Social Security

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) Lawyers in Lancaster, PA

Helping SSDI and SSI applicants in Lancaster County apply for benefits and appeal denials

If you’ve been injured or developed an illness that prevents you from working for at least 12 consecutive months, you may be eligible to recover either Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. The Social Security Administration (SSA) administers both of these government programs, which provide financial assistance to those who have suffered disabilities that prevent them from working.

Eligibility in both federal programs requires that you prove that your disability has prevented, or will prevent you, from working for at least a year. Partial disabilities do not count. Applying for SSDI or SSI benefits is often a long and laborious process — and in some cases, including appeals, it can last for as long as two years or more. At KBG Injury Law, our SSDI and SSI attorneys understand the eligibility process. We work with your doctors and other experts to help prove you cannot work due to your physical or mental health disorders.

How do SSDI benefits differ from SSI benefits?

The Social Security Administration will pay SSDI benefits to you and to members of your family if you qualify and have and paid Social Security taxes. You receive one credit for every $1,470 you have earned. You must have earned 40 credits over the lifetime of your employment, 20 of which must have come in the past 10 years. Younger disabled workers require fewer credits.

SSI works best for individuals or couples who have not paid Social Security taxes or have not earned enough wage credits to qualify for SSDI. SSI provides benefits based on financial need. There is also a means test involved: you cannot have more than $2,000 in individual assets, or $3,000 for a couple.

The SSA makes allowances for one car and the house in which you live when determining your resource (asset) total. Any other cars or land will count against the above limits.

Do I qualify for Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?

To be considered disabled, you must:

  • Have a medical condition that has been diagnosed by a doctor as terminal or will last at least one year and prevents you from working.
  • Have a qualifying illness or injury on the SSA list of impairments.
  • Have a Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) assessment, which evaluates your job ability if your illness or injury is not on the list.
  • Undergo a Medical Vocational Analysis. This analysis determines whether you can perform your current job or work in another job - given your current health.
  • Be younger than the age at which you qualify for retirement benefits from the SSA.

You cannot earn more than $1,310 a month (as of 2021) or the SSA will not consider you disabled. This amount may change each year.

If you are eligible for SSDI or SSI benefits, you will have to submit to a Continual Disability Review (CDR). The review can occur every three to seven years, but you will be told when to complete yours. A CDR will determine if you still qualify for SSI benefits or the SSDI program. If your injury or illness improves or if you start earning enough money, you will no longer be eligible for Social Security Disability or SSI benefits.

How do I apply for SSDI or SSI benefits in Lancaster, PA?

You can file for SSDI or SSI benefits in one of three ways:

  • You can complete your application online.
  • SSA provides a toll-free telephone number (1-800-772-1213). If you are hard of hearing, you can call TTY 1-800-325-0778.
  • Call or visit your local Social Security office. Before you visit, check your local office’s website regarding in-person or phone appointments.

Your best option is to contact your local Social Security office and complete an in-person or phone interview. Because of the high volume of applications, every state has an office for its SSI and SSDI program. If you choose an online application, it will save you time and a trip, but if you stumble on a question or are not sure of an answer, there is no one available to help you. Mistakes can cause lots of headaches when the SSA is determining your eligibility.

If you have questions or concerns about this process, you can talk to your Lancaster SSDI/SSI attorney.

What medical conditions qualify for Social Security Disability benefits?

It is typically easier to prove your case when your medical condition appears on the Social Security list of adult impairments. You, or your attorney, will submit medical reports that diagnose your condition, indicate the effects of any treatments, and any assistive devices you may need. The SSA’s criteria also includes functional information and other information as set forth in the SSA documentation.

Impairments are divided into the following categories:

  • Musculoskeletal disorders
  • Special senses and speech
  • Respiratory disorders
  • Cardiovascular system
  • Digestive system
  • Genitourinary disorders
  • Hematological disorders
  • Skin disorders
  • Endocrine disorders
  • Congenital disorders
  • Neurological disorders
  • Mental disorders
  • Cancer (malignant neoplastic diseases)
  • Immune system disorders

Some of the many health diseases and disorders that may qualify as an impairment include:

  • Cancer
  • Respiratory disorders like severe asthma
  • Mental disorders
  • Arthritis
  • Neurological conditions
  • Heart disease, especially if caused by stress in the workplace
  • Deep vein thrombosis, which may lead to a pulmonary embolism

Your chances of receiving Social Security benefits depend upon the medical evidence you present during the interview or appeal. We work with your doctors (or independent doctors) to ensure all the medical information SSA needs to review is presented, verified, and documented.

