How to Get Social Security Payments for a Disability in Pennsylvania?
Applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits in Pennsylvania is a frustrating process. On average, six out of every ten initial applications are denied. On appeal, approximately 14% of cases that were under reconsideration are approved. Finally, applicants who brought their claim before an administrative law judge succeeded 48% of the time. There are steps you could take to increase your odds of receiving disability payments. One is hiring our experienced Philadelphia disability lawyers.
The steps you take when applying for Social Security benefits could impact your ability to get the monthly payments you need. For example, you want to ensure you complete every form accurately, meet every deadline, and gather enough medical evidence to help the Social Security Administration (SSA) render a decision in your favor.
Young, Marr & Associates has been helping people navigate the complicated application process for decades. Our team of dedicated attorneys and staff are available to help you as well. In the following article, we review some of the things that you can do that will increase your chances of being approved for benefits. To discuss the Social Security benefits process in more detail, contact our law offices at (215) 515-2954.
Steps to Increase Your Chances of Obtaining Social Security Disability Payments in Pennsylvania
The Social Security benefits application process is complicated. It places many hurdles in front of someone who desperately needs financial assistance. Because of the SSA’s strict criteria, more than half of all initial applications are denied. To increase your chances of receiving an approval you should have our experienced Pennsylvania disability lawyers advocating for you. Additionally, there are specific steps you could take that will help your cause.
You Need A Diagnosis and Medical Evidence
Knowing you have a medical condition or impairment is not enough to qualify for benefits. Your doctor must confirm that your condition is serious and is expected to last beyond the required twelve months or end in your death.
Additional Reading: Calculating Your Social Security Disability Benefits
Insufficient medical evidence is one of the primary reasons the SSA denies disability benefits. While a diagnosis is necessary, you need to provide more medical documentation. Your medical condition must meet the listed requirements in the SSA’s “Blue Book,” or list of qualifying impairments. Your doctor should provide additional documentation, including a detailed description of how your condition adversely impacts your ability to perform regular tasks such as standing, sitting, walking, or lifting.
Continue Medical Treatment
As stated above, medical evidence is vital when applying for disability benefits. One way to gather the necessary evidence is to continue medical treatment through the application process. The SSA’s decision depends on whether your impairment will improve or not. If you are not taking steps to improve your medical condition, the SSA could decide that your situation would improve with proper treatment.
Do Not Apply for Social Security Disability Benefits While Working
Social Security Disability benefits are intended for individuals who are unable to work due to an impairment or medical condition. Part of the approval process is proving that you cannot work. If you are working at the time you file your application, the SSA will deny your claim.
Additionally, to qualify for disability benefits, your condition must be expected to last at least twelve months or result in your death. This does not mean you must be out of work for a year before applying. However, unless your impairment is extremely severe, it is usually advisable to wait at least four or five months before submitting your application.
Do Not Apply if Have Been Placed On Restricted or Limited Duties
As stated above, disability benefits are for people who cannot work. Under the “Americans with Disability Act” (ADA), employers must make reasonable accommodations for their employees with disabilities or medical impairments. If you are still capable of working, even in a limited or restricted capacity, your benefits application will be denied.
Do Not Apply if Your Are Engaging in Substantial Gainful Activity
Your medical condition could prohibit you from working at your job, even in a limited capacity. However, if you are still capable of earning a living, or engaging in substantial gainful activity (SGA), the SSA will deny your claim. For 2021, the monthly SGA amount is $1,310 or $2,190 for blind claimants. Therefore, if your earnings equal or exceed this amount, your claim will be denied.
SGA refers to earned income, or income that is derived from employment or self-employment. Unearned income is not included in the SSA’s calculation. Therefore, child support, alimony, or even an inheritance will not impact your benefits claim.
Your Work History is Important
SSDI is for individuals who have worked and paid into the Social Security system through their FICA withholdings. To qualify for benefits, you must not only have a qualifying medical condition, but you must also have earned enough work credits. Depending on your age, you will need twenty to forty work credits. Because you can only earn four credits each year, you will have to work five to ten years to earn the appropriate number of credits. If you were a seasonal worker or independent contractor, you might not have earned a sufficient number of credits. Our Doylestown disability lawyers are available to answer any questions regarding work credits.
If You Are Applying for Social Security Benefits, Contact Our Pennsylvania Disability Lawyers
Individuals who are suffering from a debilitating medical condition that is keeping them out of work should not have to manage the difficult Social Security Disability benefits process alone. Our Chester County disability lawyers at Young, Marr & Associates have the experience and knowledge to handle your claim. If you want to improve your chances of receiving disability payments, call our law offices at (215) 515-2954 to schedule a free consultation.