Are you unable to work because of a serious disability? You may be entitled to claim Social Security disability benefits based on your work history. An experienced Harrisburg Social Security disability lawyer at Marzzacco Niven & Associates can help you fight for the fair disability benefits you deserve.
We’ve been representing clients like you since we opened our doors in 2008. We’ve recovered millions of dollars in compensation for our clients.
How Marzzacco Niven & Associates Can Help With Your Social Security Disability Case in Harrisburg
The Social Security Administration denies most applicants’ initial claims for disability benefits. However, that doesn’t mean you don’t qualify for compensation. The process for claiming benefits is complicated–and many first-time applicants make mistakes during the claims process.
Our Harrisburg personal injury attorneys at Marzzacco Niven & Associates have a detailed understanding of the claims process. We’ve helped countless individuals draft mistake-free benefits applications to get the money they deserve. We’ll use our experience and resources to fight for your benefits.
Our legal team can help by:
- Making sure your initial application is correct and complete
- Compiling the medical evidence needed to support your application
- Handling all communications with the Social Security Administration and Bureau of Disability Determination
- Appealing a denied claim and representing you at hearings related to your application
Are you struggling with your Social Security disability claim? Collectively, our Harrisburg personal injury attorneys have over 50 years of experience helping clients with workplace injury and disability claims. Don’t hesitate to reach out for the legal advice you deserve.
We offer a free consultation, so call our law firm in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, today to schedule yours.
Overview of Social Security Disability Laws in Harrisburg
Federal Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits are available to individuals who are unable to work because of a serious long-term disability. If you’re disabled and unable to work, you may be entitled to cash benefits based on your work history.
Like Social Security retirement benefits, SSDI benefits are calculated based on how much you’ve paid into the system during the course of your work history. While Social Security retirement benefits kick in during retirement, SSDI benefits are available to individuals who are younger than age 65.
Your qualifying medical condition can be physical or mental. However, it must prevent you from performing gainful work activities.
Am I Eligible to Receive Social Security Disability Benefits?
SSDI recipients must show that they’re “totally and permanently” unable to work due to a qualifying disability. There are several different factors that are relevant in determining whether you’re eligible for disability benefits.
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
- You earn less than $1,310 per month on average in 2021
If your disability is work-related, you may also be entitled to claim Pennsylvania state workers’ compensation benefits.
What is a Qualifying Disability for Social Security Disability Purposes?
To receive SSDI benefits, you’ll have to prove that you can’t perform your past work. You’ll also have to prove that your disability prevents you from performing any other type of work, considering your education, skills, and age.
There are a number of conditions that will automatically qualify as such a disability. Those impairments are listed on the SSA website.
- Severe respiratory disease, including COPD
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Arthritis, severe back pain, degenerative diseases, and other musculoskeletal disorders
- Certain severe cardiovascular diseases
- Severe forms of cancer
- Blindness and other vision problems
- Severe neurological diseases
- Certain digestive diseases
It’s possible to qualify for SSDI benefits even if your condition isn’t listed. The SSA will consider your circumstances and level of impairment in determining whether you’re eligible for benefits.
How Can Work Credits Impact My Social Security Disability Claim?
A serious disability isn’t sufficient to make you eligible for SSDI benefits. You also have to demonstrate that you have a work history and have paid into the Social Security system over the years.
For SSDI purposes, your work history is measured in terms of “work credits.” In 2021, you’ll earn one work credit for every $1,470 in wages or self-employment income. The dollar amount is adjusted each year. At most, you can earn four work credits each year.
The number of work credits required to qualify for SSDI depends on your age, as follows:
- If you’re age 31 or older, you must have 20 work credits earned in the ten-year period before you became disabled
- If you’re younger than 24, you can qualify if you have six credits earned in the three-year period before you became disabled
- If you’re between ages 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
Our Harrisburg Social Security disability attorneys at Marzzacco Niven & Associates can help you evaluate whether you qualify based on your prior earnings record. Just give us a quick call today to schedule a free case evaluation.
What Types of Benefits Are Available to Social Security Disability Recipients in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania?
Unlike other programs, SSDI doesn’t cover your medical bills. It provides cash benefits to help disabled workers cover their expenses.
However, depending on your circumstances, there are a number of different types of cash benefits that may be available. You may be eligible for:
- Cash wage replacement benefits if you have a qualifying disability
- Disabled adult children (DAC) benefits, which are available if you’re between ages 18 and 22 and your parents are (1) receiving SSDI or SSI benefits or (2) have died
- Benefits for a surviving spouse if the surviving spouse is over age 50 and becomes disabled within seven years of a spouse’s death
If you meet certain income-based requirements, you may also be eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. SSI pays cash benefits to individuals with very low incomes who are disabled, blind, or older than age 65.
What Happens if My Social Security Disability Claim is Denied?
According to the SSA, most SSDI claims are denied. About 20% of SSDI applications are approved without question. That means it’s very likely that your initial application for disability benefits will be denied.
There are many reasons that your claim might be denied, including:
- Your disability is not sufficiently serious
- Your disability isn’t expected to last at least 12 months
- You’re able to perform some type of gainful work
- Your monthly earnings are too high
- Lack of medical evidence
- Failure to cooperate in providing additional information
- You submitted a prior application that was denied
Even if your claim is denied, you have options. Sometimes your claim is denied because the SSA needs more information before it can approve your request. You have the right to request a hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ) to appeal the denial.
At the hearing, the ALJ likely will:
- Request additional medical evidence about your disability
- Explain why your initial application was denied
- Question witnesses who can offer insight into your disability
- Hear expert witness testimony from medical experts and specialists
In the end, the ALJ will approve or deny your appeal in writing. If your appeal is denied and you receive an unfavorable decision from the Judge, you can then file an appeal to the Appeals Council.
If this process seems complex, you aren’t alone. Our lawyers at Marzzacco Niven & Associates are here to help you navigate the complexities of the legal process. If you’re hurt and unable to work, don’t hesitate to reach out for a free case review today.
How Long Do I Have to Take Legal Action if My Social Security Disability Claim Was Denied in Pennsylvania?
It’s important to file your initial claim for SSDI benefits within five years of the date you stopped working. Filing the initial claim preserves your right to claim benefits.
If your initial claim is denied, you have 60 days to file a request for reconsideration. If the request for reconsideration is denied, you’ll again only have 60 days to file a request for a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge.
These deadlines are important. If you miss one, you may lose your right to claim benefits entirely. Our lawyers in Harrisburg can act quickly to protect your legal rights. All you have to do is call to get started.
Contact a Harrisburg Social Security Disability Lawyer for a Free Consultation
You’ve worked hard over the years. By working hard and paying Social Security taxes, you’ve earned the right to disability benefits if you can no longer work. Getting those benefits can be more complicated than you might imagine. An experienced Harrisburg Social Security disability lawyer at Marzzacco Niven & Associates can help you fight for everything you deserve.
To learn more, call our recognized Super Lawyers for a free consultation today.