If your health prevents you from working a job and earning an income to support your family, you may have options for benefits from the Social Security Administration’s disability benefits programs. A Social Security Disability lawyer serving Wayne County, from Berger and Green, can help you apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). We can also represent you during the appeals process if your benefits claim is denied.
The Berger and Green team handles disability benefits cases in Orrville, Rittman, Wooster, and other areas of Wayne County, Ohio. We will discuss the benefits you may be eligible for and explain the application and appeal process at no cost when you contact our office. We may be able to represent you with no upfront costs to your family.
Who Qualifies for Social Security Disability Benefits?
To receive benefits through either Social Security Disability program, the claimant must prove their disability is so severe that it prevents them from working. This may be possible by meeting the criteria listed under their diagnosis in the Social Security Administration’s Blue Book.
This book outlines how serious a diagnosed condition must be and the evidence necessary to document it. Disability Determination Services (DDS) will obtain the applicant’s relevant medical records using information included in their application. Alternatively, they may request a completed residual functional capacity assessment to determine the claimant’s ability to handle any job they might qualify to work.
Each program has additional criteria that applicants must meet before they receive approval for benefits. However, showing they cannot work because of their health is generally the most difficult hurdle to clear and the most common reason for denials.
For a free legal consultation with a Social Security Disability lawyer serving Wayne County, call 412-661-1400
Which Program Should I Apply For?
Most people will only qualify for SSDI or SSI, not both. There are exceptions, but this is not common. Understanding the differences in these programs can help you determine which one you are more likely to be eligible for.
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)
SSDI requires you to have a documented work history, pay into Social Security, and be unable to work now because of your medical condition. There are no income limits, although your earned income must fall below the current substantial gainful activity (SGA) limit to qualify. No other earner in your household nor assets is considered with this application.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
You do not have to have a work history to receive SSI. However, this program is for individuals and households with low income and few assets. There are strict limits on how much those in your household can earn to qualify.
Wayne County Social Security Disability Lawyer Near Me 412-661-1400
How Do I Prove Eligibility for SSDI or SSI Benefits?
Getting approved for SSI or SSDI is not easy. You need to complete an application and prove that you meet all necessary criteria. This could include:
Proving Your Disability Prevents You from Working
SSA publishes evidentiary requirements for documenting a disability that is listed in the Blue Book. Alternatively, your doctor will complete a special form about your residual functional capacity. In some cases, SSA may ask you to attend a consultative examination to help document your disabling condition.
There must be medical evidence to show that you have a diagnosis and are undergoing treatment, yet your condition still prevents you from working and earning a living. Your word or the opinion of your family is unlikely to be enough.
Proving Your Work History for SSDI
When you work and pay into Social Security, you earn work credits. To qualify for SSDI, most people need at least 20 of them. This is about five years’ worth of work. When evaluating your claim, SSA can access this information and quickly determine if you meet this requirement.
It is important to note that some younger people will not need 20 credits. They may be eligible for benefits with fewer work credits.
Proving Your Income for SSI
You will need to answer several questions about your income and assets on the SSI application. You will need to provide information on any cash, paychecks, gifts, and held assets for your household. Much of this will be verified through documents you may need to provide, including:
- Bank statements
- Tax returns
- Deed for your home, lease agreement, etc.
- Life or disability insurance policies
- Certificates of stocks or similar assets
- Registration for your vehicles
- Your household budget
Navigating the Stages of a Social Security Disability Claim
At Berger and Green, our attorneys know how the Social Security Disability application process works and what Social Security looks for when evaluating a claim. This is why we will look over your claim and ensure all the necessary information is included and help you file. We do not want a minor mistake to derail your application and possible approval.
However, most people do receive a denial based on their initial application. If a Social Security representative notified you of a denial, you are not alone. We also help clients navigate the appeals process and fight for the benefits they need. The steps in this process could include:
- Hearing with an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ)
- Review by the Appeals Council
- Federal Court review
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Berger and Green Represents Our Clients Based on Contingency Fees
At Berger and Green, our lawyers have worked to help clients get the compensation they need and deserve based on their medical condition, work history and limitations for more than 40 years. We understand how important this is to you and your family.
We also manage these cases with no upfront costs to our clients. Our attorney’s fees come out of the back pay a client receives upon approval of their benefits, never their own pockets.
Connect with Our Team for Your Free Consultation
You can talk to a team member from Berger and Green for free today. We provide free claim evaluations, help clients apply for benefits, and fight denials by navigating the complicated appeals process. We may be able to help you get the benefits you need. Reach out to us to get started today.