A disabling injury or illness can upend your life. In addition to dealing with your condition and the resulting medical expenses, you may have the financial burden of being unable to work.
A Hollidaysburg Social Security Disability (SSD) lawyer with Berger and Green can assist you with seeking monthly payments to help with your bills and provide for your family. We can file your initial benefits application and guide you through appealing denied claims.
Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income
Social Security Disability (SSD) is an umbrella term for two separate and distinct programs administered by the United States Social Security Administration (SSA):
- Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) provides monthly payments to disabled workers based on work credits earned through contributions to the Social Security trust fund. You must have a qualifying condition and enough earned work credits to receive payments.
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is needs-based and provides payments to disabled workers with limited income and resources. To receive payments, you must have a qualifying condition and meet income requirements, but you do not need work credits.
Additionally, according to the SSA, SSDI recipients qualify for health care coverage under Medicare Parts A, B, and C and can opt for prescription drug coverage under Part D. SSI recipients qualify for Medicaid.
For a free legal consultation with a Social Security Disability lawyer serving Hollidaysburg, call 412-661-1400
Social Security Disability Medical Requirements
SSDI and SSI have the same medical requirements. To determine if you have a medically disabling condition, the SSA asks five questions:
- Are you working? You are working if you can perform substantial gainful activity (SGA). The SGA limit for 2022 is $1,350 per month ($2,260 for blind individuals). In general, if you earn more than this, you cannot receive SSD benefits.
- Do you have a “severe” health condition? A condition is severe if it prevents you from doing work-related activity (lifting, standing, walking, etc.) for at least 12 months.
- Do you have an eligible injury or illness? The SSA considers conditions in 14 categories of impairment, including respiratory disorders, musculoskeletal disorders, cardiovascular disorders, cancer, and mental disorders. You can find a complete list of eligible injuries and illnesses in the SSA Blue Book.
If you have a condition not listed in the Blue Book, that does not mean you cannot seek SSD payments. You can still apply for benefits, but the SSA will consider two additional questions regarding your ailment:
- Can you perform your previous job? The SSA will determine if you can perform any work connected to your previous employment. If the agency decides you can perform tasks related to your previous job, it will likely deny your benefits.
- Can you perform any other type of work? The SSA will review your condition, age, education, and work experience to determine if you can perform a different kind of work. If the SSA decides you can work, it will likely deny your SSD claim.
If the SSA denies your application for medical reasons, our Hollidaysburg Social Security Disability lawyers can help you appeal the decision. We can help prove you have a qualifying condition and guide you through the appeals process.
Hollidaysburg Social Security Disability Lawyer Near Me 412-661-1400
Social Security Disability Work and Income Requirements
To receive SSDI, you must have earned work credits. Generally, you need a minimum of 20 credits to qualify for payments. However, older workers may require more credits. In 2022, one credit equals $1,510 in wages or self-employment income. Workers can earn up to four credits per year.
Eligibility for SSI depends on your financial resources. Resources include bank accounts, cash, stocks, bonds, vehicles, life insurance, personal property, and any other assets you can convert to money for food or shelter. According to the SSA, in general, you must have less than $2,000 in individual resources to qualify for SSI.
Our Pennsylvania SSD lawyers can assist with claim denials involving work credits or income. Let our attorneys serving Hollidaysburg help you secure the payments you need to make ends meet.
How Much SSD Will You Receive Monthly?
The amount of your monthly SSDI payment depends on your earned work credits. The more credits you have, the more SSDI you can receive. According to the SSA, the average monthly payment was $1,234 in 2019.
The SSA also reports that the monthly cap for SSI benefits in 2022 is $841 per eligible individual.
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How To Apply for SSD Benefits
Before submitting your SSD benefits application, you need to gather medical records showing you have a qualifying health condition. You will also need to provide information regarding employment and proof of U.S. citizenship or lawful alien status. Necessary documents may include:
- Examination and treatment notes
- Diagnostic test results
- Mental health records
- Records regarding prescription medications, past medical procedures, and current treatments
- Contact information for your doctors and other healthcare providers
- Contact information for your current or most recent employer
- Work history
- Information regarding worker’s compensation or other benefits you receive
- Military service records
- W-2s or self-employment tax returns
- Birth certificate or proof of citizenship/lawful alien status
Once you have obtained the necessary evidence, our PA SSD attorneys can file your initial SSDI or SSI claim. If the SSA already denied your application, we can help you gather proof for your appeal.
Appealing a Denied SSD Claim
If the SSA denies your SSI or SSDI application, you have the right to appeal the decision. Appeals have four steps:
- Reconsideration for medical or nonmedical reasons
- Hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ)
- Review by the Appeals Council
- Federal Court review
Our Hollidaysburg Social Security Disability lawyers can prepare your case for appeal and represent you throughout the appeals process. We will fight to help you secure the benefits you need and deserve.
Contact Berger and Green for Help With Your Social Security Disability Claims
Berger and Green has more than 40 years of legal experience we can put to work for you. Our Pennsylvania Social Security Disability lawyers can help you file your initial applications or fight back against denied SSDI and SSI payments.
Contact us today to learn more about our SSD attorneys serving Hollidaysburg and how we can take your case at no upfront cost to you.