More videos: What Not to Do at Your Hearing, Are You Likely to Qualify?, How to Be Persuasive, How to Describe Daily Activities, When You Have Physical Impairments and Mental Limitations, and Can You Work Part-Time?

Will I be approved for Social Security disability benefits?

The first question we are usually asked by our Philadelphia disability clients is whether they should even apply for Social Security disability benefits.  We tell them that they must be found “disabled” by the Social Security Administration to receive Philadelphia disability benefits.  You are disabled only if your physical or mental impairment is so severe that you are unable to do your previous work and you cannot, considering your age, education, and work experience, do any other substantial gainful work that exists in the national economy.

The Social Security Administration’s determination of whether you are disabled involves a detailed analysis, but your ability to work, age, education, and recent jobs are key factors that affect the determination.  This evaluation process, however, is complex and the Social Security Administration’s determinations can sometimes defy common sense.

The Social Security Administration is likely to award you Social Security disability benefits if your answers match the ones below:

  • Do you have a job that pays you more than $1,000 per month and involves more than minimum duties? No
  • Do you have a severe impairment?  An impairment or combination of impairments is severe if it significantly limits your physical or mental ability to do basic work activities.  Yes
  • Will your impairment last 12 continuous months (or is it expected to last that long) or result in death?  Yes
  • Does your disability meet or equal one of the impairments described in the Social Security Administration’s regulations known as the Listing of Impairments?  If Yes, you qualify.  If No
  • Considering your residual functional capacity, are you able to do your past relevant work (any work you have performed in the last 15 years, including your easiest job)?  No, and…
  • Can you make an adjustment to other work that exists in significant numbers in the economy, considering your residual functional capacity, age, education, and work experience?  If No, you qualify.

For more information, see our video “Will you qualify for Social Security disability benefits?” above.

You also must be “insured” to receive Philadelphia disability benefits.  To be “insured,” you must have paid Social Security taxes over a long enough period of time and paid such taxes recently enough.  After stopping work (and stopping paying Social Security taxes), there will come a time when your insured status will lapse, just like with a private insurance plan.

If your answers matched the ones above and you have paid Social Security taxes, you have a good chance of being approved for Social Security disability benefits.

What an experienced disability lawyer will do to help you win Social Security benefits

Filing for Social Security disability benefits can be a complicated and frustrating process.  Claimants with representation have a better chance of a successful result, according to the Social Security Administration.  The most important thing we can do for you as your Philadelphia disability lawyer is analyze your case to determine what needs to be proven for you to win Social Security disability benefits.  We then figure out how to prove it and gather the evidence necessary for your case.

We also handle any of the specific tasks necessary to assist you with your case.  We can request that your prior application for Social Security disability benefits be reopened.  We seek waivers of time limits when necessary.

Another important task we assist you with is obtaining helpful medical documentation for your Social Security disability claim.  The Social Security Administration requires a lot of medical documentation, and wants to see medical test results.  Conclusions by your treating doctor are insufficient.

We make sure the case files for all our clients contain the actual test results for all significant positive results, and that those results are consistent with the Social Security Administration’s specific requirements for particular kinds of medical evidence.

The following are some examples of the medical documentation we gather to help you submit a strong Philadelphia Social Security disability claim:

  • Admission histories and physicals;
  • Emergency room records;
  • Medical consultants’ reports;
  • Pathologist reports;
  • Physical therapy evaluations;
  • Radiology reports; and
  • Surgical and operative reports.

Your final medical documentation package will depend upon our theory for your claim. For example, hospital records for treatment of an acute illness are less important than the records generated by your doctor or therapist after you have stabilized. Why? Because the issue to be determined is whether you can work after recovering from the acute phase of your illness, not whether you can work while hospitalized.

For your disability hearing, we will advise you on how best to prepare for and testify at the hearing; and, if necessary, we’ll request subpoenas to insure the presence of crucial witnesses or documents.  At that hearing, we will object to improper evidence or procedures at the hearing, cross-examine adverse witnesses and present a closing statement.  And we’ll submit a written summary of the evidence and argument.

One thing that is difficult for us, or any Philadelphia disability lawyer, to do is to speed up the Social Security disability process because the Social Security Administration provides few opportunities for that.  However, under certain circumstances, we may be able to expedite your hearing if your case meets the Social Security Administration’s criteria.  But we will work our hardest to make sure the process goes as smoothly as possible.  We also promise to answer all your questions about the process, and keep you informed of your case’s progress.

Our firm’s commitment to and expertise in Social Security disability law

We have been practicing Social Security disability law in the Philadelphia metro area for over 30 years.  Mike Silver, our firm’s co-founder, served as a past President of the National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives (NOSSCR), an association of almost 4,000 attorneys and paralegals who represent Social Security disability and Supplemental Security Income claimants.  NOSSCR’s members are committed to providing high quality representation for disability claimants and to maintaining a system of full and fair adjudication for every claimant.  Mike lectures on disability law to the medical, legal, and insurance communities, and testified before the House of Representatives’ Social Security Subcommittee, advocating for ways to make the disability system more equitable.

Mike also founded and chaired the Philadelphia Bar Association’s Disability Law Committee from its inception in 1995 through 2004.   He has been recognized by Philadelphia Magazine as a Super Lawyer in the disability field from 2004 through 2010.  Mike is also involved in arthritis advocacy, and served as the Chairman of the Arthritis Foundation of the Eastern Pennsylvania’s Board of Directors from 2002 to 2005.  He currently serves as the Arthritis Foundation’s Advocacy Chair and is the co-Chair of the Foundation’s Jingle Bell Run.  He was the recipient of the Ambassador for Arthritis Award in 2009.

Mike and the other attorneys at our firm focus on practicing Social Security disability law, which allows us to offer you a combination of specialized experience and knowledge, and a successful methodology to approaching your Social Security disability case.   We will help navigate you through the often complex Social Security disability application and appeal process.  For information about us, see About Us.

Experienced Social Security disability lawyers available for your New Jersey, Delaware, or Pennsylvania disability case

We handle Social Security disability applications and appeals for claimants located throughout Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware. We are experienced with handling all types of impairments, including the following:

  • Arthritis & joint damage
  • Asthma
  • Back injuries
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Complex regional pain syndrome
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Diabetes
  • Hearing impairments
  • Lung disease
  • Mental impairments
  • Soft tissue injuries
  • Stroke

Our 100-plus page website provides you with additional information about all types of impairments and how the Social Security Administration will look at your claim.

We can walk you through both the filing of your Social Security benefits application and, if your application is denied, the process of appealing.  We are more than happy to evaluate your disability claim without charge or obligation, whatever your impairment.

If you live in Pennsylvania, Delaware, or New Jersey, and need help either with your initial application or filing your appeal because your application has been denied, please complete the short claim evaluation form to the right, and we will respond promptly.

Or you may contact us at:

Silver & Silver
42 West Lancaster Avenue
Ardmore, Pennsylvania  19003

We are conveniently located in Ardmore, just two miles from City Ave, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

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