If you have medical conditions that interfere with your earning capabilities, you may qualify for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits. Monthly SSD payments can help cover health care costs, household bills, and daily expenses. However, securing benefits can be complex, and many applicants are unsuccessful on their first attempt.
A Follansbee Social Security Disability lawyer with Berger and Green can help you navigate the claims process. As a firm, we have over 40 years of SSD experience we can put to work recovering the financial resources you need and deserve. We can protect your financial stability and help you regain some peace of mind.
Are You Eligible for Social Security Disability Benefits?
Social Security Disability is made up of two distinct benefits programs. The program you are eligible for will depend on your income and work history.
- Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). Individuals with disabilities qualify for SSDI based on their earned work credits. You usually must have a minimum of 20 credits (about five years of work) to be eligible, although older workers may need more credits, while younger workers may require fewer.
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI). You do not need work credits to receive SSI. This needs-based program is open to disabled individuals with limited income and resources.
Some individuals qualify for SSDI and SSI simultaneously, but you must apply for each using a separate and unique application. Our Follansbee Social Security Disability lawyers can explain more about the benefits available to you and help you file the correct claims.
Eligibility for SSD will also depend on the following:
Is Your Condition Severe?
The Social Security Administration (SSA) keeps a list of conditions in the Blue Book it presumes are severe enough to prevent you from working. Listed ailments include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Musculoskeletal disorders
- Loss of vision and hearing
- Chronic heart failure
- Respiratory disorders
- Organ transplant
- Kidney or liver disease
- Blood disorders
- Severe burns
- Neurological disorders
- Immune disorders
If you have a condition that prevents you from working but is not in the Blue Book, you can still apply for SSD. However, you must supply the SSA with enough medical documentation to establish that your illness or injury is as debilitating as those on the SSA’s list.
Can You Work?
Your injury or illness must prevent you from performing substantial gainful activity (SGA) for a minimum of 12 months. This means you cannot do basic work-related activities like standing, sitting, or remembering. The SGA limit for 2023 is $1,470 per month. If your average earnings exceed this limit, your condition does not meet the SSA’s disability requirements.
For a free legal consultation with a Social Security Disability lawyer serving Follansbee, call 412-661-1400
How Much Money Can You Receive from Social Security Disability?
According to the SSA, the individual monthly benefit rate for SSI recipients is $914 for 2023. The rate changes yearly based on the Consumer Price Index. West Virginia does not offer an SSI state supplement.
SSDI rates vary depending on your earned work credits. The more credits that you have, the higher your monthly payments will be. You can estimate your SSDI benefits using the SSA’s online Benefits Calculator.
Other sources of income and benefits you receive (such as workers’ compensation or unemployment) will also affect your SSD.
Follansbee Social Security Disability Lawyer Near Me 412-661-1400
How Can Our Follansbee Social Security Disability Lawyers Help You Secure Benefits?
Social Security Disability applications have a high rate of denial. According to the Social Security Office of Retirement and Disability Policy, the SSA denied 67 percent of initial claims in 2020, up 10 percent from the previous decade. Our attorneys can help you avoid application errors and other mistakes that can hurt your chances of securing SSD. We can also ensure the SSA has the information it needs about your medical providers.
Some common reasons for denial include:
- Clerical errors. SSD applications can be complicated, so a mistake regarding your name, address, or other basic information could lead to a denial of benefits.
- Insufficient medical evidence. The SSA may determine you do not have a qualifying condition if you do not supply proper medical records or contact information for your health care providers.
- Income exceeding SGA. The SSA will not approve your application if it believes your average monthly income is greater than the SGA limit.
- Previous denials. You cannot simply resubmit an application if you have received a denial. Instead, you must go through the appeals process.
- Failure to cooperate. If you did not follow your doctor’s orders or there are large gaps in your treatment, the SSA may deny your claim. You must also cooperate with the SSA’s requests for additional information.
We Will Fight to Appeal Denied SSD Claims
If you disagree with the SSA’s determination, our West Virginia SSD lawyers can guide you through the four-stage appeals process and help you fight for benefits.
- Reconsideration. We can ask the SSA to take another look at your initial application. Rarely do claims get approved at this stage.
- Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) hearing. This is an official court proceeding during which a Judge will review your case. We can represent you during the hearing and help you submit new evidence to support your claim. We can request a phone, video conference, or in-person hearing.
- Appeals Council review. If you disagree with the ALJ’s ruling, our attorneys can request a review by the SSA Appeals Council.
- Federal court. If necessary, we can take civil action in U.S. District Court.
You Should File Your SSD Claim Immediately
You must have a condition that is disabling for 12 months before you can receive SSD, but that does not mean you should wait a year before applying for benefits. You should start your claim as soon as you suffer an injury or develop a medical condition that prevents you from working.
If your initial application gets denied, you have 60 days to begin an appeal by requesting a reconsideration. From there, you have 60 days from receiving notice of a decision to file for the next stage of the appeals process.
Our lawyers can help you get started on your case immediately.
Complete a Free Case Evaluation form now
Contact Berger and Green for Social Security Disability Claims Assistance
Contact Berger and Green for a free consultation today. Our Follansbee Social Security Disability lawyers can get to work protecting your rights and your financial future. We take cases on contingency. Connect with a West Virginia SSD lawyer today.