The Social Security Administration (SSA) offers individuals with disabilities the opportunity to receive financial benefits to help them and their families achieve a better quality of life. Unfortunately, the process for receiving these benefits is often long, and even the SSA admits that many applicants find the application process to be difficult and complex.
If you need assistance with the application process or the SSA rejected your claim, a DuBois Social Security disability lawyer can help you pursue the benefits you need. If you received a denial letter after applying for benefits, you only have up to 60 days to appeal the decision, so it is important to act quickly. Contact the legal team at Berger and Green as soon as possible at (412) 661-1400 to get started.
How to Qualify for Social Security Disability Benefits
To qualify for either of the two Social Security disability programs offered by the SSA, applicants must meet basic requirements regarding their condition and their ability to work. Although the applications and the specific criteria for these eligibility factors differ by program, having a disability that prevents the applicant from working applies to both.
Recipients’ Conditions Must Meet the SSA’s Definition of a Disability
The SSA maintains strict requirements for meeting their definition of disability, and beneficiaries must be able to obtain a doctor’s confirmation of their condition. In order to receive benefits, the individual must have a mental or physical impairment that interferes with their ability to work and is expected to either last at least 12 months or result in death. Proof of disability must be provided with the application.
Recipients Must Not Participate in Substantial Gainful Activity
In addition to meeting disability criteria, the applicant cannot engage in Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA). SGA refers to work that is completed for a profit or work that is intended for or typically results in a profit. Some recipients can perform some work for an income, but the SSA determines how much a person can receive through employment before it is considered SGA, which nullifies their ability to receive Social Security disability benefits.
For a free legal consultation with a social security disability lawyer serving DuBois, call 412-661-1400
Each Program Has Additional Requirements for Eligibility
In addition to meeting the basic requirements regarding disability status and income, the SSA’s two disability programs have their own eligibility criteria. Most people qualify for one or the other, but some can receive benefits from both.
Supplemental Security Income
The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program provides individuals who are blind, disabled, or aged 65 or over who have limited income and resources with monthly benefits. Those aged 65 or over are excepted from the disability rule, as they do not have to have an impairment to receive SSI.
Qualification for SSI does not require that any beneficiary have a work history, but they must need financial assistance with basic needs such as food and housing. DuBois, Pennsylvania SSI beneficiaries receive a set amount from the federal government each month as well as additional benefits from the state.
Social Security Disability Insurance
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a form of insurance into which employees pay Social Security taxes during their employment. Only those who have worked for a certain length of time and developed a disability before retirement age qualify for SSDI, although their dependents may be eligible for payments, as well. SSDI payments are determined by the amount the recipient paid in Social Security taxes.
If you applied for SSI or SSDI and the SSA sent you a denial letter, you have the right to appeal. Call Berger and Green right away at (412) 661-1400 to discuss your options with our legal team.
DuBois Social Security Disability Lawyer Near Me 412-661-1400
A DuBois Social Security Disability Lawyer Can Help You with Your Social Security Disability Application and Appeals Process
The long, complicated nature of Social Security disability applications makes it easy for errors to occur, and the SSA will deny applicants for even the slightest mistake. Sometimes, the applicant is not even at fault; the SSA commits technical and administrative errors that our legal team can catch and assist you in correcting so that we can move forward with your SSI or SSDI claim.
Request a Reconsideration
After you receive a denial letter from the SSA, the first step you must take in the appeals process is to request a reconsideration. You have 60 days to do this, and our lawyers can guide you through the process, which includes inspecting your original application for inaccuracies and informing you of any further information you may need to gather to support your claim, such as medical records, records of employment, or bank account details.
Once you have collected the documentation you need to proceed, we will submit the information to be reviewed by an SSA adjudicator who did not make a determination regarding your initial application. They will then decide whether to uphold the denial or reverse it so that you can start receiving benefits.
Schedule a Hearing
If your appeal is not resolved at the reconsideration stage, there is another step you can take to pursue benefits. With the help of a DuBois Social Security disability lawyer, you can take your case in front of an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), which allows you or your lawyer to present your claim and the evidence that supports it in person. The ALJ can then make a determination as to whether your appeal will be approved or denied.
If time allows in your appeals process, our lawyers can request a ALJ hearing on your behalf. ALJ hearings must often be scheduled several months in advance, but we can usually help our clients achieve benefits, including back pay, at this stage. If for some reason the hearing does not result in the approval of your application, our team can take further steps to fight for Social Security benefits for you.
Contact Berger and Green Today for Assistance with Your Social Security Disability Claim
The Social Security disability benefits application and appeals processes are complicated, and prospective beneficiaries often find the system difficult to navigate on their own. The lawyers at Berger and Green can help by assisting you through the application process, investigating your denial letter if necessary, and helping you seek benefits through the appeals process. Call our legal team today at (412) 661-1400 for your free consultation.