NE Philadelphia Disability (SSDI) Benefits Lawyer
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefit applications have a high rate of denials. Unfortunately, these applications are typically denied due to mistakes in the determinations concerning the disability and extent of physical limitations. While it can take a lot of effort and time to apply for SSDI benefits, your chances of receiving these benefits often hinge upon whether your supporting documentation meets the criteria as prescribed by statutes. With knowledgeable attorneys on your side, you can file a successful application and fight forcefully if denied.
If you or someone you love needs a Northeastern Philadelphia SSDI lawyer, contact the law offices of Young, Marr & Associates. The team of attorneys of Young, Marr, and Associates comprises skilled and accomplished SSDI lawyers servicing residents of Northeast Philadelphia. Our disability attorneys know the internal workings of the Social Security Administration, having worked there before joining our practice. We are known for effectively fighting for SSDI benefits with an 80% rate of success. Call to schedule a free and private consultation today at (215) 515-2954.
What Exactly Is SSDI?
SSDI is a program for people who have worked and paid Social Security taxes for an extended time frame. If you have never worked or have not worked for long enough to qualify for SSDI, you would need to apply for the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program instead.
The definition of a disability for the purposes of the SSDI program is a medically determinable condition that has lasted or is expected to last for 12 months or result in death, and which prevents the applicant from engaging in substantial gainful activity.
SSDI is paid out in monthly installments. In 2020, the average benefit paid out per month under SSDI is $1,258. This number will vary depending on the severity of your condition and the amount of time you worked and paid into Social Security before becoming disabled. Furthermore, if you have dependents such as a spouse or children, they may be eligible to receive additional auxiliary benefits. Individual auxiliary benefits cannot exceed 50% of your own benefits, and total auxiliary benefits cannot exceed 180% of your own benefits.
The maximum individual monthly installment a person can be eligible to receive under disability benefits is $3,011.
What Conditions Qualify for SSDI in Northeast Philadelphia
A condition or impairment must be considered severe by the Social Security Administration (SSA) for it to qualify a person for SSDI benefits. Some of the conditions that qualify as severe include the following:
- Back injuries
- Heart conditions
- Neurological disorders like MS or Parkinson’s disease
- Immune system disorders such as lupus and HIV/AIDS
- Digestive system disorders like liver disease or IBS
- Kidney disease
- Sensory and speech issues like vision or hearing loss
- Mental disorders like schizophrenia
Many other conditions, or combinations of conditions, can qualify as a severe impairment for the purposes of SSDI. It is best to consult with a trained Northeast Philadelphia disability (SSDI) benefits lawyer like those at Young Marr & Associates to figure out if your condition(s) may qualify.
SSA Requirements for Qualifying for Disability
Federal Social Security statutes and regulations aim to provide standardized methods of decision making by instituting medical and occupational deadlines. These guidelines are considered legal requirements:
Legal Definition of Disability
You can be permanently or temporarily disabled. However, your symptoms have to be consistent with the applicable legal standard. There are legal provisions under Title II of the Social Security Act regarding the legal requirements for someone to be legally disabled. Some of these requirements include:
- Having a medical condition that prevents you from working.
- Having symptoms that render you unable to do any job you are qualified to perform.
The legal question concerning your disability will focus on whether there are transferrable skills from your previous profession — that is, skills from your previous training more suitable for duties consistent with your medical condition. Your attorney can give you more individualized information regarding your medical condition’s eligibility for SSDI benefits. While not all medical conditions are recognized, there are ways any condition can meet the legal requirements under SSD’s guidelines regarding symptoms qualifying for a disability.
Legal Definition of Substantial Gainful Activity
In essence, you cannot be employed to qualify for SSD benefits. As of 2019, if your earnings from working exceed $1,220 per month, your application for SSDI benefits are typically denied by your employment income.
The Process for Applying for SSDI in Northeast Philadelphia
A successful SSDI application typically contains information that will give officials at the Bureau of Disability Determinations (BDD) sufficient information for a finding that you have a disability and that you are not engaged in a substantial gainful activity. Even if your application appears complete, you can expect it to be denied, as is the case for most initial SSDI applications. However, as explained below, there are multiple levels of review you’ll need to go through.
