Get Answers to Your Legal Questions in Our FAQ
Dealing with a legal issue whether it be applying for and receiving disability benefits, fighting for a personal injury claim, or navigating through a divorce, can be a challenge, and many people are left with questions about what they can do to get the help they need. At the law offices of Loyd J. Bourgeois, we understand how hard it can be to get the answers you need. That’s why we’ve put together the following list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and answers dealing with family law, personal injury, disability benefits, claims, and appeals and the related law in Louisiana.
The following are some FAQs that I receive as a Louisiana attorney. They may answer some of the questions you have regarding your Social Security Disability appeal, your long-term disability insurance denial, your personal injury claim, or your Louisiana divorce. If you have a question that is not answered here, please call the legal team of Loyd J Bourgeois, LLC at 985-240-9773.
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How Long Should I To Wait To Apply For SSDI Benefits?
The surprising answer is – YOU DON’T NEED TO WAIT!!
You can file for social security disability benefits on the day that your doctor diagnoses you with a disability, or on the first day that you can no longer work because of your disability.
Many people mistakenly believe that they must be disabled for a certain period of time before they can even apply for social security disability benefits. The longer you wait to file, the longer you will have to wait to receive your disability benefits if you are disabled. This is true for Houma social security disability claimants, Thibodaux SSDI claimants, and even those in Galliano applying for social security disability. In fact, it is true throughout Louisiana and the Nation.
If you have a serious illness, disability, or impairment that will last at least a year (or is likely to result in death – like cancer or Lou Gehrig’s disease), you can apply on the day the illness, disability or impairment impacts your ability to work.
Now, this does not mean, that if you have a minor illness or injury that will heal within one year, you need to rush out and apply. Don’t do it. Your claim will be denied, I cannot help you, and you will be taking up valuable resources needed by those truly disabled.
Remember, a large number of disabled individuals, especially in Louisiana, are denied social security disability benefits when they first apply. Then they have to go through an appeal process, often including a hearing with a judge. Some even have to go to court to have their case approved. The process takes time.
The longer you wait to apply, the longer it takes for the process to get started. I usually recommend that my Louisiana disability clients apply for social security disability as soon as they can no longer work because of their disability to get the process started.
How Long Does It Take To Get SSDI Benefits After I Am Approved?
Congratulations! Your social security disability benefits claim was approved. If you are like most of my Louisiana disability clients after your SSDI claim has been approved – you want to know WHEN WILL I GET THE DISABILITY BENEFITS I HAVE BEEN AWARDED?
It will usually take a few months for your benefits to start – AFTER YOU RECEIVE A FAVORABLE WRITTEN DECISION.
How long after approval for disability do you get your money?
If you received a favorable decision on your initial application WOW – your benefits will start as soon as the paperwork is processed. You probably won’t have to work to obtain back benefits. Your benefits will probably start within 30-90 days, assuming that you have completed the 5 month elimination period.
If your claim went through a hearing with an Administrative Law Judge, you will have to wait longer.; Many ALJs in the New Orleans Social Security and Metairie Social Security hearing offices take about 1-3 months to issue their written decision. When the decision is favorable, the claim file is then sent to the payment processing center, where it can take another 1-3 months for current benefits to start.
How long does it take to get back pay from Social Security?
In some situations, Social Security issues current monthly benefits, but not the back payments. This is because they need to investigate if you received any Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. If you also have a claim for SSI benefits, you will need to call or go to your local Social Security office for an appointment before your benefits can be released.
Social Security does not have any specific rules on when they will pay you after being approved, but if you have not received your benefits 60 days after your hearing, give your local Social Security office a call.
If I am approved for SSDI benefits, do I get other benefits?
An SSDI beneficiary is automatically eligible for Medicare 24 months after the onset date or date they were found to be disabled. Medicare coverage starts in the 25th month of your SSDI entitlement. SSA will automatically send you information approximately 3 months before you are eligible for Medicare.
Social Security disability recipients may be eligible for Food Stamps but must file a separate Food Stamp Program application. Requirements for eligibility vary.
A Social Security Disability (SSDI) recipient may also qualify for SSI, depending on the amount of your monthly SSDI benefit and your other assets.
When Should I Stop Work If Applying For LTD?
There are a few reasons why the date that you can no longer work due to disability is important. Two very specific reasons are:
- It impacts coverage; and
- You may not be disabled.
In our previous installment, we talked about pre-existing conditions, waiting periods, and effective dates of coverage. Those are important topics to understand when you and your doctor are determining that you can no longer work.
- Are you sure that you are covered under your employer’s long-term disability policy?
- Did you fill out your election timely and has the waiting period passed?
- Are you beyond the pre-existing condition exclusion?
- These are just a few of the questions that impact whether or not you have coverage and are entitled to benefits at the time you can no longer work.
If you have been following along, you know the importance of having your doctor diagnose your disabling condition.
You also know that your policy contains a specific definition of disability. To get benefits under the policy, you must be disabled according to the definition. Most definitions will require that you could no longer work because of a disability.
Unfortunately, some people stop working BEFORE their doctor diagnoses a disabling condition. When that happens, the person will have no medical proof of a disability until AFTER they stopped working. Sometimes, people file without any medical support.
The long-term disability provider will have an easy decision – that person decided to stop working (quit). The person cannot prove that a disability caused their inability to work. Why? Because they have no medical opinion saying so. The medical opinion only comes after the decision to stop working.
A good example here is the chicken and the egg. You know the one – which came first, the chicken or the egg?
While there is no clear answer on the chicken or the egg, in long-term disability settings there is. You must have a doctor’s opinion and medical proof of disability BEFORE stopping work and filing a claim.[Just for the record – the chicken came first]
You should only stop working after you are certain that you are covered under the long-term disability policy, and you have adequate medical support and documentation. And not before.
Good luck. And, remember the things you need to know before you file your long-term disability claim. If you need help filing a disability claim or appealing a denial, we're here to help. Give us a call at 985-441-3448.