Are you unable to work because of a serious injury or illness in Lebanon, PA? You might be entitled to Social Security disability benefits to help cover your expenses after sustaining a permanent disability. An experienced Lebanon Social Security disability lawyer at Marzzacco Niven & Associates can help you through the complicated SSDI claims process.
Collectively, our lawyers have over 120 years of experience helping injured clients like you recover the money they deserve. We’ve successfully recovered tens of millions of dollars since we opened our doors.
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How Marzzacco Niven & Associates Can Help With a Social Security Disability Claim in Lebanon, PA
You’ve worked hard and paid into the system over the years. You deserve to expect the government to provide the fair benefits you deserve if you become disabled and can’t work. Unfortunately, the SSDI system can be extremely complex – and most initial Social Security Disability (SSD) claims are denied.
Hiring an experienced personal injury lawyer in Lebanon can improve your chances of receiving fair SSDI benefits.
When you hire Marzzacco Niven & Associates, you can trust our experienced lawyers to:
- Gather the medical evidence to support your SSDI application
- Complete all relevant paperwork and prepare your application
- Handle all communications with the Social Security Administration
- Help you through the SSDI appeals process if your claim was denied
Over the years, our attorneys have been recognized by lawyer rating services such as Super Lawyers’ Rising Stars and the Best Lawyers of America. Our experienced attorneys have been representing clients in complex personal injury, employment, and workers’ compensation cases for over 120 years.
To learn more about our practice areas, call our office location in Lebanon to schedule a free consultation today.
Overview of the Social Security Disability Laws in Pennsylvania
The Social Security Administration (SSA) administers two primary types of programs for disabled individuals: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
You may qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits if you:
- Suffer from a long-term disability
- Have a prior work history
- Have paid Social Security taxes into the system
Supplemental Security Income (SSI), on the other hand, is a needs-based program that pays benefits to low-income people with disabilities.
Unlike workers’ compensation, you only qualify for these benefits if you suffer from a long-term disability. In other words, the SSA doesn’t have to provide benefits for short-term or partial disabilities.
Do you have questions about your legal rights under federal SSDI laws? Call our law offices in Lebanon to schedule a free case review to learn more today.
What Types of Benefits Are Available to Social Security Disability Recipients in Lebanon, PA?
There are three primary categories of benefits that are available to disabled workers who qualify for SSDI benefits:
- Modest cash benefits for the disabled worker
- Survivors’ benefits if the disabled worker is over the age of 50 and develops a disability during the seven-year period following a qualifying spouse’s death
- Benefits for disabled adult children who are between the ages of 18 and 22, if their parents are deceased or are also receiving SSDI or SSI benefits
SSDI benefits are extremely limited. That makes it all the more important to get every dollar you’re entitled to receive. To learn more about how our Lebanon Social Security disability attorneys can help you maximize your benefit amount, just call for a free case evaluation today.
Am I Eligible for Social Security Disability Benefits in Lebanon, PA?
SSDI only covers workers who are totally and permanently disabled. If you’re expected to recover from your injury within one year, you generally won’t qualify for benefits.
On the other hand, if you’re under the age of 65, have worked, and have paid Social Security taxes, you’ll qualify if you have sustained a permanent disability that leaves you unable to work and earn a living.
To qualify for benefits, you’ll have to establish:
- You suffer from a psychiatric, cognitive, or medical impairment that prevents you from performing substantial gainful activities (SGA)
- You’ve earned enough work credits to qualify for SSDI benefits
- Your disability keeps you from working for at least 12 months
- Your condition keeps you from performing your previous work and/or other types of work
- You earn less than $1,310 per month on average in 2021
You won’t qualify for SSDI if you can continue to work and earn sufficient income. In 2022, you’re disqualified from claiming SSDI if your monthly income exceeds $1,350. Blind individuals will qualify for SSDI benefits if their monthly income is less than $2,260.
In other words, if you can earn income that exceeds these thresholds, the SSA will assume that you aren’t disabled for purposes of SSDI.
You must also have enough work credits based on your work history to qualify for benefits:
- You must have 20 work credits for the ten years before you became disabled if you are 31 or older
- You can qualify if you have six credits for the three years before you became disabled if you are younger than 24
- If you can demonstrate that you’ve worked half the time between age 21 and the date you became disabled, you can qualify between ages 24 and 31.
Not everyone who makes a disability claim will qualify for SSDI. If you aren’t approved for SSD, you may be able to get Supplemental Security Income (SSI), which provides monthly payments to low-income adults and children.
How Much Funding Will I Receive?
The amount of your Social Security Disability benefits will depend on how much money you earned in your time working before the disability. You will probably not make that same amount, however.
Most SSDI recipients will receive between $800.00 and $1,800.00 per month. The latter amount is the most you can get in Pennsylvania. Your other sources of income or benefits, if any, will also affect the amount you receive.
Contact a Lebanon personal injury lawyer to determine how much SSDI pay you can receive. We’re standing by to discuss your case.
What Qualifies as a Disability Under the Federal SSDI Rules?
