If you have a serious medical condition that prevents you from working, you may be eligible for Social Security disability benefits. Unfortunately, the claims process is tedious and complicated and often ends in denials. For help applying for benefits or appealing a denial, call a Butler County Social Security disability (SSD) lawyer at Berger and Green today: 412-661-1400.
What kinds of medical conditions qualify for Social Security disability benefits?
Various medical conditions can qualify you for SSD benefits. You have two routes you can take to qualify:
- Meeting the severity criteria for a condition listed in the Blue Book. The Social Security Administration (SSA) maintains a list of potentially disabling conditions and uses the criteria for each condition to evaluate disability claims. The Blue Book is dozens of pages long and full of complex medical terminology.
- Proving your condition keeps you from adjusting to any type of work. If your condition is not in the Blue Book or you do not satisfy the criteria, do not despair. If you can establish that your medical condition prevents you from adjusting to any type of work, you might still qualify for benefits.
Are there any other criteria I must meet to receive SSD benefits?
Yes. If you can prove you meet the severity criteria or cannot adjust to any type of work, then the SSA will move forward to the next step of the evaluation process.
Regardless of how significant your medical condition is, you will not qualify for SSD benefits if:
- You earn $1,170 or more a month (known as “engaging in substantial gainful activity”), or
- You can work at your previous job or any other job, with or without modifications to your work environment, or
- You should be able to work, despite your medical condition, based on your education, training, or work history, or
- You have not worked long enough to earn the required number of work credits.
What are work credits?
Your taxes fund the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program. For each year you work at a job that pays into Social Security, you receive work credits. To be eligible for SSDI, you must have earned enough work credits.
How many credits you need differs based on your age at the time you become disabled. If you are younger than 24, for example, you must have earned six credits in the three-year period before you became disabled. If you are 50 when you became disabled, you must have earned 20 work credits in the last 10 years.
What is the difference between Social Security Disability insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI)?
Not everyone has worked long enough at a job that pays into Social Security to qualify for SSDI benefits.
If a person has a serious medical condition that meets the other requirements of SSDI, but the person does not have enough work credits, the person may be eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), as long as the person has sufficiently limited income and limited assets.
Do I need a lawyer for my disability claim?
Although you are not required to have a lawyer handle your disability claim, it is a good idea to do so. The medical requirements for these cases are highly technical. They are in medical jargon not understood by most people. The financial and vocational requirements further complicate the process, and add to the frustration.
And even after fighting the system and working to prove you qualify, denials are far too common. While you can appeal your denial, most people face another denial at the reconsideration stage. The next stage is to request a hearing before a Social Security Administrative Law Judge (ALJ).
By working with a lawyer, you can give yourself the best chance of obtaining the benefits you need. When you work with a member of our team, we will:
- Help you determine whether you qualify
- File a request for reconsideration or a hearing with the SSA
- Help the SSA gather the evidence it needs to reconsider your claim
- Prepare your case and represent you in front of an ALJ if the SSA denies your reconsideration claim
- Take you through the rest of the appeals process, if advisable
When you have a serious medical condition, you should not have to fight these battles alone. Our team will help you every step of the process, making sure you understand what we need from you and what we will do for you.
Can I afford a SSD lawyer?
Yes. Most clients forgo getting a lawyer because they assume they cannot afford it. However, this is simply not true. We work on a contingency fee basis, which means you pay no upfront, out-of-pocket costs and you do not pay us a thing unless you win your case.
And when the SSA approves you for benefits, you pay us out of that percentage, which the federal government strictly regulates.
Call Berger and Green to schedule a FREE consultation with a Butler County SSD lawyer.
The disability lawyers at Berger and Green will take the work and frustration of dealing with the SSA out of your hands. Since most successful cases must go through the appeals process, it is best to have a good disability lawyer on your claim from the beginning.
Call us today at 412-661-1400 to get your free consultation.