42+ Years of Serving The Disabled in Pennsylvania
For Disabled Pennsylvanians
Social Security Disability Lawyers in Reading, PA
Fighting to Get Your Medical Condition Approved as a Disability in Berks County
Reading is the county seat of Berks County and part of the Philadelphia metropolitan area, a region that also includes Philadelphia, Upper Darby Township, Pennsylvania, Camden, and other suburban Philadelphia cities and regions. With a 2020 population of 6.288 million, the Delaware Valley is the nation’s seventh-largest metropolitan region. Given the size and continued growth of Reading, it is no surprise that there are also more people seeking to make a social security disability claim.
GET A FREE CONSULTATION WITH LARRY PITT
Get Help From a Skilled Reading Social Security Disability Lawyer From Larry Pitt & Associates
At Larry Pitt & Associates, our lawyers understand how complex and hard the SSDI standards for disability approval are. We work with your doctors and employers, vocational experts, and independent doctors to help show that you qualify for benefits. Don’t handle your claim on your own. Make an appointment with a Social Security Disability lawyer today by calling 888-PITT-LAW or completing our contact form to schedule a free initial consultation at our office in Reading, Pennsylvania. We are proud to serve clients throughout:
What Is A Social Security Disability Claim?
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a U.S. government program that pays workers who become disabled if they meet the eligibility standards. According to the Social Security Administration (SSA), more than 10 million people were awarded SSDI benefits in 2016. The average age of an SSDI recipient was 54. Almost half of the recipients were women. About one-third of the recipients had a musculoskeletal system disorder. The average monthly payment was $1,171.15.
At Larry Pitt & Associates, our Reading Social Security Disability attorneys first review whether you have worked enough years to qualify – five years out of the previous ten. We then review your medical history to determine if your medical condition is on the Social Security Administration’s pre-approved disability list. Finally, we examine your background to see if you might qualify based on the combination of your medical ailments and your inability to do your current job or other jobs.
Eligibility for SSDI Benefits
To obtain SSDI benefits, you must be able to prove that:
- You can’t work because of your medical condition.
- Your medical condition prevents you from doing any job.
- Your disability is expected to last for 12 months or more.
You do not need to show that your medical condition was caused by work. For example, if you become paralyzed because of a fall in your home, you are eligible for SSDI, provided you meet the three-prong test above. Some of your family members may also be entitled to Disability income if you are ruled eligible. Minor children, some adult children with disabilities, and spouses who have reached retirement age are also eligible for some SSDI benefits. The amount of your benefits depends on how many years you worked and how much you earned. After two years, Disability beneficiaries are eligible to receive a Medicare card.
How Social Security Disability Applicants Can Meet the Pre-Approved List of Impairments
The SSA has already approved 14 categories of impairments. Each category includes many subcategories. Some of the medical conditions that are pre-approved (provided you can verify you have that medical condition) are:
- Autoimmune disorders, such as multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis
- Digestive disorders, such as hepatitis, Crohn’s disease, and irritable bowel syndrome
- Heart disease
- Mental and cognitive disorders, such as bipolar depression and post-traumatic stress disorder
- Musculoskeletal impairments, including degenerative disc disease, fibromyalgia, and scoliosis
- Neurological disorders, such as traumatic brain injury or seizure disorders
- Vision and hearing loss
A social security disability attorney must do much more than just assert you have a condition that is on the list of impairments. Your doctor must verify you have the condition by showing what tests he or she gave you and that your results are considered disabling. Some of the conditions require that your disorder be severe.
How to Prove a Disability if Not on the Impairment List
If you can’t meet one of the conditions on the list, your social security disability lawyer can also argue that you have a comparable condition. We also work to show that your condition meets the SSDI definition of disability based on factors in addition to your medical ailments. SSDI has a checklist they use that examines:
- Your age. Eligibility varies depending on if you are under 50 years of age, 50-55, 55-60, or 60-retirement age
- Your residual functional capacity. Eligibility varies depending on the determination as to whether you can do:
- Sedentary work
- Light work
- Medium work
- Heavy work
- Very heavy work
- Your education. The education categories are essentially illiterate, below grade 11, high school or GED, and showing you were trained for certain job skills
- Your skill level. The job skill categories are unskilled, semi-skilled, and skilled
The Social Security Administration determines which of the above categories you meet and whether any job skills can be transferred. Generally, the checklist favors older, unskilled, and less educated workers. Still, you should review whether you qualify with an experienced Reading Social Security Disability lawyer. We work with your employers and doctors to help show you meet the checklist criteria.
What Does A Social Security Disability Lawyer Do?
Throughout the entire process, a social security disability lawyer will provide essential legal counsel and support. At Larry Pitt & Associates we offer personalized advice and guidance tailored to your unique circumstances. We assist with gathering and organizing relevant documentation, completing forms, and ensuring all necessary paperwork is submitted accurately and on time to ensure you receive the maximum benefits they are entitled to under the Social Security Disability program.
