Social Security Frequently Asked Questions in Portland, Oregon

Since 1974, Richard A. Sly, Attorney at Law has served as an advocate for clients applying for Social Security benefits throughout Portland, OR, and surrounding areas. For your convenience, Mr. Sly has compiled the following Social Security frequently asked questions to help you understand key parts of the process. These questions include common topics asked about by clients, first-time Social Security applicants, and potential clients.

Why Does It Take So Long?

For most cases, the application through appeal process involves delay because the Social Security Administration does not have as many skilled evaluators as needed. The process is also slowed down by the large number of claims currently in the processing line. In the application phase, many job description, identification, and description of disability forms need completing and filing. When the administration at the Disability Determination Section evaluation level seeks to obtain medical information, health providers (doctors, hospitals, counselors, and others) are often slow in providing information. If you are required to attend a physical or mental examination, scheduling and evaluation delays can also play into the timeframe.

Can the Process Be Sped Up or Expedited?

The answer is “sometimes.” In many cases, during an appeal a Reconsideration or earlier hearing can be requested early in the 60-day time period. Mr. Sly can assist you in providing the needed information more quickly than you might be able to find it alone. While favorable responses from the Social Security Administration seem to be getting harder to obtain, your attorney will provide evidence and argument that can help you receive a favorable decision. In cases of terminal illness, or immanent homelessness coupled with clear risk of medical danger, Mr. Sly is happy to ask for expedited hearing dates.

How Can I Afford a Lawyer When I Have No Money? How Do Social Security Lawyers Get Paid?

Most attorneys doing this kind of advocacy representation are paid only when and if the case is successful. If successful, payment is pulled from “back benefits” on a contingency fee basis. These fees include any accumulated retroactive benefits generated during the appeal process at a 25% contingency basis. Even the 25% contingency fee is halted or “capped” in the event of a long delay at $6000. It is important to remember that ongoing future monthly benefits are not included as a basis for fee collection and belong solely to the client.

When Can I Start My Claim After I Become Disabled from Working?

You can start the application process the day you become disabled. Because you must prove that your disability will last 12 months or a year before a disability benefit can be paid, many people believe they have to wait the year out before they apply. There are some medical disorders that are accepted as disabling from the day of confirmed diagnosis, including ALS.

How Can My Doctor Support My Claim?

Once your doctor or other health provider has filled out his or her treatment chart notes and treatment plans, the doctor can also complete what is called a Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) questionnaire. This form outlines your functional limits either physically or mentally.

I Have Not Worked for Quite A While. Can I Still Get Disability Benefits?

If you have worked at least 5 out of the last 10 years, you will remain eligible for Disability Insurance (SSD/DIB/RSDI) benefits. If you have never worked or if you can’t establish current SDD eligibility and if your finances are minimal, you may be eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.

I’m Getting Workers Compensation Now. Can I Receive Social Security Disability Benefits?

You may receive benefits, although while on workers compensation pay your Social Security benefit amounts might be reduced.

I’ve Been Denied Benefits. What Do I Do?

The earlier you act, the better. Do not delay. You have 60 days within which to appeal a denial. Failure to file an appeal during this timeframe will require you to restart the application process.

Contact Richard A. Sly to learn more about the process for your disability filing. Mr. Sly is available to answer Social Security frequently asked questions for clients throughout Portland, Oregon.