Sometimes, an incident happens that leaves you with an impairment. Whether you’re hurt at work or through another kind of accident, your life shifts. As a result of this, you are unable to work long-term.
If this occurs before retirement, you might qualify for Social Security Disability Benefits. Get experienced attorneys in Carlisle, PA, to represent your case. Contact Marzzacco Niven & Associates today to get the benefits you deserve at (717) 995-8732. Our Carlisle social security disability lawyers are standing by.
How Our Social Security Disability Lawyers Can Help You With Your Claim in Carlisle, PA
A lawyer is highly beneficial for your case when it comes to Social Security benefits. Most social security disability claims are denied initially.
Our Carlisle personal injury attorney will help fight for your disability benefits. They can:
- Walk you through the entire process
- Aid in the application process
- Make sure your record is complete
- Build your case
- Represent you at the hearing
Our attorneys collectively have over 50 years of experience helping clients recover the compensation they deserve after suffering an injury. Give us a call today in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, for a free consultation.
What Are Social Security Disability Benefits?
Social Security Disability Insurance, or SSD/SSDI, is a payroll tax-funded federal insurance program of the United States government. These benefits are for people who have a medically-determinable disability that restricts their ability to be employed before retirement age.
The benefits are for people with a long-term disabilities. This is different from the Social Security benefits you receive when you retire. While both benefits have the same name, they are funded differently, and their qualifications differ.
How Does the Social Security Disability Process Work?
If you apply for Social Security Disability benefits, you will do so through your local Social Security office. There, someone will review your application and the supporting medical evidence. They look at your work history and any questionnaires you filled out. You can also submit letters from family on your behalf. They decide on whether or not you are disabled.
If you are denied benefits at the first stage, you can appeal the decision. Discuss your next steps with your Carlisle social security disability attorney. Once you appeal, you wait for a hearing date. The court will always give you a 75-day notice unless you waive it.
During this waiting period, your attorney continues to build your case. An Administrative Law Judge conducts the hearing. You testify on your behalf with an attorney representing you. Generally, there are expert witnesses as well. The Administrative Law Judge will then determine if you are disabled and eligible for benefits.
Do I Qualify for SSD?
To qualify for Social Security benefits, you must show that you are “totally and permanently” unable to work any job in the national economy. It must be a long-term disability.
You may qualify if:
- Your disability prevents you from working for at least 12 months
- Your condition is listed on the Social Security Administration (SSA) list of qualifying conditions
- If your medical condition isn’t listed, you suffer from a condition that prevents you from performing your past work or other types of work
An important note is that you are considered disabled if you cannot work any job in the national economy. They will look at the full range of job options – from the work you used to do to an unskilled sedentary job.
While you worked, you were taxed and paid into the Social Security Disability system. You built work credits. This becomes relevant if you become disabled before retirement. You must have enough work credits to qualify. The amount of work credits needed is based on your age.
- If you are 31 or older, you must have 20 work credits earned in the ten years before you became disabled
- If you are younger than 24, you can qualify if you have six credits earned in the three years before you became disabled
- If you are between 24 and 31, you can qualify if you can demonstrate that you’ve worked half the time between age 21 and the date you became disabled
If you do not have enough credits, you may be able to get benefits under Supplemental Security Income. This program provides monthly payments to adults and children who are low income. Be sure to speak with an attorney to make sure you qualify before you apply. If you are denied because you do not have enough work credits, you must apply for a different program.
How Much Will I Receive in Benefits?
The amount you get in Social Security Disability benefits depends on how much money you were earning while working. Different salaries pay different amounts in taxes. The more you earned and paid into the system, the more you receive in benefits.
Most SSDI recipients receive between $800 and $1,800 per month. Even though it is a federal program, each state determines the amounts locally. States generally have a cap on how much you can receive in benefits, including Pennsylvania.
In Pennsylvania, $1,800 is the monthly cap. However, if you are receiving other sources of income, your SSD benefits will be reduced. If the other income you are receiving, such as worker’s compensation, is short-term, you receive more in SSD once it is over.
How Do I Apply for Social Security Disability Benefits?
The number of steps you’ll have to go through to receive social security disability benefits will vary depending on whether your initial application is approved. The process will generally look something like this:
- Initial Application
The initial application is a paper/online application to your local Social Security Office. You will have to fill out paperwork that outlines a few things about yourself, such as:
- The highest level of education reached
- Employment history, which includes both the jobs you held and your responsibilities while there
- Disabilities/why you can no longer work
- The last day you worked
- Doctors and treatment history
- How you spend your days now
- What activities of daily living you can do now, such as cooking, cleaning, and laundry
An attorney can help you fill this paperwork out properly. They will collect your medical records to submit to the local office.
You receive a written decision in three to six months. About 60% of cases are denied at the initial level. If you are denied, you can appeal.
- Hearing Level
If you are denied at the initial application, you have sixty days to appeal the decision. A hearing is a request that an Administrative Law Judge reviews. Your attorney will submit medical records and continue to build your case. Keep seeing your doctors and getting treatment. Social Security might call you in to see one of their doctors. During this time, be sure to express how your impairments affect you. You’ll see the SSA doctors usually just once, so be sure to communicate your disability clearly.
It used to take up to two years to see a judge after a hearing request. Since the pandemic, that time has shortened greatly. On the day of your hearing, there will be:
- Your attorney
- The judge
- Court reporter
- Expert witness
There is no jury, and the hearings are recorded.
The two types of expert witnesses that might be called are medical and vocation. Medical experts examine your medical records and assess them with the listed disabilities. Vocational experts are job experts. They testify to your work history. They then get asked hypotheticals with various limitations and respond on whether someone could work.
Your judge and your attorney will question your day-to-day life and how your disability affects it. The expert witnesses will then be questioned. Hearings generally last about an hour. All Social Security offices began virtual hearings once the pandemic came about. Your hearing could be by telephone or video.
This is your chance to tell your story. The judge gives living details to your medical records with your testimony. More cases are approved at the hearing level than at the initial application level.
The judge will not give a decision on the same day. The time it takes to get a decision varies. You can get your decision in as soon as a month, or it could be longer. You will get a written decision in the mail. Your attorney may get the decision electronically faster than you do and deliver the decision. Regardless, Social Security won’t call. You always get the paperwork in the mail.
If you are denied at the hearing level, there are further appeal steps you can take. If there has been a shift in your case, you can apply for benefits again. Discuss the best option with your attorney.
Contact a Carlisle Social Security Disability Lawyer For Help
An experienced Carlisle social security disability lawyer at Marzzacco Niven & Associates can help you fight for everything you deserve. If you are disabled, you deserve benefits. Make sure you have a case built, and that you understand what you have to do. An attorney will represent you and make sure nothing gets missed. Call (717) 923-5187 at our law offices in Carlisle, PA, or fill out the form to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.
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