How the Social Security Administration Determines Disability
If you are living with a physical impairment and are worried about how you can support your family in Pittsburgh, you can apply for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits. A Pittsburgh physical impairment lawyer from Berger and Green wants to help you. Contact our office at (412) 661-1400 for a free consultation.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an impairment is a physical or mental condition that hinders a sense or function. For a physical condition to count as a disability, an impairment must affect your ability to both operate as others do (e.g., move without pain or assistance) and participate in everyday life (e.g., do what you need to do).
The Social Security Administration (SSA) grants people disability benefits if they can prove that their disability is severe enough to prevent them from earning above a certain threshold. Applicants must also meet the qualifications for either Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
SSDI and SSI
To qualify for SSDI, you must have earned a specified number of work credits. In other words, you had to have worked for a certain amount of years and paid Social Security taxes during that time. Your required work credits depend on your age.
To qualify for SSI, you do not need to worry about work credits. You only need to have a disability that keeps you from earning above a certain income.
The Blue Book
How does the SSA decide if you meet their disability criteria? They rely on the Disability Evaluation Under Social Security, a group of listings that are sometimes called “The Blue Book.”
This listing details many different kinds of disabilities and their symptoms. It also states how long conditions must last before people can qualify for benefits. The Blue Book includes both physical and mental disabilities, diseases, and congenital conditions.
To assess your case specifically, the SSA is required to evaluate medical evidence. Evidence may include doctor’s reports or notes, medical records, lab tests, and test results.
For a free legal consultation with a physical impairment lawyer lawyer serving Pittsburgh, call 412-661-1400
How to Apply and Appeal for SSD Benefits for a Physical Impairment
If you are unsure about how to get SSD benefits for a physical impairment, you can choose to hire a lawyer to help you apply. Because you are required to send in a variety of information, the application process might seem cumbersome. People can make mistakes or forget to include information in their applications.
For you to be approved for SSD benefits, you will need to:
- Gather evidence: The Social Security Administration requests personal information and documents to support your claim. This includes medical evidence about your physical impairment and information about you, your job history, and your immediate family.
- Submit the right application: The applications for SSDI and SSI are different.
If the SSA approves your application, you will get benefits. However, many people get denied. If the SSA denies your claim, you can begin the appeals process. There are four levels of appeals:
- Reconsideration: You can request to have your case reconsidered. The SSA will have someone look over your claim with fresh eyes.
- Hearing: If your reconsideration ends in denial, you can request a hearing from an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). Your hearing may be held in person or by video.
- Appeals Council: If the ALJ denies your claim, you can request a review from the Appeals Council. They will decide whether or not to accept your case. If the Council does accept it, they will either make a new decision or have an ALJ hold another hearing.
- Federal district court: If the Appeals Council denies your claim or refuses to look at your case, your last resort is to have a hearing in a federal district court. A judge will then make the final decision in your case.
Call Berger and Green at (412) 661-1400 if you would like a Pittsburgh physical impairment lawyer to help you apply for benefits.
Pittsburgh Physical Impairment Lawyer Lawyer Near Me 412-661-1400
How a Pittsburgh Physical Impairment Lawyer Can Help You Apply for Benefits
If the thought of filing for Social Security Disability makes you nervous, you are not alone. However, do not let the application or appeals process scare you off. Berger and Green can handle the legal matters for you, including:
- Reviewing evidence: We can talk to you about what your doctor has told you and look at the evidence you may have and tell you whether we think it is sufficient to persuade the SSA of your eligibility.
- Filing paperwork: Even a technical error can be enough for the SSA to deny your claim. We know how to avoid such errors and can file your paperwork for you.
- Appealing after a denial: Every step of the appeals process involves filing paperwork accurately and on time. We can request a hearing if there is sufficient time to do so and prepare your case for higher courts. No matter how far you decide to take your appeal, we will be there for you.
- Representing you at a hearing: We will submit evidence and argue your case before an Administrative Law Judge, the Appeals Council, and even Federal District Court Judge.
- Answering your questions: We can go over the process with you and address whatever concerns you have.
Being disabled comes with plenty of challenges. Filing for Social Security Disability benefits should not be one of them. Berger and Green has helped people get the disability benefits they need and are entitled to collect.
Contact our office at (412) 661-1400 for a free consultation. A member of our team can answer further questions you may have about applying for SSD benefits or appealing a denial. We want to help you get the financial support you need.