Mercer, PA SSD Lawyer
If you’ve been injured or have suffered a medical condition that has left you disabled and unable to work, you may be entitled to disability benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA). These benefits consist of monthly payments that can help pay for your housing, food, and other essentials.
The application process for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits often proves lengthy and difficult for claimants. You can greatly improve your chances of success with the help of an experienced Mercer SSD lawyer. An attorney can help you support your claim and ensure that the Social Security Administration has all of the relevant information to make a decision in your case. If you have already applied for benefits but your claim was denied, an attorney can help you through the appeals process.
For more than 25 years, the experienced PA SSD attorneys and staff of Heller, Maas, Moro & Magill Co., LPA, have worked to help people like you obtain the benefits they need when injuries or illness prevent them from working. We’ve seen how the complexities of the SSD process have made it difficult for people to get the benefits they need and deserve.
Contact our Mercer, Pennsylvania social security disability attorneys today for a free case review to discuss your legal rights and options.
Overview of Social Security Disability Process
To receive SSD benefits, you must submit an application that shows you meet the Social Security Administration’s definition of “disabled.”
Most SSD applications are initially denied, often because applicants fail to submit sufficient information to establish that they meet the eligibility criteria for benefits. Fortunately, individuals whose applications are denied can appeal this denial, as long as they submit their appeal in time.
Appeals of application denials proceed through an administrative process with the Social Security Administration, ultimately culminating in a suit in federal court if you cannot obtain a favorable determination from the SSA at any of the lower levels of appeals.
Determining SSD Eligibility in Mercer, PA
A person may be eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits if they have worked long enough to earn enough credits, based on their age, which represents their payments into the Social Security system. A person may also be entitled to rely on the work credits of their parents or a spouse. Typically, most applicants will need at least 20 work credits within the last 10 years. At least $1,300 in wages over a three-month period is required to earn one work credit, and up to four work credits can be earned in a year.
Another kind of disability benefit, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), does not require work credits. Instead, this benefit is intended for disabled persons without a work history who have little or no current income and limited assets.
Under both programs, you must show that you are disabled. This means that you have a disability that has lasted or is expected to last for at least 12 months or is terminal. The disability must be of a nature and severity that prevents you from earning substantial income.
How Is Disability Defined?
Under the law, a person is considered disabled for purposes of receiving SSD benefits if they:
- Cannot perform any substantially gainful employment due to an injury or medical condition; and
- The medical condition must have lasted for at least one year or be expected to last at least one year, or be expected to result in death.
Establishing a qualifying disability often requires submitting medical evidence, including the applicant’s treatment records along with statements from the applicant’s medical providers. This evidence will need to show:
- The exact nature of your medical condition
- When your condition began
- How your condition limits your activities, including work-activities like walking, sitting, standing, lifting, carrying, and cognitive tasks
- The results of medical testing
- What treatment you have received
- Your response to treatment
Your doctors cannot deem you disabled for SSD purposes – that determination is only made by the SSA.
In many cases, the SSA may request that an applicant undergo a consultative medical exam, which is an evaluation that is conducted to obtain additional information if you don’t have enough medical evidence for SSA to render a decision. This exam, along with other related expenses such as transportation costs, is paid for by the SSA.
Types of Disability Benefits in PA
The Social Security Administration pays out two types of disability benefits. More commonly, an applicant will qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance. A person will receive SSDI benefits if they have sufficient work credits, either through their own work history or, in certain cases, through the work history of parents or a spouse. SSDI benefits are paid out of the general Social Security fund.
The other type of disability benefit is Supplemental Security Income. Unlike SSDI, which is funded through work, SSI requires no work history. Instead, SSI is considered a need-based system, paid from general tax revenues. A person may qualify for SSI if they can show that they have limited financial means.
Let Our Mercer Social Security Disability Lawyers Help with Your Claim
Applying for social security disability benefits in PA can be a difficult process. If you are suffering from an injury or illness that prevents you from working, let the PA social security disability attorneys from Heller, Maas, Moro & Magill Co., LPA, help you apply for and pursue SSD benefits by:
- Reviewing your circumstances to help you determine whether you might be eligible for SSD benefits
- Going over your options for SSD benefits programs, including whether you may be eligible for SSDI or SSI
- Gathering and requesting medical records
- Preparing your application
- Helping you arrange consultative examinations, if requested by the SSA
- Filing administrative appeals from application denials
- Pursuing your claim throughout the appeals process, including all the way to federal court if necessary
Contact our experienced attorneys at our Mercer law office today. We offer a free, confidential consultation with one of our Mercer, PA SSD lawyers. We will discuss the details of your claim and how we can help. We’ve been helping people with social security disability claims for years, and we are ready to help you.