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, applying for and receiving Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits is often long for some Dubois, PA, applicants. Even the SSA reports that many find the application process difficult and that it denies a large number of first-time Social Security Disability applications.
If you seek assistance with the application process or the SSA rejected your claim, a DuBois Social Security Disability lawyer from Berger and Green can help with an initial claim or a claim denial. If you are thinking about applying, you should do so as soon as possible, and if you have received a denial letter, you should contact us soon. You have only up to 60 days to appeal the decision. Call our legal team as soon as possible to get started during your free consultation.
Qualifying for Social Security Disability Benefits in DuBois, PA
To qualify for either Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), applicants must meet strict 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 for a minimum of 12 months applies to both.
Your Medical Condition Must Meet the SSA’s Strict Definition of a Disability
The SSA maintains strict requirements for meeting its definition of disability. It maintains its Blue Book listing of impairments, which outlines the criteria that applicants must meet to demonstrate they have a disability that impairs their ability to earn income.
SSD recipients must have a doctor’s confirmation of their condition. To receive benefits, disabled individuals must have a mental or physical impairment that
- Interferes with their ability to work; and
- It is expected to either last at least 12 months or result in death.
Applicants must provide proof of their disability with the application. Our Social Security disability attorneys serving DuBois can guide you on the kinds of medical evidence you will need. Your documentation may include:
- Diagnostic tests and their results
- Records of hospital treatment you received
- Prescription medications
- Your doctor’s notes about your condition
You can work with your doctor on getting your medical evidence together to prove your disability. Ensure you make all your appointments and follow your doctor’s instructions for treatment.
Recipients Must Not Participate in Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA)
In addition to meeting disability criteria, the applicant cannot engage in substantial gainful activity (SGA). SGA refers to work completed for a profit or work intended for or typically results in a profit.
Some recipients can perform some work for an income. Still, 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 Personal Injury lawyer serving DuBois, call 412-661-1400
You Could Qualify for SSDI or SSI: We Can Help You Determine Which One Is Right for You
We understand that it may not be clear which disability benefits program you are eligible for. During a free consultation, we can explain what each type of benefits is and if you meet the eligibility requirements. You do not have to have an attorney to apply for benefits, you may have questions about how to apply for benefits. We encourage you to contact an attorney if you are applying for benefits or have been denied, having the experience of our law firm behind you allows you to focus on your health while we handle your claim.
We will be with you throughout the claims and appeals processes if SSA denies your initial application. One key part of starting a claim is knowing which federal disability benefits program to apply for.
SSDI and SSI Have Additional Requirements for Eligibility
In addition to meeting the basic requirements regarding disability status and income, the SSA’s two disability programs each have its eligibility criteria. Most people qualify for one, but some can benefit from both.
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is insurance into which employees pay Social Security FICA taxes during employment. Only those who have worked for a certain time and developed a disability before retirement age qualify for SSDI. SSDI payments are determined by the amount the recipient paid in Social Security taxes during their employment. We can review your employment history to determine how long you worked and if you meet the technical requirement for SSDI.
If SSA approves your claim, you will receive monthly payments that replace the income you couldn’t earn because of your disability. We can also advise whether you can receive Medicare benefits after getting SSDI benefits for two years. Per the SSA, people eligible for SSDI benefits are also eligible for Medicare after a 24-month qualifying period.
Appealing a Denied SSDI Benefits Claim in DuBois, PA
If you applied for SSI or SSDI and the SSA sent you a denial letter, you have the right to appeal. We can manage your appeal for you. Call Berger and Green right away to discuss your options with our legal team. You only have 60 days to file an appeal.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program provides individuals who are blind, disabled, or aged 65 or over with limited income and resources with monthly benefits. Those aged 65 or over are exempt from the disability rule, as they do not have to have an impairment to receive SSI.
Qualifying for SSI does not require recipients to have a work history. However, they must show a need for financial assistance with basic needs, such as food and housing and meet strict income and asset guidelines. SSI beneficiaries in DuBois, PA, receive a set amount from the federal government each month and additional state benefits.
DuBois Social Security Disability Lawyer Near Me 412-661-1400
Our DuBois, PA, Social Security Disability Lawyer Can Help With a Social Security Disability Application and Appeals Process
The long, complicated nature of Social Security Disability applications makes it easy for applicants to make errors, 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 Pennsylvania SSD lawyers will guide you through the process. This includes:
- Inspecting your original application for inaccuracies
- 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 the necessary documentation is collected we can 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.
Request an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Hearing
If your appeal remains unresolved at the reconsideration stage, you can take the next step. With our DuBois Social Security disability lawyer’s help, the next stage is a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). The ALJ can then make a determination as to whether they will approve or deny your claim for benefits.
We Are Ready to Start on Your Case: Call Us Today About Your Dubois, PA, Social Security Disability Claim
The Social Security Disability benefits application and appeals processes can be complicated and taxing, especially for people who must manage a disability while experiencing financial hardship. Many prospective beneficiaries find it challenging to navigate the system on their own.
Berger and Green has over 40 years of legal experience and has helped many Social Security Disability clients in Pennsylvania apply for their benefits. We will guide you through the application process, investigate your denial letter if necessary, and help you seek benefits through the appeals process. Call our legal team today for your free consultation.