Social Security disability benefits are available to individuals who cannot work due to a medical condition, however, the application process is complicated. If there are mistakes or the required medical information is not included, your benefits will be denied. By working with the right disability benefits lawyer, you increase the likelihood of obtaining the benefits you deserve.
At Nikolaus & Hohenadel, we regularly assist clients with Social Security disability applications throughout Central Pennsylvania. We know what disability examiners look for when processing claims and will make sure your benefits application is properly handled. While it is true that the majority of initial claims are denied, many applicants lack proper legal representation. We can help you avoid the common mistakes in submitting a disability benefits application and will guide you through each step of the process.
How do I apply for disability benefits in Pennsylvania?
Generally, there are three ways to apply for Social Security disability benefits: online, by phone or in person at a local Social Security Administration field office. The application includes questions about your medical condition, and the information you must provide includes the following:
- Social Security Number
- Birth certificate
- Contact information of doctors
- Names and dosages of prescription medications
- Detailed work history
Additionally, there are numerous forms to complete, which include a questionnaire about how your disability interferes with your day-to-day activities. In addition, the medical records must support and be consistent with the limitations you are alleging. In short, your Social Security disability application must show that you are unable to perform any substantial gainful activity.
As you can see, the application must be thorough. If there are mistakes or omissions, it could lead to your disability benefits being denied. It makes a difference when you have an experienced disability lawyer on your side. Nikolaus & Hohenadel will work closely with you to make sure your disability application is thorough and accurate.
The Disability Claims Evaluation
Once your application is submitted, Social Security disability examiners will review based on a number of criteria. If you are applying for benefits under the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program, you must have acquired the necessary amount of work credits. Generally, a total of 40 credits is required, half of which must have been earned in the last 10 years. It is worth noting that younger workers who have acquired fewer credits may still be eligible. If you have earned the right number of work credits, your disability application will then be reviewed by the Disability Determination Services (DDS).
The Disability Determination Services Review
DDS will review the information and medical records included with your social security application.
Key factors the DDS will consider are whether you are capable of performing the same type of work you did before you became disabled, or whether you can perform any other type of work within your background and physical limitations. At the same time, you must be able to prove that your medical condition has lasted, or is expected to last one year or longer or result in your death.
In addition, DDS may also require you to undergo one or more consultative exams by a doctor contracted by the SSA, if they feel they need an additional medical opinion on a person’s condition.
After DDS has made its decision, you will receive a letter. If your claim for disability benefits has been approved, you will be informed about the monthly benefit amount and when the benefits will be paid. Because of the time involved in processing a disability application, the benefits may also be retroactive. On the other hand, if your claim is denied, you will be given an explanation for the denial and informed of your right to appeal.
Contact Our Lancaster Social Security Application Lawyer
At Nikolaus & Hohenadel, we understand that submitting a Social Security disability application can be challenging for anyone who is coping with a serious medical condition. Our disability lawyers are here to guide you through the claims process, from completing the necessary forms and questionnaires to collecting the required medical information. We will also look closely at your medical records to make sure they support your claim.
If your claim is denied, however, we have the skills and experience to handle your appeal. Above all, we will work to protect your rights and help you secure the disability benefits you deserve. If you have questions about applying for disability benefits, feel free to contact our office today.
Nikolaus & Hohenadel serves clients throughout Central Pennsylvania, including Lancaster, York, Lebanon, and Dauphin Counties and the cities of Lewistown, Harrisburg, Carlisle, and Chambersburg. Se habla Español.