Nikolaus & Hohenadel regularly represents disabled individuals who are seeking benefits under the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program. While the Social Security Administration (SSA) offers presumptive disability benefits to those who qualify for SSI, navigating the claims process can be complicated and confusing.
Our practice is focused on helping our clients throughout Pennsylvania obtain the disability benefits they deserve. Lead attorney Angel E. Torres is not only well-versed in the eligibility requirements for presumptive disability benefits, but also fluent in Spanish. Angel is highly regarded for providing our clients with compassionate representation and standing up for underserved communities.
When you consult with us, you will have comfort knowing that our dedicated advocates are on your side. Please contact our office today for a consultation.
Am I eligible for Supplemental Security Income?
Disability benefits under the SSI program are available if you are disabled, over the age of 65 or blind. Minors under the age of 18 who have a qualifying impairment are also eligible for SSI. While it is not necessary to have paid into the Social Security system, you must be unable to work and support yourself due to your condition.
You should know that SSI is only available to those who can demonstrate financial need; and there are strict income and asset limits ($2,000 for individuals, $3,000 for married couples). Moreover, claims are frequently denied for technical reasons. Rest assured our legal team has the skills and experience to help you obtain the disability benefits you need and deserve.
What are presumptive disability benefits?
The SSA grants immediate SSI payments, known as presumptive disability benefits, when it is convinced a pending claim will be approved. In other words, certain medical impairments are presumed to be disabling, including:
- Amputation of two limbs
- Amputation of one leg at the hip
- Total blindness
- Total deafness
- Spinal cord injury resulting in an inability to walk without an assistive device (e.g. walker)
- Stroke resulting in difficulty walking or using a hand or arm
- Cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, or muscular atrophy requiring the use of a wheelchair or other assistive device
- Symptomatic HIV infection or AIDS
- Down syndrome
- End-stage kidney disease
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
- Being in hospice care, with 6 months or less to live
Because this is not the SSA’s complete list of medical impairments that qualify for presumptive disability benefits, it is best to speak with an experienced attorney who can help determine if you are eligible.
In any event, presumptive disability benefits are only available to new SSI claimants who qualify based on their income and assets, and benefit payments are only made for 6 months. If the SSA has not made a disability determination within this time period, presumptive disability benefits will end.
Even if you are presumed to be disabled, your claim may ultimately be denied if you do not meet the financial means test. If your benefits claim is denied, you will not be required to repay any benefit payments that you received.
How do I obtain presumptive disability benefits?
You can apply for presumptive disability benefits when you file your initial claim. While the SSA presumes certain impairments to be disabling, your claim must be supported by medical evidence provided by your treating physician.
This is where Nikolaus & Hohenadel can help. We will help you prepare and file your SSI application and work with your doctor to compile the necessary medical records. Depending on the circumstances, your claim may be decided by a disability examiner or by Disability Determination Services (DDS), a unit of the SSA that typically reviews claims for both SSI and Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits.
If your condition is not among the impairments that SSA presumes to be disabling, you may still be eligible, as long as your condition is medically equivalent to a listed presumptive disability. Trust our experienced disability attorneys to guide you through the process and help you obtain the benefits you need as quickly as possible.
Additional Benefits for Individuals with Presumptive Disabilities
In addition to presumptive disability benefits, you may also be eligible for Medicaid based on your financial need. Also, the SSA offers the following expedited disability benefits programs:
- Compassionate allowance is available for many types of cancer and other disabling conditions that can be easily diagnosed
- Terminal Illness Program (TERI) is available to individuals with terminal illnesses or who are in hospice care
- Quick Disability Determination is a process by which claims are quickly determined through an SSA software program
Given that time is of the essence for obtaining presumptive disability benefits, it is crucial to work with an experienced disability attorney. Our legal team knows the ins and outs of the claims process and will leverage our skills and resources to get you these much-needed benefits.
Contact Our Experienced Pennsylvania Disability Attorneys
At Nikolaus & Hohenadel, we have a proven history of helping our clients obtain the presumptive disability benefits they deserve. The sooner you contact our office, the sooner we can start working on your claim.