What are the odds of a successful Social Security claim?

Because every case and every person is unique, the best advice we can give is to give us a call. At KBG Injury Law, we understand what information SSA requires and how the information must be documented. According to a study by the Government Accounting Office (GAO), someone who works with a lawyer during the Social Security benefits claims process is three times more likely to be successful than someone who does not. Disability lawyers are particularly important if you are appealing a denied claim.

What should I do if my SSDI claim is denied?

If your claim for SSDI benefits is denied, follow these three key steps to appeal the decision:

  • Act immediately. You only have a 60-day window to appeal, so be sure to act within that period if your claim for Social Security disability is denied.
  • Contact an attorney. Reach out to a disability attorney who has experience with the SSDI program and making appeals.
  • Consider why your claim was denied. If you understand why the SSA denied your claim, you have a better chance at a successful appeal. An attorney can help determine if you are missing evidence or if you are not eligible for SSDI.

How does the SSA review and appeal process work?

After filing your initial claim, you can expect to hear back from the SSA within three to four months.

  • If you are turned down, file a Request for Reconsideration. It will take another three to four months before the SSA reaches a decision.
  • If your Request for Reconsideration is denied, you may ask for a hearing with an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). It may be six months to a year or more before your appeal hearing can be scheduled. You can check the SSA’s Hearing and Appeals pageto see how long it may take before a hearing can be scheduled in the Lancaster area.
  • If the ALJ denies your claim again, you may ask for a review by the Appeals Council. If the Council decides to accept your appeal, it may again be up to a year or more before they can schedule a hearing.
  • If the Appeals Council turns you down, your last option is to file a lawsuit with the federal court. It may take many months before a hearing can be scheduled and then many more months before the court reaches a decision.

Talk to the SSDI attorneys at KBG Injury Law for help. You do not have to handle this process alone.

How can a Lancaster, PA SSDI attorney help my case?

Our attorneys can help make the claims process less stressful. We put our knowledge and experience to work for you:

  • A disability lawyer can help prepare the necessary medical evidence that you will need for a successful claim.
  • A disability lawyer can help prepare you for the important SSDI interview with Social Security.
  • If you have no evidence at all, either because you have lacked insurance in the past and could not see a doctor or you’ve moved and lost touch with the doctor who treated you previously, a disability attorney knows how to help. We may be able to set up appointments with medical specialists who can properly evaluate your injuries or illness and can track down the doctors you saw in the past in other parts of Pennsylvania.
  • A good disability lawyer knows how to work around a negative medical report.

These are only a few of the ways that a disability lawyer can help you. Perhaps even more important is knowing that there is someone on your side during this complicated process. Disability lawyers will only charge a fee if your case is successful. That fee must be worked out ahead of time and approved by the SSA.

If your case is not successful, it will not cost you a penny.

Do you have a Lancaster, PA Social Security Disability attorney near me?

We are located 1776 Harrisburg Pike, about a 15-minute drive down Rt. 30 from the Social Security Administration office. We maintain additional offices in four other cities and can travel to you if you are too injured or ill to come to us.

Let KBG Injury Law help with your Lancaster, PA SSDI claim or appeal

If your initial claim has been turned down and you want to appeal the denial, the Lancaster SSDI and SSI attorneys at KBG Injury Law can prepare your case for a hearing. We have many years of helping clients prepare successful appeals. It is especially important to us that our clients succeed because we understand how traumatic a disability can be, both emotionally and financially. To discuss your SSDI or SSI claim, please call 717.397.9700 or toll free at 800-509-1011, or fill out our contact form. Our firm represents Social Security claimants in York, Lancaster, Harrisburg, Hanover, Gettysburg, and across South Central Pennsylvania.