After applying for Social Security Disability, your next step is to wait for the Social Security Administration to send you a decision letter. This letter will tell you:
- Whether or not your claim was accepted
- Why your claim was denied (if it was denied)
- What to do if you are unsatisfied with the decision
Our firm can help you with your application and even tell you how to respond to your Social Security Disability decision letter.
Who Can Apply for Social Security Disability?
Your eligibility depends on several factors, including:
- What type of Disability benefits you apply for
- Whether or not you have any conditions that are disabling
- Your ability to work and/or your income level
Before you apply, it is important to recognize the differences between the two available types of Social Security Disability.
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is designed to help workers who are no longer able to work (or can no longer work as much as they used to do). Applicants must have a minimum number of work credits from time spent working in a job insured by Social Security.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is designed to help those with limited income and resources. The qualifications are different from SSDI qualifications. A Social Security Disability lawyer from Berger and Green can explain these differences and ensure you apply for the benefits you are most qualified to receive.
A Disability Lawyer From Our Firm Can Help
Berger and Green has over 40 years of experience assisting clients with their cases. Here are just a few of the legal tasks we can accomplish to make the application process less opaque.
Reviewing Your Application
Whether you apply for SSDI or SSI, the application forms can be complicated, and the amount of evidence required to prove your eligibility can be daunting. Even a relatively small mistake can lead to a denial.
Berger and Green works closely with clients to make their applications as thorough and accurate as possible. We can support you in the following ways:
- Providing free case assessments to everyone who calls in wanting information about our services
- Making sure you have used the correct form (the forms for SSDI and SSI are different)
- Double-checking your application for obvious errors or omissions
- Ensuring the SSA reviews all of the necessary information and documentation to fairly assess your application
- Answering whatever questions you have about your application or the application process generally
Keep in mind that it can take a long time for the SSA to consider your case and send out a decision letter. This does not necessarily mean anything is wrong with your application: it simply means they have a large caseload. We are here to provide answers and assurances to clients as they await results.
Representing You During an Appeal
If your claim is (or has already been) denied, we can still help. According to the Social Security Administration (SSA), applicants have four chances to appeal an unfavorable decision. These chances are as follows:
- Reconsideration: This is the first step. An adjudicator with no prior knowledge of your application will go over your case file and render a new decision.
- Hearing: If you are unhappy with the results of the reconsideration, you can ask for a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ).
- Council review: The Appeals Council, which consists of multiple ALJs, will make a new decision. They may either deny your appeal, order a new reconsideration, or decide your case themselves.
- Trial: The final stage involves going outside the SSA. You can bring a civil action in Federal district court.
Berger and Green can represent you at each stage of your appeal. This includes doing the following:
- Explaining what will likely happen at each stage so that you can prepare yourself
- Accompanying you to all ALJ hearings so you do not have to face a Judge alone
- Helping you prepare your court case if your case makes it to the Federal district court
- Advising you on what action to take, including when to appeal to the next level
Proving Your Eligibility
For your application to succeed, you must send the SSA evidence regarding the following topics:
- Work history, including how many years you worked, what year you had to stop working, and whether you ever served in the military
- Financial history, including tax information and whether you currently receive government benefits
- Medical history, including the status and treatment of conditions that are disabling
- Personal history, including citizenship and relationship status
By providing sufficient evidence with your application, you increase the chances that your Social Security Disability decision letter will be a favorable decision. Our team knows what kinds of documentation the SSA wants to see, and we can help ensure your application includes enough evidence to support your claims.
Action To Take After a Favorable Decision
Appealing an unfavorable decision takes a lot of work, but is there anything applicants must do after receiving a favorable decision?
Immediately after receiving your favorable decision you do need to provide SSA with any additional information that they might request. After you comply with their requests your case is finished, and you will soon begin receiving the benefits you have applied for.
In the long term, you may have to put additional work into your case under the following circumstances:
- Your medical status changes—for example, your condition gets better or worse.
- You participate in the SSA’s Ticket to Work program and find that you are able to support yourself without benefits.
- The SSA decides to stop or alter your benefits for any reason.
The SSA will notify you of any future problems with your benefits. The entire team at Berger and Green would be happy to help you if and when such problems arise.
We Help Clients With Social Security Disability Claims
Berger and Green helps clients apply for Social Security Disability and fights to ensure that their decision letter includes a favorable outcome. Call our office for a free case evaluation today to begin. We represent Social Security Disability clients in parts of Pennsylvania and Ohio.