However, there are very strict requirements applicants must meet to win their case and collect benefits. And the Social Security Administration (SSA) only awards benefits for medically documented total disabilities that last a year or longer. Partial and short-term disabilities do not qualify. For help applying for benefits, call a Duquesne Social Security disability (SSD) lawyer at Berger and Green: 412-661-1400.
What kinds of disability benefits does the SSA administer?
The SSA maintains a number of different benefit programs, including those for retired workers, survivors, and blind persons. It also has two separate benefits for people living with disabilities (although some people may qualify for both benefits concurrently):
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI): SSDI is a monthly benefit for people who become disabled before they reach retirement age. To qualify, you must meet the SSA’s definition of disabled and have sufficient work credits that you earned by paying Social Security taxes on your paychecks. You can learn more about work credit requirements on the SSA’s website.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI): SSI is a benefit for disabled children and adults whose work histories are insufficient for SSDI. It is specifically for disabled people with limited assets and very little monthly income. Your income must be below $735 to qualify and you must have less than $2,000 in assets.
What kinds of disabilities qualify people for SSD?
Any kind of impairment that prevents you from working can potentially qualify you as disabled for the purposes of SSD benefits. Some of the most common conditions for which people collect SSD benefits include:
- Muscle, back, and joint disorders, e.g., arthritis
- Nervous system disorders, e.g., multiple sclerosis
- Cardiovascular disorders, e.g., heart disease
- Cancer, e.g., lymphoma
- Trauma, e.g., accidents
- Mental disorders, e.g., anxiety disorders
- Respiratory disorders, e.g., emphysema
- Digestive disorders, e.g., Crohn’s disease
The SSA maintains a Listing of Impairments that contains conditions, categorized by body system, that the SSA considers potentially disabling. You can peruse the list to see if you condition is included. Each condition has a set of criteria the applicant must meet to qualify under that listing.
Note however that you do not necessarily have to have a condition on the list to qualify. You can still qualify as disabled if your condition is so severe that it keeps you from working or adjusting to any type of work. Consult one of our disability lawyers to see if your particular disability might qualify you for SSD.
How much are monthly SSD benefits?
When the SSA approves your claim, it will calculate and inform you of your monthly benefit amount. The SSA uses a complex formula when calculating benefits, and it handles SSI and SSDI benefits differently. SSI benefits are based on the Federal Benefit Rate, whereas SSDI benefits are based on your total lifetime earnings.
- The maximum SSI benefit you can receive is $735/month, and any income you have will offset your rate. The average SSI benefit is approximately $540.
- The maximum SSDI benefit you can receive is $2,687/month, although the average SSDI benefit is around $1,030.
How do I apply for SSD benefits?
There are several ways to apply for SSD benefits:
- Call Berger and Green at 412-661-1400 for help with your application.
- By phone: You can call the SSA at 1-800-772-1213 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.
- In person: You can visit your local Social Security office to apply, but you will need to make an appointment first. The office nearest Duquesne is in McKeesport at 540 5th Ave.
- Online: You can also apply online using the Disability Benefit Application. You can only apply for SSDI online.
There are various documents, forms, and records that you will need to submit when applying. Failing to provide all the necessary records will result in a denial. A Berger and Green disability lawyer in Duquesne would be happy to help you with the application process. To arrange for a meeting to get started, call 412-661-1400.
Do I need a lawyer to apply for SSD in Duquesne?
It is not mandatory to have an attorney help you file for SSD, but it is certainly recommended. Qualified disability attorneys such as ours at Berger and Green are very familiar with the application process, the required forms and records, and how to handle any hiccups along the way. They know the protocols, deadlines, and how to keep a claim on track.
We can help you avoid some of the most common missteps that cost people their claims and protect your rights during the process. The SSA denies over 70 percent of claims it receives each year. Having a lawyer represent you and manage your case gives you the best chances of success.
Our Duquesne attorneys can step in and assist you at any stage of the process, from pre-determining your eligibility and filing the initial application, to helping the SSA obtain documentation and appealing wrongfully denied claims.
Can I afford to hire a disability lawyer at Berger and Green?
We do not think that income restrictions should limit your access to legal help. So at Berger and Green, not only do we offer free consultations, but we also do not charge our clients with disabilities any upfront fees for our services. We only get reimbursed if and when you receive a settlement award from the SSA, and the percentage we receive is small in comparison to the lifetime of benefits you may collect.
Considering all the ways we can help you and the fact that there are zero out-of-pocket expenses on your part, it simply makes good sense to have one of our attorneys assist you with recovering your disability benefits.
Call us today at 412-661-1400 to get started.