Burgettstown, Pennsylvania, was established shortly after the United States was founded, and little has changed in the attitude of the residents. They are a proud, honest and hard-working people, and they lay it all on the line for their families and community. However, when an unexpected illness or accident occurs that leaves one unable to work, it could spell certain disaster for not only the individual but also his or her family. Fortunately, the federal government has a program in place to help disabled workers who are no longer able to support themselves called Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).
What Is SSDI?
Because SSDI is managed by the Social Security Administration (SSA), many people associate it with its sister program, Supplemental Security Income, which provides a monthly benefit based on income. However, SSDI is actually an insurance policy, and nearly all workers in the U.S. pay premiums for this disability insurance through their federal payroll taxes.
If you have worked the required number of years and are no longer able to engage in a substantial gainful activity (SGA) to support yourself, there is a good chance that you qualify for SSDI benefits.
To be approved for SSDI, an individual must meet two basic qualifications:
1. The applicant must have a medically recognizable impairment that is expected to result in death or continue for a minimum of 12 months, which also prevents him or her from engaging in SGA.
2. The applicant must meet two earnings requirements. The first requirement is a minimum number of years worked, and the second ensures that you have worked recently. Both of the earnings tests are based on the age when you became disabled.
Disabled workers who are approved for SSDI will receive a monthly benefit no sooner than five months after becoming disabled. The amount of the benefit is a percentage of the person’s annual lifetime average with the percentage dropping the higher the average is. In 2015, the average monthly SSDI benefit was $1,165.
Social Security Disability in Burgettstown, PA
While SSDI helps workers who have become disabled, it is not without its problems, the biggest of which is the application process. If you apply on your own, it doesn’t make sense to go to the local SSA office until you gather all of your pertinent medical records. You then must pay very close attention to detail while reading the instructions, completing the forms and preparing your supporting documentation for submission. Minor errors and omissions or missed deadlines could have disastrous results. It some instances, your review may be delayed by several months, and in others, it could be denied altogether.
Only about 67 percent of all SSDI applications are approved, and most people are ill equipped to navigate the waters after the first denial. In fact, many of those who do not have the assistance of a reliable disability attorney give up at this point.
Getting Help From an Attorney
To increase the chances for quick approval on your SSDI benefit, you may want to consider hiring a knowledgeable Pennsylvania attorney practicing disability law. A respectable attorney will take care to complete your application accurately without any errors, and he or she will understand how to organize and submit your medical records and other documentation, which can be invaluable. If your case is denied and you must go through the appeals process, legal counsel will do all the heavy lifting, giving you a little room to breathe as you deal with your disability and lost income.
For further information on whether you are a candidate for SSDI benefits, contact an experienced disability attorney today.