There are many different causes of paralysis and the condition affects everyone differently. Many people suffer from paralysis in ways that prevent them from working their regular job or maintaining other employment. If you are in this situation, you may qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
At Berger and Green, we know what the Social Security Administration (SSA) is looking for in a qualifying application. Our attorneys can determine your eligibility, review your claim before you file, or file an appeal on your behalf if they deny your benefits. Call our Pittsburgh office today at 412-661-1400 to schedule a time to discuss your options to get disability for paralysis.
How do SSD benefits work for people with paralysis?
Only those who suffer from a total disability qualify for benefits under SSA guidelines. SSD is not available to those who have a partial or short-term disability. This means in order to qualify for benefits, you must be unable to perform your previous job duties or the duties of any other job you have the education or experience to work.
To this end, the SSA maintains a list of impairments that qualify for benefits and lists the criteria you must meet. These criteria may vary based on the underlying cause of your paralysis.
For example, those with spinal cord disorders must meet one of three characteristics to qualify for SSD benefits. These include:
- Total loss of function of any body part or body system because of a spinal cord injury, including paralysis of one limb, paraplegia, quadriplegia, and even those who suffer loss of bladder or bowel function;
- Movement impairments in two or more limbs that make it difficult to stand, balance, walk, or use the hands; or
- Significant spinal injuries without total loss of function, when accompanied with serious mental limitations.
Many other causes of paralysis are neurological or musculoskeletal. The SSA lists separate criteria for these impairments as well.
Our disability lawyers can help you determine which impairment listing covers your health condition and determine if you qualify for benefits. It is important to remember you may still qualify even if you do not meet all of the criteria under your diagnosis or if the SSA does not include your condition in its list of impairments, as long as your medical records show that your paralysis prevents you from working.
How can I prove my claim?
The key to getting your qualifying SSD application approved the first time lies in having the proper documentation to support your claim. We recommend talking to your doctor, therapist, and any other specialists about your application. Ask them to clearly document your impairments in your medical records. They can even list the specific duties at work you cannot do and describe how your impairment limits your ability to complete specific activities of daily living.
In addition, your medical records need to clearly show your diagnosis and current condition. This usually requires neurological exams, imaging studies, and other tests. Copies of these results and scans are an important part of your SSD application.
While we cannot guarantee approval, we know what the SSA looks for in a successful claim. After this review, Berger and Green can help you apply or you can apply by visiting the SSA website or calling 1-800-772-1213.
Will my paralysis help me qualify for SSI?
SSI has the same disability requirements, but much more stringent financial qualifications, than SSDI. This program provides additional money each month to those who are disabled but have extremely limited income and few resources.
To learn if you meet the SSI qualifications, schedule a time to discuss your situation with one of our attorneys. SSDI and SSI have separate applications, but you can apply for SSI and SSDI at the same time. If you receive SSI, you most likely also qualify for other benefits. For example, most states offer Medicaid coverage for those who meet the criteria for SSI benefits.
What if the SSA denies my disability claim?
Unfortunately, the SSA denies many initial applications for SSD benefits. This is because those applications are either incomplete, missing important components, or lacking the proper documentation to prove the disability. If they denied your claim, you have the right to file an appeal. The first thing you should do is call us and let us navigate the appeals process for you.
You have only 60 days after the date on your denial letter to appeal the decision. For this reason, we urge you to act fast. Call us right away, so we can go to work building a strong case for your qualification.
We will work to schedule an administrative law hearing, where we will present the additional evidence or information missing from your claim so an administrative law judge can rule on your qualifications. We can frequently secure benefits for qualifying clients during this step.
How can I contact a disability lawyer in Pittsburgh?
At Berger and Green, we understand the methods the SSA uses to examine claims, both during the initial application and throughout the appeals process. If you have any questions or concerns about applying for SSDI or SSI in Pittsburgh, give us a call at 412-661-1400 to schedule a consultation today.