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Helpful guidance through the Social Security disability

The process of applying for Social Security disability benefits can be a challenging process. Because most applications are initially denied, and because of the availability of options for appeals, trained guidance can be useful throughout the application and appeals processes, if necessary. The definition of disability to qualify for Social Security disability is a strict one and requires that the disabled individual suffers from an impairment that prevents them from doing substantial work and that the impairment is expected to last a year or longer or result in death.

Though eligibility for SSD benefits does depend on work history, it does not depend on financial resources, however, Supplemental Security Income is an option for those of limited income and resources to consider. To qualify for Social Security disability benefits, the applicant must first submit an application, including medical records. If the application is denied, there are 4 levels of appeal for the disabled individual to consider.

Approximately one-third of all applications for SSD benefits are rejected. The applicant has 60 days to make a request for reconsideration following the initial denial. After that, the disabled individual can request a hearing before an administrative law judge or appeal to the federal courts. Trained representation can help applicants avoid common pitfalls, such as an incomplete application or incomplete medical records, which may help expedite the application or appeals processes to better help the disabled individual obtain benefits.

Guidance can be helpful during the application or appeals process to understanding the impairment listing criteria used by the Social Security Administration; to understand vocational guidelines; to understand the significance of the applicant's work history; and to properly document that the applicant is unable to perform alternate types of work. Representation during the process is on a continency fee basis and can be helpful winding through the maze of disability application and appeals steps which can be a time-consuming process with long waits, making the more the applicant knows about the process the better.

Source: Wisconsin State Journal, "Seeking assistance is a good idea when applying for disability benefits," Elliot Raphaelson, Sept. 2, 2017

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Pennsylvania Bar Association Philadelphia Bar Co-Chair SSD Committee Philadelphia Bar Co-Chair SSD Committee