A disability before retirement age is life-altering. If you’re unable to work due to a debilitating disability, you may be entitled to claim Social Security disability benefits. If you are applying for Social Security disability benefits in Wyomissing, PA, you need an experienced lawyer on your side to guide you through the process.
The Wyomissing Social Security disability lawyers at Marzzacco Niven & Associates have over 120 years of combined experience helping clients throughout Pennsylvania. Our attorneys are fierce advocates for accident victims facing workplace and disability claims.
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How Can Our Wyomissing Social Security Disability Lawyers Help You Get Benefits?
When applying for Social Security disability benefits, having a complete record is important. Any misstep can delay your application and approval.
We can help. Our personal injury lawyers in Wyomissing are familiar with Social Security disability matters and have helped countless clients successfully navigate the process to get the benefits they need.
Our lawyers will advocate for you by:
- Helping you complete your application
- Gathering and submitting all medical records
- Representing you if your case gets to the hearing level
- Keeping you informed at each step of the process
- Setting expectations
- Communicating on your behalf
Let us put our skills and experience to work for you. Give us a call today to get started with a free case evaluation.
What is Social Security Disability?
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSI/SSDI) is a payroll tax-funded insurance program through the U.S. federal government.
Social Security disability benefits differ from retirement benefits. Social Security retirement benefits kick in when you retire at or after the age of 62. If you are disabled before retirement age, SSDI may come into play.
Social Security disability benefits are for those with a “medically-determinable” disability that limits their ability to work. You can’t retire, but you can no longer work. SSDI fills that gap.
How Do I Qualify for Social Security Disability Benefits?
To qualify for Social Security benefits, you must show that you are “totally and permanently” unable to work any job in the national economy. This includes careers you held in the past and any other work available. Your disability must be long-term, meaning it lasts longer than a year.
You may qualify for Social Security benefits if:
- You earn less than the decided amount for Substantial Gainful Activity, which is $1,350 per month on average in 2022
- Your condition is listed as a qualifying condition by the Social Security Administration
- If your condition isn’t listed, you suffer from an impairment(s) that prevents you from performing your past work or other types of work (and are being treated for the impairment)
For SSDI, being disabled is not enough. You must also have enough work credits to qualify for benefits. SSDI is funded through taxes that are taken from paychecks.
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 were 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 don’t have enough credits, you may be able to get benefits under Supplemental Security Income (SSI). The application process for both is the same, with different income qualifications.
SSI is another Social Security benefit that provides monthly payments to low-income individuals.
How Do I Get Approved for Social Security Benefits?
The first step of the application gets reviewed by your local Social Security office. If your application gets denied there, a judge will decide whether or not you are disabled at the hearing level. A favorable decision at any level is approval for the requested benefits.
How Do I Apply for Social Security Disability?
There are multiple steps in the Social Security disability benefits process, which are discussed below.
The initial application goes to your local Social Security Office. You can complete it online or by paper. There are local Social Security offices in most cities and towns across the country. If you are unsure where the closest office is, you can use this field locator for reference.
The application asks questions including but not limited to:
- The highest level of education you reached
- Employment history over the past ten years
- Disabilities/impairments/why you can no longer work
- The last day you worked
- The date you were last insured
- Doctors and treatment history
- Your activities of daily living/how you spend your day
The purpose of this is to determine if you can do any kind of job in the national market, including unskilled, sedentary positions.
After you send in your application, the Social Security office and your attorney will gather medical evidence. Your attorney will submit the records on your behalf, or you can submit them. Social Security has applicants come in to get examined by their doctors as well.
The Social Security office will send a written decision to you in three to six months. The decision is always written and mailed. About 60% of cases get denied at the initial level.
A denial does not mean the end of the road. You can appeal the denial and continue the fight as your attorney keeps building your case. During this time, be sure to stay in treatment.
If your initial application gets denied, you have sixty days to appeal the decision. An appeal is a request for the judge to review the denial. Judges at the hearing level are Administrative Law Judges.
The amount of time between requesting a hearing and seeing the judge varies. Before the pandemic, it could be as long as two years. Now, with more virtual hearings, you may see a judge as soon as a few months. They will give you a 75-day notice before your hearing date.
On the day of your hearing, those present are:
- Your attorney
- The judge
- Court reporter
- Possible expert witnesses
Your attorney and the judge will question you and have you testify about your disability, work history, and day-to-day life.
Whether the hearing is in person, via video, or over the phone, it is your chance to tell your story. Medical records can only go so far and cannot illustrate how your disability affects your life the way testimony can. For this reason, a higher percentage of cases get approved at the hearing level than at the initial application level.
Similar to the initial application, you will receive a written decision in the mail. Social Security will always contact you by mail.
If you get denied at the hearing level, you can take further steps and appeal the unfavorable decision. Discuss these options with your attorney. You can also begin the application again if you have additional impairments since the process started or stronger medical evidence.
How Much Will I Get Paid Monthly?
As a payroll-taxed program, the amount you get in Social Security disability benefits depends on how much money you earned while you were working. Most SSDI recipients receive between $800 and $1,800 per month. In Pennsylvania, $1,800 is the highest amount you can receive monthly, regardless of how much you made when you were employed.
When it comes to payments, Social Security considers any other income you might have, such as worker’s compensation. In this case, your SSDI benefits will be reduced until that income ceases.
Contact Our Wyomissing Social Security Disability Lawyers for a Free Consultation
Being unable to work is difficult enough. You deserve benefits. Our experienced Social Security disability attorneys at Marzzacco Niven & Associates can help. We service clients in Wyomissing and surrounding areas and have recovered millions of dollars in compensation on their behalf.
The process of getting benefits can be tough and time-consuming. Let our firm help. Call our law offices in Wyomissing, PA, or fill out a form to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.
Areas We Serve in Berks County, PA
Wyomissing Hills, Colony Park, Whitfield, Springmont, West Lawn, West Wyomissing, Lincoln Park, Shillington, Kenhorst, Alvernia University, Grill, Reading, Greenfields, Greenfield Manor, Spring Ridge, and all sounding areas of Wyomissing.
Our Team Of Social Security Lawyers At Marzzacco Niven & Associates Can Help In Any City In Pennsylvania
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