The first stage of the process is submitting the initial application to the SSA. Along with this application, you will be required to submit medical documentation and evidence that supports your claim. At this initial stage, only 30% of applications are approved. You can improve your chances of being approved by consulting with an experienced attorney like those at Young Marr & Associates who know what the SSA is looking for in terms of medical evidence and other supporting documentation. The review process for the initial application typically takes between 3-6 months.
The major stage of appeal where an attorney can help get the SSA to reconsider an initial rejection occurs at a hearing before an administrative law judge. The hearing will involve the presentation of evidence of your impairment as well as testimony from vocational specialists who will give their opinion as to whether or not your impairment prevents you from working.
The documentation required in your application should substantiate your condition and its impact on your ability to work. In addition to the medical records you provide, the SSA may access health care records with your authorization. Your attorney can give you a better understanding of what this means in terms of your privacy rights.
You should expect the SSA to request documents from your regular physician. Your application may be denied if you provide insufficient medical documentation. If your doctor’s documents are unclear concerning your symptoms, it’s possible SSA physicians will examine you before drawing a conclusion. With an experienced disability lawyer at your side, you can approach this process with some preparation as to what should be expected.
If your initial application is denied, you can appeal the decision. The appeals process has multiple stages and can be extremely complex. Again, it is extremely beneficial to have the assistance of experienced legal counsel who understand how this process works. Appeals are rejected at an even higher rate than the initial applications, so it is best to have all your ducks in a row from the start.
In addition, when you apply, you’ll be required to provide detailed information about:
- Your current earnings (and source of income)
- Your assets
- Your household income
- Your bank statements
- Other benefits you may be receiving
- Information regarding your work history, including jobs from the past 15 years
- Your citizenship status
An attorney can give you more detailed information as to what types of information you will need to provide in your application.
SSDI Review Process
Unfortunately, the SSDI process is known for a high rate of denials at the initial stage. Upon denial of your SSDI application, there are various stages of appellate review within the SSA system preceding submission to a federal court. These stages include:
You can request a reconsideration from the PDD officials. This means there will be a review of your application by a different disability claims examiner.
If your claim is denied, the next step is filing an appeal before an administrative law judge (ALJ). The ALJ is considered part of the SSA, but the judges are attorneys who are supposed to issue impartial rulings regarding the review of your claim at the PDD. The ALJ should look at whether the claims examiner had a substantial basis or evidence for the decision.
Social Security Administration Appeals Board
Whenever you file an appeal with the Social Security Administration, your next stop could be with the SSA Appeals Council. The Appeals Council is not required to review your case. Sometimes, you can provide new evidence at this stage. A qualified attorney can help you understand what you can do at this stage in order to strengthen your application. If this appeal is denied, you should proceed to federal court.
Federal Court Appeal
At the federal court appeal level, the basis of the review will be around whether your record has substantial evidence substantiating the previous findings.
Reasons SSDI Applications are Rejected in Northeast Philadelphia
There are a variety of reasons, both technical and medical, that may result in the denial of an SSDI application. Some of the most common include the following:
- You are engaged in substantial gainful activity. If you are making an income of more than $1,260 from any other sources in 2020, you will be considered by the SSA to be engaged in substantial gainful activity.
- Your disability will not last at least 12 months or result in death
- While your disability may prevent you from working at your current job, there are other jobs at which you could work
- You fail to submit the proper medical documentation supporting your impairment
- You fail to comply with a physician’s orders for treatment of your condition
- You made a technical error of some sort on your application
- Your condition is not considered “severe” by the SSA
Call Our Seasoned Disability Attorneys in Northeast Philadelphia Today for a Free Consultation
The process of applying for SSDI in Northeast Philadelphia can be extremely frustrating. It involves a lot of technicalities and attention to detail. As a person already suffering through a debilitating medical impairment, the last thing you want to do is spend your time fighting with the bureaucracy about whether or not your condition truly prevents you from working.
At Young Marr & Associates, our Northeast Philadelphia disability (SSDI) benefits lawyers have decades of experience navigating the SSA’s complex application process and ensuring that our clients receive the benefits to which they are entitled. Because the process is lengthy and many applications are initially denied for mistakes that could be prevented by consulting with someone who knows the system, it is best to get in contact with one of our attorneys as early in your application process as possible. If you or a loved one is suffering from a condition or impairment preventing you from obtaining gainful employment, call our office today at (215) 515-2954 for a free consultation.