to do so may result in a denial of your claim.

Should I send any documents directly to Social Security?

  • As a general rule, send all forms and documents to your representative, even if Social Security has sent them directly to you. Your representative will ensure the forms are received by Social Security.

Will I need to complete additional forms during the process?

  • Yes, Social Security may send you additional forms to complete regarding recent medical treatment, medications, and other relevant information. Complete and promptly return these forms to your representative, who will forward them to Social Security.

When should I contact my representative?

Routine medical care typically does not require contacting your representative. However, contact your representative in the following situations:

  • Seeing a new medical provider or going to the hospital

  • Experiencing a substantial change in health or receiving a new diagnosis

  • Changing your address or phone number

  • Receiving documents or phone calls from Social Security

  • Considering a return to work or school

  • Starting to receive other types of benefits (e.g., VA, long-term disability, workers' compensation)

  • Getting married or divorced

  • Receiving an approval or denial letter


What happens if I fail to appeal a denial within 60 days?

  • If you fail to appeal within the specified timeframe, you may need to start a new application, potentially resulting in the loss of some back benefits. Contact your representative immediately upon receiving a decision from Social Security to initiate the correct forms for filing an appeal.

What are the biggest mistakes people make when trying to get disability benefits?

  • Failing to appeal after a denial, which often occurs when applications are denied or reconsideration requests are not made.

  • Neglecting to obtain ongoing medical care, as current medical treatment records are crucial evidence in a Social Security case.

Can I work while my application is pending?

  • Social Security does not prohibit working altogether, but they have rules and limitations. It is advised to keep earnings below $500 per month, work part-time, and engage in low-exertion jobs. Notify your representative if you start working or plan to attend school.

What can I do if I don't have medical insurance?

  • Apply for assistance through the Nevada State Welfare department, which provides services such as Food Stamps, Medicaid, and other eligible programs. Walk-in appointments are typically required.


Understanding the nuances of Social Security disability benefits is crucial for a successful application. By addressing common questions and concerns, this FAQ article aims to empower individuals with knowledge to navigate the process effectively and maximize their chances of receiving the benefits they deserve. Remember to consult with a representative for personalized guidance throughout your journey.

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