If a doctor recently diagnosed you with a condition that qualifies as a disability, you may be adjusting to a new life of treatments, medical expenses, and uncertainty about your income. If you can prove that your disability is so severe that it keeps you from working, you may be able to receive benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA).
Unfortunately, the process of securing benefits from the SSA can be challenging. There are very specific criteria for qualifying conditions and a detailed application process. If you do not have the correct information in your application, your request for benefits may be denied.
Contact Berger and Green at (412) 661-1400. Our attorneys protect people’s rights to Social Security disability benefits in Bethel Park. We can help you prepare an initial application or appeal a denial. Consultation calls are free, and can provide further insight into the next steps of your case.
How Social Security Disability Benefits Are Structured
The SSA offers two main forms of Social Security disability benefits for people who cannot work due to their physical or psychological condition:
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)
To qualify for SSDI, you must have a disability that meets the SSA criteria and have enough work credits. Work credits represent the amount of time an individual has worked and paid into Social Security tax in the past. There is a minimum amount of credits required to access disability benefits, and that amount is different based on the applicant’s age.
Supplementary Security Income (SSI)
Individuals who do not have enough work credits to qualify for SSDI may still be eligible for SSI benefits. SSI benefits are for people with a qualifying disability who have low income and limited assets. The SSI threshold for limited assets is $2,000 for an individual or $3,000 for a married couple.
A Social Security disability lawyer may be able to help you interpret your qualifications and prepare an application for either SSDI or SSI benefits or both.
Options After You Receive a Disability Benefits Denial
If your initial application for SSDI or SSI application is denied, you still have options. You typically have 60 days after your disability benefits rejection to file for a reconsideration, where you can submit new evidence that supports your application. Alternatively, you may request that your case be considered by Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) if there is sufficient time to do so.
If you wait longer than 60 days to take either action, your case may be dismissed. The clock on this 60-day period typically begins five days after the date on the denial letter.
The courts may schedule your ALJ hearing a year or longer after you make your hearing request. ALJs are federally appointed and independent, which means they may make a new decision about your eligibility for disability benefits. You may be able to produce different types of evidence in court that will persuade the Judge that you are eligible for benefits.
If the ALJ denies your appeal, you may still have legal options to obtain benefits.
A Social Security disability lawyer from Berger and Green may be able to represent your case throughout the entire benefits application process. We can continue to press on and argue for your right for benefits if your application is denied at any level. Call us today at (412) 661-1400 to get started.
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Conditions That Qualify for Disability
The SSA publishes an extensive list of all conditions that may qualify for disability in a document that some refer to as the “Blue Book.” In addition to the types of impairments that may qualify, the Blue Book contains criteria for how severe the conditions must be to be eligible for benefits.
The Blue Book allows for benefits for the following disability categories:
- Musculoskeletal system
- Special senses and speech
- Respiratory disorders
- Cardiovascular system
- Digestive system
- Genitourinary disorders
- Hematological disorders
- Skin disorders
- Endocrine disorders
- Congenital disorders
- Neurological disorders
- Mental disorders
- Immune system disorders
A Social Security disability lawyer can help you understand your eligibility for SSD when they review your case.
How Berger and Green Can Help You
You are not alone in your fight for disability benefits. If you need the support of a Social Security disability lawyer in Bethel Park, Berger and Green would like to hear from you.
Our firm may be able to:
- Review your case and discuss what missing elements you may need to obtain for your application
- Ensure the SSA has the appropriate information from your medical providers
- Help you file your SSD application
- Help you appeal an SSD denial
- Present your case before an ALJ
- Take further legal action if the ALJ upholds your benefits denial
We understand that the legal process to obtain disability benefits can be long, complicated, and frustrating. Financing a series of appeals can also be stressful if you are not working. This is why Berger and Green represents disability cases on a contingency-fee-basis. This arrangement means you only pay us at the conclusion of your case, if and when you recover compensation.
To discuss your case with our legal team, contact Berger and Green at (412) 661-1400. Consultation calls are free and can provide you with answers about your options to pursue disability benefits. Even if an SSD agency rejected your application more than 60 days ago, give us a call. There may be circumstances in your case that still allow you to recover compensation.