Chester County Social Security Disability Lawyer
Learn about your rights when you are disabled and seeking social security disability benefits. Our West Chester PA litigation firm represents disabled individuals seeking social security disability benefits. The west chester pa office for Social Security is located at 1101 West Chester Pike, West Chester PA 19382.
Social Security Disability in Pennsylvania
Perhaps you are one of the thousands of Americans who have spent your entire life working and paying into the system, then you find that when you need the system the most, it is resistant to paying back. If you find yourself in this position, it is important to speak to an experienced Pennsylvania Social Security Disability attorney as soon as possible. Attorneys in this specialized field know the system inside and out, affording them the unique ability to fully assess a client’s disability, as well as the chances of obtaining benefits from Social Security. Your attorney will fight aggressively for your rights when you may be unable to fight for yourself.
Determinations of whether disabled Pennsylvania citizens are eligible for federal disability benefits are made by the Social Security Administration in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Bureau of Disability Determination. The BDD processes as many as 145,000 disability claims for Pennsylvania residents annually. Psychologists, physicians and case examiners are employed by the Bureau of Disability Determination to process case reviews for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) as well as the Supplemental Security Income Program.
How is Disability Defined?
The Social Security Administration uses a fairly strict definition of disability for adults. In order to be considered disabled, the medical condition suffered by the adult must prevent him or her from performing any substantial work, and the condition or illness must have been in evidence for a year, must be expected to last at least a year, or could reasonably be expected to result in death. For a child to be considered disabled, a mental or physical condition must significant limit normal activities, and, just as for an adult, the condition must have been in evidence for at least a year, must be expected to last at least a year or could reasonably be expected to result in death.
Eligibility for Pennsylvania Social Security Disability
In order to be eligible to receive Social Security Disability, you must be the actual insured or the child or widow or widower of the insured. You must meet all the criteria set forth by Social Security to be considered disabled, you must be unable to perform any substantial work, and you must have worked and paid Social Security taxes for enough time to satisfy Social Security requirements–with at least some of those taxes being paid in recent years. You must also be a U.S. citizen or meet the requirements in place for non-citizens, and you must have few financial resources. Some of the medical conditions accepted by the Social Security Administration include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Kidney disease;
- Cerebral palsy;
- Serious back and neck injuries;
- COPD and other serious respiratory illnesses;
- Vision or hearing loss;
- Cardiovascular disorders, including coronary artery disease and heart failure;
- Multiple sclerosis;
- Other serious neurological disorders;
- Parkinson’s disease;
- Certain skin disorders;
- Liver disease;
- Rheumatoid arthritis;
- Other mental health issues;
- Disorders of the immune system;
- Lupus, and
- Liver disease.
How to Apply for Pennsylvania Social Security Disability Benefits
Typically, applications for disability benefits can take months to process, so as soon as you suffer an illness or condition which leaves you disabled, you should apply immediately. The Disability Report as well as the Social Security application for benefits must be completed. You may be able to complete these applications online. Your application will be reviewed by the Social Security Administration in order to determine whether you meet the basic criteria regarding eligibility. If your application is deemed eligible, it will be forwarded to the Pennsylvania Bureau of Disability Determination.
You may be asked to provide medical evidence of your disability, such as when your medical condition began, what, specifically, your medical condition consists of, how the condition limits your everyday activities, what treatment and tests you have received, and what those tests revealed. The Bureau of Disability Determination may ask your doctor questions, specifically regarding how your illness or condition prevents you from performing work-related activities, such as carrying, lifting, sitting, walking, or remembering instructions.
If the BDD is not convinced of your disability by your medical records and through speaking to your doctor, you may be asked to go in for a special examination. Applicants who work and earn above the Substantial Gainful Activity level as set forth by Social Security will be denied immediately, without having their specific injury or illness considered, although some individuals may work part-time while applying for benefits so long as they are not earning more than the allowable amount of income. If you are denied disability benefits, you are entitled to appeal that decision. You must make your appeal in writing, and it must be delivered to any Social Security office within sixty days of the date your received the decision letter.
What Happens if You Move Out of State?
If you move while your case is pending, it is important to know that you are “in line” in the state of Pennsylvania, so to speak, with cases in front of and behind you. Moving out of state requires that you go to the end of the line and start over. Should you decide not to disclose the fact you are moving out of state, you will nonetheless be required to travel to Pennsylvania when your hearing comes up. Obviously, this is a risky decision, as you would be unable to present medical records from your new state of residence.
If the judge becomes aware of the deception, you could be kicked back to the end of the line, and forced to start over. If you have already been awarded Social Security Administration benefits, then your ability to keep these benefits will not be affected, and, in fact, if you move to a state with a higher cost of living, the benefits may actually be increased. You must, however, visit or call your local Social Security Office as soon as you know you will be moving to another state and have a forwarding address.
Getting the Help You Need
There are a number of complexities associated with applying for Social Security Disability, which means having an experienced Pennsylvania Social Security Disability attorney by your side can help the process go much more smoothly. Don’t passively accept a denial of your disability—call a knowledgeable a knowledgeable attorney today who can fight the system which seems intent on shutting you out.
The Social Security Disablity attorneys of Ciccarelli Law Offices have successfully represented individuals throughout the state of Pennsylvania that have been denied social security disablity. Our Chester County based law firm is based at 304 North High Street, West Chester PA 19380 and serves clients in Kennett Square, Downingtown, West Chester, Coatesville, Exton, Chester Springs, Chadds Ford, Landenberg, Honey Brook, Oxford, Malvern, Parkesburg, Phoenixville and Paoli. Contact us now at (610) 692-8700 or call toll free (877) 529-2422. Don’t wait—contact an attorney immediately.