Social Security provides an important lifeline for workers in Harrisburg, PA, and across the country who suffer a disease or injury that prevents them from working. If you have paid into the Social Security system recently, you are probably eligible for disability benefits when you cannot work. Contact Marzzacco Niven & Associates to schedule a free initial consultation, call us today at (717) 231-1640.
But the process of applying for Social Security disability benefits can get complicated. You must meet the Social Security Administration’s (SSA’s) eligibility requirements and document your claim.
How Marzzacco Niven & Associates Can Help With Your Social Security Disability Claim in Pennsylvania
Marzzacco Niven & Associates is one of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania’s few full-service injury and disability law firms. The firm’s Harrisburg Social Security disability attorneys have over 120 years of combined legal experience, including 40 years of experience handling Social Security claims.
The firm’s lawyers have earned many honors and recognitions, including:
- Recognized as Super Lawyers since 2017
- Listed among the “Best Lawyers in America” by U.S. News and World Report
- Inducted into the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum honor society
When you hire the firm, you’ll have legal assistance in the form of:
- A detailed investigation into the circumstances and facts regarding your claim
- Taking care of all the paperwork and processes related to your Social Security disability claim
- Helping you understand your legal options and rights at all stages
Regardless of how you were disabled, your work history probably entitles you to Social Security disability benefits. Contact Marzzacco Niven & Associates for a free consultation to discuss your Social Security claim.
How Common Are Social Security Disability Claims?
Overall, 9.9 million Americans received Social Security disability benefits in a recent year. The SSA also approved about one million new claims for Social Security disability benefits that year. This number included about 680,000 disabled workers and 335,000 dependents of disabled workers. The average benefit for new claims was $1,424 per month.
According to the SSA, over the ten-year period between 2011 and 2020, the average claim denial rate was 67%. About 20% of claims get accepted on the initial application, and about 10% get accepted after reconsideration or appeal.
Overview of How To Apply for Social Security Disability in Pennsylvania
Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) is a federal program intended to help workers with long-term disabilities or terminal illnesses. The application for disability benefits is the same for every state.
SSDI is different from both Social Security retirement benefits and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). SSDI protects workers who have paid into the Social Security system through their taxes. Both employed and self-employed workers contribute to the program. As a result, both types of workers can become eligible for disability benefits.
Importantly, SSDI does not require:
- Low income
- Proof of fault
- Work-related injury or disease
This means you can apply for disability benefits regardless of how much you earned before your injury or disease. It also means a personal injury settlement or damage award will not affect your eligibility for Social Security disability benefits.
It also means that, unlike workers’ compensation, you do not need to prove your disability occurred in the course and scope of your job. For example, if your disability happened due to a fall while hiking, you can still apply.
To apply for Social Security disability benefits, you must file an application with the SSA. The application will provide your personal information, a list of your medical conditions, and your work history. The SSA uses this application to screen you for eligibility.
If you appear eligible for disability benefits, the SSA will request your medical records from your doctors. The SSA reviews your medical records to determine how your disability impacts your ability to maintain substantially gainful employment.
Based on this review, the SSA will either accept or deny your claim. You can request reconsideration of the SSA’s actions, or you can appeal the decision.
In evaluating your claim, the SSA looks at two sets of legal requirements:
Work Requirements for Disability Benefits
The SSA needs to make sure you pay into the system. To do this, the SSA must look at several aspects of your work history, including:
- Whether your job required you to pay Social Security taxes
- How much you paid in Social Security taxes
- How recently and frequently you work an eligible job
If you had an eligible job, the SSA gives you between one and four credits per year based on how much you earned. To receive disability benefits, you must have at least 40 total credits, with at least 20 of those credits earned within the ten years before your application.
So if you earned more than about $6,000 per year, you would receive four credits per year. You would need to have worked for at least ten years over your lifetime and for at least five of the ten years before you applied for disability benefits.
Disability Requirements for Benefits
To receive benefits, you must be disabled. Disability means your injury or disease:
- Prevents you from working your job
- Prevents you from training for an alternate job
- Will last at least one year or cause your death
Your medical records will prove the extent of your disability. The SSA might also ask you to complete a residual functional capacity exam to prove you cannot work or train.
Schedule a Free Consultation With Our Harrisburg Social Security Disability Lawyers
Applying for Social Security disability benefits can get complicated as you document your injuries and work abilities. To learn how a Harrisburg Social Security disability lawyer can help you get your application approved, contact Marzzacco Niven & Associates for a free consultation.