Coronavirus & Social Security Disability Questions in Detroit, MI
When you can’t work because of serious health problems, and you need Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits to secure your financial stability, that’s enough stress on its own without the coronavirus pandemic disrupting all of our lives.
You may be wondering what will happen to your benefits application, your appeal of a disability denial or your ongoing benefits.
The disability lawyers at the Levine Benjamin Law Firm are here with answers and support.
We’ve been helping people get through tough times in their lives—in Detroit, Toledo, Flint, Lansing, Grand Rapids and all across Michigan—since 1964.
The COVID-19 crisis is no different.
Keep reading for answers to common questions we hear about the coronavirus and Social Security Disability.
From applying to appealing, we help you every step of the way.
How Social Security Disability Works During the Coronavirus
Is Social Security Still Operating During the Coronavirus Crisis?
Yes. While the Social Security Administration (SSA) closed its local offices around the country when the virus started hitting, it continues to function through its website and by telephone. Disability claims are moving forward.
How will COVID-19 affect initial Social Security Disability applications?
When Social Security offices are open, you can start your application for Social Security Disability in person at your local office. When the offices are closed, as in the COVID-19 shutdowns, you need to apply on the internet. An experienced Social Security Disability lawyer can help you get all of your information submitted correctly.
How will the COVID-19 crisis affect my SSD claim when I have an appeals hearing?
The main difference during surges in the pandemic is that appeals hearings take place by phone.
In normal times, you go to a Social Security hearing office and talk to an administrative law judge (ALJ) face to face.
Phone hearings have positives and negatives. They’re convenient and keep you safe from exposure to the virus. But nothing can replace an in-person meeting for getting across to the judge why you need disability benefits.
The disability attorneys at Levine Benjamin Law Firm know our local Michigan disability judges and can guide you through your telephone hearing.
Will COVID-19 affect my Social Security Disability benefit payments?
No, the coronavirus crisis shouldn’t have any immediate effect on the timing or size of your monthly benefits. This is true whether you get your payments by direct deposit or mail.
Can I qualify for Social Security Disability benefits because I contracted COVID-19?
When a new disease appears, Social Security doesn’t immediately have rules specifically for the disease. But the bottom line of Social Security Disability remains the same: If your health problems make it impossible to work for at least a year, no matter what their cause, you can qualify for benefits.
With COVID-19 that means if you have long-term, major damage to your health after a severe infection, you could qualify for benefits.
How will the coronavirus affect my continuing disability review (CDR)?
One thing Social Security did cease with the spread of the coronavirus was CDRs—in which they check after a period of years whether your health problems are still severe enough that you can’t work and still need benefits.
The SSA issued a statement: “We will not start or complete any current medical continuing disability reviews.”
If you had a review in progress, Social Security said, it will be on hold until “the COVID-19 pandemic subsides.”
An exception is if you are not currently receiving SSD benefits, and you’re waiting for a hearing on your CDR. In that case, Social Security said they will go forward with your hearing.
Can I get Social Security Disability and unemployment?
In the economic recession caused by the coronavirus pandemic, many people who were suffering through work days with pain and other health problems found themselves unemployed and thinking about applying for disability benefits.
Getting Social Security Disability and unemployment benefits at the same time is tricky. That’s because qualifying for disability means you cannot work, but receiving unemployment means you’re saying that you’re able, ready and willing to work when you find a job.
Still, certain circumstances may allow you to get both, or to switch from unemployment to disability benefits. One example is if you worked a small amount according to Social Security’s standards. Another example is if you are over 50 and Social Security decides you are less likely to be able to adapt to a new kind of job.
Can I get a COVID-19 economic impact (stimulus) payment if I receive Social Security Disability benefits?
Yes. People receiving disability benefits were eligible to receive coronavirus stimulus money that the federal government approved in spring 2020. That included $1,200 per adult and $500 per child under 17 for individuals making less than $75,000 per year and couples making less than $150,000 a year.
Most Social Security Disability benefits recipients should have received the economic stimulus checks automatically. Some who didn’t file tax returns for 2018 or 2019 may need to file a return or other information in place of a return.
Special note for people applying for or receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits: Stimulus checks will not count as income for the purposes of deciding your eligibility for SSI. And the SSA said it will exclude the payments from its accounting of your financial resources for 12 months.
Does Levine Benjamin Law Firm take disability cases during the coronavirus?
Absolutely. In fact, when the crisis started, we never skipped a beat. We kept our clients disability claims moving.
We can help you by phone and internet.
If you have any questions about Social Security Disability or working with our law firm during coronavirus shutdowns, you are always welcome to contact us.