When a disability makes you unable to earn a living, Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits can be a vital source of financial assistance for your medical bills and basic needs. While not everyone with a disability qualifies for SSD benefits, some individuals meet all the requirements but still have their claims denied.
If you want to file for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or have had your claim rejected, a Greenville Social Security disability lawyer can help. Our team is ready to help you navigate the complex Social Security Disability system and seek disability income and benefits, whether through filing a strong claim or appealing the Social Security Administration’s decision.
How a Social Security Disability Attorney Can Help You Seek Disability Benefits in Greenville, Pennsylvania
Applying for Social Security Disability can be laborious. It often involves long wait times and apprehension, especially if the Social Security Administration (SSA) denies your initial claim.
Working with a legal team that has helped hundreds of Social Security benefits applicants and has over 40 years of experience may put you at an advantage in navigating the Social Security Disability system.
Here are some ways our team can serve you:
- Review your eligibility and file your SSDI or SSI application
- Determine why SSA denied your claim
- File a request for reconsideration and submit any required documents within the time limits
- Prepare you for your Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) hearing and explain the proceedings, so you’re comfortable
For a free legal consultation with a Social Security Disability lawyer serving Greenville, call 412-661-1400
A Greenville Social Security Disability Lawyer Can Help Determine Which Benefits Program You Should Pursue
The SSA offers two programs for those who cannot support themselves due to a severe and long-term disability. Once your Social Security disability lawyer serving Greenville reviews the details of your case, they can inform you which benefit program’s eligibility criteria you match.
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)
Per SSA, SSDI is an earned benefit available to eligible individuals. SSA may pay disability benefits to you and certain family members if you:
- Have a disability that is expected to last at least 12 months or result in death
- Have at least 20 work credits; fewer credits may suffice depending on your age
- Have a long-term disability
- Meet SSA’s definition of disability
Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
SSI provides monthly payments to disabled individuals to help with basic needs such as food, clothing, and shelter. To qualify, you must have income and assets under a certain limit.
SSA’s Definition of Disability
According to SSA’s Code of Federal Regulations § 404.1505, a qualifying disability refers to the “inability to do any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months.”
Note that SSA’s disability definition may differ from the medical definition of disability. SSA focuses more on your ability to engage in Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA), even with limitations.
To determine if you have a disabling condition, the SSA may consult “the Blue Book,” which contains a comprehensive list of disabling impairments. It also includes severity criteria you must meet to qualify for benefits.
Greenville Social Security Disability Lawyer Near Me 412-661-1400
Stages of the Social Security Disability Process
The Social Security Disability benefits process contains five steps. The first step is the initial application stage, and the other four encompass the appeals level. At each stage, your claim will either be approved or denied. If denied, you will have 60 days to request an appeal.
Since many applicants have their claims denied initially, we are fully prepared to appeal SSA’s decisions through the different appeals levels.
Stage 1: Initial Application
To begin your path to benefits, you must first file the SSI or SSDI application and submit it with the SSA in person, via telephone, via mail, or online.
After SSA verifies the non-medical requirements, such as your age, employment, and marital status, they will send your application to Disability Determination Services (DDS). This state-level agency will verify your disability’s legitimacy, determine your eligibility for the benefits program, and decide whether you’re disabled according to SSA’s definition.
SSA denies about two-thirds of initial applications. However, a denial does not mean you aren’t eligible for benefits. Appeal stages present more opportunities to get your claim approved.
Stage 2: Reconsideration
If SSA denies your first application, you can file for an appeal and ask the SSA to review their initial verdict.
Once you have filed the appeal, your application goes through the same process as before, but a new DDS representative will look at the previously submitted information and any new evidence before approving or denying your claim. If denied, you can request a hearing with an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ).
Stage 3: Hearing by an Administrative Law Judge
In this stage, a Judge who did not participate in the reconsideration stage will review your case. The ALJ will review all your medical evidence, and you can speak about the limitations you experience because of your disability. The Judge may also ask medical and vocational experts about your limitations.
The hearing can occur in person, via phone, or via video conferencing. We understand that it can be intimidating to speak before a Judge. But don’t worry — we will prepare you for the hearing, so you know what to expect.
Stage 4: Request for Review by Appeals Council
We will request an Appeals Council review if the Judge denies your claim again. If the Appeals Council grants your request for a review, it will either affirm the ALJ’s decision, approve your claim, or return your claim to the ALJ for further evaluation.
Stage 5: Federal Lawsuit
If the Appeals Council denies your claim, we can help you bring a lawsuit in federal court, asserting that the SSA’s decision is incongruent with the provided evidence.
Contact Our Social Security Disability Team TodayFor a Free Consultation
Contact us today to speak with a Berger and Green team member. We will review the facts of your case and inform you of your rights and options for seeking benefits. Our Greenville Social Security Disability attorneys look forward to serving you.