Social Security Disability Attorneys in Harrisburg, PA
Helping clients with denied SSDI claims and appeals in Dauphin County
Social Security Disability benefits and Supplemental Security Income provide benefits to people with disabilities and long-term injuries. Managed by the Social Security Administration (SSA), if you or your family member meet certain medical criteria, you may qualify for benefits under Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) based on financial need.
Applying for these benefits can be a complex process, with many forms and approval hoops to jump through. You must go through a lot to even prove your disability. If you are turned down, you must go through an appeals process as well. The Harrisburg Social Security Disability attorneys at KBG Injury Law can help – we can answer all your questions, assist you with paperwork, and represent you in any necessary appeals. Contact us today for informed guidance about the SSDI and SSI process.
How can we help?
What is the difference between SSDI and SSI benefits?
Although they have similar monikers and similar goals, Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income work differently. Here are the key differences:
- SSDI is available to those with physical and mental disabilities severe enough to prevent them from working. This disability must be expected to last for at least 12 months or end in death.
- SSI is a program that pays benefits to those with disabilities, who are blind, or who are aged 65 and older. SSI recipients must have very limited assets and income.
SSDI and SSI recipients must specifically qualify for these benefits.
How do you qualify for Social Security benefits?
SSDI is an “earned benefit,” meaning you qualify for SSDI by working and paying Social Security taxes during your lifetime. 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. The amount needed for a work credit changes from year to year.”
For example, in 2022, an employee earns one credit for each $1,510 in income (either wages or self-employment). Once you have earned $6,040, you have your four credits for the year. The number of credits you need for SSDI generally. depends on how old you are when your disability begins. However, the SSA states that, in general, “you need 40 credits, 20 of which were earned in the last 10 years ending with the year your disability begins.”
SSI, on the hand, is not tied to your work history. To qualify for SSI, an individual must be aged 65 or older, blind, or disabled, and:
- Have limited income
- Have limited resources
- Be a U.S. citizen, national, or in a certain category of alien
- Meet certain other requirements
For purposes of SSI, “income” includes money earned from work, free food and shelter, Social Security benefits, workers’ compensation, unemployment benefits, and veterans’ benefits. “Resources” include things like cash, bank accounts, vehicles, property, and any assets that could be converted to cash. The current SSI resource limits are:
- Individual/Child — $2,000
- Couple — $3,000
There is no need to worry if all of this sounds confusing. The SSDI and SSI attorneys at KBG Injury Law in Harrisburg can explain these requirements in more detail.
What conditions and injuries qualify for Social Security Disability benefits?
The SSA maintains a comprehensive list of disabilities and impairments that qualify for SSDI benefits, impairments they deem “severe enough to prevent an individual from doing any gainful activity (or in the case of children under age 18 applying for SSI, severe enough to cause marked and severe functional limitations).” These include:
- Musculoskeletal Disorders
- Special Senses and Speech
- Respiratory Disorders
- Cardiovascular System
- Digestive System
- Genitourinary Disorders
- Hematological Disorders
- Skin Disorders
- Endocrine Disorders
- Congenital Disorders that Affect Multiple Body Systems
- Neurological Disorders
- Mental Disorders
- Cancer (Malignant Neoplastic Diseases)
- Immune System Disorders
Meeting these criteria are only one step of a multi-step evaluation process. However, you should note that even if you do not have an impairment on one of the SSA’s list, it does not mean you are not considered disabled. It means that you will have to move on to the next step of the process and work with the SSA to apply different rules to your case.
For the best chance at success, you should submit as much medical evidence from your doctor or specialist as possible to the SSA along with your application. This evidence and documentation can include:
- Your most updated notes and diagnoses
- Treatment and exam notes
- Lab work, imaging, bloodwork, and other diagnostic results
- Your medical and treatment history
- Your physical and mental limitations due to your condition
You can also find a listing of childhood impairments on the SSA website.
What can I do if my Harrisburg SSDI claim is denied?
If the SSA denies your Social Security Disability claim, good news – you have the right to appeal that decision. It is not uncommon to see an application denied for reasons like paperwork errors or insufficient medical evidence. If your claim is denied, you can take the following steps:
- Request a reconsideration, which you must do within 60 days of receiving a denial. You do not have to re-apply. Instead, ask for a review, providing any new and relevant information regarding your condition. The SSA denies most SSDI claims due to inadequate medical information.
- Appeal the denial, if the review is unsuccessful. Again, you have 60 days upon receiving a denial to appeal. Appealing a denial involves attending a hearing, which is a meeting with a judge and a vocational expert to review your disability and past work experience. You may also have your attorney advocate for you at this hearing.
- Await the decision. Your local SSA office will notify you by mail about whether your appeal is approved or denied.
Remember, just because Social Security denies your claim, you do not have to give up. The attorneys at KBG Injury Law can help launch a strong appeal and represent you in a hearing. Let us help you build a strong case and secure the disability benefits to which you are entitled.
Is there a Social Security Disability attorney near me?
KBG Injury Law is located in Lemoyne, Pennsylvania at 717 Market Street, between N. 8th and N. 7th Streets. We are only a few minutes away from district and state courts. We also maintain four locations throughout the state.
Knowledgeable Harrisburg SSDI lawyers
The Social Security Disability benefits attorneys at KBG Injury Law have decades of experience navigating the SSDI system. If you need help with a claim, or assistance launching an appeal if your application was denied, talk to our legal team today. No matter the reason for your denial, we can work to build a strong case on your behalf. To schedule a meeting with one of our lawyers, call 717-848-3838 or fill out our contact form. We have offices in York, Lancaster, Harrisburg, Hanover, and Gettysburg and serve clients throughout South Central Pennsylvania.