Initial Application Process
The initial application process for Social Security Disability benefits can be complex and overwhelming. A Larry Pitt social security disability lawyer will guide you through the process step by step. Our team helps clients gather all the necessary documentation, such as:
- medical records
- employment history
- supporting evidence
It is critical that the application is accurate, complete, and submitted within the required timelines. Your social security disability attorney will also communicate with the Social Security Administration on your behalf and address any inquiries or requests for additional information.
Appeals and Hearings
In cases where a disability claim is denied, your social security disability attorney will handle the appeals process, including administrative hearings. Our disability lawyers prepare clients for administrative hearings before Administrative Law Judges and gather additional evidence and medical documentation to strengthen the case. We will represent you during the hearing, presenting the best case for the disability claim.
Medical Documentation and Expert Testimony
Medical documentation and expert testimony play a crucial role in Social Security Disability claims. Your social security disability attorney will work closely with healthcare providers to obtain comprehensive and up-to-date medical records that support the disability claim. We collaborate with medical experts to provide professional opinions and expert testimony regarding your condition and its impact on your ability to work.
Reconsideration and Review Processes
If a disability claim is denied following an administrative hearing, there are further options for review. Your social security disability attorney will handle requests for reconsideration of denied claims and file appeals with the Appeals Council.
Federal Court Appeals
In some cases, it may be necessary to pursue a federal court appeal after exhausting all administrative options. Social Security disability lawyers represent clients in federal court appeals, filing lawsuits against the Social Security Administration on behalf of clients whose claims have been denied. Our lawyers prepare and present the case before a federal judge, making the case for your social security disability benefits.
What Our Clients Say
Social Security Benefits FAQs
Certain medical conditions are considered automatically eligible for SSD – but that does not mean your application for benefits will automatically be approved. There are many factors that go into a claim for Social Security Disability benefits. At Larry Pitt & Associates, we have filed successful SSD applications for benefits on behalf of clients with a disability affecting their: Cardiovascular System, Digestive System, Musculoskeletal System, Respiratory System, and Special Senses & Speech.
We also represent people with:
- Congenital disorders affecting multiple bodily systems
- Endocrine disorders
- Genitourinary disorders
- Hematological disorders
- Immune system disorders
- Malignant neoplastic disorders
- Mental disorders
- Neurological conditions
- Skin disorders
People with HIV/AIDS may qualify for Social Security Disability when they can no longer work, or they must limit their work due to the disease. The laws affecting children are a bit different than those affecting adults, so it is smart to seek the help of our Social Security attorneys if you have questions, or if you have a child who has a permanent disability or medical condition. More than 700,000 children with disabilities currently receive Social Security Disability Insurance benefits, and we can help your child obtain them too.
The Social Security Administration recognizes certain physical impairments as acceptable injuries or conditions for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits. However, having a physical condition on the list does not guarantee that you will automatically receive benefits. You must still follow the proper procedure for filing, and provide ample medical proof from a doctor that you have the disability and that your ability to work is impeded by it.
A physical disability can be acquired (like breaking your back in a fall or developing a disease or condition like Multiple Sclerosis), congenital (where you are born with a condition, like a heart defect) or hereditary (where a condition, like hemophilia for example, is passed through the genes). Certain mental or “impairments considered severe enough to prevent an individual from doing any gainful activity” according to the SSA. Those physical impairments include:
- Cardiovascular system conditions, such as heart attacks and strokes
- Digestive system conditions, such as those caused by liver disease or by conditions like IBS
- Endocrine disorders affecting the adrenal, pancreas, parathyroid, pituitary, and thyroid glands
- Genitourinary disorders, chronic kidney disease or disorders
- Hematological disorders such as hemophilia
- Immune system disorders like HIV/AIDS
- Malignant neoplastic disorders like cancer
- Musculoskeletal system conditions like arthritis or a spinal cord injury
- Neurological conditions including Parkinson’s, Epilepsy, cerebral palsy, MS, muscular dystrophy, ALS or a traumatic brain injury
- Respiratory system conditions like mesothelioma
- Skin disorders, such as those resulting from burns or presenting with lesions
- Special senses and speech problems, such as vision or hearing loss
Acceptable physical impairments can range from visible amputations to a less clear – but just as medically acceptable – diagnosis of fibromyalgia. The SSA’s list of acceptable conditions is comprehensive, but that does not mean that you are ineligible if your condition is not on their list. Larry Pitt & Associates has successfully represented clients whose medical conditions were unlisted but still serious enough to prevent them from working. Whether you need help with your initial application or your previous attempt to claim Social Security Disability benefits was initially denied, our Philadelphia, PA law firm can help.
The Social Security Administration recognizes a number of mental impairments and disabilities that can make it impossible for a person to support him or herself – psychologically, emotionally, or financially. If the person has developed or acquired such an impairment and has contributed to the Social Security fund for at least five years, then he or she should be eligible for disability benefits.
