Unfortunately, some people are ill or injured to the point that they are unable to work or return to work as a result of their injuries or conditions. If this is the case with you, you may have the legal right to receive social security disability. However, the process to obtain this type of insurance can often prove to be legally challenging and complex.
Understanding Social Security Disability
The Social Security Administration (SSA) makes determinations and provides compensation to individuals with disabilities throughout the United States through the federally funded Social Security Disability program. Learn more about both types of programs below.
Social Security Disability Insurance
The first type of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is available to any worker who was employed and paid into the Social Security system. Once a worker pays into the Social Security Disability system for 20 of the previous 40 quarters, they are eligible to apply for compensation if they become disabled and are unable to return to work.
It is important to note that a person must receive a medical diagnosis of a complete disability to qualify for SSDI. This type of diagnosis means that the applicant is unable to work or maintain employment due to the severe limitations of their illness or injury for a year or more. Even if applicants can no longer perform their old job, if they can successfully perform other tasks that allow them to work, they may not qualify for SSDI.
Social Security Disability Insurance may provide benefits to certain family members, depending on the circumstances. SSDI is a federal program, and U.S. citizens or non-citizens in certain categories have the ability to apply if they meet all of the minimum eligibility criteria.
Supplemental Security Income
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a completely different type of disability benefit. This type of insurance does not require that a person previously paid into any system through their employment.
The minimum criteria that a person needs to meet are that they have a disability and a financial need that is substantial enough that they need monetary assistance to live. SSI also provides benefits to those that are 65 years of age or older. The SSA determines if an applicant meets the income and disability threshold.
Applicants must also meet residency, citizenship, and any other requirements requested by the Social Security Administration (SSA). Our legal team can help you prepare your application and review your claim for accuracy.
For a free legal consultation with a social security disability lawyer serving Mercer, call (412) 661-1400
Understanding the Legal Definition of Totally Disabled
While you may not be able to work in the same field that you used to work in, you may not meet the SSA definition of totally disabled under the law. To receive Social Security benefits, you must obtain a medical diagnosis and evaluation that indicates that you are totally disabled. Totally disabled means that your disability will last one year or longer or leave you with the inability to do any type of work due to your medical condition.
Mercer Social Security Disability Lawyer Near Me (412) 661-1400
Denial of Social Security Disability Claims
Some of the reasons the SSA will deny a SSDI or SSI claim include the following:
- The disability is not permanent (expected to last one year or longer).
- The applicant did not follow the doctor or medical professional’s orders with respect to their injury or illness.
- The claim was filled out incorrectly.
- The claimant makes too much income to qualify for any supplemental income.
- The disability relates in some way to the abuse of alcohol or drugs.
- The evidence provided, or medical records provided, did not adequately establish the foundation for a claim.
- The disability relates in some way to a felony conviction.
If your application for disability benefits was denied, contact Berger and Green to help you develop your claim to ensure your legal rights remain protected throughout the process. A Mercer Social Security Disability lawyer with our firm can help you with your application and appeal, no matter how challenging it may seem.
Appealing Your Social Security Disability Denial in Mercer, Pennsylvania
If your application for disability benefits was denied, you still have options you can pursue. The first step in the appeals process is requesting a reconsideration. The reasons for rejection can determine the available methods for submitting this reconsideration request.
In this first phase, you will provide all medical information, evidence, letters, and any other support for their claim. Although some claimants’ requests are still denied at this stage of the process, this is not the end of the process.
You or your lawyer can ask for a hearing in the second step. This hearing allows you to add or update any medical documentation necessary for proving that you meet the legal definition of totally disabled. You may also need to answer additional questions regarding your application. If a hearing is scheduled, you are allowed to bring witnesses before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ).
If your hearing still results in a denial of benefits, you can ask that your case is reviewed by an Appeals Council. You can make this request online. The Appeals Council will make sure laws were applied fairly in your case.
If this Appeals Council step does not resolve your disability benefits determination, you can file a lawsuit in a federal court. The SSA will provide instructions for beginning this step. Although this process may seem confusing, a Mercer Social Security Disability lawyer with our team is ready to represent you and handle the legal process involved with your application for disability benefits.
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How a Mercer Social Security Disability Lawyer Can Help You with Your Social Security Disability Claim
The entire process to file and receive a positive acceptance of your Social Security Disability claim can be overwhelming and challenging. A Mercer Social Security Disability lawyer can help you with your Social Security disability claim by making sure your case is presented in the best way possible through all stages of the process.
If you want to learn more about your legal rights and how you may have the ability to file a claim to receive Social Security benefits due to your total disability, contact our legal team at Berger and Green at (412) 661-1400 today to learn more about your legal options and rights.