Interview: Most Common Social Security Disability Questions & Answers

Jonathan Blair Biser, Social Security AttorneyPeople all around the United States are asking various questions regarding Social Security Disability, and we decided to cover some of the top ones. We invited J. Blair Biser, a Social Security attorney based in North Carolina, to cover the answer to our questions.


If you are interested in hearing the answer to any other particular question that is not covered here, please do not hesitate to ask them in the comments section or contact us.

I’m a young person. Is it impossible for me to be approved for Social Security benefits?

Absolutely not. Although proving that a young person is disabled is generally harder than proving that an older person is disabled, if your impairment is severe enough and you are genuinely unable to do any past work or to be retrained to do new work, you have a good chance of getting benefits.

I’m an older person. Does this mean it will be easier for me to get Social Security benefits?

Not necessarily. You still must show that you have a severe impairment that prevents you from doing past work.

I was injured on the job and I’m getting Worker’s Compensation payments. Can I receive Social Security disability benefits too?

Yes, most likely, if you are approved for Disability Insurance benefits. However, your benefit amount may be reduced depending on how much you receive in Worker’s Compensation payments. You will most likely not be able to receive Supplemental Security Income if you are receiving Worker’s Compensation payments. However, this depends on the amount you receive.

So I’m not completely disabled. I’ve been declared 60% disabled by someone else. Can I get partial social security benefits?

No. With social security benefits, it’s all or nothing. You are either disabled or not disabled. However, if your condition keeps you from doing any past work or any other kind of full-time work, you are disabled by Social Security’s standards.

I’m receiving private insurance and/or disability benefits. Will that reduce my Social Security disability payments?

If you are receiving Disability Insurance Benefits, any sort of private insurance, long/short-term disability or military disability will not reduce the amount of your Social Security benefit.However, if you are receiving Supplemental Security Income, the amount you receive from any other disability payment source will reduce your SSI payment.

Do different Social Security laws apply to me now that I’m in a new State?

No. Social Security is a federal system that runs according to federal laws that apply in all States. Besides a few exceptions, Federal law governs the entire process.

I’ve just moved to a new state, but I have a case pending in my former state. Do I have to go back to the former state to finish my claim?

No. You can have your file transferred to the nearest Social Security office of Office of Hearings and Appeals in your new state.

How are retirement benefits different from disability benefits?

You are eligible to start receiving retirement benefits at age 62. However, if you file for and receive early retirement, you will have a permanently reduced payment. If you wait until your full retirement age of 65, you will receive the full amount of the retirement benefit to which you are entitled. Once you reach full retirement age, you are no longer eligible to apply for Disability Insurance Benefits.

What happens if my Reconsideration is denied?

You have the opportunity to request a hearing with an administrative law judge. The judge will review all of the evidence in your file to determine whether Disability Determination Services made a mistake. Many denials are overturned at the hearing level.

Who will be at the hearing?

There will always be at least two other people besides you and your representative at a hearing. The judge will of course be present to hear your testimony. In addition, a clerk will be in the hearing room to make a recording of the hearing and to deal with any evidence that you may need to submit.In some cases, a judge will ask a vocational expert and/or a medical expert to testify.

What will the judge ask me at a hearing?

Different judges ask different questions at hearings. Each judge has his or her own style of asking questions. However, most judges are trying to get the same information. The judges want to know how your impairment affects your ability to work. He or she will ask you about your daily activities, how much pain you experience and generally how your impairment affects you.

Can I have a witness testify on my behalf?

Yes. However, if someone testifies about your condition, it is best if that person is not a close friend or family member since a judge would expect such a person to be biased. However, if your condition is such that you are unable to describe the effects (for example, seizures during which you black out), then a family member would be the best witness to describe the condition.

Can a judge make a decision on my case without a hearing?

Yes. This is called an On the Record Ruling. A judge can make a decision on your cased based solely on the evidence in your Social Security file. However, you or your representative must make a request in writing that the judge do this.

About the Author

Hardison & Cochran was established based on the conviction that a modern approach was essential in today’s legal landscape. Focused on delivering exceptional results through a skilled team, the firm prioritizes personal attention, integrity, and client needs. Each attorney, paralegal, and staff member is dedicated to this vision. Over three decades, with Ben Cochran overseeing daily operations, the firm has evolved into a highly respected practice.

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