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 cannot work.
However, you have options. 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 member of our personal injury team can review your situation and determine your best course of action.
Acquiring Social Security Disability Benefits Is Not Always Easy, But We Can Help
Unfortunately, the Social Security Disability (SSD) application 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. Your Pittsburgh Social Security Disability lawyer will file your application and take you through the steps of the appeals process if necessary.
What If You Are Unable to Work Due to a Disability?
If you cannot 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 disability and other qualifications.
Your work history and income are typically simple to prove. However, 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.
Many 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 filing your application we can often help clients gain approval the first time and avoid the appeals process.
For a free legal consultation with a Social Security Disability lawyer serving Pittsburgh, call 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 separate rules and regulations.
In general, disabled people will 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. How many credits you need depends on your age.
This program provides a bridge to Social Security retirement if you suffer an impairment that prevents you from working before you reach retirement age.
There is a cap on income earned from a job worked while receiving SSDI benefits, but there are no limits on unearned income or assets. Once you reach full retirement age, SSDI converts to Social Security retirement.
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 have a home, vehicle, and work tools and still qualify for SSI as long as you meet other qualifications.
Is It Possible to Receive SSI and SSDI at the Same Time?
Yes, it is possible to receive SSDI and SSI at the same time if you meet the qualifications for both programs. This is known as receiving “concurrent benefits.” As the SSA explains, a person’s return to work can affect the status of their concurrent benefits. How this affects a person depends on their specific situation.
People who qualify for both programs could receive a monthly SSDI benefits award that is too low, which could mean they can apply for SSI.
People eligible for both could be in several situations that make it possible to receive awards from both programs. Such individuals could have:
- Stopped working because they became disabled early in their careers
- Earned low wages while working
- Not worked a full-time job during the ten years before their impairment
We can review your situation and advise you on whether receiving SSDI and SSI concurrently could work for you. As noted, both programs have strict and complex requirements, so it helps to know what those are and how they work before determining if this option is for you.
Pittsburgh Social Security Disability Lawyer Near Me 412-661-1400
How Our SSD Lawyers May 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. From the moment you hire us to represent you, our Social Security Disability lawyers serving Pittsburgh will provide comprehensive support and service.
Here are just some of the things we do to help you get disability benefits:
- File your initial application
- 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
We evaluate each case we handle and give you the advice that makes sense for your situation. We are here to answer your questions and look out for your interests while protecting your rights. We will ensure you understand the issues with your benefits application and answer your questions.
What If the SSA Denied My Social Security Disability Claim?
Unfortunately, it is common for qualified individuals to receive a denial letter after their initial claim for SSDI or SSI benefits.
Why Does the SSA Deny Disability Benefits Claims?
The SSA can deny SSI or SSDI claims for various reasons, such as:
- The applicant left essential information off the form, such as their full name, birth date, or Social Security number
- The applicant failed to fill out the form entirely, leaving sections blank
- The applicant did not have the proper number of work credits to qualify for SSDI
- The applicant did not meet the income or asset limits for SSI benefits
- There is another issue with the application.
It is also possible to receive a claim denial if the disability examiner does not think you have an impairment that qualifies you for benefits. Applicants who do not follow their doctor’s prescribed treatment and people whose disability is not severe enough to last at least 12 months may receive a claim denial.
If you receive a denial letter from the SSA, it should explain the reason for the denial. If you applied for SSDI and SSI, you should receive a notice saying why SSA denied your claims for both programs.
You Still Have Options After an SSDI or SSI Claim Denial
The good news is we can help our clients go after the benefits they deserve, even if the SSA denies 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 our law firm immediately after your Pittsburgh disability benefits denial. If we cannot 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 if we secure the benefits you deserve.
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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 Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) hearing. This hearing allows us to present the evidence that supports your claim in front of an impartial ALJ who then rules on your case.
Your Pittsburgh Social Security Disability lawyer 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 Disability Benefits in Pittsburgh
To get disability benefits, 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
To determine whether you have an impairment that is disabling, the SSA will consult a document, sometimes called “the Blue Book.” This book contains dozens of potentially disabling impairments.
The blue book describes clear definitions of disability under many diagnoses. Your conditions, doctor treatment, testing, and physical examinations must fit verbatim into the SSA’ blue book definition. If the condition meets this definition, your ability to perform work activity does not need to be assessed.
When filing your application, we can ensure the SSA has the appropriate information about your 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 the SSA 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 may be required to attend a consultative exam paid for by the Social Security Administration to evaluate your RFC.
Berger and Green Can Help You Pursue Disability Benefits in Pittsburgh
At Berger and Green, our Pittsburgh 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:
- Determine the benefits you may be eligible for.
- File your application for benefits.
- Work with the local Social Security as your claim is processed.
- 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 Pittsburgh 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 the SSA does 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 Pennsylvania 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 Disability attorneys at Berger and Green have successfully secured 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 are concerned about the welfare of their clients.
Staying on top of these changes enables us to identify problem areas with denied claims and help our clients submit improved applications that can help them get the benefits they need.
At Berger and Green, our Pittsburgh Social Security Disability lawyers understand that physical or mental disabilities can dramatically affect your life. Because of this, we 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 Pittsburgh Social Security Disability lawyers 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 to make it worse by asking you to pay upfront or 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 Social Security Disability Claimants
Some of our past clients have left the following glowing reviews:
“I would like to express my extreme gratitude for helping me and my family with my case. I appreciate Bill Kenny and his staff for getting the job well done. I will continue to recommend Berger and Green to family & friends as needed. 1000 times thank you!!!” –Sean
“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
“Everyone at Berger and Green was extremely helpful and professional throughout my case. They answered all my questions and continue to provide support as needed. I highly recommend their services!” –Kelli
“Everyone I have spoken to have been very nice and listened to what I said. When I left messages they replied quickly and answered my questions. Fully recommend them! I would definitely use them again.” –Susan
“I personally had a great experience with Berger and Green. They answered all my questions in a timely manner. I would highly recommend them completely.” –Carol
“Berger and Green help me through a difficult process. They were with me all the way. They were very professional and always return my call in a timely manner. I highly recommend them to anyone going through the disability process.” –Terri
Call Today for Your Free Case Review with a Team Member
Call Berger and Green for your free consultation with a representative who wants to learn the facts about your Pittsburgh Social Security Disability situation. For more than 40 years, our disability attorneys have helped many people with their cases for benefits. We will discuss your rights and options with you and help get you in the best position to acquire benefits.