If you are unable to work due to a disability or are limited in the work you can do, you might qualify for monthly benefits from the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA). These benefits provide an essential lifeline that can help to pay for living expenses, housing, transportation, medical bills, and other important financial obligations.
However, having your application approved by the SSA can be a challenge. In this guide, our Carnegie Social Security Disability lawyers highlight a few ways to increase your chances of being approved for benefits and how we can help if your claim is denied.
Disability Benefit Programs: Which One Is Best for Your Circumstances?
Social Security Disability benefits are available for people of most ages, and there are two benefit programs you can apply for. These are:
- Social Security Disability insurance (SSDI) is available for disabled people who have earned enough work credits through full or part-time work. The monthly average in benefits paid in 2022 is $1,544.70.
- Supplemental security income (SSI) provides financial assistance for disabled or older adults with low income or assets, with an average current monthly payment of $624.24.
Most people’s circumstances fit best with either one or the other program due to their differences. To qualify for either program, though, you will need to show:
- How your illness or impairment affects your ability to work or prevents you from working
- That your medical condition complies with the SSA’s official guidelines as follows:
To receive Social Security Disability benefits, you must be unable to engage in any substantial gainful activity (SGA) as a result of your physical or mental impairment(s). Furthermore, your condition must be expected to result in death or have lasted or can be expected to last continuously for no less than 12 months.
The SSA’s ‘Blue Book’
The Blue Book is an online listing of medical conditions the SSA uses to evaluate disability benefit claims, but it is available for anyone to use. We mention it because each medical condition listed provides information that can help with your initial application, such as:
- An outline explaining the impairment or illness
- The symptoms or diagnosis that qualifies for benefit programs
- The evidence you need to collect to support and include with your application
If your condition is not listed (many qualifying conditions are not), do not worry. Our Social Security Disability lawyers in Carnegie, PA, will work with you to gather evidence to show how your conditions prevent you from working.
For a free legal consultation with a Social Security Disability lawyer serving Carnegie, call 412-661-1400
What Can I Do if My Claim for Disability Benefits Was Denied?
Our law firm has been helping clients fight disability benefit denials for over 40 years. Our prior experience means we know a lot about developing strong appeals and how to seek the benefits you need and deserve. According to the SSA, only 33% of claims are approved on initial application nationwide but do not be disheartened as this is not the final say in your case.
Stage One: Reconsideration
After receiving a denial notification, you have 60 days to appeal the SSA’s initial decision. The first step involves assigning a different employee from the SSA to take another look at your claim; this is known as reconsideration. While this may sound daunting, we will help you to understand why your claim was denied, which can improve your chances when you appeal.
For example, if there were gaps or mistakes in the information provided during your initial application or the process failed due to technical issues, we can help you address these matters. As more applications for disability benefits are denied than approved, the reconsideration may also be rejected. However, you cannot proceed to a hearing (where you can present more evidence to support your claim) without first having your case reconsidered. As long-winded as this is, it is just how the process works.
Stage Two: Requesting an Appeals Hearing Before an Administrative Law Judge
Generally speaking, there is a higher chance for your denial to be overturned during an appeals hearing than decisions reversed in the reconsideration process. We help you to prepare your case by gathering the evidence or any missed information to help counter any arguments against approval for benefits before representing you at ALJ hearings.
If we cannot reach an appropriate resolution at this stage, we can escalate your case to the Appeals Council, then the Federal Court when necessary.
Carnegie Social Security Disability Lawyer Near Me 412-661-1400
What Our Social Security Disability Clients Say About Us
We like to treat our clients as we would our own families. Therefore, we take the time to build genuine connections with everyone we represent. Of course, we could tell you about our achievements and experience, but we would rather you hear about us in the words of our clients:
- “Working with them, I could say was excellent…I never had to come down to Pittsburgh, with my medical condition, it would have been very difficult to make a trip. I live approximately 50 miles away…All along the way I was well-informed.” -Lyman
- “But the more impressive part of it was the day of my Administrative Law Judge hearing. The attorney who took my case, I was just so impressed by the amount of knowledge she knew about my case and about me, it was just overwhelming how much work she put into it.” -John
- “And I’m so thankful for that, it’s like I can’t say enough, they really stepped in and made things happen for me. If you are in a situation where you are unsure of your future, but you’re disabled and you’re not sure how you’re going to make it to the next day, they can step in and make things happen for you.” -Terry
Our Carnegie Social Security Disability Attorneys Can Help You Today
At Berger and Green, our Social Security Disability lawyers serving Carnegie, PA, take great pride in being there for our clients and the difference it makes in their lives when our hard work pays off. We are here for you, too. If you receive a denial of Social Security Disability benefits, contact us for a free consultation with our team today.