When you become disabled, your world is turned upside down. On top of worrying about paying your medical bills, you may also wonder how you will take care of your family if you are unable to work.
You have options, however. You may be able to seek benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA). A Pittsburgh social security disability lawyer can determine what benefits you are eligible for, whether it’s Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). A team member can review your situation and determine your best course of action.
Acquiring Benefits is not Always Easy, But We Can Help
Unfortunately, this process is difficult and often ends in denials. Our team will not leave you to go through it on your own. We will be there for you from start to finish. Our team will prove the validity of your disability. Your lawyer will also take you through the steps of the appeals process if necessary.
For a free legal consultation with a social security disability lawyer serving Pittsburgh, call 412-661-1400
If You Are Unable to Work Due to a Disability
If you are unable to work due to a disability, you might be entitled to disability benefits. However, recovering these benefits is not simple. To get the benefits you deserve, you need to provide proof of your qualifications.
This can be easy for your work history and income. It is often much more difficult to prove you suffer from a health condition that impairs your ability to work to the degree the SSA requires, however.
To determine whether you have a disabling impairment, the SSA will consult a document, sometimes called “the Blue Book.” This book contains dozens of potentially disabling impairments. It also contains the severity criteria you must meet to be disabled, according to the SSA.
More on the Severity Criteria
If you meet the severity criteria or you have another impairment so severe that it keeps you from adjusting from any job – and your medical records clearly show this – you can clear the biggest hurdle in meeting the definition of “disabled” set by the SSA.
You also need to have enough work credits to be eligible for SSDI. How many credits you need depends on your age.
Most people attempt to file a Social Security disability application on their own. We encourage you to contact us before you submit your claim, though. By evaluating applications before clients submit them, we can often help clients gain approval the first time and avoid the appeals process.
Pittsburgh Social Security Disability Lawyer Near Me 412-661-1400
You May Qualify for Social Security Disability Benefits in Pittsburgh
Social Security Disability consists of two programs that may be able to help you make ends meet if you cannot work because of a qualifying impairment. Each program has its own rules and regulations.
In general, you will most likely qualify for one or the other. Some people who earned low wages throughout their career may qualify for both, though.
SSDI Is for People with an Established Work History
Social Security Disability Insurance is a program for those who have earned enough work credits by working part-time or full-time for most of their adult life. This program provides a bridge to Social Security retirement if you suffer an impairment that prevents you from working before you reach full retirement age.
There is a cap on your income earned from a job, but there are no limits on unearned income or assets. Once you reach full retirement age, SSDI converts to Social Security retirement automatically.
SSI Provides Income for Those with Few Assets and Little Income
Supplemental Security Income is a needs-based program that provides income to pay bills and make ends meet. To qualify, you:
- Must have a qualifying impairment
- Have little income from any source
- Have few assets
You can own your home, your vehicle, and work tools and still qualify for SSI as long as you meet other qualifications.
How Our Lawyers Assist You in Getting the Benefits You Deserve
We know the Social Security disability process can be overwhelming and complex. THis is especially true for disabled claimants already facing the disappointment of an initial claim denial, though. From the moment you hire us to represent you, our Social Security disability lawyers provide comprehensive support and service.
Here are just some of the things we do to help you get disability benefits:
- Review your initial application and the SSA’s reason for denying your claim
- Identify any gaps or deficiencies in supporting medical evidence and get the right documents to fulfill the SSA’s requirements
- Identify any administrative or technical reasons for the SSA’s denial, and fix any problems
- File the necessary documents to request a reconsideration or hearing
- Take your case to the Appeals Council, if advisable, and later to federal court if you still do not receive a favorable decision
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What If the SSA Denied My Claim?
Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for qualified individuals to receive a denial letter after their initial claim for SSDI or SSI benefits. The good news is we are often able to help our clients secure the benefits they deserve, even after the SSA denied their claim.
Once you receive a letter of denial, you have 60 days to file a request for
reconsideration or request a hearing. This means you should call us as soon as possible after your Pittsburgh disability benefits denial. If we are not able to file an appeal before this deadline, you must file a new application.
This may prevent you from collecting all the back pay due to you when we secure the benefits you deserve.
What Is the Approval Rate for the Reconsideration Stage?
