According to the United States Census Bureau, there were over 56 million Americans of all ages living with either a mild disability or severe disability in the United States in 2010. Many Americans choose to purchase long-term disability plans. Attorneys are often needed to help file claims for both ERISA long-term disability insurance and private long-term disability insurance.
Additionally, while not everyone qualifies, there are thousands of Americans who are able to recover Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) for their disabilities. These benefits can greatly impact a disabled person’s ability to live comfortably, and affect the quality of care he or she requires. Learn more about the disability claims process below.
How to Apply for Disability Benefits
The first part of the disability claims process in Pennsylvania is filing an application for disability benefits. Documents you’ll need to apply include the following:
- your birth certificate,
- proof of citizenship or lawful alien status,
- W-2 forms or tax returns for the previous year,
- a disability report that documents your illnesses, work history, injuries, etc.,
- bank account information, and
- documentation of any workers’ compensation benefits you received.
Social Security Disability versus Supplemental Security Income
Appealing a Social Security Administration Decision
If your application for disability benefits is denied, you have the right to appeal the decision. It’s important to keep in mind, however, that the reconsideration process for SSI and SSDI claims is lengthy and complicated.
Usually, the first appeal for benefits is typically asking for reconsideration from a claims evaluator. If continually denied benefits, you will have 60 days from the Appeals Council’s decision to file a lawsuit in federal court. You can also file a lawsuit if the Appeals Council does not review your case.
After you have filed a complaint, things can become more complicated. First, you will have to serve a court-issued summons to the Social Security Administration. Then, you will have to file an opening brief that explains your position and why you believe you are entitled to Social Security disability benefits.
Then, the SSA will also file a response brief, and you will have the chance to file a rebuttal to its brief. There might also be an oral agreement. Finally, a judge will give the final opinion. Often, the appeals process is lengthy, and a federal appeal is expected to last at least twelve months, if not more.
Do I Need a Social Security Disability Attorney?
If you filed a claim for disability benefits, and if that claim has been denied, seeking the assistance of a legal professional is recommended. A Social Security disability attorney can guide you through the process of asking for reconsideration, going to a hearing with an administrative law judge, filing an appeal at an Appeals Council, and filing an appeal on a federal level.
Contact Us for a Free Consultation
If you’ve been denied benefits by the Social Security Administration, don’t wait any longer to take action. ARM Lawyers is ready to take on your claim today, and will work to pursue the benefits the SSA is denying you. To start fighting for your benefits today, call 570-257-4509 (Stroudsburg), 484-765-8140 (Palmerton), or 610-849-2788 (Bethlehem).