Few communities in Pennsylvania are more wholesome and down to earth than Bedford, PA. Whether it is for one of the major distribution centers in the area or for one of the many other industries, the people of Bedford work hard to support themselves and their families. However, when an accident or unforeseen illness occurs that leaves you disabled, panic can strike at the thought of lost income.
Fortunately, most workers in the U.S. are covered by Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), and with the help of an experienced attorney, the application process can be streamlined and simplified, taking the heavy load off your shoulders during this trying time.
What Is SSDI?
Unlike its sister program, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), which is awarded only to low-income households, SSDI is an insurance program administered by the federal government. Most U.S. workers pay the premiums for coverage through automatic payroll deductions and must then only prove that they are unable to engage in work, which is termed substantial gainful activity (SGA).
SGA is defined as work that is generally performed for profit or pay or work that is intended for profit or pay, and past earnings are used to judge whether a disabled worker is eligible for SSDI. To be considered, the applicant must qualify as disabled according to the official definition: someone who cannot engage in SGA because of a physical or psychological impairment that is expected to continue for a minimum of 12 months or result in death.
Once the application has been received, it will sit for about five months until it is reviewed. Only about 30 percent of all applications are approved upon the first review, and many are disqualified because of errors, missed deadlines or otherwise not following the complicated instructions.
If the application is approved, the disabled worker will receive disability-insurance benefits on a monthly basis. The amount of this benefit is calculated through a formula that takes into account lifetime average earnings, and it ranges from 60 percent to 28 percent. For instance, if your lifetime annual average is $20,000, your disability benefit would be 60 percent, or $12,048 per year.
Social Security Disability in Bedford, PA
Getting approved for SSDI in Bedford, PA, is often a grueling, time-consuming process. You will need to pay close attention to detail in order to avoid common mistakes on the forms and supplemental documentation. The federal government has never been known to be simple or efficient in its methods, and the SSDI review process is no exception. The worst part about the process, is that most applicants are still trying to deal with their recent disabilities, which increases the likelihood of mistakes that lead to delays or rejections.
When an application is denied, you have 60 days to ask for a reconsideration, and if it is again denied, you may file an appeal. However, the process frustrates so many applicants who do not have legal representation that they often never complete the steps necessary for approval.
Getting Help From an Attorney
The help of a knowledgeable attorney can make all the difference in the world when applying for SSDI. A Pennsylvania Social Security attorney will understand how to present your case given all the facts and will help with gathering all of the evidence for submission. The lawyer will also carefully go over your documents before they are submitted to ensure they are free of errors. Finally, when you hire a disability attorney, you know you will always have someone in your corner should complications with the review arise.
If you have been injured or are suffering from a disabling illness, contact an SSDI attorney right away for a free consultation on potential benefits.