Allentown Social Security Disability Lawyer
Social Security is something most people associate with retirement. But Social Security also provides benefits to qualified individuals of any age who are unable to work due to medical disability. There are also benefits available for disabled and elderly persons with low incomes.
These programs–known as Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income–can be difficult to obtain due to their complex eligibility requirements. An experienced Allentown Social Security Disability lawyer can provide you with legal advice and guidance during this process. At the O’Donnell Law Offices, we represent individuals applying for these benefits, including helping them in filing appeals if those initial applications have been denied.
How Does SSDI Differ from SSI?
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is just that–a form of insurance. As you work and pay into the Social Security system, you earn a number of “work credits” towards your eligibility for disability benefits. Basically, you need to have worked some part of 5 of the preceding 10 years before you become disabled.
A “disability” in the context of SSDI is a physical or mental impairment that prevents you from doing any “substantial gainful work,” and which is expected to last (or have lasted) at least 12 months. This is a broad definition, which means it is often subject to interpretation by Social Security officials. This is why it is crucial to present as much medical evidence as you can documenting your impairment and its impact on your ability to work.
One thing to note is that even if you are unable to return to your previous job due to a medical condition, Social Security may still deny your application for disability benefits if officials believe you are able to do a less physically or mentally demanding job, even in a different occupation.
In contrast to SSDI, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is not tied to any work credits. SSI provides means-tested benefits to qualified individuals, including people who are blind, disabled, or age 65 or over. If you apply for SSI based on disability, the criteria is the same as for SSDI. But you must also prove that your monthly income and property owned is below a certain threshold.
Contact the O’Donnell Law Offices Today
Many SSDI and SSI applicants get discouraged when their initial application is denied. But the truth is that a substantial percentage of those denials are later reversed on appeal. Generally speaking, you have 60 days from when you receive a written notice of Social Security’s denial to file an appeal. There are also multiple levels of appeals, which can ultimately lead to filing a lawsuit in federal court against the Social Security Administration.
This process can seem daunting, especially when you are struggling to make ends meet while unable to work due to your medical condition. That is why it is in your best interest to speak with a skilled Allentown Social Security Disability lawyer who can assist you in dealing with the multiple layers of bureaucracy. If you need to speak with someone about your case, contact the O’Donnell Law Offices today to schedule a free consultation.