Legal Toolkit Michigan Social Security

What to Know About Social Security


If a physical or mental disability prevents someone from working, they may qualify for Social Security Disability (SSD) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. These benefits are administered by the Social Security Administration and the wait for determination of eligibility can be lengthy.  Approximately 50% of cases are declined when they are first filed requiring claimants to appeal.  Appeals for disability funds must be filed within 60 days of the date of the last denial. The first appeal offers the opportunity for a hearing.  (The wait for a hearing from an Adminstrative Law Judge can be 12-16 months.)


Both SSD and SSI require that you be totally disabled. SSD benefits are available for people who have worked and paid SS (FICA) taxes for the required number of years. SSI benefits are available for adults and disabled children who have not worked the required number of years and who meet certain income and resource requirements.


The Social Security Administration gives great weight to the opinion of your Primary Treating Physician as to your disability. Once you and your doctor determine that you are disabled, be sure to keep records of ongoing medical treatment including hospital and ER visits and tests. SSA will request records from all sources you identify. If you do not have medical insurance coverage, you could attempt to be examined at a free clinic, county health department, or emergency room. It is important for you to follow the advice of your doctors and take your prescribed medications.