When your disability makes you unable to work, it can be frightening to think about how you will pay your medical bills and provide for your family. The Social Security Administration has programs available to provide financial relief to qualified individuals. But getting approved for benefits can be a daunting task. Any error or oversight in the application can result in unnecessary delay or denials.
Our team’s Warren Social Security Disability lawyer can help determine if you are eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Social Security Income (SSI). We can assist you with filing the application, submitting all the required documents, and guiding you through the appeals process if your claim is denied.
A Warren Social Security Disability Lawyer Can Explain Your Different Options for Seeking Benefits
The Social Security Administration (SSA) manages two disability benefits programs — Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). Although both programs provide monthly benefits to individuals who cannot work due to disability, the eligibility requirements are different.
Social Security Income Is a Needs-Based Program: Social Security administers SSI to disabled individuals with limited income and few assets who are unable to work for a minimum of 12 months or result in death. The applicant’s work history is not a determining factor for this benefit program.
Social Security Disability Income Is an Earned Benefit: This program is tailored toward workers suffering from a severe impairment or illness that makes them unable to work. The condition must be expected to last 12 months minimum or result in death. The benefit amount depends on your contributions to the program based on your past earnings.
We will review your case to determine which disability benefits program you should apply for.
What is a Qualifying Disability According to SSA
According to SSA, to have a qualifying disability, you must meet all three of the following rules:
- Your disability impedes your ability to engage in any Substantial Gainful Activity (any job with an income over $1,350)
- You cannot perform your previous job or adjust to another job because of your disability
- Your condition is expected to last at least a year or result in death
SSA will also check if your disability is found under The Blue Book — this is a medical document that contains a comprehensive list of all severe impairments pertaining to different body systems. These impairments are severe enough to hinder your ability to perform any SGA.
If your condition is not found on the list, medical evidence can be used to prove that your disability is just as severe as the ones on the list.
For a free legal consultation with a Social Security Disability lawyer serving Warren, call 412-661-1400
If Your Disability Claim is Denied, a Warren Social Security Disability Lawyer Can Help Appeal the Decision
Just 22 percent of initial applications are accepted, and 63 percent of SSDI applications are denied, as per SSA. Most first-time applications do not win approval immediately, but this does not mean doors to disability benefits are permanently closed.
A multi-stage Appeals process gives applicants a chance to get their claim reviewed by different personnel that are part of the disability benefits system. Do note that you only have 60 days to appeal a claim from receiving the decision letter. If your application has been denied, contact us immediately so we can start the Appeals process for you. Otherwise, you will have to submit a new application.
Here is an overview of the different Appeals process stages:
- Stage 1: Reconsideration– At this stage, a new DDS examiner will be assigned to review your claim. We can help you understand the reason for denial and rectify any errors or evidentiary gaps. If it was denied for medical reasons, we might be able to file additional evidence to prove your disability further.
- Stage 2: Hearing by an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ)– If your claim is denied again after the reconsideration stage, we will request a hearing with an ALJ. The Judge will review your file and grant you a hearing. Hearings can be held in person or online. We will prepare you for the hearing and help you present strong arguments demonstrating how the disability has limited your life.
- Stage 3: Review by the Appeals Council: If the Judge rejected your claim, we would submit a request for review by the Appeals Council. If the Appeals Council accepts your request, your claim may be sent to another ALJ for further review, or they may choose to handle the review themselves.
- Stage 4: Federal Court Review: If you didn’t get a favorable outcome after requesting an Appeals council review, the next step could be to file a civil lawsuit in federal court.
How a Berger and Green Attorney in Warren, PA Can Help with Your Disability Benefits Claim
At Berger and Green, we aim to provide SSI and SSDI applicants with a stress-free and streamlined experience traversing the Social Security system.
Many applicants find that having a qualifying disability does not guarantee approval. Often going through the Appeals process is necessary to have your claim reach a successful outcome. Our Social Security disability attorneys are here with you every step of the process.
Here are some ways we will assist you:
- Help with preparing the disability applications and other documents
- Double-check all the entered information to verify its accuracy
- Handle communications with the SSA and keep track of deadlines for filing appeals
- Identify the reason for denials, for example, paperwork errors or insufficient medical evidence
- Prepare you for disability hearings before the Judge
- Represent you in hearings
- Ensure that you understand the workings of the social security system and your rights
Warren Social Security Disability Lawyer Near Me 412-661-1400
Our Team Is Looking Forward to Discussing Your Case Over a Free Case Review
If you’re a first-time disability applicant or have had your application denied, we want to hear from you. Our firm offers a free consultation where a team member will look through the facts of your case, learn more about your situation, and inform you of all available options.
Give us a call for a free consultation. We look forward to answering your questions and springing into action to fight for the disability benefits you are entitled to. Let us help you navigate the claims process, take a look into your eligibility, and formulate a strategy for an outcome that best suits you.