The approval rate for the reconsideration stage is low. However, in most cases, we can get benefits and back pay for our clients in an ALJ hearing. This hearing gives us the opportunity to present the evidence that supports your claim in front of an impartial ALJ who then rules on your case.
We might not secure the benefits you deserve in this hearing. However, we can discuss further legal options for getting the money you need. The appeals process is often long and difficult, but we will be by your side from start to finish.
Proving You Have a Qualifying Impairment to Get Greene County, PA Disability
To get disability, you have to prove to the Social Security Administration that you suffer from a condition that:
- Is long-term, permanent, or terminal
- Prevents you from working a job and earning a living
There are two ways you can prove you suffer a qualifying impairment:
Meeting a Published Impairment Listing
The Social Security Administration publishes a book of impairment listings – the Blue Book – and the criteria you must meet based on your diagnosis or impairment. When you submit your claim, it will include information for contacting your treating physicians.
When evaluating your application, we can ensure the SSA has the appropriate information about the applicant’s medical providers.
Proving Your Residual Functional Capacity (RFC)
If you do not meet the criteria in the Blue Book, you may be able to get benefits based on your residual functional capacity instead. Your RFC is an evaluation of your remaining abilities.
If this evaluation finds that you cannot work your previous job (or any other job), you will likely get approved for benefits. There are three ways they can evaluate your RFC:
- They will use your medical records and evidence to evaluate your RFC
- They will ask your doctor to evaluate your RFC based on their knowledge of your case
- You will need to attend a consultative exam paid for by the Social Security Administration to evaluate your RFC
Berger and Green Can Help You Pursue Greene County, PA Disability
At Berger and Green, our Greene County, PA Social Security Disability attorneys understand how important disability benefits can be to you and your family. We can help you understand your options and pursue the benefits you need. We will review your case for free. Then, we can:
- Evaluate your application
- Double-check your claim to ensure you completed it correctly.
- Work with the local Social Security field office to submit your claim.
- Manage your reconsideration and appeal, if needed.
- Represent you and your best interests.
If the Social Security Administration denies your initial claim, we can help you request reconsideration. If you do not get approved during this step, we can also request an appeal hearing on your behalf if there is sufficient time to do so. Our disability benefits lawyers will represent you during this hearing and fight for the benefits you need and deserve.
It can take more than a year to get disability benefits if they do not approve your initial application. During that time, we could help you pursue additional compensation if your impairments stem from a personal injury accident. Berger and Green founding partner Laurence B. Green has helped PA accident victims for more than 40 years. We can build a strong case and pursue the compensation you deserve.
We Are Here to Fight for You
The Social Security attorneys at Berger and Green have been successful in securing favorable decisions for clients throughout Western Pennsylvania, Eastern Ohio, Northern West Virginia, and surrounding areas.
Our law firm is proud to have attorneys who stay informed on all the changes in Social Security law and who are concerned about the welfare of their clients.
At Berger and Green, our experienced social security disability lawyers understand that physical or mental disabilities can dramatically affect your life. Because of this, they will go after the benefits you deserve and fight for the full amount of back pay owed to you.
You Pay Berger and Green Nothing Up Front
Our attorneys accept cases on an affordable, contingency-fee basis. This means you will not pay us any money unless we win your case. If we are unable to get you the benefits you deserve, we get paid nothing.
There are no risks for our clients this way. You may already be in a difficult spot financially. So, we do not want it to be worsened by having you pay upon hiring us as well as hourly fees. What’s most important to us is getting you benefits so you are more comfortable.
Client Testimonials That Affirm How We Treat Pennsylvania Disability Claimants
Past clients have left the following glowing reviews:
“I mean, I almost lost everything. And they got me what I deserve like I guess you could say and so, I’m waiting to get my life back on track here.” – Troy
“Working with them, I could say was excellent… I never had to come down to Pittsburgh, with my medical condition it would have been very difficult to make a trip. I live approximately 50 miles away… All along the way I was well-informed.” -Lyman
“They were just very compassionate and understanding and they let me speak. They let me explain what was going on. They took the time, they took the effort and it was… a phenomenal experience.” -Arthur
Call Today for Your Free Case Review with a Team Member
Call Berger and Green at (412) 661-1400 for your free consultation with a representative who wants to learn the facts of your situation. They will discuss your rights and options with you and help get you in the best position for acquiring benefits.