1. SSDI – “Social Security Disability Insurance” You are eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits if you have worked long enough and paid Social Security taxes. To determine if you are eligible for SSDI, visit the Social Security website or call Social Security at 800-772-1213 and ask “am I insured for SSDI?” At the hearing, SSDI may be referred to as “Title 2” benefits since the laws governing SSDI are found in Title II of the Social Security Act.
2. SSI – “Supplemental Security Income” You are eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) if your income and resources are under $2,000 (for a single person) or $3,000 (for a married person). All of your income and resources will be considered in determining your eligibility except items such as your home, household goods, wedding rings, and your vehicle. You do not need to have ever worked to be eligible for SSI. At the hearing, SSI may be referred to as “Title 16” benefits since the laws governing SSI are found in Title XVI of the Social Security Act.
3. AOD – “Alleged Onset Date of Disability” Your alleged onset date of disability (AOD) is the date you claimed you became disabled in your application for benefits. At the hearing, the administrative law judge (ALJ) may ask you if you are willing to amend your AOD to a later date, if the ALJ does not believe the evidence shows you became disabled on the date you alleged in your application.
4. DLI – “Date Last Insured” You are only eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits if you became disabled prior to your date-last-insured (DLI) for benefits. Your DLI is frequently five years from when you stopped working. You can find out your DLI by calling the Social Security Administration at 800-772-1213 and asking: “What is my date-last-insured for SSDI?”
5. SGA – “Substantial Gainful Activity” To be eligible for SSDI or SSI, you must be unable to engage in substantial gainful activity (SGA). If you worked in 2013 and your gross earnings were above $1,040 per month, you ordinarily will be considered to have engaged in SGA and thus not be eligible for benefits. In 2014, the SGA amount will increase to $1,070 per month and if your monthly gross earnings are over $1070, you will ordinarily be considered to be engaging in SGA.
6. PRW — “Past Relevant Work” At the hearing, the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) will determine if you have any past relevant work (PRW). Past relevant work is any work you have done within the last 15 years, that lasted long enough for you to learn to do it, and was substantial gainful activity (SGA). After the ALJ determines your PRW, he or she will decide whether you can still perform your PRW. If you can still perform your PRW, you will be found not disabled.
7. VE – “Vocational Expert” Most administrative law judges (ALJs) in Washington State elect to have a vocational expert (VE) testify at the hearing. If a VE will be testifying at your hearing, you will be notified in your Notice of Hearing. At your hearing, the VE may be asked to describe your past work and whether an individual with your limitations could perform your past work. The VE may be asked whether an individual with your limitations could perform any other fulltime work. The VE may be asked whether you have any skills from you past work that would transfer to other types of employment.
8. ME – “Medical Expert” The administrative law judge (ALJ) may decide that the testimony of a medical expert (ME) is needed to help determine the severity of your physical or mental impairments, to explain confusing medical evidence or resolve conflicting medical evidence, or to help establish the onset date of your disability. Not all hearings will have a ME. If a ME will be testifying at your hearing, you will be told in your Notice of Hearing. Under the Social Security rules, the ME is not permitted to conduct a physical examination of you during the hearing.
9. CE – “Consultative Examination” Prior to your hearing, you may have been sent for a consultative examination (CE) with a doctor to determine the severity of your physical or mental impairments. At the hearing, the ALJ may need additional information to decide your case and thus direct you to attend a consultative examination with a doctor, whether or not you previously attended one. Depending on your case, the consultative examination may involve a physical examination, mental examination, cognitive testing, x-rays, or a blood study.
10. PIA – “Primary Insurance Amount” Your primary insurance amount (PIA) is the amount of monthly benefits you will receive if you are awarded Social Security Disability (SSDI) benefits. You can find out your PIA by calling the Social Security Administration at 800-772-1213 and asking: “What is my PIA if I am disabled?” Your PIA will also appear in your electronic case file in the document titled “Certified Earnings Record.” Your PIA is based on how much you have paid in Social Security taxes.