Social Security

Gettysburg Social Security Disability Lawyers, Adams County, PA

Fighting for Pennsylvanians who need government assistance due to a disability

The Social Security Administration (SSA) administers two programs for people who cannot work due to a disability or an illness. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) provides monthly benefits to people who can’t work due to a medically-determinable disability. SSDI pays full benefits provided the disability is expected to last for a year or result in death. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) provides cash payments to disabled adults, children, and people who are 65 years of age or older who don’t qualify for retirement benefits.

At KBG Injury Law, we understand the eligibility requirements for both federal programs. We work with your doctors to show you have a disability, and that your disability prevents you from working. We guide you through the claims process which may require multiple applications and/or hearings. Our lawyers explain the amount of the benefits and whether you may be eligible for a Medicare card to help pay for your healthcare.

How do I qualify for SSDI and SSI?

SSDI provides benefits if you qualify. The qualification requirements are:

  • Credit requirements. You have to have earned 40 credits during your lifetime or 20 credits in the last past 10 years. You earn a credit for each quarter year that you work. Younger disabled workers may qualify with fewer credits. The amount of income you need to make to earn a credit varies from year to year. In 2022, a worker needs to earn $1,510 to earn one credit.
  • Disability requirements. The “general” SSA requirements are that:
    • You can’t work in substantial gainful activity (SGA) due to a medical condition.
    • You can’t do the work you were doing or do other work because of a medical condition.
    • Your medical condition is expected to last for at least one year or to result in death.

SSI provides benefits for people and couples who don’t have enough wage credits. SSI has a financial means test. SSA will examine all your resources including anything that could be sold for cash. The limit is $2,200 for an individual and $3,000 for a couple. SSA does not count:

  • A home and the land the home is on
  • One vehicle
  • Household goods and personal items
  • Burial plots
  • Other specific assets

What are the specific requirements to confirm you have a disability?

We mentioned the broad disability requirement that you have a medical condition that prevents you from working for a year, or that will result in death. SSA has specific requirements. At KBG Injury Law, our Gettysburg SSDI and SSI lawyers work to show you meet these specific requirements.

  1. Do your earnings qualify as substantial gainful activity? In 2022, if you earn $1,350 a month (double that if you are blind), your disability claim will be denied.
  2. Will your medical condition limit your ability to do basic work activities (such as standing, sitting, remembering, walking, and lifting) for 12 months or more?
  3. Does your injury or illness qualify as a “severe” impairment? SSA has a list of medical conditions that automatically qualify an applicant for benefits – provided that the applicant can show he/she does have that medical condition.
  4. If your injury is not on the SSA list of impairments, is your medical condition comparable to any medical condition on the impairment list?
  5. Can you do the work you did previously? Even if you have a severe impairment or an equivalent impairment, you must show that you can’t do the work you did previously.
  6. Can you do other work with your current medical impairment? If you meet the above tests and if you can’t do other work, then you qualify.

A residual functional capacity analysis that tests your ability to perform certain tasks such as lifting and standing is used to help determine if your condition qualifies as an impairment. A medical vocational analysis is used to determine if you can do your current job or another job.

There are two primary ways your application can be expedited.

  • Compassionate Allowances. Some conditions such as acute leukemia, pancreatic cancer, and Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS) qualify for benefits – as soon as the condition is confirmed.
  • Quick Disability Determinations. SSA “uses sophisticated computer screening to identify cases with a high probability of allowance.”

Applicants who are approved for SSDI will need to undergo a Continual Disability Review (CDR) periodically to determine if their condition still qualifies.

How does the SSDI and SSI application process work?

Applicants can file an online application.

They can use SSA’s toll-free telephone number (1-800-772-1213) and the hearing-difficult line TTY 1-800-325-0778.

You can also go to your local Social Security office by making an appointment.

Applicants should contact our office to discuss their online application, so they have the best chance of a successful initial application. Unlike SSDI, applicants cannot file for SSI online. You should arrange for an interview in person or through the phone.

What medical conditions meet the SSDI impairment test?

As we discussed, the strongest case  SSDI applicants have to show they have a qualifying disability is to show their medical condition is on the SSA’s list of impairments.  To meet the impairment criteria, a physician normally has to show he or she examined the applicant, conducted specific diagnostic tests, and conducted specific residual functional capacity tests. The physician needs to prepare a medical report that specifically identifies why the applicant’s condition meets the SS criteria.

SSA has broad categories of impairments. Within each category are the specific medical conditions. The broad impairment categories are:

  1. Musculoskeletal disorders
  2. Special senses and speech
  3. Respiratory disorders
  4. Cardiovascular system
  5. Digestive system
  6. Genitourinary disorders
  7. Hematological disorders
  8. Skin disorders
  9. Endocrine disorders
  10. Congenital disorders that affect multiple body systems
  11. Neurological disorders
  12. Mental disorders
  13. Cancer (malignant neoplastic diseases)
  14. Immune system disorders

Some of the conditions that are included within these categories include cancer, HIV/AIDS, arthritis, and other diseases. Within the cardiovascular system category (to use an example category) patients may qualify if they have” chronic heart failure, ischemic heart disease, variant angina, or other specific heart conditions.”

Our seasoned Gettysburg SSDI lawyers work with you and your doctors to ensure the correct documentation is provided to verify your medical condition. In some cases, we work with independent physicians to help provide the correct information.

What happens if my SSDI or SSI claim is denied?

Our Gettysburg disability lawyers guide you through the claims process. Only about one-third of initial claims are approved. Still, it’s to the benefit of most applicants to file directly. It’s when you get a denial that you most need counsel. Most claimants need to work with an experienced disability lawyer at the next stage of the claims process - which is the appeal of the initial denial and the request for a formal hearing.

If your initial claim is denied, our Gettysburg SSDI and SSI lawyers review the reason for the denial, prepare the correct medical documentation for the subsequent appeals, and help you get your appeal in during the appropriate statute of limitations.

There are several levels of appeal:

  • Normally, you will receive a decision on your initial application in four to five months.
  • If your application is denied, we file a  Reconsideration Appeal.
  • The next step is to request a hearing with an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ).
  • If the ALJ denies your claim, you can ask the Appeals Council to review your case.
  • The last option is to file a legal claim in federal court.

Each stage of the process can take months or longer, so you will need to persist and have a lot of patience. It helps a great deal to know that you have a lawyer on your side during the waiting periods.

Common questions about SSDI and SSI benefits

Our Gettysburg SSDI and SSI lawyers answer all your questions. Common questions include:

  • How much are my benefits?
  • Can my child seek SSDI or SSI benefits?
  • Can my spouse ask for benefits?
  • Can I receive SSDI or SSI if I’m also receiving other government benefits?
  • Are my benefits taxable?
  • Am I eligible for a Medicare card?

Is there a Gettysburg SSDI and SSI lawyer near me?

Our Gettysburg law office is located at 37 West Middle St., nearby the Lincoln Highway.

Contact an experienced Gettysburg Disability lawyer for help with applications and appeals

Much of the work in SSDI and SSI cases is showing that you have a qualifying disability. At KBG Injury Law, our lawyers have been fighting for injury victims for 30 years. We are skilled at all the detail work that needs to be done to show your medical condition meets a qualifying impairment, or that your condition does prevent you from working for at least a year. We handle SSDI and SSI cases on a contingency fee basis. To speak with an experienced Gettysburg disability lawyer, call us at 717-848-3838 or use our contact form to schedule an appointment. KBG Injury Law has offices in Gettysburg, York, Lancaster, Harrisburg, and Hanover. We fight for SSDI and SSI applicants across South Central Pennsylvania.