Since 1956, the Social Security Administration (SSA) has been providing financial resources to disabled people and their families. The agency currently runs two separate Social Security disability benefits programs, each of which has its own requirements for eligibility. Unfortunately, many individuals who qualify for one or both of these programs receive denial letters after submitting their first application.
If you were rejected after applying for benefits, a Titusville social security disability lawyer can examine your case, determine if you qualify, and guide you through the process of pursuing benefits. Call Berger and Green as soon as possible at (412) 661-1400 to get started on your appeal with our legal team.
How Social Security Disability Benefits Work
The SSA designed Social Security disability programs to benefit those who meet certain medical criteria and whose ability to work is affected by their condition. Recipients benefit from disability on a permanent basis, and some applicants qualify for both programs offered by the SSA.
Social Security Disability Income (SSDI)
Individuals who suffered a disability after working for a significant period of time and contributing to Social Security through their income tax may qualify for Social Security Disability Income (SSDI). Created to assist those who are insured through their own payments to Social Security, this program often benefits those who become disabled before reaching retirement age. Certain family members of SSDI recipients may qualify to receive benefits, as well.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
Like SSDI, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is available to people with disabilities who meet specific criteria. However, recipients do not have to pay into SSI, which is funded by the federal government as a general welfare program. Additionally, people aged 65 and older who have limited resources but are not disabled may qualify for SSI, as well. The program caters specifically to those who cannot afford basic needs such as food, clothing, and shelter because of their disability or age.
For a free legal consultation with a social security disability lawyer serving Titusville, call (412) 661-1400
Determining if You Qualify for Social Security Disability Benefits
Qualifications for SSDI and SSI differ, although some people may be eligible for both programs. To receive SSDI, you must:
- Have worked long enough to acquire the minimum work credits required by the SSA
- Not be able to work because of a disability that doctors expect to last at least one year or end in death
- Not have reached full retirement age
- Meet the medical criteria established by the SSA
SSDI benefits are based on your earning history, so the amount you and your family may qualify to receive varies depending on your prior income.
To qualify for SSI, applicants must:
- Be blind, disabled, or at least 65 years old
- Have very little income
While SSDI and SSI recipients can work while receiving benefits, they can only earn up to a certain amount per year. The lawyers at Berger and Green can help you prove your eligibility for SSDI and/or SSI benefits and assist you through the claims process. Contact our legal team today at (412) 661-1400 for a free case evaluation.
Titusville Social Security Disability Lawyer Near Me (412) 661-1400
Challenging Your Social Security Disability Denial
Data from the SSA reveals that, on average, 53% of disability claims filed between 2001 and 2010 were denied. SSDI and SSI applications are lengthy and complex, and they require very specific information about your background, work history, medical condition, and income. Even small mistakes can lead to a denial, but you have a right to submit an appeal. If you applied for SSDI or SSI and received a denial letter, a Titusville Social Security disability lawyer can help you challenge the decision by guiding you through the appeals process.
Appealing Your Denial
When the SSA rejects applications for disability benefits, they must provide a letter of explanation detailing why they did not approve the application. Reasons may include medical reasons, such as a lack of information validating the applicant’s disability, as well as non-medical reasons, including income restrictions. If you feel that you received your denial in error, you only have up to 60 days to appeal, which typically involves one or two separate steps.
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Filing a Reconsideration
Applicants must begin the appeals process by filing a reconsideration of their claim. Our lawyers can help you by using the information provided in your denial letter to determine the types of information you need to gather in order to have your claim reconsidered. Once you submit your request, an SSA representative who was not involved with your original application will review your case and determine if the denial should be reversed. If your claim is rejected again, you still have an option for pursuing benefits.
Requesting a Hearing
Those who receive a denial in the reconsideration process can file for an in-person hearing with an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), a type of judge who presides over decisions on claims. A lawyer can request this hearing for you if time allows and present information to support your case on your behalf. These hearings typically take place at a local hearing office or by video teleconference.
Applicants often wait more than a year for an ALJ hearing. However, if you do not file a reconsideration and ALJ hearing within the allotted time, you must begin the application process over again, which can significantly extend the time you have to wait to receive SSDI or SSI. In many cases, our lawyers achieve approval for benefits at the ALJ stage.
A Titusville Social Security Disability Lawyer Can Help You Through Each Step of the Process
If you meet the qualifications for Social Security Disability Income, Supplemental Security Income, or both, and the SSA denied your application, the lawyers at Berger and Green can help by exploring the reason behind their decision and managing the appeals process on your behalf. Contact us today at (412) 661-1400 to talk to our legal team about your Social Security disability claim.