When a person is unable to work because of a serious illness or disability, s/he can experience extreme financial hardship. With the loss of income, paying for medical care and necessities like food and shelter becomes nearly impossible. For this reason, the Social Security Administration provides monthly cash benefits as a relief to individuals who meet its disability programs’ requirements.
If you find yourself in this situation in Westmoreland County, our firm can help. A Social Security Disability (SSD) lawyer at Berger and Green can evaluate your case at no cost to determine if you qualify for disability benefits.
Our disability attorneys have years of experience and thousands of successful claims under their belts. Call us today at 412-661-1400 to get started.
What disability programs does Social Security offer?
The SSA has two disability programs: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI or DIB) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI or DIB)
SSDI benefits are available to individuals who meet the SSA’s definition of disability and are unable to work for at least 12 consecutive months. Additionally, claimants must meet the following work requirements:
- Applicants under the age of 24 must have worked at least 1.5 years out of the last 3 years.
- Applicants between the ages of 24 and 31 must have worked at least 3 years out of the last 6 years.
- Applicants over the age of 31 must have worked at least 5 years out of the last 10 years.
If you believe you satisfy the criteria we list above, we encourage you to contact our firm to schedule a free consultation with an SSD lawyer. We can help you gather the evidence necessary to submit a complete application or fight a wrongful denial of benefits.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
Supplemental Security Income is a program for individuals who have little to no income and are disabled, over the age of 65, or blind. Unlike SSDI, the program receives its funds through general taxes. Therefore, if you cannot satisfy the work requirements for the SSDI program, you might still be eligible for SSI benefits.
How do I prove I have a valid disability?
The Social Security Administration uses a five-step analysis to determine if you meet their definition of disability.
Social Security’s Five-Step Analysis
- Are you engaged in substantial gainful activity (SGA)? If you are working and receiving income over a certain amount at the time of application, you will not be eligible for benefits.
- Do you have a medical condition that meets a “listing?” Social Security has a listing of severe impairments for every major body part including certain respiratory disorders, immune system disorders, back, hip and knee problems, mental illness, and cancers. If your condition does not meet a listing, we can help you build a strong argument to convince Social Security that your condition equals a combination of listings and therefore, should be covered.
- Is your medical condition severe? Even if your impairment is on the Social Security Administration’s list, you could still be denied benefits if you can engage in SGA. The SSA considers an impairment severe when it prevents you from completing basic work tasks like standing, sitting, and walking for extended periods. Conditions affecting your ability to remember pieces of information could also be considered severe.
- Can you perform past relevant work? If you are healthy enough to return to work at your former job, then you will not be eligible for disability benefits.
- Can you perform any job in the national economy? If you can work in any capacity, whether locally or nationally, such as a less physically demanding job, you will not be eligible for disability benefits.
Do I really need a lawyer to handle my disability claim in Westmoreland County?
The disability claims process is time-consuming and frustrating. Although you can complete the application on your own, mistakes could prevent you from getting the benefits you deserve.
Let the SSD lawyers at Berger and Green take care of some of the paperwork and communication for you. We know the best strategies and arguments to make on your behalf. We have the experience and knowledge to give you the best possible chance for a favorable outcome.
Speak with a Social Security Disability Lawyer for FREE
No matter if you are just starting your application or looking to appeal a denial of benefits, we have the experience and resources necessary to achieve a favorable outcome for disabled people applying for SSD in Westmoreland County. You have only 60 days from the time you receive a denial to request a reconsideration or hearing. Contact us at 412-661-1400 as soon as possible to get started.
Do not let the complicated application process get in the way of your financial security. If you are disabled and unable to work, contact Berger and Green today to speak with one of our SSD lawyers and find out how we can help you obtain government benefits. The sooner you call, the sooner we can start to help.