If you are unable to work because of a medical condition, you might qualify for Social Security benefits. Getting Social Security benefits is a multi-step, difficult process that often ends in denials.
It usually takes navigating through several levels of appeals in order to get Social Security benefits. Call a Social Security disability (SSD) lawyer representing people in McKeesport from Berger and Green today at 412-661-1400 for help getting the benefits you deserve.
Will I qualify for benefits?
In evaluating your claim for benefits, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will explore:
Your Current Employment Status
In order for the SSA to consider you disabled, your condition has to render you unable to engage in “substantial gainful activity.” If you are currently unemployed, the evaluation process will go on to the next step, which is evaluating your medical condition.
If you are employed, the SSA will apply a simple income test. If you are currently earning more than $1,170 per month, you are engaging in substantial gainful activity which will disqualify you.
The Severity of Your Medical Condition
If you are currently unemployed or earn less than $1,170 per month, the SSA will evaluate your condition’s severity. The SSA uses the Blue Book, also known as the Listing of Impairments, when evaluating medical conditions on claims for SSD benefits.
To be eligible, your condition must have lasted, or it must be expected to last, a year or longer or result in death.
Whether Your Medical Condition is On the SSA Listing of Impairments
The Listing of Impairments contains an extensive, detailed, highly technical list of medical conditions that will qualify claimants for SSD benefits — as long as the claimants satisfy the severity criteria under the listing.
The Listing of Impairments is full of medical terminology, and can be difficult for the lay person to understand. A McKeesport Social Security disability lawyer can help you determine if you qualify.
If your condition is not on the Listing of Impairments, it is still possible to qualify for SSD benefits (discussed later).
Whether You Can Still Do the Kind of Work You Did Previously
It is important to determine if you can still do the same kind of work you were able to do prior to your condition’s onset.
If you can still do the same kind of work, you will not qualify for SSD benefits. If you cannot do the same work, the SSA will explore whether reasonable modifications to your work environment would make it possible for you to do the same kind of work you used to do.
If you are unable to do the same kind of work you used to do, even with reasonable workplace modifications, the SSA will evaluate your education, training, and job skills to see if you are able to perform a type of work that is similar to the work you used to do.
Whether You Can Be Gainfully Employed At All
If you are unable to do the same kind of work as before, even with modifications, and you are also unable to do similar work, then the SSA will evaluate your “residual functional capacity” to try to find any kind of work at all that you will be able to do.
Claims examiners will analyze your job skills, experience, education, and training as well as what basic work functions you are currently able to do (e.g., bending, lifting, standing, sitting, pushing, pulling, etc.) despite your medical condition, and try to find a match with some type of gainful employment.
If the SSA finds that you cannot perform these basic tasks and adjust to other work, it may grant you benefits under a medical vocational allowance.
Whether You Have Enough Work Credits
In addition to proving that your condition is severe enough to keep you out of work, you also need to show that you have enough work credits to be eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits.
The amount of work credits you need depends on your age and how long you worked. For example, a 35 year old needs 20 credits. A 50 year old needs 28 credits.
Whether Your Income and Assets Qualify You
If you do not have enough work credits, you might qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI). To be eligible for SSI, you must have limited income and little assets.
Call Berger and Green for help with your case today.
The process of filing a claim for Social Security Disability benefits can be long and frustrating. The SSA denies most people, no matter how deserving they are, the first time they apply. It usually takes fighting the system in order to get the benefits you deserve.
Our team will apply for reconsideration and represent you throughout every level of the appeals process. We will help the SSA gather the evidence you need to prove your disability and make sure all forms are complete and correct.
And we will do this without any upfront costs from you.
Contact the disability lawyers at Berger and Green for help with your Social Security Disability claim. Call us today at 412-661-1400 to schedule your free consultation.