Beaver, PA SSD Attorney
If you’ve become disabled due to an injury or illness and cannot work, you may be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits. However, the SSD application process is complicated, and many applicants’ initial claims are denied—even when they have valid claims.
The top-rated Pennsylvania Social Security disability attorneys at Heller, Maas, Moro & Magill Co., LPA, are dedicated to helping people in the Beaver, PA region get the full disability benefits available by law. Our firm has more than 200 years of combined legal experience, including extensive experience handling Social Security disability cases.
We’re committed to providing exceptional legal representation in the communities we serve. We’re widely respected by our peers in the legal community, as shown by our “Distinguished” ranking from the legal rating company Martindale-Hubbell.
If you have had difficulty obtaining SSD benefits, we understand your frustration and anxiety. Let a Beaver, PA SSD attorney review your disability claim and discuss ways that we may assist you. Get a free consultation by calling our disability lawyers in Beaver or by using our contact page.
Overview of Social Security Disability Process in PA
Applying for SSD benefits can be a tedious process of collecting medical documents and filling out paperwork. Depending on the complexity of your case and how many appeals are necessary, you may be waiting 12 months or more for a decision. A lawyer with experience handling SSD cases can guide you through the process and help you avoid errors that cause delays or lead to rejections because of incomplete files.
Here’s an overview of how the SSD application process works:
- The first step is to determine if you have a qualifying physical or mental health disability. The Social Security Administration (SSA) keeps a list of qualifying conditions on its website.
- Your disabling condition must prevent you from holding gainful employment.
- Your disability must prevent you from switching to other gainful work.
- Your disability must have already lasted or be expected to last for at least a year or be a terminal disease.
- Your medical condition must be diagnosed by a doctor, and you’ll need to include this diagnosis in your application for benefits.
- Most applicants receive letters denying their initial claims. Data from the SSA shows that more than 70 percent of initial applications from disabled workers are rejected.
- If your application has been denied, there are multiple steps in the appeal process. These appeals can extend the application process for months or years.
A knowledgeable Beaver, PA SSD attorney can help you gather evidence to support your claim and pursue an appeal if necessary.
Determining SSD Eligibility in PA
In addition to meeting the medical eligibility requirements, you must have an established work history and contributed taxes to the Social Security system long enough to draw SSD benefits. You have to have a certain number of credits to be eligible for SSD benefits. The number of work credits needed to receive benefits depends on your age.
Assuming you’ve earned the necessary work credits, you must have a qualifying physical or mental health condition to apply for SSD benefits. Your disability must be expected to last for at least one year, or it must have lasted for a year.
In Pennsylvania, the Bureau of Disability Determination assists the Social Security Administration in determining whether an applicant has a qualifying disability and is eligible for federal SSD payments. The Bureau’s case examiners handle about 145,000 Pennsylvania disability applications a year.
How Is Disability Defined?
The SSA uses a strict definition of adult disability to determine whether applicants qualify for benefits.
You must be unable to perform any type of substantial work because of your condition.
Your medically diagnosed disability must be expected to last at least a year or be expected to lead eventually to your death.
Social Security also has a strict definition of disability for children.
The child must have a medically diagnosed condition that seriously limits his or her activities.
As with adults, the child’s condition must have lasted a year or be expected to last at least a year or be a terminal condition.
Parents whose child has suffered a severe disability can apply for benefits on their child’s behalf. The SSA has a list of qualifying children’s health conditions here.
Types of Disability Benefits
The formal name for Social Security disability benefits is Social Security Disability Insurance or SSDI. These are monthly payments that disabled workers can receive for the duration of their disability. Their families may also be eligible for benefits.
The specific amount of your monthly disability benefit, if your claim is approved, will be based on your average lifetime earnings. Your first disability benefit will be paid for the sixth full month after the onset of your disability.
Certain members of your family may qualify for SSD benefits based on your work history. They include:
- Your spouse, if he or she is 62 or older.
- Your spouse at any age if he or she is caring for your child who is younger than 16 or disabled.
- Your unmarried child who is younger than 18 or if still in school, younger than 19.
- Your unmarried child if he or she has a disability that began before age 22.
How Do You Know You Need Legal Help with Your SSD Claim in Beaver, Pennsylvania?
You are not required to get a lawyer when you apply for SSD benefits. But the bureaucratic process can be daunting without the guidance of an experienced Social Security disability lawyer. Most claims are initially rejected and require appeals. Our attorneys at Heller, Maas, Moro & Magill Co., LPA. can evaluate your file and determine how to improve your chances of qualifying for disability benefits on appeal. If you need an expert SSD attorney in Beaver, PA, we can help.
Contact Our Beaver, PA SSD Lawyers Now
Don’t wait to contact one of our Beaver, PA Social Security disability lawyers at Heller, Maas, Moro & Magill Co., LPA. Get a free review of your disability claim by calling our law offices or by filling out our contact form. We’ll discuss whether we believe you should qualify for disability benefits and determine the best path forward.