Quakertown, PA Disability Lawyers
Millions of Americans and thousands of Pennsylvanians live with some form of medical disability. According to data collected from 2005-2007, in Bucks County, Pennsylvania:
- 9.6% of the county population (aged 16-64) is disabled.
- Nearly 39,000 people are disabled.
- Men and women are almost equally likely to be disabled.
Disability is not restricted to one age group, gender, race, or socioeconomic background. It can affect anyone — including their ability to earn income and to provide for themselves and their family. For individuals who are unable to work due to a physical or mental disability, financial assistance may be available in the form of SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance), which is offered through the SSA (Social Security Administration).
According to statistics from the SSA and the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation:
- Over 13% of Pennsylvanians are disabled.
- Nearly 426,800 Pennsylvanians aged 18-64 receive SSDI benefits.
- Over 20% of Pennsylvania’s total population receives social security benefits.
- Nearly 93% of Pennsylvania’s population aged 65 and older receives social security benefits.
However, while thousands of Pennsylvanians in Quakertown and Bucks County are able to benefit from the financial aid rendered by SSDI programs, disability claim rejection rates are even higher. Estimates place the national disability rejection average at around approximately 70%, meaning well over half of all Pennsylvanians who apply for SSDI are denied the right to receive any income from an insurance system they have already spent years paying into.
In your time of financial need, you shouldn’t have to shoulder the heavy burden of applying for and obtaining disability insurance on your own. When you are coping with a painful or tiring health condition, it can be all but impossible to focus an aggressive effort on passing the deliberately challenging SSDI application process. But at Young, Marr, Mallis & Associates, our experienced Quakertown, Pennsylvania disability attorneys are here to help.
Over more than 25 years, our expert disability lawyers have obtained millions of dollars in social security benefits for thousands of clients just like yourself. Whether you’re ready to fill out an SSDI application for the first time, or you’ve already been denied by the SSA and are ready to try again, the Quakertown disability lawyers at Young, Marr, Mallis & Associates are fully prepared to represent your case.
Are You Eligible for SSDI Benefits?
It’s a widespread and hurtful misconception that SSDI is a “free hand-out.” SSDI stands for Social Security Disability Insurance, and if you’ve been paying into the safety net, you deserve to claim the full coverage that you may be entitled to. But what makes a candidate eligible?
Social Security Work Credits
First, you must have been employed at a job covered by Social Security. Then, you must have worked for long enough to accumulate enough Social Security work credits to be considered eligible for the SSDI program. According to the SSA:
“Social Security work credits are based on your total yearly wages or self-employment income. You can earn up to four credits each year.”
“Generally, you need 40 credits, 20 of which were earned in the last 10 years ending with the year you become disabled.”
Type of Disability
In addition to the credit requirements, you also have to be disabled in a way that meets the SSA’s standards. Fortunately, the list of conditions which the SSA accepts is diverse and extensive. Some of the conditions which the SSA considers to be a disability include:
- Heart Failure
- Skin Burns
- Organ Transplants
- Hearing Loss
Disability and Work Performance
Even if your condition is covered by the SSA’s Listing of Impairments, you must meet four additional performance requirements to be considered eligible for SSDI benefits. You must be:
- Unemployed or underemployed. If you make more than $1,070 per month, you are not likely to be granted SSDI.
- Severely disabled. Your disability must be severe enough that it interferes with your ability to work. If your condition can be easily managed through medication, for example, you are unlikely to be granted SSDI.
- Unable to complete previous work. If you are able to perform work which you performed in the past, your SSDI claim may be denied.
- Unable to complete other types of work. If you unable to perform previous work, but can perform other work as an alternative source of income, you are unlikely to be approved for SSDI benefits.
If you meet those four performance requirements, have a condition which is included on the SSA’s List of Impairments, and have earned enough Social Security work credits through previous employment, you may be a candidate for SSDI benefits.
The Difference Between SSI and SSDI Benefits
Before they embark on the process, many people don’t necessarily realize that there are a few different types of disability benefits available:
- SSI (Supplemental Security Income)
- SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance)
In some cases, people may even be eligible to receive both concurrently, called “concurrent benefits,” but more typically, applicants will receive one or the other. So what’s the difference?
Essentially, SSI is need-based, while SSDI is a return on payments into the social security system. According to the SSA, an individual must have both a limited income and limited resources in order to be considered an appropriate candidate for SSI assistance. According to the SSA, “resources” include:
- Life insurance
- Savings bonds
To be a candidate for SSDI, on the other hand, an individual “must have paid Social Security taxes to become insured for benefits.”
As the SSA states, “The Social Security Disability Insurance program pays benefits to you and certain family members if you worked long enough and paid Social Security taxes. The Supplemental Security Income program pays benefits to disabled adults and children who have limited income and resources.”
SSDI Disability Application Denials
Millions of Americans apply for financial assistance via the social security system on an annual basis. Social security in the United States is handled by the SSA, or Social Security Administration, which reports that in 2005 alone, nearly 2,700,000 Pennsylvania residents were receiving federal aid. However, while the numbers of successful applications are high, the numbers of rejections are alarming. While the statistics shift by year and region, most estimates pin the grand total of social security denials somewhere between 50% and 70%.
Denials are common — and they’re devastating. If you have lost your ability to work due to age, injury, or illness, the medical, utility, and credit card bills continue to accumulate, regardless of your employment status. If you are falling behind on your payments, it can be a massive emotional and financial strain.
The good news is, while approval is obviously preferable to denial, denial isn’t final, and it isn’t the end of the story. If your disability application has been denied, we can help you continue forward in one of two ways:
- Submit a new application from scratch.
- Appeal the decision and resubmit a revised application.
In terms of saving time and money, appealing is generally a better decision than starting over from the beginning (the exception being in the case of a missed deadline). How do our attorneys assist in the appeals process?
- Careful review. It’s all too easy to make a mistake or omission when it comes to complicated SSA paperwork. We help review your materials to avoid mistakes.
- Medical coordination. A significant part of being approved is the data contained in your medical records and other information provided by your physician. We work with your doctor to make sure all pertinent records are accounted for.
- Legal representation. With its deadlines and requirements, the appeals process can be daunting. We guide our clients through every step of the way.
Our Quakertown Disability Lawyers Can Help
Obtaining SSDI benefits is incredibly challenging. Even with medical records, it can be virtually impossible to demonstrate that you meet program eligibility requirements without the aggressive representation of an experienced Quakertown, Pennsylvania disability lawyer. If you’re considering applying, or if you are thinking about appealing a claim which has already been denied, you need to act fast before crucial deadlines pass.
At Young, Marr, Mallis & Associates, our aggressive Quakertown social security attorneys understand the challenges you’re coping with. We treat all of our clients with compassion, courtesy, and dignity, and we strive to obtain the best possible results for you. Our attorneys have over 25 years of experience, and have represented thousands of clients. To set up a free and confidential legal consultation, call our law offices right away at (609) 755-3115 in New Jersey or (215) 701-6519 in Pennsylvania.