Get Answers to Your Benefits Questions in Our Disability FAQ

Dealing with the process of applying for and receiving disability benefits, whether it’s through the Social Security Administration (SSA), your employer, or a private insurer, 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 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, or your personal injury claim. If you have a question that is not answered here, please call the legal team of Louisiana Disability Law, Loyd J Bourgeois at 985-240-9773.

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  • What is 'subrogation'?

    Subrogation is the substitution of one person or group for another with respect to a debt or insurance claim accompanied by the transfer of any associated rights and duties.

    Subrogation typically arises in property insurance claims and health insurance claims.

    Example 1

    You are involved in an automobile crash that damages your brand new truck.  The damage costs $25,000 to repair.  You make a claim on your insurance to get your truck repaired quickly.

    Your insurance carrier is now subrogated to your right to sue the other party and/or their insurance carrier for the $25,000 that it paid to you.

    Example 2

    As a result of the same automobile crash, you are injured. When you go to the doctor, you present your health insurance card to receive treatment for your injuries.

    The total cost for medical treatment in your case is more than $150,000.

    Because the crash was caused by someone else, your health insurance carrier is subrogated to your rights against the offending driver for the amount of medical expenses it paid (more than $150,000).

  • What is a 'tort'?

    A tort is a wrongful act or an infringement of a right (other than under contract) leading to a civil legal liability. Torts can be negligent or intentional.

    One example of a tort is a car crash. The other drive may not have intended to hit you but due to either inattention or failure to obey highway laws or some other reason, they may have crashed into you infringing your right to the roadway. This is a negligent tort.

    Another example is if someone punches you - a battery. This is an intentional tort.

  • Your Social Security Disability (SSDI) Claim Was DENIED!!! What now?

    Have you applied for Social Security Disability but your claim has been DENIED? If so, you’re in the right place.

    You are frustrated because you have submitted your medical records and answered all the questions SSA asked – but you have still been DENIED.

    Do you know why?

    The letter the SSA sent you to tell you that your SSDI claim was denied can provide you some insight. But do you know what the letter means when it says – We have determined that you can perform your past work? What about when the letter says – We have determined that you are not disabled from performing work generally available in the region.

    Do you know what you need to do to give yourself the best shot of succeeding on your appeal? Do you know what specific medical records can help establish that your disability meets a listing, and thus qualify you for social security disability? Do you how a medical source statement can be used to dramatically increase your chances of success on appeal?

    An SSDI attorney familiar with the specific rules and laws of the social security system can be the difference between you getting disability benefits and not.

    I am social security disability attorney Loyd J. Bourgeois, Jr. and I have helped people just like you get the Social Security Disability Benefits they need. I am based in the New Orleans area, with an office in Luling but can assist social security disability claimants in Metairie, Kenner, New Orleans, the Westbank, the Northshore, and throughout Louisiana get the social security disability benefits they need.

    If you are anxious to get started, call me at 985-240-9773 or fill out the contact form on this page for a free case evaluation.

    If you are not ready to hire a lawyer yet, I would still like to send you my
    special report,

    “The Eight Deadly Mistakes That Will Kill Your Social Security Disability Claim (and 6 Actions to Help).”

    Just click here to fill out a form to receive the report.

    This special report will detail common mistakes made by social security disability claimants and what can be done to avoid them. Like Deadly Mistake No. 4 – failing to appeal your denial within 60 days. Learn more about this mistake and others.

    Plus, I’ll also include two bonus reports – Understanding The Medical-Vocational Grids (SSA’s Framework for Decision Making) and What To Expect At Your Social Security Disability Hearing. Just fill out this form to receive these three reports.

    You can also explore my blog, view Frequently Asked Questions, learn more about me, or check out my library or video tips.

  • How long do SSDI benefits last?

    You will receive Social Security Disability Benefits for as long as you remain disabled under the Social Security laws. However, if you remain disabled at the normal Social Security Retirement Age, you will be converted over to Retirement Benefits instead of SSDI.  

  • What is an “onset” date?

    Your onset date is defined as the first day you are unable to work because of your disability. The onset date may or may not be the same as the date you were diagnosed. Applicants typically use the date they last worked as the date of onset. However, depending on the circumstances and the medical support the onset date could be after the date last worked.

    For more information, see blog posting: The Importance of the Disability Onset Date

  • 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. 

  • Do I need a Social Security Disability Lawyer?

    I am sure you have heard that you do not need a Louisiana Social Security Disability Lawyer to win your disability case. Well, you heard right. Except of course, if you are one of the over 62% (based on the 2009 Social Security Statistical Report) of people who have their social security disability claim denied initially. The statistics show that once your Louisiana Social Security Disability claim reaches the hearing level (or above), you have a significant increase in the odds of being found disabled. Why is this? While I do not know for sure, I suspect it is because this is the stage that Metairie Social Security attorneys (and New Orleans Social Security Attorneys, and other Social Security Attorneys) get involved and help their clients get benefits. In 2008, at the hearing level or above, greater than 80% of claimants were awarded social security disability benefits. So while you may not need a Social Security Disability Lawyer, you may want to get one to help you navigate through the system and improve your chances of obtaining benefits

  • How long does it take for Social Security to make a decision on my SSDI claim?

    In Louisiana, the first decision is usually made within four to six months after you initially file for disability benefits. If you are denied at the initial application stage and request a hearing to appeal the decision, Social Security statistics indicate that a final decision will take an average of over one year in Louisiana to get that decision. As of April 2015: the New Orleans Social Security Disability/Houma Social Security Disability average processing time was 402 days; the Metairie/Kenner/Baton Rouge Social Security Disability average processing time was 308 days; the Shreveport Social Security Disability average processing time was 335 days; and the Alexandria/Lafayette/Baton Rouge Social Security Disability average processing time was 293 days. For more information, see blog posting: How long does it take to get SSDI benefits after I am approved?

  • How does Social Security determine if I qualify for SSDI?

    Under Social Security rules and federal law, in order to qualify for SSDI, you must have a total disability that has or is expected to last for at least 12 months (or result in death) and you must have worked enough to be insured under Social Security law. Benefits are not payable for partial disabilities or for a short-term disability.

    Social Security defines disability as your inability to do the work you performed before your disability began and the Social Security Administration determines that because of your disability you cannot adjust to other work. Your disability must also last or be expected to last for at least 12 months or to result in death. 

  • Do I have to attend the examination set up by the insurance company?

    In most cases, yes. However, the terms of the long-term disability policy will dictate whether or not you must comply. Most policies require that you cooperateDo I have to attend the exam set up by the insurance company? with the long-term disability insurer’s investigation and/or see their doctors. Your long-term disability benefits policy will tell you this information, which is why you need to read it carefully.

    Another question is should you attend this visit alone. In my opinion, you should not. It is not unheard of for these consulting examiners to make reports to the insurance company that are completely different from what occurred. You will be well served to have a family member or close friend travel with you to the exam and remain in the room with you the entire time. After the exam, you should write down everything that occurred and request a copy of any documents that the examiner completed. Review the documents carefully before leaving and bring any inconsistencies to the attention of the examiner immediately.

    8 Specific Actions To Take Before Filing Your Long-Term Disability Claim Report If you're preparing to file for long-term disability, we've created a checklist of "8 Specific Actions to Take Before Filing Your Long-Term Disability Claim."  All we need is your name and email address, and we'll send you the checklist right away.  Don't make a costly mistake before you've even applied! Just click here to receive your copy of "8 Specific Actions to Take Before Filing Your Long-Term Disability Claim."