Being unable to meet your own financial needs can be overwhelming for anyone. When these hardships result from a disability or other qualifying condition, you might be entitled to support a Social Security Disability program.
At Schiller & Hamilton, we are proud to help bring disability benefits to those who need help the most. Our team understands how challenging this process can be without the help of a Social Security Disability lawyer. Instead of handling the application process on your own, you could benefit from seeking the guidance of a Lancaster Social Security Disability lawyer.
What Is Considered a Disability?
For most people, qualifying for Social Security Disability benefits requires proof that they are living with a disabling medical condition recognized by the Social Security Administration (SSA).
According to the SSA, a disability is a condition that prevents you from participating in any form of substantial gainful activity due to a condition that is either likely to result in death or one that is expected to last continuously for at least 12 months. In some cases, it can be difficult to have the SSA accept a condition as a disability. However, there are certain conditions like cancer that are always treated as a disability following a proper diagnosis.
Substantial gainful activity is a term related to your ability to work and earn a living. Work is considered to be substantial if it is done for profit or the type of work that is typically done for profit.
For a free legal consultation with a Lancaster Social Security Disability Lawyer call 1-803-366-0333
Do You Qualify for SSI or SSDI?
There are two distinct options when it comes to Social Security Disability programs. Both of these options, overseen by the SSA, are designed to provide support under different scenarios. These programs are known as Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). The requirements to qualify for either of these programs are very different.
There are two requirements when it comes to qualifying for SSDI benefits. First, you must have a disability recognized by the SSA. Second, you must have a minimum number of work credits. You gain approximately four work credits each year working full-time in a position that pays payroll taxes. Securing 40 work credits in the last 10 years can get you the maximum benefits available.
SSI has its own requirements. First, you must either have a disability, be blind, or be over the age of 65 to qualify. Second, you will need to fall below a certain threshold for both assets and income.
Lancaster Social Security Disability Lawyer Near Me 1-803-366-0333
You Can Appeal a Denied Social Security Disability Claim in Lancaster
Unfortunately, many people have their Social Security Disability claims denied by the SSA. Others might find their ongoing benefits terminated without a valid reason. In these situations, an appeal could be the answer.
It is not uncommon for a person whose disability claim was denied to see that denial reversed on appeal. The appeals process can result in the outcome you deserve, but that does not mean the process is easy. The team at Schiller & Hamilton is ready to help you during every stage of your appeal. In total, there are four different steps in the appeals process. Winning at any level could see you get the benefits you deserve.
You Can Request the SSA to Reconsider Your Denial
The first step in the process of appealing your denied claim is asking the SSA to reconsider. This involves an employee of the SSA—someone other than the person who originally denied your claim—to review the original decision in your case.
You have 60 days from the date you were notified of your denial to request reconsideration. This is done by submitting a form to the SSA within that time period. The examiner in your case will look over the same evidence that was originally presented with the campaign with the goal of identifying any errors in the original decision. While prevailing at this level is possible, most reconsiderations uphold the original denial.
You Have the Right to a Hearing Before an Administrative Law Judge
The next step in the appeals process is a hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ). This step also has a 60-day time limit, and a hearing must be requested within that time frame following the results of the reconsideration.
An ALJ hears a case in a way that is similar to a trial. You have an opportunity at this stage to provide additional evidence that could strengthen your case. There is also an opportunity to have an attorney serve as your advocate during this stage.
You Could Seek a Different Opinion from the Appeals Council
If the ALJ rules against you, there are still appellate options left. The next step in this process is to request the Social Security Administration Appeals Council to review your case. This is the highest level of appeal within the SSA.
It is important to understand that the Appeals Council only reviews a handful of the cases decided at the ALJ level. In many situations, they deny requests for review. The Council typically only takes a case if there is evidence that SSA procedures were violated or that a mistake of law was made during the initial decision.
Your Last Resort Is Federal Court
The Appeals Council might be the last option within the SSA, but it is not the final step in the appeals process. Whether the Council takes up your case or not, you have an opportunity to file a lawsuit and have the decision reviewed by a federal judge.
Filing a lawsuit against the SSA in federal court is not your standard type of legal action. There is no jury, and the judge reviewing your case only looks for situations where the law was not applied correctly. The judge could send the case back to the ALJ to address these errors, or they could hear the case themselves.
Work With a Social Security Disability Attorney in Lancaster
You do not have to navigate the process of applying for disability benefits alone. Our team of attorneys could assist you with seeking either SSI or SSDI benefits.
Let a Lancaster Social Security Disability lawyer take the stress of this process off of your shoulders. Call today for a free consultation with Schiller & Hamilton.