Westmoreland, PA, Social Security Disability Attorney
Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits can provide you with the financial assistance you need to make ends meet if you are disabled and unable to be gainfully employed. SSD benefits are a benefit you earn over time from years of being employed and paying Social Security taxes.
If you have been diagnosed with a medical disability and cannot return to work, don’t hesitate to turn to the experienced attorneys at Heller, Maas, Moro & Magill Co., LPA in Westmoreland, Pennsylvania for assistance. A Westmoreland disability attorney can help you file a claim for Social Security Disability benefits or appeal your denied claim. If necessary.
Our Westmoreland SSD attorneys will fight vigorously to protect your rights and pursue the maximum benefit payments available by law. Our attorneys are ready to be your advocate during this difficult time in your life.
Learn more about how we can assist you with your Social Security Disability claim or appeal. Call us for a free consultation or complete our online contact form.
Am I Eligible for Social Security Disability Benefits?
You must meet specific requirements to be eligible for SSD benefits. First, a licensed healthcare professional must determine you have a disability. According to the Social Security Administration, your injury or illness qualifies as a disability if:
- You can’t return to the job you had before the disabling accident.
- Your condition prevents you from performing another type of work.
- Your disability has lasted or is expected to last for at least one year or result in death.
You can find a list of disabling conditions on the Listing of Impairments to determine if your injury or illness may qualify.
You must have paid Social Security taxes at your job for a significant period to qualify for SSD benefits. If you didn’t pay Social Security taxes and have little or no income, you may be eligible for benefits through a separate disability program known as Supplemental Security Income.
What Is the Difference Between Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security Income?
SSD and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are the two main disability programs operated by the Social Security Administration. There are fundamental differences between the two programs.
Social Security Disability
SSD benefits come from the taxes paid to the Social Security system during your years of employment. As long as you meet the requirements determined by the Social Security Administration, you may be eligible to receive monthly payments.
Your payment amounts will depend on the number of years you worked before suffering a disability and the average wages you earned.
Supplemental Security Income
SSI benefits are meant for people with very limited income and assets. SSI benefits pay for essential things such as food and clothing.
You must have minimal resources, such as income or saving to qualify for SSI benefits.
Why Was My SSD Claim Denied?
Seeking Social Security Disability means working through a bureaucratic application process. You must submit employment information and medical evidence that shows you have a disabling condition. You may be required to see a doctor for an evaluation.
The Social Security Administration often denies claims for reasons applicants could have avoided. Something as simple as providing medical records with one missing page could lead to a denial.
Knowing what the disability claim reviewers look for could prevent you from having your SSD claim denied for one of the following reasons:
- Incomplete or inaccurate records – Medical evidence is crucial in an SSD claim. You need proof of a disabling injury or illness that prevents you from working.
- Failure to comply – You could end up with a denied claim if you refuse to cooperate with the representative or skip a critical step during the application process.
- Previously denied claim – If you already filed a claim for SSD benefits and received a denial letter, your best option may be to pursue benefits by appealing the denial rather than reapplying.
- Consultative exam results – A consultative examination(CE) might be necessary if the evidence from your doctor isn’t enough to prove you have a disability. This appointment is mandatory. Skipping it could lead to a denied claim.
- Disability definition – The Social Security Administration has a strict definition of what qualifies as a disabling condition. If your condition doesn’t match the SSA definition, you won’t be eligible to collect benefits.
A Westmoreland SSD attorney at Heller, Maas, Moro & Magill Co., LPA, can help you start the process and file an application or file an appeal if the Social Security Administration denied your application for SSD benefits. Many claims are denied initially so you should not give up if you have received a denial letter. You have only a certain amount of time to file an appeal.
Appealing a Denied SSD Claim
You have 60 days to file an appeal if you received a notice of a denied claim. The notice should include information about why the Social Security Administration denied your application and the steps you may take to appeal the decision. You may pursue the following steps to appeal a denied disability claim:
Reconsideration – A representative who wasn’t part of the initial review process will look over the application and any evidence you submit to determine whether you qualify for benefits.
Administrative Law Judge Hearing – You may request a hearing before an administrative law judge. The judge will review the evidence and documentation you submit.
Review by Appeals Council – An Appeals Council will look at all the information associated with your case to decide whether the judge made an error of law in deciding your appeal. If the council finds an error, the council may send the case back to the judge for further review
Federal Court Review – If the appeals council denies your appeal, you could file a civil lawsuit within the Federal District Court.
Should I Hire a Social Security Disability Lawyer?
You have a better chance of presenting a persuasive case and obtaining disability benefits if you hire a Westmoreland SSD attorney instead of handling your case on your own. At Heller, Maas, Moro & Magill Co., LPA, our attorneys have been advocating for disabled workers since 1985. You can depend on our attorneys to go to battle for you and seek the full Social Security Disability benefits available by law.
If you can’t work due to a disability, call us now for a free consultation. Let us help you get on the road to recovery.