Social Security Disability & SSI
At the Law Offices of Daniel J. Siegel, LLC, our attorneys regularly represent clients seeking Social Security Disability (SSD) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA) at every stage of their claims. We will meet with you to discuss your medical conditions that may qualify you for Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income benefits, guide you through the process, answer your questions, and represent you at a hearing in front of an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) if one is needed. Our attorneys will prepare you for your hearing and do the pre-hearing investigation for you including:
The SSA considers you to be disabled if: (1) You cannot work because of your medical condition(s); (2) you cannot do the work you previously did or adjust to other work because of your medical condition(s); and (3) your medical condition(s) is expected to last for at least one year or result in death. You do not have to be bedridden, but you must be able to show these factors.
You must submit an Application (online, by phone, in person at a Social Security office, or by mail) that is evaluated by SSA examiners. They review the nature and severity of your impairment, your medical records, work history, age, level of education, and if you could do other work. The SSA may require you to be examined by a doctor they select. If your application is denied, then you have 60 days to request Reconsideration. The application process essentially is repeated with updated information from you. If Reconsideration is denied, then you have 60 days to appeal and request a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). You will again submit updated information to the Social Security Administration and appear for a hearing.
Yes! It is not unusual to be denied after filing your initial application, and it also is not unusual to be denied after requesting reconsideration. Often, your best chance to obtain benefits is if you appear for a hearing before an ALJ. Statistics show that claimants who have an attorney have better results before an ALJ.
Unfortunately, it is a slow process. Typically, it takes up to six months for your initial application to be decided. If you apply for reconsideration, it can take up to six months again. Then, if you need to request a hearing, it can take up to a year and a half to get a hearing date, and another two to three months to receive a decision from the ALJ. Occasionally, cases will go through the process more quickly, but on average it can be up to two years from start to finish.
Possibly. To be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits, you cannot do “substantial gainful activity” (SGA). In 2023, the maximum income that applicants can receive from their work and still be eligible for benefits is $1,470.00 for SSD applicants and non-blind SSI applicants. Blind SSD applicants can earn up to $2,460.00 a month and still be eligible. There is no SGA limit for blind SSI applicants. If you have income that is greater than the SGA limits, you could lose your benefits.
If you are receiving SSD benefits, then SSA allows recipients to do a trial work period to see if they can return to work. SSA will look at your earnings in at least nine months in a rolling 60-month period. For 2023, if you have earnings that exceed $1,050 in those nine months, then Social Security will consider your disability to have ended. Note that the trial work period does not apply to SSI benefits.
SSA does not require you to hire a lawyer to apply for benefits. However, it is difficult to win an appeal without an attorney and statistics show that claimants who have an attorney have better results before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). At the hearing stage, you need to appear before the ALJ and it is helpful to have a legal representative to guide you through the process. We will work with you to file your appeals in a timely manner, obtain your medical records and reports, prepare special forms your doctors will need to complete, help you answer Social Security questionnaires, and monitor the status of your claim.
SSA limits the amount of attorney’s fees. You will only pay your lawyer fees if you obtain benefits, and then the fees are capped at 25% of any back benefits you receive, up to a maximum of $7,200.
You cannot obtain SSD or SSI benefits if you do not have medical records to show you are disabled. We understand that this is difficult for some individuals.
Family members may be eligible for SSD benefits. This would include children under 18, spouses who are taking care of dependent children, disabled children under 18 (SSI), and adult disabled children or widows of a deceased Social Security recipient.
Our firm welcomes people from the greater Philadelphia area, Southeastern Pennsylvania, and nearby areas. To arrange a free consultation to discuss Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income benefits, contact us at (610) 446-3457, click here to send us an email, or fill out the form below.