Social Security Disability

Disability means diagnosed health problem(s) that prevents you from performing substantial gainful employment.

You may qualify for disability benefits if:

  • You cannot do any substantial kind of work because of diagnosed health problems, considering your age, education, and work experience.
  • The health problems either will result in death or is expected to or have lasted for 12 or more months.
  • You worked under Social Security and earned 20 credits (one credit for each quarter you worked) in the ten years immediately before you became disabled. If you qualify for disability payments, your children, spouse, and former spouse also may qualify for payments.

What if My Disability Benefits Are Cut, Denied, or Reduced?

If Social Security denies, reduces, or ends your benefits you may appeal the decision. Generally, you have 60 days from the date on the notice to appeal. If you are already receiving benefits, you can ask for continued benefits until you receive a face to face hearing. However, to do so, you must ask within 10 days of the date on the notice for continuation of the benefits. If you lose, you may have to pay the money back.

You should keep a copy of any documents you file with the Social Security Administration and get the names of any Social Security representatives you speak with concerning your case.

What if Social Security Says You are Overpaid?

If the Social Security Administration (SSA) alleges that you have been overpaid, you are entitled to written notice explaining why the overpayment occurred. If you disagree with the decision you have sixty (60) days to appeal. Instructions on how to file an appeal are in the notice. If you file your appeal within 30 days from when you received the Notice, you can prevent any changes in your benefits from taking place until after the appeal is decided.

You should keep a copy of any documents you file with the Social Security Administration and get the names of any Social Security representatives you speak with concerning your case.

If you do not dispute that you received an overpayment but you are not able to repay it, you can request a waiver so that you do not have to pay back the overpayment. To have a waiver granted, you must show both that you were not at fault in causing the overpayment and to repay the overpayment would cause you financial hardship. There is no deadline to submit a waiver of repaying the overpayment. If you are not eligible for a waiver, you may still be able to arrange an affordable payment plan.

Community Legal Services provides assistance and representation to eligible clients with this type of case. Contact the Helpline in your area if you would like assistance.

Additional Resources

You have been denied social security disability what you must know

What to do when Social Security decides your disability has ended

Social Security Disabiity Benefits