The Social Security Administration (SSA) is a United States federal agency that manages both retirement and disability programs designed to benefit Americans who no longer work or who cannot work. Unlike retirement benefits, those who receive disability must meet certain criteria to continue receiving payments from the SSA to prove that they have limited physical resources, income, or both. Unfortunately, the majority of those who do qualify for Social Security disability receive denials after applying for the first time.
Applying for Social Security disability benefits involves a complex process, but if you need help applying for benefits or appealing a decision, a New Castle Supplemental Security Income lawyer can help you prove your eligibility and take the appropriate steps to achieve benefits. Contact Berger and Green today at (412) 661-1400 to discuss your case with our legal team.
Social Security Disability Benefits Programs
The Social Security Administration (SSA) offers two disability programs based on age, disability status, and need. In order to qualify as “disabled,” you must not be able to participate in any substantial gainful activity (SGA), which the SSA defines as a certain level of work ability and earned income. Your condition must also be expected to either result in death or last at least 12 consecutive months.
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)
If you worked and paid Social Security taxes on your income prior to becoming disabled, you may qualify for SSDI. This program operates as a trust fund and provides benefits to those who qualify based on their earnings. As of 2020, beneficiaries can receive up to $1,220 a month, with the exception of blind individuals, who have a maximum of $2,110.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
The SSI program benefits those who are older, disabled, or blind and have limited income. SSA manages the SSI program and so beneficiaries do not need to have a work history to qualify. According to the AARP, the 2020 maximum SSI benefit for individuals is $783 per month for individuals and $1,175 for qualifying couples. Many states, including Pennsylvania and Ohio, also pay supplemental benefits to those who receive SSI.
Some beneficiaries can receive both SSDI and SSI, and disabled minors can, in some cases, as well. Our lawyers can help you determine if your child or dependent qualifies for Social Security disability benefits and assist you through the process of applying for benefits and, if necessary, appealing denials.
For a free legal consultation with a supplemental security income lawyer serving New Castle, call 412-219-5084
Reasons for SSI Application Denials
The SSA denies the majority of Social Security disability claims. In fact, the agency noted that between 2001 and 2010, over half of all applicants received denial letters. The SSA may deny applications based on medical reasons or non-medical (technical) reasons, and even if you do qualify, they may make a mistake in denying your application or require additional information to prove that you:
- Do not earn too much income
- Meet the SSA’s criteria for age or disability
- Are a legal resident of the United States
- Have medical evidence of your disability
Denials may also occur because of administrative errors or if you experience major life changes since applying, such as a change in marital status. The lawyers at Berger and Green can examine your denial letter to determine the problem with your application so you can move forward with pursuing SSI benefits. Contact our legal team today at (412) 661-1400 for your free case evaluation.
New Castle Supplemental Security Income Lawyer Near Me 412-219-5084
A New Castle Supplemental Security Income Lawyer Can Help You Through the Claims Process
In most cases, obtaining SSI benefits involves several steps beyond simply applying, as a denial requires you to appeal a likely denial to achieve benefits. An attorney can help you through each step of the process, beginning with filing your claim.
Applying for Your SSI Benefits
You can file for SSI benefits on your own. However, you may find it helpful to have the assistance of a lawyer as the SSA requires specific information and documentation that can be easily overlooked. A lawyer can also guide you through the process of applying for Social Security disability benefits for minors, as the typical rules do not apply to children under age 18. We can help you ensure that you have completed the application in its entirety and potentially improve your chances of avoiding a denial.
Appealing a Denial
If you receive a denial from the SSA, you have two opportunities to move forward with your claim. Typically, you would begin by asking the SSA for a reconsideration, in which someone who was not involved in deciding your initial case reviews the decision they made and decides whether or not to overturn it. Although the rate of acceptance at this stage remains low, you still have the option to apply for a hearing.
Those who receive SSI denials have the right to request a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), and a lawyer can help you do this if there is time remaining to do so. This process may be lengthy, but we can often recover benefits for you in an ALJ hearing, including back pay. If this process still does not achieve acceptance for you, we can discuss further appeals options, such as requesting a hearing before the Appeals Council.
Applicants only have 60 days from the receipt of their denial letter to appeal the decision, so if the SSA rejected your application, you should begin the appeals process as soon as possible. A New Castle Supplemental Security Income lawyer can help you take the next steps.
Contact Berger and Green Today to Get Started on Your SSI Claim
If you qualify for SSI and have received a letter of denial, the lawyers at Berger and Green can check for any problems with your application, determine the types of documentation and information you will need to gather to appeal your case, and represent you through the processes required to help you pursue the benefits you deserve. Contact our legal team today at (412) 661-1400 with more information about your case.