To receive SSDI benefits, you have to prove that you suffer from a severe injury or impairment that is expected to be long-term. Short-term disabilities don’t qualify.
Under the SSDI rules, you are considered to be totally and permanently disabled if:
- A medical condition prevents you from performing your typical work activities
- That medical condition prevents you from performing any other type of work activity
- The medical condition has lasted, or is expected to last, for at least one year or is expected to result in death
The Social Security Administration (SSA) provides a list of disabilities that automatically qualify, including:
- Serious traumatic brain injuries
- Certain severe neurological disorders
- Cardiovascular disease, including heart failure and coronary artery disease
- Certain types of serious cancers
- Blindness and other serious vision problems
- Immune system disorders
- Arthritis, degenerative disc disease, and serious musculoskeletal disorders
- Chronic pain
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Certain severe respiratory illnesses, including COPD
- Serious digestive system disorders, such as gastrointestinal hemorrhage, inflammatory bowel disease, hepatic dysfunction of the liver, short bowel syndrome, malnutrition, etc.
Your medical condition doesn’t have to be listed to qualify for benefits. If you suffer from an injury or illness that isn’t listed, the SSA will evaluate the specific facts and circumstances of your case to determine whether you qualify.
Factors that the SSA will consider include:
- Your age and life expectancy
- Your prior work history and education
- Any other skills that could allow you to work in a different industry
- The severity and impact of your specific medical condition
It’s important to have an experienced lawyer by your side during the evaluation process. Call our lawyers for a free case evaluation today to learn more about how Marzzacco Niven & Associates can help.
How Do Work Credits Impact My SSDI Eligibility?
Even if your medical condition is sufficiently severe, you won’t qualify for SSDI unless you’ve earned sufficient work credits.
In 2022, you earn one work credit for every $1,510 that you earn in wages or self-employment income each quarter. You can only earn one work credit every quarter – or a maximum of four credits per year. However, the dollar amount needed to qualify changes every year.
In most cases, the following qualification rules apply:
- You must have earned at least 40 work credits
- You must have earned 20 of your work credits in the ten years prior to sustaining your disability
It’s also possible that you can qualify based on fewer work credits if you become disabled at a young age. For example, you can qualify for SSDI with only six work credits if you were disabled prior to age 24 and you earned your work credits in the three years prior to the disability.
What If My Social Security Disability Application Was Denied?
Don’t panic if your Social Security disability application is denied. The SSA only approves somewhere between 20-25% of initial SSDI applications, according to recent statistics. If your claim is denied, you’ll be required to file an appeal. Unfortunately, many claims are denied, even on appeal.
The SSA can deny your application for many different reasons. They might claim that:
- You can perform some type of work activity to earn a living
- Your earnings are higher than the monthly limit
- You don’t suffer from a long-term or severe disability
- Your application lacks the medical evidence to support your claim
- You filed a prior SSDI claim that was denied
Although some denials are legitimate, it’s also possible that the SSA made a mistake. On the other hand, you could have made a simple mistake in your paperwork or failed to provide some key piece of evidence. Regardless of the circumstances, our attorneys in Lebanon can help you appeal an initial denial.
What are the Stages of the Disability Appeals Process in Pennsylvania?
If the Social Security Administration denies your claim for disability benefits, you can likely appeal the initial determination or decision.
The appeals process will take the following form:
- Reconsideration. You will submit your request for reconsideration of the SSA’s initial determination.
- Hearing. If the SSA still denies your claim after reconsideration, you can request a hearing on the reconsideration determination. The judge will hear the evidence and ask questions of witnesses concerning your claim. They will then render a decision on your claim.
- Appeals Council. If you disagree with the judge’s decision, you may request an appeal to an Appeals Council. The Appeals Council will grant, deny, or dismiss your request for review. If they accept your appeal, they will then issue a decision on your claim.
- Federal Court. If you disagree with the Appeals Council’s decision, you may file a civil action in the U.S. District Court for your region.
As you can see, the appeals process is complicated. You likely will need an attorney to help you start your appeal and present your claim in a favorable and compelling way. Contact Marzzacco Niven & Associates to schedule a free consultation to discuss how we can help you win your appeal.
How Long Do I Have To File an Appeal if My Social Security Disability Application Was Denied in Pennsylvania?
If your claim was denied, you only have 60 days to request a hearing and appeal the decision. Otherwise, you could lose your right to benefits entirely.
However, it may be possible to request an extension if you can prove that you had a good reason for missing the deadline.
Contact a Lebanon Social Security Disability Lawyer for a Free Consultation
If you have sustained an injury in Pennsylvania, reach out to Marzzaco Niven & Associates for a free consultation. Our social security disability attorneys will fight tirelessly to recover compensation for you. They can help you pursue your claim and recover all your damages. Our skilled lawyers have the knowledge and experience to recover financial compensation after your accident.
At Marzzacco Niven & Associates, our lawyers have been serving Lebanon for decades. You can schedule a free consultation with an experienced Lebanon Social Security disability lawyer by calling our offices today.
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