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Law Offices of Attorney Daniel W. Stern
Harrisburg Social Security Disability Law

Harrisburg Social Security Disability Attorney – York PA

Social Security Disability Lawyer Harrisburg, York, Lancaster, Cumberland

Social Security Disability Law FAQ

If your health prevents you from earning more than $1,000 per month, or if you are a disabled child, you are entitled to monthly benefits and either Medicare or Medicaid, under federal social security law.

Your health includes your physical and mental health: persons with mental or psychological problems severe enough to keep them from working on a sustained basis are eligible for these benefits, the same as people with physical impairments: the only question is their severity, and the effect on your ability to work.

Occasionally people tell me they feel embarrassed or ashamed to request this benefit. To them I say the following: If you worked for 10 or more years out of the last 15, then you paid into a system of insurance that was created by law to help people who are disabled. I have never met anyone who asked to be disabled, or who would not readily discard their ailments and go to work if given the chance to do so. I also tell them that being disabled is not necessarily a life sentence – health can improve, illnesses respond to treatment, and new treatments become available. And if a person has not worked, or not worked long enough or recently enough and is poor (owns assets, excluding a home, of less than $2,000), a program called SSI or “Supplemental Security Income” is available.

For either or both programs, the application procedure is simple enough: call or visit a local social security office, or call a toll free national number, or apply online at www.ssa.gov. If you need help with the application process, call me.

After the application is filed, the SSA will collect your medical information from the doctors and hospitals that have treated you, so it is important to give complete information regarding your medical treatment. If the SSA views the records as providing enough evidence to support your claim, it grants the application and you are done. If it believes the evidence is not sufficient, it will send a Notice of Denial, which will advise you of your right to appeal and to request a hearing within 60 days.

I have personally handled hundreds of these appeals over more than 25 years, in all counties in central Pennsylvania, including appeals to the federal courts. Here is what it takes to be successful:

  • Accurate, complete and up to date treatment records from all of your physicians
  • Compliance with treatment prescribed by your doctors
  • No use of illegal drugs or alcohol that substantially contribute to your problems
  • Total truthfulness in completing forms and in front of the Judge
  • Witnesses who can describe your daily problems
  • A lawyer who understands the disability and SSI laws and regulations and who obtains and then presents the information needed to persuade the Judge of the fairness of your claim and the injustice resulting from its denial.

The law sets the fees that are allowed in these cases, and no lawyer can charge or receive a fee without having the agreement approved. The usual contingent fee (no fee paid unless benefits awarded) is 25% of the past due benefits you are owed, or $6,000, whichever results in the lower fee. There is no fee charged to have your case reviewed. It is very important that as much of your medical file as possible be made available for the review to be able to predict the chances of success.

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