The SSA has a list of specific mental and physical impairments that are automatically considered for benefits – but this is no guarantee that you will be granted those benefits. That is why experienced Social Security Disability lawyers like those at Larry Pitt & Associates are a crucial part of the application process. We represent the best interests of people who suffer from:
- Anxiety disorders, such as manic depression/bi-polar disorder or post-traumatic stress disorder
- Autism and other pervasive developmental disorders
- Congenital disorders affecting multiple bodily systems, like Down Syndrome
- Intellectual disabilities, usually indicated by a low IQ
- Personality disorders, such as sociopathic tendencies
- Psychosis-related disorders such as schizophrenia or paranoia
- Organic mental disorders that affect the brain but are not related to other types of disorders. Organic disorders may present with memory loss, could be brought on by an illness or a traumatic brain injury, or could be caused by any number of reasons
- Somatoform disorders, which present with physical symptoms but lack any “proof” of why those symptoms exist
- Substance addiction
In order to prove that your mental impairment makes it impossible for you to work and support yourself, you must have documentation from a doctor that supports the diagnosis. At Larry Pitt & Associates, we work with your doctors to ensure that all of the paperwork is in order. We want you to start collecting your benefits as quickly as possible, but we will never substitute thoroughness for speed. That is why so many people in and around Bensalem, including people whose initial application for benefits was denied before they came to see us, trust our firm to help and protect them.
Social Security Disability benefits are granted to people who have paid into the system for at least 5 years, and who are suffering from an illness or injury that will take no fewer than 12 months to recover from. But the Social Security Administration is notorious for denying a person’s benefits in the initial stages. That is why you want an experienced Bensalem Social Security Disability lawyer on your side.
When you apply for Social Security Disability (SSD), you need to gather some important information to include with your application. That information consists of:
- Your medical records, including the names of your doctors and your medications
- Your birth certificate and marriage license (if you are married), as well as the birth certificates of any minor children you have
- A list of all the employers you worked for in the last 15 years, and contact information for any employer you have worked for in the last two years (plus your current employer)
- Your bank name and account numbers
- What type of education and job training you have had
- Proof of any military service
Certain physical and mental impairments are considered automatically eligible for Social Security Disability benefits – but that does not mean your application will automatically be accepted. We review all of our clients’ applications before filing them because even one seemingly minor mistake can cost you your benefits on your initial try. The Social Security Disability lawyers of Larry Pitt & Associates can also help you gather your information if you are having difficulties, or if it is not readily available to you, and will walk you through the application itself to ensure that it is filled out correctly.
Our firm can also help determine whether or not you are eligible for Supplemental Security Income. A person whose initial application is accepted will begin receiving their benefits very soon. But sometimes the initial application for SSD benefits is rejected. Larry Pitt & Associates has helped thousands of people in and around Bensalem who have tried to fill out the application on their own, or who originally enlisted the help of another firm for their disability benefits application. If your initial claim has been denied, we assist you through the rest of the process, including the:
- Hearing in front of an Administrative Law Judge
- Review of the decision by the Social Security Appeals Council
We also represent clients who wish to file a civil lawsuit in federal district court.
Unlike Social Security Disability, which is available for people who have paid into the system for at least five years, SSI is a federal benefits program available only to individuals with limited incomes or assets. People over the age of 65 may also be eligible, even if they are not disabled.
The main difference comes with your work history and income: if you put money into Social Security, then you may be eligible for SSD benefits. But there are other differences too, such as:
- Age restrictions. Adults and children may be eligible for SSI, but only working adults can apply for SSD.
- Benefit amounts. SSI is based on laws passed by the Pennsylvania and federal governments. SSD payments are based on how much money you contributed.
- Family benefits. These are available for people on SSD but not for people who collect SSI.
- Income limits. There is no income or asset limit when you apply for Social Security Disability, but there are limits to both for SSI. With SSI, all other forms of income may affect your benefits, whereas that is not necessarily the case with SSD.
- Living arrangements. If someone new moves into your household, you must report it to the SSA if you receive Supplemental Security Income, whereas you do not have to report it if you collect disability benefits. Where you live also affects your SSI payments.
- Medicare is available to eligible individuals collecting disability, but those collecting Supplemental Security Incomes in Bensalem are eligible for Medicaid.
What the two programs do have in common, though, is that both are designed to help the ill and injured protect themselves. A long-term or permanent disability can make it impossible for you to stay financially secure; these packages make sure that you can take care of yourself. The list of mental and physical impairments is very similar for both programs, though some exceptions do apply. If you have a mental or physical disability that makes it impossible for you to work and support yourself and your family, there are benefits supplied by the government for which you can apply. Depending on your particular circumstances, you may be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits or for Supplemental Security Income.
At Larry Pitt & Associates, we can help you apply for either one. We have been a trusted name in Bensalem Social Security Disability law firms for the last 45 years, and we have the skills and the resources you want on your side. If you are unsure whether or not you are eligible for SSD or SSI, we want to hear from you.