Butler, Pennsylvania, was once named among the seven best small towns in the United States by Smithsonian Magazine, and anyone visiting would find it hard to disagree. The residents are friendly and respectable, and many work for one of the large companies engaged in steel production, telecommunications or healthcare. Most of these jobs are laborious, and accidents happen. When a worker in Butler, PA, becomes disabled on or off the job, there is a good possibility that he or she is covered by Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).
What Is SSDI?
SSDI is a form of insurance administrated by the federal government. Employers in the U.S. are required to collect the premiums for this disability insurance through payroll taxes, which are then passed on to fund the program. When a qualified worker becomes disabled and is no longer able to earn a living, then he or she may receive a monthly benefit to pay for the necessities of life. However, applying for SSDI can be difficult and time consuming for those who are unfamiliar with it.
Although SSDI is associated with Social Security, many people believe it is a government handout, but it is important to understand that SSDI is insurance, and only U.S. workers who have paid into the program are eligible to receive benefits. To qualify, you must have worked a minimum number of years, and the majority of this time must have been in the recent past.
The specific amount of time and exactly how recent the work must have been depends on the age of the worker at the time he or she became disabled. If you are 28 years of age or younger, then you need to have worked 1.5 years in the three years before the disability. If you are 24 to 31, then you need to have worked half of the since you turned 21. Those who are 31 or older need five years of work within the last 10 years to meet the requirement.
The second major hurdle in qualifying for benefits is the medical requirement. SSDI is only for workers who have long-term disabilities that are medically proven and prevent them from earning more than a stipulated amount per month. The impairment or combination of impairments must be expected to result in death or last for more than 12 months, according to a licensed medical doctor.
Social Security Disability in Butler, PA
Applying for SSDI benefits can be very difficult as the applicant must prove eligibility according to a strict set of rules and regulations. Many people have trouble completing all of the paperwork and preparing the necessary supporting documentation. The instructions are long and complex, and if errors are made, the application could be delayed or rejected. Nearly 70 percent of all SSDI applications are denied, but a fair number of denials are overturned through a four-step appeals process. This is where the program becomes overwhelming for most applicants without legal representation because it often involves a formal hearing, a federal review or a judgment in federal court.
Getting Help From an Attorney
An experienced attorney knowledgeable in disability law can help take the sting out of the grueling SSDI-approval process. When you hire a reliable attorney from the beginning, he or she will take care of all the paperwork and documentation. You will only be assisting in whatever capacity you are able. The application will be thoroughly reviewed before it is submitted to prevent errors, and all deadlines will be met. If the case goes to appeal, your attorney will again file all of the paperwork and represent you at any hearings.
If you are in Butler, PA, and believe you qualify for SSDI, contact a Pennsylvania disability attorney as soon as possible for further information and a free consultation.