If you are living with a disability that has made it either temporarily or permanently impossible for you to work, you could be eligible for disability benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA). There are two main categories of disability benefits from SSA.
The first type of benefit goes by a couple different names, main ones being Social Security Disability Insurance benefits (SSDI or sometimes just SSD), Disability Insurance Benefits (DIB), or Title II benefits. Whatever the name, the defining characteristic of this type of benefit is that it is for people who paid enough work-income taxes into the system to qualify, and who can also show that they became disabled while they still qualified for this benefit. In some cases the spouse or children of a disabled worker can also qualify for this type of benefits.
The other main type of benefits is called Supplemental Security Income (SSI). With regards to this program, SSA does not care about your work history. You could get this benefit even if you have never worked, or if you are a child and couldn’t work. SSI is for people who are extremely financially poor and who are also disabled.
Understanding qualification requirements for SSA disability benefits is confusing for many people. While proof of disability is taken into consideration by the Social Security Administration (SSA), other factors including age of the applicant, date of diagnosis and severity of symptoms are all used to determine eligibility. In the state of Pennsylvania, the process of applying for benefits is made more complicated because a separate application must be sent to the Pennsylvania Disability Determination Services and the SSA. Since living with a disability is hard enough without the stress of applying for benefits, employing a lawyer with experience in social security disability cases is recommended.
While the process of applying for benefits is complicated and confusing, SSA and the Pennsylvania Disability Determination Services are very strict about application requirements. There is little leeway in meeting all requirements and filling out paperwork completely and correctly, so it is important to have a lawyer on your side who has experience with the application process.
The role of a social security disability lawyer is to act as your advocate throughout the process of applying for benefits or appealing a denial of benefits. There is a lot of information to gather and paperwork that needs to be filled out during this process, and a lawyer will complete these tasks to raise your chances of approval. If there is anything that you do not understand while applying for benefits, your lawyer will be able to explain it to you in language that you understand instead of using complex legal terms.
While a person who is disabled may need to pay for personal expenses with disability insurance benefits, it is not uncommon for someone to be the provider for dependents as well. If you have a spouse, children or grandchildren who are depending on you to provide them with housing, food and other necessities, this will be taken into consideration during the process of applying for disability benefits. A lawyer can make sure that the SSA is aware of any responsibility you have to provide financial support for dependents to ensure that you get the money you need to support both yourself and your family members who depend on you. Contact a legal professional now to make sure that you and your family will be able to pay for basic necessities now and in the future.