The Social Security Administration (SSA) runs two programs designed to help those who suffer from disabilities and need financial assistance. Unfortunately, even those who qualify often receive denial letters from the SSA. If the SSA rejected your application, you have a right to appeal the decision. However, the process involves a series of specific steps and deadlines, so navigating it yourself may be challenging without legal assistance.
The lawyers at Berger and Green understand the SSA’s disability programs and their appeal procedures. Call our legal team today at (412) 661-1400 to learn more about how a Kittanning Social Security disability lawyer can help you with your case.
Social Security Disability Programs
According to the Social Security Red Book, a tool from the SSA to help current and potential beneficiaries understand their options, the agency runs two programs designed to provide financial support to the blind, disabled, and certain older adults who qualify. The programs have different requirements and separate applications, but individuals who meet the criteria may receive one or both types of benefits.
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)
The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program functions as a trust fund that benefits qualifying individuals who paid into the program through Social Security taxes during their employment but later suffered a disability before retirement. To receive SSDI benefits, the applicant must have a certain number of work credits and a qualifying disability. According to the SSA, you must expect it to last at least 12 months or result in death.
Spouses and other dependent family members of SSDI recipients may qualify for benefits, as well. The total amount that an individual receives is not based on their condition, but their amount paid into Social Security while they were in the workforce.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
Designed to provide for basic needs such as food, clothing, and shelter, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits disabled and blind people, as well as adults aged 65 and older. To qualify, the applicant must meet specific income criteria, but a work history is not required. Instead of functioning as a form of insurance as SSDI does, SSI receives funding from general tax revenue.
SSI beneficiaries must have extremely limited resources and a low income to qualify. According to AARP, individuals could receive up to $783 per month in 2020, while eligible couples could receive up to $1,175. Many states, including Pennsylvania, also have supplemental programs that provide SSI recipients with additional funding.
Some individuals who benefit from either program can still work, but they must abide by the SSA’s rules for Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA), which vary by circumstance. A Kittanning Social Security disability lawyer can help you determine if you qualify for SSDI, SSI, or both and guide you through the appeals process, if necessary. Call our legal team for your free consultation today at (412) 661-1400.
For a free legal consultation with a social security disability lawyer serving Kittanning, call (412) 661-1400
Social Security Disability Benefits Application and Appeal Steps
Applying for Social Security Disability requires an extensive amount of specific information, and any missing or incomplete documents can lead to a denial. Some of the types of personal details you need to fill out an online application for benefits include:
- Marriage and divorce records
- U.S. military service
- Employer and self-employment records
- Bank account information
- Medical records and healthcare provider information
If you provided this information and the SSA denied it, you have a right to appeal your claim within 60 days of receiving your letter. If you do not file within 60 days, you must restart the application process for the SSA to reconsider you for benefits. Our lawyers can help you through each step of the appeals process.
The first step you must take if you wish to challenge the SSA’s decision on your claim is reconsideration. This involves submitting your information along with any new evidence that you may have left out or that you think may help prove your eligibility so that the SSA can reevaluate it to determine its original decision’s validity. If they reverse their decision at this stage, you can begin to receive SSDI or SSI benefits. The reconsideration stage does not often lead to approval, though, so you may have to move forward with the appeals process.
The next step is called an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) hearing. These hearings allow you or your lawyer to present information to an unbiased ALJ, who will then decide if you qualify for SSDI or SSI benefits. You must request a hearing within a certain amount of time, and you may have to wait months for your hearing date. Our team might be able to help you achieve future benefits and back pay at this stage.
Kittanning Social Security Disability Lawyer Near Me (412) 661-1400
How a Kittanning Social Security Disability Lawyer Can Help You
We know how frustrating the Social Security disability application and appeals procedures can be. Our team is dedicated to helping those who qualify for SSDI or SSI achieve the benefits for which they are eligible. Some of the ways we help our clients with their Social Security disability claims include:
- Reviewing your application to determine the cause of your denial
- Establishing whether your denial resulted from a medical, non-medical, technical, or administrative reason
- Identifying the appropriate documents and information to gather to appeal your claim
- Providing you with legal support through every step of the appeals process, beginning with your initial consultation
We cannot rush the appeals process or simplify the SSA’s burdensome procedures for applying for benefits or challenging a decision, but we can provide you with reliable representation and address any questions or concerns you have from start to finish.
Contact Berger and Green Today for Assistance with Your Social Security Disability Claim
The federal government created the Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income programs to benefit those who suffer from disabilities and need extra help to care for themselves and their loved ones. However, they do not make it easy for applicants to achieve approval for benefits. If the SSA denied your SSDI or SSI, call the legal team at Berger and Green as soon as possible at (412) 661-1400 to get started on your appeal before time runs out.