Jenkintown, PA Disability (SSDI) Lawyer
We rely on our jobs to help us earn income and provide a good quality of life for ourselves and our loved ones. When a disability interferes with the ability to work, however, that financial stability can be weakened. Unfortunately, whether an individual is earning income or not, the costs of living continue to accumulate: medical bills, utility bills, and other expenses do not cease because an individual is unable to work.
If you have been prevented from earning a steady income due to a mental or physical disability, living expenses can rapidly become unmanageable. Monthly benefits can help to cover these expenses, and to offer individuals a renewed sense of financial confidence. For individuals living with severe medical conditions, the Social Security Administration (SSA) offers two forms of financial assistance: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), also known as disability benefits, and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Could you qualify for either?
At the law offices of Young, Marr, Mallis & Associates, our Jenkintown, Pennsylvania disability attorneys have more than 25 years of experience representing thousands of clients with a wide range of medical and employment backgrounds. To set up a free and completely confidential legal consultation, call Young, Marr, Mallis & Associates today at (215) 544-3347, or contact us online.
The Differences Between SSDI and SSI
SSDI and SSI are very different programs but share one trait in common: they are both notoriously difficult for claimants to be approved for. On average, over two-thirds of all social security applicants have their claims denied by the SSA on the first submission round, and for additional claims, the rejection statistics are even higher.
Successfully filing a claim for disability benefits in Pennsylvania is a challenge. When you are coping with a painful or tiring medical condition, fighting a complicated and stringent application system can become even more of a battle. Fortunately, you don’t have to contend with the SSA on your own. Our firm is here to help you understand the difference between SSDI and SSI.
SSDI Benefits Program
To qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance, an individual must pay into the Social Security program to become an insured worker. These payments come in the form of Social Security taxes that are typically automatically deducted from a worker’s paycheck. If these taxes are not taken from a worker’s paycheck or the worker is self-employed, they are responsible for paying taxes into the program.
Making payments into the Social Security program will allow a person to earn credits that will be used to qualify for disability benefits. It is also required that an applicant have a sufficient work history before they can be eligible for benefits. For example, if you only worked for six months before you became disabled and could no longer continue working, this may not be enough time paying Social Security taxes to ensure eligibility for disability benefits.
In addition to paying Social Security taxes, an applicant for benefits must have a disability that is expected to cause death or that will at least affect the applicant for a continuous period of at least 12 months.
SSI Benefits Program
The Supplemental Security Income program gives disabled persons monthly cash payments to help manage their disability. Unlike the SSDI program, an applicant does not have to pay Social Security taxes for a certain amount of time in order to qualify for SSI payments.
To be eligible for SSI benefits, a person must be either blind, aged 65 or older, or disabled; must have limited income; and must have limited resources. All three of these conditions must be met. There are some exceptions when it comes to calculating the income and assets of an applicant. For example, the SSA cannot include the residence where an applicant lives when calculating their income to determine eligibility for benefits. Other income or assets that may be considered include:
- Bank accounts
- Real estate
- Life insurance
- Stocks and bonds
It is also important to note that the SSA has a “Listing of Impairments” that is utilized to determine whether a person is eligible for disability benefits. The following are conditions that are listed by the SSA:
- Burn injuries
- Cerebral Palsy
- Chronic kidney disease
- Hearing loss
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease
- Spinal disorders
- Vision loss
This is not an exhaustive list. If you do not see your disability on this list of impairments, you do not need to panic. If you have a condition that is similar to a condition listed by the SSA, you still may be able to receive disability benefits.
Additionally, once initial requirements for a disability claim are met, the SSA will enact a 5-step analysis of your claim. The questions asked by the SSA are:
- Whether you can participate in “substantial gainful activity” (meaningful work or hobbies) that a disabled person would not be able to handle
- The severity of your impairment and how it affects your personal and professional life
- Whether your disability is listed as a condition by the SSA or is highly similar to a condition acknowledged by the SSA
- Can you perform the type of work that you could prior to your disability
- Can you engage in other meaningful types of work
These are just some of the preliminary issues that an applicant for disability benefits may face. Our attorneys are available to guide you through the complete process of applying for SSDI or SSI. We could help you gather information for your claim and help you manage an appeal if your initial claim for benefits was denied.
Our Jenkintown Disability Benefits Attorney Can Help
As the rules and statistics demonstrate, being approved for benefits can be a daunting task. If you or a loved one is considering applying for disability, or if you need assistance submitting a claim or appealing for reconsideration, Young, Marr, Mallis & Associates can help.
To arrange for a no-cost, confidential consultation with one of our Jenkintown, Pennsylvania disability lawyers, call our law offices today at (215) 544-3347 or contact us online.