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Social Security Disability FAQs
A list of common questions and answers well written and copyrighted by NOSSCR past president Charles T. Hall, Esq., located at the NOSSCR website.
SSA's own summary of the most common and helpful information about all its programs.
Michigan SSA Offices
This SSA site list of Michigan SSA offices is not always up to date. The fax numbers stay stable but many field offices regularly change their public access phone numbers, thus limiting public access. You can fax your local office or send a message through SSA's toll free number (1-800-772-1213 or TTY 1-800-324-0778). Personal assistance is available through SSA's toll free number, 7 to 7 EST, weekdays except holidays. The voice mail system routes you according to the most common problem or information areas and recorded messages are available 24 hours a day. Click here to locate SSA offices nationally.
Set Up Your Own Social Security Account Online
You can request a copy of your personal earnings and benefit estimate summary (PEBES) on line. It will be mailed to you in about 2-3 weeks.You can evaluate your earnings record for correctness and get an estimate of how much your retirement or disability benefit would be. If you think you may be leaving the workforce due to disability sometime soon, just enter your future years' earnings as "zero" and your current age as your retirement age to get an estimate of your disability benefit based on your current record. If you have filed for disability benefits already, for some unknown reason the PEBES will not give you a disability benefit figure.
You can view SSA information on who is eligible for Medicare and general information about Medicare benefits, including the new prescription plan, at SSA's website. For the latest Medicare handbook, which includes details on Medicare HMOs in Michigan, contact the Medicare help center at 1.800.633.4227 8:30 to 4:30 on weekdays. Staff can also help with questions and refer you to the state Medicare administration if needed.
Annual SSA UPDATE
Here is information on the latest Medicare premium costs, SSI rates and income limitations, and earnings limits for the disabled and retired.
SSA Program Rules
This is a page of links to SSA law, regulations, policies and internal guidelines.
SSA Red Book on Work Programs
This is SSA's guide to current return to work rules and regulations for both SSDI and SSI recipients. Because SSA sends you pamphlets on return to work programs when you first receive your disability benefits, you may be found at fault if SSA keeps sending you checks after your benefits should have stopped. The rationale is that you should have known the additional checks were not yours to keep. This can result in a hefty overpayment. Studying the "Red Book" can help avoid return to work overpayment problems. We would also suggest making copies of work documentation you send to SSA. Keep your original receipts for employment related expenses used on your income tax schedule C to reduce your 1099 gross or self employment income. Keep original receipts for any out of pocket medical expenses or disability related special equipment you need to enable you to work. SSA will need information such as this to help evaluate whether your benefits continue or end if you perform work activity while receiving benefits.
SSA Blue Book
This is SSA's Guide to evaluating the medical basis of disability. Individuals who meet the criteria for a listed impairment are automatically found medically disabled. Many of the criteria require there be "significant" or "marked" findings or functional limitations associated with impairments. A judgment as to what is significant or not can vary among SSA decision makers. If medical evidence does not clearly show a person's impairments meet or equal those of a listed impairment, SSA must then determine if a case can be allowed on medical and vocational factors.
Medical Vocational Guidelines and Transferable Skills
This is a technical but excellent summary by Administrative Law Judge Dennis G. Katz explaining the Social Security disability sequential evaluation process. Medical and vocational factors interact to direct certain conclusions when a person's health problems alone do not meet SSA's listed medical impairment criteria.