Lawrence, PA, Social Security Disability Attorney
If you’re disabled due to an illness or injury and unable to earn a living, getting the money you need to pay for your medical care and everyday expenses can be challenging. Recognizing these challenges, the federal government established the Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits program to help people with disabilities meet their needs.
While SSD benefits can be a big help, the application process can be demanding, and the rules can be hard to understand.
The Pennsylvania social security disability attorneys at Heller, Maas, Moro & Magill Co., LPA, are here to help people with disabilities seek the benefits they deserve. Our team has more than 200 years of combined legal experience. Our commitment to our clients also extends to the communities we serve because we care about our neighbors and our home. Our peers highly respect us, and we have received many professional honors for our work, including a “Distinguished” rating from Martindale-Hubbell.
If you’re having trouble getting SSD benefits in Lawrence, Pennsylvania, we want to work with you to pursue the money you need. Get a free initial consultation by calling us or visiting our contact page.
Overview of the Social Security Disability Process in PA
The process for seeking SSD benefits can be daunting and take a great deal of time, depending on whether your initial claim is approved and how many appeals are necessary. Here’s a basic overview of how the process works:
- You must first have a qualifying physical or mental health disability. You can find a list on the Social Security Administration (SSA) website.
- Your disability must prevent you from working and completing routine daily tasks.
- Your disability must have lasted or be expected to last a year or longer or result in death.
- A doctor must diagnose your condition, and this information must be included in your application for benefits.
- Once your application is submitted, it will either be approved or denied. Most likely, the application will be rejected at first. Data from the SSA suggests more than 70 percent of claims are initially rejected.
- Do not give up! There are several rounds of appeals you can go through to get SSD benefits if your initial application was denied. These appeals can take a long time, and each rejection will only make it take longer to get the benefits you need.
Because so many SSD claims are rejected initially, it’s vital to get a knowledgeable disability lawyer to help with your claim. A lawyer can make sure your initial application is filled out correctly and contains the necessary information to optimize your chances of having your claim quickly approved. If your initial application still doesn’t result in a benefits award, our lawyers are prepared to represent you throughout the appeals process.
Determining SSD Eligibility in Lawrence, PA
Unlike some other federal benefit programs, SSD benefits are designed explicitly for injured and ill workers. That is because the program is funded by the Social Security taxes that come out of our paychecks. To apply for SSD benefits, you have to have a certain number of credits in any given year. The number of credits you earn is based on your income and work history.
Once you’ve earned a certain amount of income and accrued the necessary credits, you are eligible to apply for SSD benefits provided you meet the other conditions.
If you have the necessary work credits, you must also have an eligible physical or mental disability. Your disability must have already lasted or be expected to last for at least one year or result in death.
Finally, you’ll need to submit an application to the state agency that administers SSD benefits. In Pennsylvania, that’s the Bureau of Disability Determination. This application needs to be as thorough as possible. Otherwise, you’ll be forced into the appeals process.
How Is ‘Disability’ Defined?
The SSA has a strict definition of disability, which you must meet to obtain benefits. SSD benefits are for long-term disabilities only. Therefore your disability must be expected to last for at least a year. You can also apply for SSD benefits if your disability is expected to be fatal.
Your disability must prevent you from doing any gainful work. It’s not enough to simply show that you can no longer do your old job.
Parents of children with disabilities can also apply for benefits on their children’s behalf. To qualify for SSD benefits, the child’s disability must “very seriously” limit their ability to do daily activities, and it must have lasted for a year or be expected to last a year. Children can also qualify for SSD benefits if their disability is expected to result in their death.
Types of Disability Benefits
SSD benefits, also known as Social Security Disability Insurance or SSDI, are monthly payments that disabled individuals can receive for the duration of their disability or until their death, provided they meet the SSA’s definition of disability and have earned enough credits to be insured.
The specific amount varies according to the individual’s circumstances, how many family members they have, and other factors.
The formula the SSA uses is quite complicated, but an SSD lawyer can explain how much money you could potentially receive. Generally speaking, the maximum amount the family of an individual receiving SSDI payments can receive is between 150 percent and 180 percent of the individual’s benefit payment.
In addition to SSDI benefits for disabled workers, the SSA also offers benefits through the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program. SSI benefits are means-tested. They are generally available only to people with limited income and assets. The maximum monthly benefit amount is set by the federal government each year. You can find the most recent figures here.
How Do You Know If You Need Legal Help With Your SSD Claim in Lawrence, PA?
While you are not required to get a lawyer’s help with your SSD claim, it’s generally a good idea to speak to a lawyer as soon as possible. Since most claims are initially rejected, a lawyer can give you the best shot of having your application approved when you first submit it. If your claim is rejected at first, a lawyer can help you with the appeals process to help you obtain your benefits as quickly as possible.
Get Help from Our Lawrence SSD Lawyers Now
Don’t risk delay or rejection of your benefits claim because you didn’t speak to a lawyer before filing an SSD claim. Get a free case review with an attorney at Heller, Maas, Moro & Magill Co., LPA, by calling us or filling out our online contact form.