Clarion, Pennsylvania, is the seat of Clarion County, yet it remains the quaint and quiet home of a primarily working-class population. It is difficult to find someone who has neither friends nor family working in energy production or logging, and nearly everyone knows someone who has been hurt on the job.
When a work-related accident leaves a resident of Clarion disabled and unable to work, stress can run high trying to take care of medical bills while still supporting a household. Fortunately, nearly all workers in the city and surrounding area are covered by Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), an insurance policy run by the U.S. federal government.
What Is SSDI?
Many people unfamiliar with SSDI mistakenly believe it is a government handout for the disabled, but it is, in fact, an insurance program that U.S. workers pay into for benefits should they not be able to work. SSDI happens to be administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA), which also handles Supplemental Security Income (SSI), a benefit for disabled individuals with low income.
Nearly everyone who has recent work experience can receive SSDI benefits in the event he or she can no longer work. To qualify for SSDI, you must have earned the minimum number of work credits within the timeframe for your age.
Once you meet the work requirements, you must still be suffering from a qualified disability to receive SSDI benefits. The SSA keeps a list of medical conditions that are recognized as legitimate causes for disabilities, but whichever conditions you have, they must keep you from performing what is called substantial gainful activity (SGA).
If you qualify for SSDI, you are eligible to receive a monthly monetary benefit, the amount of which is calculated as a percentage of your average monthly earnings. Your benefits will last as long as you remain disabled and are unable to engage in any type of SGA.
Social Security Disability in Clarion, PA
SSDI seems very cut and dry, but the application and review processes can be long and tiresome. Because the experience can be so confusing and overwhelming to people who are newly disabled, it is common for those in Clarion, PA, to ask for help from an experienced attorney licensed to practice disability law in the state.
Before you apply, you will need to gather all of your medical records and other evidence of having a disabling medical condition. You will also need to write an official statement listing the conditions that prevent you from working.
After you have completed the application, you must wait for it to be reviewed by the SSA, but cases are so backlogged that the review may take from four to 12 months, and some waiteven longer when appeals are necessary. In any case, you must remain disabled for at least five months before you can begin to receive benefits.
Getting Help From an Attorney
A reputable attorney experienced in disability law can help you through the process of applying for SSDI, but you want to ensure his or her experience is recent. Laws and regulations change each year, and only a lawyer focused on Social Security will be able to handle your case efficiently.
An attorney will be able to complete your initial application timely and without any errors, both of which can delay benefits. He or she will also know what documentation is needed and how and when to file it. In addition, you will enjoy the benefit of being represented should a hearing be necessary, and you will be able to sleep better knowing your case is in the hands of a professional.