Social Security Disability Benefits

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Pennsylvania Social Security Disability Lawyer

Social Security Disability: A Comprehensive Guide

A medical condition can prevent an individual’s ability to engage in normal activities of daily living and maintain gainful employment. Shocking data published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveal that around 61 million people live with a disability in the United States. 

A disabling condition impacts their quality of life and limits their abilities. The Social Security Administration (SSA) has programs for individuals living with a disability to seek benefits for their condition.  The two primary programs administered by SSA are Social Security Disability Insurance (SSD) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

In order to receive benefits, you must first establish entitlement by proving that you are eligible for one or both programs. We have outlined a thorough guide below to answer some questions related to Social Security disability programs. For more information, you can contact a legal professional with experience in disability law to discuss the criteria and qualifications.

To receive Social Security disability benefits, an applicant will have to meet initial qualifying criteria and have  a diagnosis of a disabling condition that has lasted or is expected to last at least 12 months, or result in death. Around 10 million people were awarded Social Security benefits in 2019, whereas benefits for 870,827 workers were terminated, usually due to receiving income from work. 

It is important to understand and follow the criteria for qualification established by the authorities at SSA to get approved for disability benefits. Speaking of Pennsylvania, 5.5% of PA residents aged 18–64 were disability beneficiaries as of 2019.  

Social Security Disability

What medical conditions qualify for disability? 

Many applicants are confused and look for guidance from a skilled Pennsylvania social security disability attorney to understand the conditions and qualifications for disability benefits. You can always reach out to an expert to get all your doubts cleared up. 

Alternatively, you can also check the Blue Book, which contains a list of impairments. The Social Security Administration examiners use the Blue Book to determine whether eligibility criteria has been met. 

Various medical conditions with detailed requirements have been listed in the Blue Book. The Book is further divided into two parts: 

Part A – Part A is dedicated to adult disability assessments 

Part B – The second part is dedicated to childhood disability assessments 

Both parts are further divided into different disability sections that contain the criteria necessary for each of the listed medical conditions. If your condition matches the listing, there is a better chance of getting directly approved for disability benefits. 

Are all medical conditions listed in the Blue Book? 

Before proceeding with the application process, applicants should note that all medical conditions are not listed in the Blue Book. You can still be approved for benefits even if the medical condition is not listed in the Blue Book. 

In this case, the SSA will consider the severity of your condition and how it limits your abilities to perform various physical tasks. Applicants can consult a skilled Pennsylvania social security disability lawyer for more information and assistance with filling out the application. 

Different types of Social Security Disability Programs – Applicants should be familiar with both programs offered by the Social Security Administration. The eligibility criteria and qualifications differ in both programs. Here, we have provided a brief overview of each program to help you understand and choose the one you may be eligible for. 

  1. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) – This program is available to individuals with a qualifying work history and paid into the Social Security fund through payroll taxes. Under this program, an individual’s work credits will be considered to evaluate eligibility. One should note that only adults over the age of 18 are considered for this program. Children who are disabled will not be considered for SSDI. They would be considered for the other program, SSI. 
  2. Supplemental Security Insurance (SSI) – The other type of program is SSI. SSI does not require work credits and a qualifying work history for eligibility. It will instead consider your income and earning capacity to determine eligibility. If you are beyond the income and asset threshold, your application may be denied, but certain qualifying expenses could reduce your calculated assets. When you have fewer resources and less income, there is a better chance that your application will be approved. You can discuss this with a Pennsylvania disability lawyer to proceed with the claim further. 

Be it SSDI or SSI, you will be required to submit your medical evidence to claim the benefits. Without proper medical evidence, your application may get denied. Lack of medical evidence and an incomplete application form can affect your chances of being approved. You can rely on a Pennsylvania disability lawyer for all the paperwork. 

Therefore, one should consider consulting a reputable lawyer to proceed with the claim. They are well-equipped with knowledge of the process and can handle the details on your behalf. Before commencing the application, they can review your application and help you understand your chances of getting approved. 

What disability benefits are available?

As mentioned, the SSA administers two primary benefit programs known as SSDI and SSI. There are important distinctions between the two. Each has its own eligibility criteria and provides different benefits. General information for each program is provided below:

  • SSDI – This program supports individuals who are disabled and have a qualifying work history, either through their own employment or a family member, such as a spouse or parent.
  • SSI – This program provides minimum basic financial assistance to older adults and disabled people regardless of age who have limited income and resources.

An SSDI eligibility determination is based on disability and work credits earned through a qualifying work history where a portion of payroll taxes are paid into the Social Security fund. An SSI determination is based on age or disability and limited income and resources. In most states, an SSI recipient will automatically qualify for Medicaid, whereas a person with SSDI will qualify for Medicare after 24 months of receiving disability payments, with the exception of people diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) who are eligible for Medicare immediately.

Why is a disability lawyer important?

There are several advantages to hiring a disability lawyer for your disability claim. These include:

  • Improved chances of first-time approval
  • A legal strategy unique to your circumstances
  • In depth knowledge of the SSA’s Blue Book listing of medical conditions and disabling criteria
  • Obtaining relevant documentation from doctors and medical facilities
  • Obtaining a medical opinion that addresses specific medical criteria
  • Preparation and representation at administrative hearings
  • Obtaining testimony from witnesses and other interested parties
  • Work with contacts at SSA to avoid adverse decisions before they are made

Many people do not hire a lawyer until after their first attempt at claiming benefits has been denied. This can delay entitlement to benefits for something as simple as administrative error. Hire a lawyer at the outset to improve your chances of being approved to receive benefits without having to appeal.

What will a SSI lawyer do?

  • Experienced attorneys know how to navigate the process to move your case quickly through the system
  • If you have a terminal or serious disease and are experiencing extreme financial hardship, an attorney may be able to have SSA expedite a decision
  • If you are experiencing homelessness or housing insecurity because of an inability to work, an attorney may be able to provide additional resources
  • An experienced lawyer may already have contacts in SSA that will allow you to cut through the bureaucratic red tape

Applying for benefits can be a long and arduous process, but having a lawyer makes it much more manageable. A Social Security Disability Attorney at 1Lawyer.com can help to ensure that your claim is accurately filed and can represent you throughout the appeal process if you have already been denied. An initial denial can be painful. Contact a disability attorney to improve your chances of obtaining Social Security benefits for your disability.


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