Social Security Disability (SSD) helps individuals pay bills and support their loved ones when an injury prevents them from working. If you have a severe injury or illness that leaves you unable to secure or maintain employment, you may qualify for monthly payments.
A North Huntingdon, PA, Social Security Disability lawyer with Berger and Green can file your initial SSD application and assist with denied claims. We will fight to secure the benefits you deserve while you focus on your health and your family.
What Is Social Security Disability?
The Social Security Administration (SSA) oversees two programs to provide monthly benefits for individuals who cannot work due to a physical or mental disability, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
Social Security Disability Insurance
To receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), you must have a qualifying medical condition and have work credits earned by performing a job in which you paid FICA taxes. According to the SSA, you generally need a minimum of 20 credits (5 years of work) to be eligible for SSDI. However, younger workers may need fewer credits.
You earn credits through contributions via your income to the Social Security trust fund. In 2022, $1,510 in wages or self-employment income equals one work credit. You can earn a maximum of four credits per year, totaling $6,040 in wages.
Supplemental Security Income
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is for individuals with an eligible medical condition who have limited income and financial resources. You do not need earned work credits to qualify for SSI. However, according to the SSA, you must have less than $2,000 in cash, personal property, bank accounts, life insurance, and other assets.
For a free legal consultation with a social security disability lawyer serving North Huntingdon, call 412-661-1400
Medical Conditions Eligible for SSD
To qualify for SSDI or SSI, you must have a health condition that:
- Is severe. A condition is severe under the SSA’s definition if it prevents you from doing a work-related activity, such as standing, lifting, or remembering, for at least 12 months.
- Prevents you from performing substantial gainful activity (SGA). The SGA limit for 2022 is $1,350 per month ($2,260 for the blind). If you earn more than the SGA, you do not have a disabling condition according to SSA standards.
- Appears in the SSA’s list of disabling conditions. The SSA’s Blue Book lists 14 categories of impairment, including cancers, neurological disorders, immune system disorders, and musculoskeletal disorders. If your condition is not listed in the Blue Book, it does not mean you cannot receive SSD benefits. In this situation, the SSA will review your application and determine if your ailment prevents you from performing your previous job or another type of work.
North Huntingdon Social Security Disability Lawyer Near Me 412-661-1400
How Much Income Does Social Security Disability Provide?
SSDI payments vary per individual based on their earned work credits. The SSA reports that the average monthly benefit per disabled worker was around $1,200 in 2019. Additionally, the 2022 SSI cap is $841 per individual per month.
According to the SSA, these sums may seem modest, but they can make a significant financial difference for those who cannot work. Let our North Huntingdon Social Security Disability lawyers work to secure benefits for you and your family.
What Evidence Will You Need for Your SSD Claim?
You need to supply the SSA with documentation proving you have a qualifying condition and that you meet work or income requirements, including:
- Medical records. You should submit as much medical evidence as possible, including doctor’s notes, bloodwork results, MRIs, CT scans, x-rays, a list of your current medications, a record of previous medical procedures, and contact information for your healthcare providers.
- Work history and proof of income. Wage and income documents include pay stubs, up to 15 years of employment history, W-2s or self-employment tax returns, and settlement agreements or worker’s compensation agreements.
- Proof of U.S. citizenship or lawful alien status. You need to provide the SSA with a U.S. birth certificate or documents proving lawful alien status if you were not born in the U.S.
SSDI and SSI use two separate applications. You can apply for both online, over the phone, or in person at your nearest Social Security office. Our SSD attorneys in PA can file your initial claim for you. If the SSA denies your application, we can help you file your appeal and represent you at your hearing. It is important to note that if you should not be discouraged if you are denied, the majority of cases are. It is critical that you file your appeal so that you can have a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge.
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The Majority of SSD Applications Get Denied
Applying for SSD benefits may appear straightforward, but according to the Social Security Office of Retirement and Disability Policy, the SSA denies nearly 70 percent of claims. If your initial claim gets rejected, our North Huntingdon Social Security Disability lawyers can guide you through an appeal.
According to the SSA, you have 60 days from receiving a notice of denial to start an appeal. There are four steps to the process:
- Reconsideration. You can request a reconsideration of your claim for medical and nonmedical reasons. During reconsideration, an SSA official not connected with your original decision will review your application. At this stage, our SSD lawyers in PA can obtain and submit new evidence related to your condition, your work history, or your financial resources.
- Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) hearing. If reconsideration is unsuccessful, you can request a hearing before an ALJ. The hearing is a legal proceeding during which the Judge may listen to questioning and witness testimony before ruling. We can represent you at the hearing.
- Appeals Council review. If you disagree with the ALJ’s decision, you can ask for a review of your case by the SSA Appeals Council. The council will review the evidence and the Judge’s ruling and determine whether or not it will reexamine your claim. The council may dismiss your claim, issue a new decision, or return your case to a Judge for another hearing.
- Federal Court review. If the Appeals Council refuses to review your case or the review results in denial, our lawyers may assist with an appeal in federal court.
Berger and Green Can Fight for You
At Berger and Green, our North Huntingdon SSD lawyers want to help you and your family get the benefits you need as quickly and efficiently as possible. Contact us today for help filing your application and appealing denied claims.