Every year, people are wrongfully denied benefits that are rightfully theirs.
Are you one of them?
If you’ve been denied Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability (SSD), contact us for help. The initial filing can be a complicated process. There are plenty of pitfalls and even a simple paperwork error can result in a denial. If your application was denied, you are absolutely within your rights to appeal.
At The Law Offices of Matthew Kelly Associates, we’ve been helping the people of Wilkes-Barre and Scranton in this exact situation for decades. We understand how to file the paperwork and we know what the judge needs to see, plus, we’ll listen to you and be available to any your questions throughout the process. You must appeal within 60 days of the denial date. Give us a call and let us help you get the legal aid you deserve!
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What’s the difference between SSI and SSD?
SSD (Social Security Disability) is a government program that helps workers who are disabled and cannot work for 12 months or more. How much financial help you receive is not based on your level of need. It’s based on what you paid into the system while you were working (payroll taxes). The more you paid, the higher your benefit will be if you become disabled. SSI (Supplemental Security Income) is a needs-based benefit for low-income individuals who become disabled and are unable to work. The payment will vary, depending on your situation. The more income and assets you have, the fewer benefits you will receive. This benefit is not tied to your work history. Certain people may be entitled to both sets of benefits. Please ask our lawyers for advice on your individual circumstances.
Who can apply for Social Security Disability?
If you are disabled, either physically or mentally, meet the criteria defined by the Social Security Administration, and have paid FICA payroll taxes during your employment history, then you may be eligible to fill out a social security application.
If my application was denied, does this mean I’m not eligible?
Of course not. There are many reasons why an application could be denied including, but not limited to:
- The application might not have been filled out properly or submitted in a timely manner
- You might have left out important information, or it might not have been presented clearly
Is there a deadline on appealing a denial?
Yes. You need to file an appeal within 60 days of your denial.
How long will the appeal process take?
There is no one-size-fits-all answer here. Generally, it takes around six months, but it can drag on longer if the Administrative Law Judge is burdened with a large case load. In that situation, it can take 12-14 months or longer.
Is there any way to move up the date of the appeal hearing?
Unfortunately no. Hearings are assigned as applications are submitted. The only way to speed the process is to file as quickly as possible, with no errors.
Will my benefits be retroactive to the date I first applied?
Government benefits apply to the first full six months after you are disabled. If your denial is overturned, your benefits start retroactively on the date they should have been approved.
How often is a social security application denied? Is it a common thing?
It’s very common. Most applications are denied for one reason or another. Many people assume incorrectly that the first denial is a final decision. Nothing could be further from the truth. If your application is denied, you should appeal.
Are there different approaches to appealing a denial?
Some states require you to request a reconsideration before you can officially appeal a ruling. In this process, you are asking the court to review the claim in case it was denied through some error on the part of the reviewer. This procedure rarely overturns a denial, and can tack on at least four months to the appeals process. Reconsiderations are no longer required in Pennsylvania. You can appeal immediately after a denial.
What if my appeal is also denied? Do I have any other options?
Certainly. You can request that the case be examined by the Social Security Appeals Council. If you are still not approved, you can file a lawsuit in a Federal District Court.
Do I really need an attorney? Can’t I file the appeal by myself?
You can certainly file the paperwork and attend the hearing yourself. However, the process can be complicated, and if you make a mistake, your application can be denied simply because of that single error. Our experience has taught us how avoid those missteps and present your case in the best possible light.
If my appeal is approved, how long will it be until I receive a check?
There are no easy answers here. Some people receive their check faster than they receive the approval notice. Other people can wait for months.
How much money will I receive?
The amount of money you receive is based on how much you paid into the system before you were disabled. Visit the Social Security website to use their online calculators to estimate the amount of your benefits.
It’s difficult for me to get around because of my injury. Do I have to actually attend the hearing? Is the hearing a lengthy undertaking? Will I be required to testify or participate in any way?
It’s usually a good idea to attend the hearing. Although you can certainly appoint someone to represent you, a friend, family member or attorney, you still have to explain to the Social Security Office, in writing, why you won’t be attending. You don’t typically have to testify, unless the Administrative Law Judge thinks it’s necessary.
How much will your firm charge to handle my appeal? Do I still have to pay you if my appeal is denied?
Our firm gets paid on contingency – that means we only get paid if we win your case. The contingency fee is a percentage of the ‘lump sum’ payment that you’ll receive. If your application is denied, you owe us nothing.
We take pride in helping the people of Wilkes-Barre and Scranton receive the benefits that are rightfully theirs.
At the the Law Offices of Matthew Kelly Associates, we’ll put you first. Schedule your free consultation today! Call us at 570.714.1205. See how our experience in legal aid can make a difference, and how we can help you get the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability (SSD) you need. We serve the areas of Lackawanna and Luzerne County.