Social Security Disability

Serving Scranton, Wilkes-Barre, Stroudsburg, Honesdale, Tunkhannock, Montrose, Milford and all of Lackawanna, Luzerne, Monroe, Pike, Susquehanna, Wayne and Wyoming Counties

If you are disabled, from any cause whatsoever, you may be entitled to recover Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits or monthly Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits from the federal government. In order to collect SSD or SSI benefits, you must be considered disabled. To be considered disabled, you must not be able to engage in any "substantial gainful employment." This means that you must not only be unable to perform your former employment, but you must also be unable to perform any type of work. The determination of your ability to perform work is primarily based on your medical and/or psychiatric records. The Social Security Administration may also request that you be examined by a doctor of its choosing.

AM I ELIGIBLE?

In order to be eligible for SSD benefits, you must have been substantially gainfully employed and paid payroll taxes into the Social Security system for 20 of the preceding 40 quarters prior to your application for SSD benefits. If you do not qualify for SSD benefits because of insufficient credits (quarters), you may qualify for SSI benefits. SSI benefits have the same disability requirements as SSD benefits, but also have financial requirements. Please note—SSD benefits are usually greater than SSI benefits.

What if I was denied SSD or SSI benefits?

If you are turned down for SSD or SSI benefits by the Social Security Administration at its initial reviewing stage, don't be discouraged. Most initial applications are denied. You may request a hearing on your case before an administrative law judge. The administrative law judge will review your Social Security file and schedule a hearing during which time you will be allowed to present evidence and testimony concerning your Social Security benefits claim.

Although the hearing before the administrative law judge is informal and the rules of evidence do not apply, you should obtain the services of an attorney to represent you at the hearing. You want to ensure that all possible relevant evidence has been submitted and, even then, your entitlement to benefits may rest on interpretation of complicated regulations and rulings which govern the Social Security benefit qualification process. Simply put, sometimes it is not just your evidence, but how your evidence is presented in relation to the Social Security regulations that make the difference between a successful and unsuccessful claim.

If you are approved for Social Security Disability benefits, you may remain on disability through your normal retirement age. If you are still on disability at that time, your benefits will convert from Social Security Disability benefits to Social Security retirement benefits. However, the Social Security Administration may conduct a review of your case at any time to determine if you still qualify for SSD or SSI benefits. If there is an unfavorable administrative review against you, you may again request your case be heard by an administrative law judge.

Once you have been collecting SSD benefits for two years, you will also qualify for Medicare, regardless of your age. To ensure your SSD case goes as smoothly as possible, contact an attorney from Needle Law today by dialing (570) 344-1266.