Posts in:September, 2022

5 Ways to Improve your Social Security Disability Claim

Posted September 30, 2022 by Premier Disability Services, LLC®

One of the biggest complaints we hear from our clients is how long the process of receiving Social Security Disability benefits can take.  A harsh reality of filing for Social Security Disability is that it is a long and tedious process.  The most important thing to remember is, whether your claim takes two months or two years, you want the final decision to be an award of benefits.  Below are five methods of improving your claim so that you have a better chance at being awarded.


  1. Go to the Doctor

When you file a claim for Social Security Disability, you are alleging that you are unable to work due to a severe medical impairment.  Social Security (SSA) uses your treatment records to determine the severity of your condition.  It is very important to maintain regular treatment for two main reasons: 1) SSA may view your lack of treatment as evidence that your condition is not as severe as you allege and 2) treating on a frequent basis means there will be more objective evidence supporting your claim.

Remember, if SSA does not feel they have enough medical evidence to make a decision, they may schedule you for an examination with a doctor they hire.  These examinations can be very brief and unsupportive to your claim.  Your likelihood of being awarded is much greater if you have supportive findings from a treating physician.


  1. Obtain a Supportive Doctor’s Statement

To be found disabled, you have to prove both that you have a severe medical condition and that condition prevents you from performing the functional requirements of competitive employment.  Medical records alone may be insufficient in establishing the functional limitations resulting from your condition(s).

A medical source statement (MSS) is a form that details the specific functional limitations resulting from your impairments.  A supportive MSS from your treating physician is a crucial piece of evidence because it helps Social Security translate your medical records from that provider into functional limitations.  This is key in supporting your claim.


  1. Promptly Return Paperwork

After you file an application for Social Security Disability, you will receive a series of forms to complete and return to SSA.  These forms may include an Adult Function Report, Work History Report, and/or Third Party Function Report.  These forms may seem repetitive and unimportant.  In fact, these forms are extremely important to your claim.

A failure to complete these forms could result in delaying your claim or even being denied.  Once you receive these forms, take the time you need to complete them accurately.   However, it is important to understand that these forms are integral to the processing of your claim.  The longer it takes you to return them, the longer you will have to wait for a decision.


  1. Submit an Accurate Application

The initial application for Social Security Disability includes a section where a claimant is required to provide treatment/doctor information.  Inaccurate or incomplete information in this section is one of the most common mistakes unrepresented claimants make.  This is also one of the most common reasons unrepresented claimants are denied.

SSA requires medical records supporting your disability.  They request your medical records based on the information you provide on your initial application (or your reconsideration appeal).  If you fail to provide them with enough information, they simply will not obtain your records and you will be denied.

If you are considering filing an application for Social Security Disability benefits, we strongly encourage you to have your treatment information readily available; including doctor’s name, facility name, address, phone number, and when you started treating there.


  1. Hire a Representative

Hiring a representative to assist with your Social Security Disability claim has many benefits.  Most notably, an experienced representative will be able to work with you to complete items 1-4 of this list.  Our firm has an entire department of experienced Application Technicians whose sole responsibility is filing accurate applications for our clients.

In addition, our Case Management Department is always available to assist you with completing forms.  We also attempt to obtain a supportive medical source statement for every client to improve their chances of being awarded.  Finally, should your claim reach the hearing level, our hearing department will work with your treating facilities to obtain updated medical records.  Hiring a company experienced in navigating the Social Security process greatly improves your chances of winning.

If you would like to complete a free, no-obligation evaluation contact our office today!

By: Devon Brady, Premier Disability Services, LLC®

How Many Months of Back Pay Will You Get?

Posted September 23, 2022 by Premier Disability Services, LLC®

Almost every applicant who is awarded Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) benefits also gets past-due disability benefits, often called “disability back pay.” These past-due monthly payments go back to the date the applicant filed their disability application, and sometimes even earlier.

The amount of your Social Security disability back pay depends on three factors:

  • the date you apply
  • the date you became disabled, and
  • the date you’re approved for benefits.

Your Application Date

The first factor that determines how much disability back pay you’ll get from Social Security is the date you apply for disability benefits.

Payment for the months following your application date. If you became disabled at least five months before your application date, you can get back payments for the months going back to your application date. You’ll receive back pay for the months between your application date and your approval date at your monthly benefit rate.

But, for SSDI, not everyone receives benefits going back to the date they apply. You’ll receive past-due benefits going back to your application date only if you were disabled before that date. That might sound strange, but it’s because most SSDI recipients have a five-month waiting period before they can receive benefits (we’ll talk more about this waiting period below).

