Get Approved for Social Security Disability
For decades, the Social Security Administration (SSA) has maintained two programs to provide financial support to people with disabilities. These programs serve different purposes, receive their funding from different sources, and involve separate application processes. However, they both help those who cannot earn an adequate income on their own, and the SSA often denies initial applications for both programs.
If you applied for an SSA disability program after meeting the qualifications and received a denial letter, you may still have the opportunity to pursue benefits. A Sharon Social Security Disability lawyer can help you begin the appeals process within 60 days from the date you received your letter so that you can avoid the need to file a new application. Call the Berger and Green legal team as soon as possible at (412) 661-1400 for help with your claim.
For a free legal consultation with a social security disability lawyer serving Sharon, call 412-661-1400
Types of Social Security Disability Benefits
The Social Security Disability benefits you could receive depend on your condition, how they affect your ability to work, and your income. In many cases, individuals qualify for only one program, but some may qualify for and receive benefits from both programs.
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)
According to the SSA’s Red Book, which details the two programs and provides information for applicants and beneficiaries, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) offers financial benefits to disabled individuals who developed their disability after paying Social Security taxes through employment but before reaching retirement age.
Social Security taxes pay for SSDI, which functions as a trust fund for those who made contributions. AARP describes SSDI as an “earned benefit,” adding that the amount of time you were required to work to qualify for the program depends on how old you were when you became disabled. SSDI may also provide for a beneficiary’s spouse and children.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
Unlike SSDI, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) does not rely on an individual’s work history for qualification. Instead of using funds from Social Security taxes provided by a recipient’s income, SSI is funded by general revenue from the United States Treasury. This is because a beneficiary does not need to have worked to qualify for SSI, as many recipients do not have the ability to do so. SSI is intended to provide for food, clothing, shelter, and other basic needs.
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How to Know if You Qualify for Social Security Disability
To qualify for any Social Security benefits, you must meet the SSA’s definition of disability, which requires that applicants cannot earn a significant income because of their mental or physical disability and that medical professionals expect their disability to last at least 12 months or end in death.
Significant income can be defined as substantial gainful activity (SGA), which involves activity that provides payment or is intended to provide payment, such as a job. Some recipients can still work while receiving disability benefits if they do not exceed the SSA’s income limits based on the SGA threshold established for the beneficiary.
SSDI qualifications include having a disability, an inability to participate in SGA because of it, and having accumulated a certain amount of work credits based on your time in the workplace and your Social Security taxation level. The amount you may receive in benefits varies based on your work history.
SSI recipients must not only meet the SSA’s definition of disabled or be blind, but they must also have limited financial resources. The exception is those aged 65 and older who sometimes qualify to receive SSI benefits even if they do not have a disability if they meet the income requirement. In addition to federal benefits, certain states, including Pennsylvania, also provide beneficiaries with state SSI supplements.
If you have questions about whether you qualify for SSDI, SSI, or both, a Sharon Social Security Disability lawyer can speak with you about your circumstances and determine your eligibility. Contact Berger and Green today at (412) 661-1400 for a free consultation with our legal team.
Appealing a Social Security Disability Denial
Between 2001 and 2010, the SSA denied more than half of all initial Social Security disability claims. In some cases, the individuals qualified for SSDI or SSI benefits, but they made simple mistakes on the lengthy and difficult application processes that deemed them ineligible by the SSA. Fortunately, if you received an application denial, you may still be able to pursue benefits by appealing your claim.
Within 60 days of receiving your denial letter, you can begin the appeals process by filing for reconsideration. You do not need to be present for a reconsideration, which involves submitting your original application along with any new evidence so that a person who was not involved with making the initial decision can determine if you qualify. Most denials are not reversed at this stage, but you do have another option for seeking approval.
To challenge a reconsideration decision, you or a lawyer can request a hearing with an administrative law judge (ALJ). These hearings allow individuals or their lawyers to present evidence supporting their claim in person so that the ALJ can determine if they should receive benefits. These hearings may take months to schedule, but they can result in approval and back pay.
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How a Sharon Social Security Disability Lawyer Can Help You with Your SSDI or SSI Appeal
If the SSA denied your SSI or SSDI application even though you qualify for benefits, you do not have to manage the appeals process on your own. Our attorneys can help by:
- Assessing your denial letter and the reason the SSA did not accept your application
- Reviewing the evidence you submitted to determine if you are missing any medical or non-medical information that could help reverse the SSA’s decision
- Requesting a reconsideration and/or hearing on your behalf if time remains
- Assisting you in filing another application if necessary
- Representing you every step of the way
Appeals processes are often lengthy, but we will address any questions you have and provide you with legal support from your consultation through the close of your case.
Call the Legal Team at Berger and Green Today
The SSA often makes it difficult to receive Social Security disability benefits, but the lawyers at Berger and Green can help you appeal the SSA’s denial of your application. Contact our legal team today at (412) 661-1400 so that we can discuss your options with you.