Before you can receive Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits in Pittsburgh, you must prove you are medically and financially eligible for monthly payments. To do so, you must fill out the appropriate applications and supply the Social Security Administration (SSA) with detailed information about you, your health condition, and your income and work history. You can apply online or the experienced legal team at Berger and Green can file your application for Social Security Disability benefits for you. Read on to learn more about how to apply for Social Security Disability benefits.
What Social Security Disability Benefits Can You Apply For?
The SSA oversees two benefits programs for individuals with disabilities: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). You must apply for each program separately, but you can qualify for benefits from both concurrently.
Injured or ill workers who have earned work credits through Social Security employment contributions can receive SSDI. You generally need a minimum of 20 credits (or five years of work) to qualify. However, younger workers may become eligible with fewer credits, and older workers may need more.
SSI is a needs-based program open to those with limited income and resources. You do not need work credits to apply, but you must meet the financial qualifications.
How Much Can You Receive in Benefits?
Your SSDI payments will depend on how many work credits you have. Usually, the more credits you have, the more you will receive. You can obtain an estimate using the SSA’s online Benefits Calculator.
Monthly SSI payments depend on the annual rate, which changes yearly based on economic indicators like the Consumer Price Index. According to the SSA, the 2023 rate is $914 per individual per month. Some states issue supplemental SSI. available.
In addition, other sources of income and benefits you currently have can affect your SSD payments and program eligibility. The SSA will need the following information to establish who you are, decide if you qualify for benefits, and set your monthly payment amount:
- Your date and place of birth
- Your Social Security number
- Your birth certificate, proof of citizenship, or proof of lawful alien status
- Names and birth dates of minor dependents
- Bank account and routing numbers
- The amount of your earnings for the current and previous year
- The name and address of your current employer (or any employers you’ve had through the previous year)
- A list of jobs you’ve had in the past 15 years
- W2s or self-employment tax forms
- Military discharge papers (if you served before 1968)
- Proof of workers’ compensation, veterans, or retirement benefits you currently receive
- Information regarding any legal awards or settlements you’ve received
The above is not an exhaustive list of what you need to apply. You can find more information on the SSA’s website. An attorney with our firm can also answer any questions you have.
For a free legal consultation, call 412-661-1400
How Do You Prove You Are Medically Eligible for SSD?
SSDI and SSI have the same medical requirements. The SSA considers you medically disabled if you have an injury or illness that interferes with basic work-related activities (like remembering, sitting, standing, or walking) for at least 12 months. It will be easier to establish that you are medically qualified if you have a condition listed in the Blue Book.
Ailments in the book (and the criteria for evaluating them) include but are not limited to, the following:
- Spinal cord injuries and disorders
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Loss of vision, speech, or hearing
- Chronic respiratory disorders
- Chronic heart failure
- Chronic liver or kidney disease
- Organ transplant
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Multiple sclerosis (MS)
- Early-onset Alzheimer’s disease
- Parkinson’s disease
- Huntington’s disease
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
- Blood disorders
- Skin disorders
- Immune disorders
You can still apply for SSD if your health problem is not in the Blue Book. However, you will likely need to submit additional medical evidence with your claim to prove your condition is as severe and debilitating as those listed. You should supply the SSA with the following:
- Detailed information about your injury, illness, or ailment
- Contact information for your medical providers
- Patient ID numbers
- Dates of treatment/treatment plans
- Doctor’s notes
- Lab test results
- A list of your medications
- In any other relevant medical documentation in your possession
How Does the SSA Decide If Your Condition Prevents You From Working?
The SSA will decide if your medical condition prevents you from working (and is therefore disabling) if you cannot perform substantial gainful activity (SGA) for at least 12 months. The SGA limit for 2023 is an average of $1,470 per month. If you can make this amount at your current job or some other type of work, the SSA will not approve your application.
In addition, you should not wait until your medical condition affects your earning capabilities for 12 months to apply. You can and should apply for Social Security Disability benefits as soon as you aren’t able to work.
What If SSA Denies Your Social Security Disability Claim?
Many initial SSD applications receive an unfavorable determination. Fortunately, you can appeal denied claims. You have 60 days after receiving notice of the SSA’s decision to begin the process. You then have 60 days between each stage in the appeal process to move your claim forward if you disagree with the outcome.
The four stages of SSD appeal are:
- Reconsideration of your initial application
- Hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ)
- Appeals Council review
- Federal Court
Our team can tell you more about how to apply for Social Security Disability benefits and file your initial application for you. If you receive a denial, we can fight for you on appeal and help you bolster your application with additional evidence.
Complete a Free Case Evaluation form now
Contact Berger and Green About Your Social Security Disability Claims
Berger and Green has more than 40 years of experience helping disabled clients get the benefits they deserve. We can put our knowledge and skills to work for you. Our firm can assist you on contingency, meaning our services will cost you nothing upfront or out of pocket. Contact us today for a free consultation.