Social Security Disability Lawyers Erie, PA
PA Social Security Disability Attorneys Help Clients Get SSD Benefits in Crawford County, Erie County, and Throughout Western Pennsylvania
Workers pay for Social Security Disability Insurance with each paycheck through patrol deductions. Throughout a person’ working life, a small amount is deducted to pay benefits to people who can no longer work because of disability or illness. Any worker who has paid into SSD for the mandated time and is found to be disabled after one year is eligible to receive benefits, according to the rules used by Social Security.
Although this sounds straightforward, actually obtaining Social Security Disability benefits is often challenging. That’s where we come in. The Erie, PA attorneys at Purchase, George & Murphey, P.C. help disabled workers obtain the SSD benefits they need. When we are successful, our fee is based on the percentage of the back benefits you receive. If we are not successful, you pay no attorney’s fee.
How Our Western PA Attorneys Help With an SSD Claim
Studies have show that workers who hire SSD lawyers in Pennsylvania have a better chance of obtaining Social Security Disability benefits. Our lawyers know how to advocate successfully for clients because we have done it before and we know the process. We understand how to structure SSD claims so that medical evidence, work history, and doctor reports are presented effectively. Our lawyers handle all aspects of the SSDI claim process in PA, including:
- Initial applications for disability benefits.
- Preparation and advocacy during appeals if the initial claim is denied.
- Answers to your questions about your Social Security Disability benefits claims.
- Make sure that your claim includes all qualifying disabilities.
- Disability benefits for children.
- Disability benefits for people who can still work.
- Coordination of benefits with Social Security Disability and Workers’ Compensation when appropriate—some workers may be eligible for both.
- Advocate for vocational training when you want to work part time because of your disability.
This means we gather and review all medical evidence, ensure that the appeals court judge has all the relevant information needed, help you document your daily activities to show your limitations, cross-examine vocational and medical experts and specialists, and file additional appeals if the first SSD appeal is unsuccessful.
What Amount Can a Disabled PA Worker Expect to Receive in SSD Benefits?
The average amount of SSD benefits paid in 2017 was $1,171 per month. The maximum monthly benefit was $2, 687. Social Security uses an average of your past earnings to calculate disability benefits. The best way to ensure that you get maximum Social Security Disability Benefits is to speak with an experienced SSD attorney in Pennsylvania today.
Am I Really Eligible for Social Security Disability Benefits in PA?
Most people who have been working for more than a few years are eligible for SSD benefits if:
- They have a physical or mental injury or condition that keeps them from performing any “substantial gainful activity,” or SGA in the language of the Social Security Administration.
- Their condition or illness is expected to last at least 12 months or cause death.
- They are under age 65.
- They have enough work credits for their age.
The Social Security Disability claims evaluation process relies heavily on medical evidence that shows the worker’s inability to continue working. Applicants for SSD benefits may be asked to visit a different doctor for a third party evaluation. If the medical evidence clearly shows that the person has one of the conditions or illnesses in the SSD Blue Book – the Bible for disability evaluators – the claim will probably be approved. However, most SSD applications do not have enough medical evidence or the right kind of evidence – and, as a result, the claims are denied. This can require applicants to file an appeal and wait even longer for Social Security Disability benefits.
Contact an Experienced Pennsylvania Attorney If You Have Questions About Social Security Disability Benefits
For more information about applying for SSD, contact the Erie Social Security Disability attorneys at Purchase, George & Murphey, P.C. Call now or use our online contact form. SSD claims can be complicated and lengthy. Disabled workers need guidance as they undertake the process of obtaining their rightful disability benefits in Pennsylvania.
Frequently Asked Questions About Social Security Disability Benefits in Erie, PA
Applying for Social Security Disability benefits can be complex and overwhelming—especially when you are already struggling with a serious physical or mental ailment. A knowledgeable lawyer can be key to making sure that you get the federal benefits that are rightfully yours.
Here are some of the answers to the most frequently asked questions about Social Security Disability benefit claims. Our Erie, PA Social Security Disability lawyers are here to help answer any questions specific to your case and represent you throughout the entire process of qualifying for benefits.