Payment for the months before your application date. In addition to back payments, you might be able to get “retroactive benefits” going back to the date you first became disabled, which is often many months before the application date. Most people don’t stop working due to a disability and file for disability benefits on the same day. On average, it takes about 8 months for people to finally apply for disability benefits (6 months for those age 60 and older, 11 months for those under 48).

An SSDI claimant (applicant) can get up to 12 months of retroactive benefits (back to one year before the application date), but not everyone gets this full amount. You can get retroactive pay for a year before the application date, but only if you became disabled long before your application date. How many months of retroactive benefits you can get depends on the date you became disabled.

Your Date of Disability

The onset date of your disability—that is, when your disability began—is also when your SSDI waiting period begins.

When an SSDI claimant files an application for disability benefits, they indicate (on the application) when they think their disability began. This date is known as their “alleged onset date.” 

Whether benefits will be payable back to the beginning of the 12-month retroactive period depends on how long ago your onset date was. Here’s where the other twist in calculating the SSDI benefit start date comes in: the waiting period.

Your Waiting Period

The third factor that affects when SSDI benefits begin (and how much back pay you’ll get) is the five-month waiting period. Essentially, after Social Security establishes an onset date for an SSDI applicant, the agency pauses the start of benefits for five months. (This rule doesn’t apply to applicants with ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease—they get paid starting on their onset date.)

So if you apply for benefits soon after you become disabled and Social Security decides your claim right away, you might not get any back pay—you’d still be within the five-month waiting period when you get your approval letter. In that case, your monthly payments would just start at the end of your waiting period.

But most people do get some retroactive pay because they waited many months to apply for benefits. For these applicants, the waiting period doesn’t start after they apply, but earlier, right after the date their disability began. This date could be just a couple of months or several months or years before the application date. But Social Security has a rule that the five-month waiting period can’t start any earlier than 17 months before the application date (that’s why you can only get up to 12 months of retroactive benefits).

Combining all the rules and timelines here can actually get pretty complicated for SSDI recipients. It might help to look at an example to understand how the five-month waiting period affects back pay. 

If you became disabled one year ago today and you apply today, Social Security will owe you some retroactive benefits. Your date of entitlement—the date Social Security starts owing you benefits—will be seven months ago (12 months minus the five-month waiting period). In your lump sum of back payments, you would get seven months of retroactive payments, plus benefits for the number of months following your application date that it takes for Social Security to approve your case.

Please contact us today to complete a free disability evaluation!

By: Premier Disability Services, LLC®

How Much Will Your SSDI Benefit Be?

Posted September 16, 2022 by Premier Disability Services, LLC®

The amount of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits you’ll receive each month is based on your average lifetime earnings before your disability began. Unlike Veterans Compensation, Workers Comp, or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments, SSDI isn’t based on how severe your disability is or how much income you have—everything depends on those lifetime earnings. Most SSDI recipients receive between $700 and $1,400 per month.

Estimating Your Social Security Disability Amount

In 2022, the average SSDI payment for an individual is $1,358, but almost two-thirds of SSDI recipients receive less than that. Only 10% of SSDI recipients receive $2,000 per month or more. Because benefit amounts depend on lifetime earnings, there is a large range in how much Social Security pays. For instance, let’s look at age 55, the most common age disabilities start. For 55-year-olds who have worked their entire lives, Social Security typically pays $1,000 to $2,700, depending on their past income. Someone who’s earning $50,000 at age 55 might receive $1,500 to $1,900 per month, depending on their past work, while someone earning $100,000 at age 55 might receive $2,400 to $2,700 a month.

Calculating Your Monthly SSDI Payment
The Social Security Administration (SSA) uses a complex weighted formula to calculate benefits for each person, up to 2022’s maximum benefit of $3,345. The calculation depends on: -your average income over 35 years -whether you paid self-employment taxes if you owned your own business or freelanced -whether you worked in any jobs that didn’t pay into the Social Security system (such as state or local government jobs), and -whether you took any years off work for child-rearing or long-term illness. Also, if you’re receiving disability payments from other sources, like workers’ comp or a state short-term disability program, your SSDI payment may be reduced. On the other hand, if you have a spouse, children, or both, your family’s payment will be increased. In 2022, the average family payment for a disabled worker with a spouse and child is $2,383.
Doing the math yourself is difficult, but you can find your SSDI benefit amount in your Social Security Statement. You can get your statement online by signing up for an account at

How Much Back Pay Will You Get?
The vast majority of applicants who are approved for SSDI will receive a lump sum of past due monthly payments, which many people call “back pay.” You can get back pay going back to when date you filed their disability application, and often even earlier. How much you’ll receive in Social Security disability back pay depends on your SSDI monthly amount. And how many months of back payments you get is determined by when you apply for disability and when your disability began.

By: Premier Disability Services, LLC