Social Security Disability benefits are a form of income replacement for people who have lost their ability to work due to an illness or injury. These benefits can be crucial in helping you and your family get back on track and may even help pay for medical bills you cannot afford otherwise.
However, it could be challenging to get what you need if you don’t understand how to apply. Contact our Philadelphia Social Security lawyer today if you need help getting the money you deserve.
At Simon & Simon, PC, our Social Security Disability attorneys have helped thousands of disabled Philadelphia workers obtain maximum compensation under the Social Security benefit system.
Circumstances When You May Be Eligible for Social Security Disability Benefits
If you meet the requirements listed below, you may be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits:
- A long-term disability or mental impairment that prevents you from working
- A catastrophic injury that has left you unable to work
- The death of your spouse or child
- Being over 65 years old
- Having worked in covered employment for 10 or more years
If you meet these prerequisites, you may be eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
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How the SSA Determines Whether You Are Disabled
The Social Security Administration (SSA) uses a five-step process to determine if you are a disabled person. This process looks at your current job skills, work history, and other information, such as your family situation and health problems.
Step 1: Determine If You Are Employed and Your Residual Functional Capacity
The first step involves gathering information about your current job duties, skills, and abilities. The SSA asks you to describe your daily activities, such as lifting, carrying, standing, walking, sitting, pushing, pulling, reaching, handling objects, hearing, speaking, seeing, and using your hands.
The SSA then compares this information against the demands of your past relevant jobs. If there is no match, the SSA looks at your Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) and determines if you can still perform the essential functions of your past jobs.
If you cannot perform these tasks, the SSA moves to Step 2.
Step 2: Compare Your Residual Functional Capability To Past Relevant Work
If you can perform some of your past relevant work, the SSA compares your capabilities to those required by your past jobs.
For example, if you worked as a cashier before being injured, the SSA would compare your ability to lift items weighing up to 10 pounds to the weightlifting requirements of your former job. If you could not perform the same level of work, the SSA would move to Step 3.
Step 3: Consider Your Age, Education, and Experience
Age, education, and experience are important factors in determining whether you are disabled because they help the SSA decide if you have the necessary skills for other types of work.
- Age: If you are younger than 50, the SSA considers your age when deciding.
- Education: If you have less than 12 years of school, the SSA considers the number of years you completed.
- Experience: If you have more than 15 years of work experience, the SSA considers what kind of work you did.
Step 4: Consider Your Health Problems
The SSA considers your medical condition when deciding if you are disabled. It may look at your medical history, medications, and treatment plan.
It may also consider your physical and mental health problems, including depression, anxiety, pain, fatigue, sleep disorders, and other conditions that affect your ability to function.
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Step 5: Decide if You Have a Mental or Physical Condition That Makes You Unable to Do Any of Your Past Relevant Work
The final step requires the SSA to decide if you have a mental disability or medical impairment that makes you unable to do any of your past relevant work.
If you are found to be disabled, the SSA pays benefits based on your earnings record. Conversely, if you are not disabled, the SSA does not pay benefits.
Proving That You Are Disabled
To prove that you are disabled in step 4 above, you need to provide evidence that shows your inability to perform any substantial gain full activity. This includes proof of your impairments and how they affect your ability to function.
- Evidence of Your Impairment: Medical records, including X-rays, MRIs, CAT scans, lab results, and other test results, are all considered when determining whether you are disabled.
- Evidence of Your Functional Limitations: A doctor who has treated or evaluated your abilities will be asked about your symptoms and limitations. They will also ask questions about your daily life and how your illness affects your ability to work. They will consider your statements about your symptoms and limitations and their behavior observations.
Types of Social Security
There are several forms that you may be eligible for, depending on your age, income, and type of disability, including:
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI): This income supplement program provides cash assistance to individuals who cannot earn enough wages by themselves. Adults and children with disabilities and people 65 years old or older can qualify. Individuals with sufficient work experience may be eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) in addition to disability or retirement payments. People receive different amounts depending on their other sources of income and where they live.
- Disability Insurance Benefits (DIB): Also known as Social Security Disability Income (SSDI), these benefits are provided by the Social Security Administration to people with disabilities who meet certain requirements. They pay monthly benefits based on your earnings record. Your spouse or divorced spouse may also be able to receive these benefits. You must be disabled and unable to work to be eligible. The amount of DIB depends on your age, earnings history, and current financial situation.
- Workers Comp and Social Security Disability Income: The Social Security Administration pays benefits to people who cannot work due to a job injury or illness. You must apply within two years after the accident or disease causing your inability to work. If you do not apply within that time frame, you may lose your right to receive benefits.
- Retirement Benefits: Retirement benefits are payable to persons who have worked long enough to retire under the rules established by the Social Security Act. Full retirement age varies according to when you were born; therefore, you need to wait until you reach full retirement age before you can collect benefits.
What if My SSDI Claim Is Denied?
You should contact our office immediately if you believe you were denied Social Security Disability benefits. We will review your initial claims and determine whether there was any error in the SSA’s decision.
If we find no error, we will file a request for reconsideration of your disability claims with the SSA. At this point, we will ask them to reevaluate your claim. If they deny your request for reconsideration, you will have 30 days to appeal the denial.
We will represent you before an administrative law judge (ALJ) if you go through the appeals process. An ALJ will hear your case and make a final determination about your eligibility for benefits.
If you are approved for Social Security Disability benefits, we will handle all aspects of your case, including filing your initial application for benefits, obtaining your medical records, preparing your paperwork, and handling your appeals process.
Our compassionate law firm also provides free consultations to help you understand what is associated with obtaining Social Security disability benefits and signing up for disability programs.
The Benefits of Hiring an Attorney
When applying for Social Security Disability benefits, hiring an attorney who can represent your interests before the SSA is vital; our Philadelphia Social Security Disability lawyers will ensure that you get all the benefits to which you are entitled. We will make sure that you receive the maximum amount of money possible.
The disability application process is straightforward. We will review all documents and medical records related to your claim and determine whether or not you qualify for Social Security Disability benefits.
After we determine, we will file an application on your behalf with the SSA. Once approved, we will begin processing your monthly payments.
If you believe you may be eligible for SSDI benefits, contact us today for a free consultation. Our experienced team can answer any questions about the application steps, the SSDI program, and how it works.
Simon & Simon, Your Social Security Disability Rights Attorney
The Social Security Administration has strict rules governing how it handles claims. To ensure that you get the best possible outcome when applying for Social Security Disability benefits or appealing a previous denial, you need an attorney with decades of experience on your side.
Our skilled team of Social Security Disability lawyers has helped thousands of clients throughout Pennsylvania. To discuss what options you are entitled to after an injury has caused a disability preventing you from working, please contact the law offices of Simon & Simon, PC. You can speak with a Philadelphia personal injury attorney in a free initial consultation.
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