Social Security Disability benefits (SSD benefits) are benefits paid by the Social Security Administration (SSA) to disabled workers. SSD benefits are a type of federal insurance paid to workers and funded by employment taxes.
SSD benefits are based upon employment—because these benefits are funded by employment taxes. Generally, therefore, SSD benefits are only available to workers who are suffering from a condition that leaves them unable to work. SSI benefits are available regardless of past employment history, and are funded by general tax revenue. SSI benefits are intended for individuals with limited financial resources and income.
To be eligible for SSD benefits, you must:
– Have worked in employment that is covered by Social Security for a certain length of time (usually 10 years),
– Be diagnosed with a physical disability or mental health condition by a physician or specialist,
– Be unable to work as a result of that condition,
– Have a condition that is expected to last for at least one year,
– Be following a treatment plan that involves seeing your doctor regularly.
The physical disability or mental health condition must be one recognized by the Social Security Administration. Examples of physical health issues that the SSA recognizes include amputations, cancer, epilepsy, Multiple Sclerosis, nervous system disorders and more. Eligible mental health conditions include bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders, depression, sleep disorders and more.
Benefits may include medical benefits and cash payments to help with your bills. Determining the exact amount of your monthly benefit is complex and requires considering how much you have paid into the system in Social Security taxes prior to your disability.
The Social Security Administration takes a number of factors into consideration, but the most important factor is that you be unable to work. If you can work part-time, you might still be eligible if your part-time gross monthly income does not exceed a certain amount (the amount is adjusted each year; around $1,220 per month as of 2019). The administration reviews the medical records provided by your doctor to determine whether your condition satisfies their criteria.
Other considerations include issues related to whether you can work in some other capacity—for example, your vocational and educational background will be considered. Whether you are already receiving workers’ compensation benefits is also factored in, as is the severity of your physical or mental condition.
Generally, once you qualify for Social Security Disability benefits, they are considered to be permanent. However, there are circumstances under which your benefits may be terminated.
If you have begun engaging in what the Social Security Administration calls “substantial gainful activity”, your benefits may be terminated. This type of activity includes:
– Returning to work full-time,
– Returning to work part-time if your earnings exceed the monthly threshold amount, as adjusted annually for inflation,
– Attending school full-time,
– Any other type of activity that the SSA deems “substantial”.
The administration can also review your case and determine that your condition has improved sufficiently to terminate benefits. Benefits will be suspended if you have been incarcerated or institutionalized against your will for more than 30 days.
It usually takes between 30 and 90 days to receive an initial decision. The time period varies widely because it can take time for some doctors to send your records. Further, the Social Security administration chooses to review some cases in-depth and may even require you to undergo a medical exam before qualifying.
Yes. Minor dependent children and your spouse who is caring for your children may also be eligible. Survivor’s benefits may also be available based upon your work record.
Yes. However, the amount of your SSD benefits can be reduced by any other government benefits you are receiving—including workers’ compensation and temporary disability benefits. To reduce your benefits, you must be earning more than 80% of the average amount that you earned before you became disabled and began collecting SSD benefits. When your workers’ compensation benefits stop, your SSD benefits may be increased.
Receiving benefits under your own long-term disability coverage should not impact your ability to claim the full amount of your SSD benefits. If your disability coverage was employer-sponsored, however, your benefits could potentially be impacted.
You might be eligible for both types of compensation and receive unemployment compensation while your claim for SSD is under consideration. Once you begin to receive SSD benefits, however, any retroactive benefits that you are entitled to receive can be reduced for the time period during which you collected unemployment compensation.
You apply for SSD benefits by contacting the Social Security Administration. You can visit their website or call their 800 number. Our lawyers can also help with your application.
Contact an experienced Social Security Disability lawyer to help appeal the denial of your claim. You only have 60 days to file an appeal, so it is important to act quickly.
Schedule a Free Initial Consultation to Discuss Your Potential Claim with Our Erie, PA Social Security Disability Lawyers
At Purchase, George & Murphey, P.C., we understand that the process for applying for SSD benefits can be complex. We provide all potential clients with a free initial case review. We are here to advocate for your right to full benefits and can handle every aspect of your claim or appeal the denial of your claim. For more information on how we can help, call our office or fill out this online contact form today.