While it is not legally required to have a lawyer for Social Security disability in Pennsylvania, having someone on your side to ensure you have the proper documentation may improve your chances of gaining approval.
A knowledgeable disability attorney can help you get:
- The monthly benefits you deserve;
- Back pay for the time between your application and your approval; and
- Retroactive benefits to cover up to 12 months of impairment before you filed your initial claim
At Berger and Green, our Social Security disability lawyers know what the evaluators are looking for when they process a claim. We can help you get the documentation of your health conditions and impairments, and either help Social Security obtain evidence or provide it to them in a way they can easily access it. Whether you are just beginning the application process or have already received a denial, we can help.
Call our Pittsburgh area office today at 412-661-1400 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our Social Security disability attorneys.
What difference can a lawyer play in my disability benefits application?
The Social Security Administration (SSA) denies most people who apply for Social Security Disability benefits, at least initially. The reason why varies, but difficulty proving impairment is at the top of the list.
To qualify for disability benefits, you need to have a health condition that limits your ability to work. There are strict guidelines about which conditions qualify, known as impairment listings. If you can prove you have one of these conditions (and meet the condition’s severity criteria), you might qualify. If not, you must show your condition is so severe it keeps you from adjusting to any type of work.
Proving your impairment requires a high level of documentation from your doctor in your medical records as well as X-rays or other imaging scans confirming this opinion. Many disability applicants do not know what their medical records say or whether their condition is well-documented through imaging or other test results.
Through years of experience, we know what the claims examiner is looking for in your application. This is often key in getting our clients approved for the benefits they deserve as quickly as possible.
Do I need a lawyer to file an appeal?
Even if you do not talk to a lawyer before filing your Social Security disability claim, you will want to give us a call if you have received a letter of denial. The first step in the appeals process is to request a reconsideration, or in some states, including Pennsylvania, to request a hearing. You have 60 days from the date of your denial letter to request reconsideration or hearing in your claim.
You can do this on your own, but know the reconsideration is often little more than a formality for most applicants. You are asking the claims evaluators to take another look at your application and reverse their decision. While some people do get a reversal during this process, it is much more common for the SSA to stick to its initial decision.
We recommend giving us a call as soon as you receive a letter of denial. We not only submit the necessary paperwork to request a reconsideration, but we also help Social Security determine what you need to properly document your qualifications. This can better your chances of receiving an approval.
Will my lawyer represent me in my hearing with an administrative law judge?
Yes. The next step in the appeals process is to request a hearing in front of an administrative law judge (ALJ). This is where having a knowledgeable lawyer on your side can really make a difference. During this hearing, the ALJ looks at your claim and all supporting documentation and makes a decision independent of the previous evaluators.
All the work we put into collecting the right documentation and building a strong case for you pays off when we can present your claim to the ALJ. Many of our clients receive approval during this step, and begin to draw the benefits they deserve. We also ensure you get the back pay due to you, and any retroactive benefits you may qualify for based on your impairment and initial application dates.
What if I the SSA still denies my claim?
Sometimes one of our clients receives a denial following their hearing in front of the ALJ. If this happens to you, the most important thing is for you to know we will not give up on your case. There are other steps in the appeals process that may get you the benefits you deserve.
We can discuss your legal options if it comes to this point in your case. Based on the individual facts of your case, we may need to request the Appeals Council review your claim or we take your case to the Federal District Court or we may suggest that the best course is for us to help you file a new application.
Speak with a Social Security disability lawyer at Berger and Green today.
Having a skilled Social Security disability lawyer by your side through the disability claims and appeals process is important to securing the disability benefits you need. At Berger and Green, our Pennsylvania Social Security Disability lawyers work to help the SSA collect strong documentation of your impairment and build a case that supports you receiving monthly income, back pay, and retroactive benefits.
Call our Pittsburgh office today at 412-661-1400 to schedule a free evaluation.