If you work and reside in the United States, then you must pay Social Security taxes from your paycheck. This money is used to benefit those who are unable to work, such as retirees and those who are disabled. If you have become temporarily or permanently disabled, then you may qualify for the Social Security Disability program funded by these taxes.
Unfortunately, acquiring Social Security Disability is not the easiest task. There is an application process involved that can be tricky, and should your initial application get denied the appeals process can be time-consuming. If you plan on filing for Social Security Disability, it can be beneficial to work with a Social Security Disability lawyer serving Washington, PA from the start of the process to be awarded the benefits you deserve.
What Is Social Security Disability and Do I Qualify?
Social Security Disability consists of two programs that are designed to assist those who are unable to work and provide for dependent members of their families. These two programs are Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Whether or not you qualify for each program will depend on:
- How long you have worked and paid Social Security taxes
- Your income
- The severity of your disability
- Those depending on you
Social Security Disability Insurance
SSDI is for those who are considered “insured” workers by the Social Security Administration (SSA). This means that they paid Social Security tax, and worked long enough to receive Social Security benefits.
Generally, you must accumulate enough work credits in order to obtain SSDI income. Depending on your age and how long you have worked, you could be eligible to receive SSDI if you have accumulated as few as 20 work credits.
Your attorney will be able to better assist you with determining how many credits you have earned and how that will impact your monthly benefits.
Supplemental Security Income
Supplemental Security Income is for those who were unable to work for a long period of time or were low-income workers. SSI provides the necessary amount of money for a person to provide basic necessities such as food, shelter, and clothing.
SSI is not only for those who paid Social Security taxes. That is because SSI comes out of general taxes.
For a free legal consultation with a Social Security Disability lawyer serving Washington, call 412-661-1400
Filing Your Initial Application
If you are disabled, and you have been paying Social Security taxes, you may think that your initial application will be approved without any issues. However, from 2010-2019, the SSA reports that only 21 percent of applicants were awarded benefits on their initial claim. During that same period, denied disability claims averaged 67 percent.
These numbers may seem alarming, and they emphasize why it is so important to fill out your initial application as thoroughly as possible. All information requested by the SSA must be present, or your claim will likely be denied.
To give yourself the best chance of having your claim approved, you should provide:
- Your name, Social Security number, and place of birth
- Your banking information
- The names and personal information of your current and any former spouses
- The names and birth dates of children under 18
- Information regarding your disability, such as medications you take and medical tests you have had performed
- Contact information for doctors that treated you
- Your employment history for the last 15 years
- Benefits you have received since joining the workforce
- Any information regarding military service
- The amount of money you earned over the most recent two years
These are just some of the items that you must include. Again, be sure to include all information requested by the SSA.
Washington Social Security Disability Lawyer Near Me 412-661-1400
How Can a Social Security Disability Lawyer Help?
You may think that a Social Security Disability lawyer cannot help you until your initial application is denied. However, this is not true. We can help you file your initial application to ensure that you are following all rules and regulations.
While the initial application period does not have a high percentage of people who are accepted, it does not get any easier to have the decision handed to you overturned as you move through the appeals process. If you can have your application accepted in the initial process, you can save yourself a lot of time and worry.
We Can Help You With the Appeals Process
If your initial application is denied, we can help you with every step of the appeals process. The levels of appeal are:
- Administrative Law Judge hearing
- Appeals Council
- Federal Court
You cannot move forward to the next stage of the appeals process until you receive your decision from the previous stage. During these hearings, we will represent you and provide evidence that supports your disability claim.
Contact Berger and Green Today
If you believe that you should be paid Social Security Disability, but you are unsure how to move forward, or want to have professional guidance along the way, then you should seek a Social Security Disability lawyer. We can help you file your application, then represent you should you need to go to an appeal hearing.
At Berger and Green, we have over 40 years of experience helping our clients receive the benefits they deserve. The application process is not an easy one, and that is why we help you through every step of the process as you seek the benefits you are rightly owed. When you need a Social Security Disability attorney serving Washington, PA, contact us for a free consultation.