Thousands of disabled adults receive Social Security disability (SSD) benefits each month. These benefits help pay for necessities that those living with severe impairments would otherwise not be able to afford. The Social Security Administration (SSA), which maintains and administers SSD programs, has very strict criteria that applicants must meet to collect SSD. It denies the majority of applications because the claimant either did not satisfy the criteria or failed to follow the right steps during the application process.
If you are considering applying for SSD benefits in West Mifflin or would like more information on the programs available, call Berger and Green at 412-661-1400 to speak to a West Mifflin Social Security disability (SSD) lawyer, free of charge.
Do I qualify for SSD?
There are two types of SSD benefits: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Both programs have the same requirements for proving your disability. The SSA only provides disability benefits for people who are completely disabled. They do not provide benefits for partial disabilities.
To qualify for SSD, you must have a medically determinable impairment that prevents you from working. Also, your impairment must have lasted or be expected to last a year or longer or result in death.
In addition to proving you have a disability that meets the SSA’s severity requirements, you will also need to meet certain financial or work history requirements, depending on which type of benefit you are applying for:
- SSDI: To qualify for SSDI, you must have sufficient work credits on your record that you earned over the course of your lifetime by working and paying Social Security taxes. The number of credits you need depends on your age. The older you are, the more credits you need.
- SSI: To qualify for SSI, you must have a very limited income and limited resources. Your monthly income must not exceed the Federal Benefit Rate (changes with each Cost-of-Living Adjustment) and your allotted assets must have a less of $2,000.
What types of disabilities qualify someone for SSD?
Any type of physical or mental impairment that significantly affects your ability to work could qualify you as disabled for the purposes of SSD. There are two ways to meet the SSA’s definition of disabled. You can: 1) have one of the listed impairments in the SSA’s Blue Book and meet the severity criteria for that listing, or 2) have an impairment so severe that it keeps you from adjusting to any type of work.
Some of the most common conditions for which the SSA awards disability benefits include:
- Musculoskeletal system / connective tissue disorders, e.g., arthritis, back disorders, and fibromyalgia.
- Mental disorders, e.g., personality disorders, schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, autism, and depression.
- Circulatory Disorders, e.g., heart disease, arrhythmia, and congenital heart defects.
- Cancer, e.g., lung cancer, brain cancer
- Nervous system disorders, e.g., Parkinson’s disease
- Respiratory system disorders, e.g., emphysema, asthma, and chronic pulmonary insufficiency
How much will my monthly SSD benefits be?
The SSA calculates SSDI and SSI benefits differently. SSDI benefits are based on your lifetime earnings. The average SSDI benefit in 2017 is $1,171, but some recipients receive much more. SSI benefits are based on your income and the Federal Benefit Rate. The maximum SSI benefit in 2017 is $735. And in some cases, applicants may be eligible for both SSDI and SSI benefits.
The financial formulas the SSA uses to calculate benefits are complex. If you want an accurate estimation of your monthly benefit amount, one of our attorneys would be happy to assist you.
How do I apply for SSD?
There are four ways you can apply for SSD:
- Complete an online application. (You cannot apply for SSI online.)
- Call the SSA’s toll-free telephone number at 1-800-772-1213 and set up an appointment to apply over the phone.
- Apply at your local Social Security office. You will need to call the general number (1-800-772-1213) and make an appointment to apply at your local office. The office closest to West Mifflin is located at: 540 5th Ave, McKeesport, PA.
- Call Berger and Green and we can help you apply.
Once you submit the application, it may take three to five months to receive a decision.
CAUTION: During the application process, you will need to provide a host of information about yourself, your condition, and your work history/finances. Simple errors on forms or documents or failing to submit adequate medical evidence or the forms the SSA requests will result in a denial. To ensure you handle everything correctly, you can elect to have a disability attorney assist you with the process. Call 412-661-1400 for a free case evaluation with a West Mifflin disability lawyer.
Do I need a West Mifflin lawyer for my SSD claim?
When you are disabled and unable to work and earn a living, SSD benefits can be a godsend for taking care of your basic needs. There is a lot at stake when you apply and it is easy to make mistakes, accidentally omit documents, or miss deadlines.
Having an attorney assist you with claims process can help everything go much smoother. While we cannot speed up the decision process, a Berger and Green disability lawyer can explain your rights and responsibilities, help fill out the daunting paperwork, help Social Security gather medical records, and assist you with an appeal if the SSA denies your claim.
Can I afford to hire a West Mifflin SSD lawyer?
At Berger and Green, we do not charge our clients with disabilities any upfront legal fees. Rather, we only get paid if and when you obtain an award from the SSA. Our fees are strictly regulated by the federal government so you have a guarantee that our rates are fair. Since there is no financial risk on your part and because claims handled by attorneys often fare better than those handled by the claimants themselves, it simply makes sense to hire our firm to help with your SSD case.
Call Berger and Green today at 412-661-1400 for a free consultation with a disability lawyer.