If you have an injury or health problem that prevents you from working, a Morgantown Social Security Disability lawyer with Berger and Green can help you secure benefits to help with your monthly expenses. Our lawyers serving West Virginia can put 40 years of case experience behind filing your claim and fighting against a denied payment.
Social Security Disability (SSD) Involves Two Benefits Programs
Individuals with disabilities can seek benefits from two programs the Social Security Administration (SSA) oversees:
- Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). SSDI applicants must have earned work credits to qualify for benefits. You can earn up to four credits per year through your employment. In general, you need 20 credits to become eligible, although younger workers may need fewer, and older workers may require more.
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI). SSI eligibility does not relate to your work history. Instead, this needs-based program is available to individuals with limited income and resources.
How Much Are Monthly Payments?
Monthly SSDI benefits depend on your earned work credits, with more credits generally leading to higher payments. You can estimate your claim using the SSA’s online Benefits Calculator. The monthly SSI rate changes annually and depends on the Consumer Price Index and other economic factors. The 2023 rate is $914 per person. West Virginia does not provide a state supplement.
Other benefits and sources of income you have will also affect your program eligibility and benefit amount, including:
- Workers’ compensation benefits
- Retirement benefits and pensions
- Veterans’ benefits
- Federal employees’ retirement or compensation
- Legal awards or settlements
If you suffered an injury or have a debilitating condition, SSD can help you make ends meet. Our Morgantown, WV, Social Security Disability lawyers can fight for your benefits and protect your financial future. We can file your initial claim, appeal denied benefits, or appeal if you think there is an error concerning your monthly payment amount.
How Can You Apply?
You do not use the same application to apply for SSDI and SSI. You must file separate claims for each program. However, you can qualify for both concurrently. You can and should begin the claims process as soon as you have a condition that prevents you from working and know that you will be unable to work for 12 months or longer.
You must supply medical evidence, financial documents, and personal information to the SSA along with your initial claim, which may include:
- Medical records
- Lab test results
- Diagnostic imaging
- Doctors’ notes or treatment plans
- Birth certificate/proof of citizenship
- W2s or self-employment tax information
- Military discharge papers (if you served before 1968)
- Proof of workers’ compensation or other benefits/resources
- A completed Adult Disability Report
- A list of current and previous employers
- Contact information for your medical providers
- Awards letters, pay stubs, or settlement agreements
For a free legal consultation with a Social Security Disability lawyer serving Morgantown, call 412-661-1400
Medical Conditions that Qualify for Social Security Disability
The SSA maintains a list of medical conditions in the Blue Book that it considers severe enough to be disabling. Each condition also has specific criteria for evaluating how it interferes with your ability to work. If your injury or illness is in the book, proving you are medically qualified for SSDI or SSI will likely be easier. Listed health problems include but are not limited to, the following:
- Chronic heart failure
- Chronic liver or kidney disease
- Huntington’s disease
- Traumatic brain injury
- Spinal cord injury and severe back problems
- Organ transplant
- Depression or bipolar disorder
- Personality disorder
- Early-onset Alzheimer’s
- Severe burns
- Blood disorders
If you do not have a listed condition, you can still seek SSD benefits. However, you may need to give the SSA more medical information proving your injury or illness is severe and debilitating and interferes with your work capabilities to the same extent as ailments included in the Blue Book.
SSD Work Requirements
The SSA does not consider you disabled unless your condition interferes with basic work-related activities (like sitting, standing, remembering, or staying on task) for a minimum of 12 months. It evaluates your ability to do work using the substantial gainful activity limit (SGA).
SGA for 2023 is set at an average of $1,470 per month. The SSA will deny your claim if it believes you can earn this amount or more doing your current job or another kind of work.
Morgantown Social Security Disability Lawyer Near Me 412-661-1400
Why Was Your Social Security Disability Claim Denied?
Reports from the Social Security Office of Retirement and Disability Policy state that nearly 70 percent of initial disability claims get denied. Common reasons for denial include:
- The SSA believes you earn too much money.
- The SSA does not think your condition is disabling.
- The SSA does not think your condition will last 12 months.
- The SSA does not know how to contact you.
- You did not comply with requests for additional information.
- You refused a consultative exam.
- You have a previously denied claim and reapplied instead of filing an appeal.
- Lack of medical evidence
- Clerical or application errors
How Can Our Morgantown SSD Attorneys Help With Your Appeal?
Our Morgantown Social Security Disability lawyers can appeal unfavorable initial determinations, but we must act quickly. You have only 60 days from receiving notice of the SSA’s decision to begin the process. You then have 60 days between each appeal stage to move your claim forward. The four stages are:
- Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) hearing
- Appeals Council review
- Federal Court (where civil action would occur)
Our lawyers can do the following for you:
- Review your initial application to determine the reasons for the denial
- File your appeal
- Collect and submit new medical or financial evidence to support your claim
- Represent you during an ALJ hearing
- Take legal action on your behalf if necessary
- Answer your questions and protect your rights
- Provide you prompt and frequent updates
Contact Berger and Green for Help Securing SSD
The SSD lawyers at Berger and Green can assist with your claim at no upfront or out-of-pocket cost. We work on contingency, which means we only collect attorney’s fees if you receive benefits. Contact us for a free consultation today.