Our Disability Lawyers Will Help You Get Your Benefits from Social Security
Social Security Disability insurance provides long-term support for people unable to work. Money for this insurance comes from FICA, the tax withheld from workers’ pay and employer-mandated contributions. Our disability lawyers will help you get the benefits you deserve. Our law firm serves Bucks and Montgomery counties, so call us if you have concerns.
Social Security Disability is not a hand-out. You earned the benefits. Unfortunately, Social Security denies as many as 65 percent of all first-time claims. However, by law, you're eligible for disability benefits if you have worked the minimum number of years based on your age and:
- You can no longer perform the work you had been doing for medical reasons.
- Your condition prevents you from doing other types of work.
- You suffer total disability resulting from a medical condition that is expected to last at least one year.
Being denied SSD benefits is frustrating and can cause extreme economic hardships for you and your family. You can trust our social security disability lawyers will file accurate first-time claims. You have earned the right to benefits. Our attorneys will help you get them.
What's the Difference Between SSDI and SSI Benefits?
SSI or Supplemental Security Income is based on the limitations of your income as a disabled person. On the other hand, SSDI or Social Security Disability Insurance allows workers who have become disabled and have obtained enough work credits to receive social security retirement benefits early.
To qualify for SSDI you must have “work credits” meaning that you’ve paid into Social Security from wages earned. One work credit is equal to $1,510 in 2022. You can earn up to 4 work credits per year.
For example, generally, if you are 31 years old, you must have earned 40 work credits, with 20 of those credits being earned in the ten years ending in the year you became disabled. The number of work credits required may be less for younger individuals. A disability lawyer can help clarify your credits.
Social Security Disability Insurance monthly benefit payments start the 6th full month after the date you became disabled. However, eligibility for Medicare benefits begins 24 months from when disability payments begin. SSD monthly payment amounts are based on your past earnings.
SSI benefits are for persons age 65+, blind or disabled with limited income and resources, and who lack the necessary work credits to qualify for SSDI. An individual applying for Supplemental Security Income can have no more than $2,000.00 in assets. If you are married, your family asset limit is $3,000.00.
You may have one car and your home which do not count toward the $2,000.00 asset limit. Assets include cash, check and savings accounts, stocks and bonds, retirement funds, some personal property, and real estate other than your home.
Unearned income such as VA benefits, child support, alimony, and your spouse’s income is also considered for SSI eligibility. In addition, if an individual receives $803.00 or more per month they are not entitled to SSI benefits. Finally, a couple is not eligible for SSI benefits if they receive $1,195.00 or more per month in unearned income. In-kind income, which includes free food, shelter, etc. is also considered when determining SSI eligibility.
Tips for Filing for Social Security Disability Benefits
While having all your documentation in good order doesn't guarantee first-time approval, proper preparation improves your chances. Here are good tips for claimants:
Talk to your disability lawyer about your eligibility for SSDI benefits
Eligibility is based on your work history and your medical condition. If you are not yet of full retirement age and you have a total disability that keeps you out of work for at least one year, you may qualify. Disabilities may be physical, cognitive, psychiatric, or psychological, but they must be on the list of impairments and conditions recognized by the Social Security Administration.
Do not delay in filing a claim with the help of your disability lawyer. At the very minimum, there is a five-month waiting period before you can collect disability benefits. However, since the start date is not the date on which you filed but rather the established onset date, you may have to wait even longer. The sooner you file the sooner you may be able to receive benefits.
Get your disability confirmation in writing from your physician
The Social Security Administration requires confirmation of the medical condition that caused your disability. You must get records from your doctor to support your claim. You should gather comprehensive medical records to help satisfy the government’s requirements.
Document your work history
Generally, you need to have worked for at least five of the last 10 years to qualify for disability benefits. Your work history is also important in determining if you have any residual functioning capacity (RFC) and what job activities you may or may not be able to accomplish. Your work history should not be just a list of places you have worked — it should include a detailed job description.
Get experienced legal assistance from an experienced disability lawyer
Similar to workers’ compensation, filing a claim for Social Security Disability is seldom as simple as you would hope. Missed deadlines or inaccuracies in documentation can lead to delays or denials of benefits. When you and your family are depending on the money from Social Security disability, waiting for even a few more days can be critical. Our law firm has four decades of experience helping people get their SSDI benefits. Our disability benefits attorneys know how to move your claim along as quickly as possible.
As disheartening as it may be, remember that it is not unusual for a claim to be denied. You can appeal your claim within 60 days — and with help from our disability lawyers, you have a better chance of prevailing. The appeals process in Pennsylvania starts with a hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ). During that hearing, the ALJ questions you and examines any new medical evidence. If the ALJ still denies your claim, our disability lawyers can take your case to the Appeals Council, which has the option to reverse the judge’s decision, order a second hearing or issue another denial.
If you've been denied your claim for Social Security Disability Insurance, you can read more about your options here.
Why Hire a Disability Benefits Attorney?
Statistics show that Social Security is more likely to approve an applicant who's represented by legal counsel than one who isn't. First, a social security disability lawyer can offer advice on your alleged onset date of the disability.
Second, your disability attorney can argue that your condition meets one of the listed impairments from Social Security.
Third, at the appeals level, your disability lawyer can collect and submit relevant medical evidence, obtain an opinion from your doctor, draft a detailed brief for the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), and prepare you for the judge's questions at the hearing.
Finally, your disability benefits attorney will also elicit helpful testimony from you at the hearing. They also may cross-examine the Vocational Expert or Medical Expert to demonstrate that you're unable to work.