Social Security Disability Attorney Serving West Virginia and Hagerstown Area
Also Serving Springfield & Charles Town, WV
The Social Security Disability attorneys at Burke, Schultz, Harman & Jenkinson are devoted to helping disabled claimants recover the benefits they deserve. We have helped numerous clients through the Social Security Disability claims and appeals process, vastly improving their chances of obtaining relief. Our firm provides caring and compassionate representation to disabled employees throughout West Virginia.
Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) provides cash benefits to individuals who can no longer maintain employment due to a disability or impairment. While many people believe they are entitled to SSDI because they are disabled, this is not always the case. The Social Security Administration (SSA) looks at a variety of factors to determine whether the applicant is eligible for benefits. At its most basic level, the Social Security Act requires that claimants have a medical condition that prevents them from working for one year or more. The condition must “qualify” as a recognized disability or impairment that effectively bars gainful employment.
Whether applicants are entitled to SSDI depends upon the extent to which their disability affects their ability to obtain and maintain gainful employment. The applicant bears the burden of proof to show eligibility. This usually requires detailed medical records that demonstrate continuing care for a chronic or terminal condition that precludes the patient’s ability to work. The disability must be well documented through hospital records, medical history, and evidence showing how it makes work impossible. Some conditions are “serious” and require consistent treatment, yet do not qualify as an impairment meriting SSDI. Other factors affecting eligibility include:
- Current job and compensation
- Duration of medical condition
- Severity of disability or condition
- Ability to do work-related activities
- Possibility of doing same or similar work
- Results of medical tests, treatment received
- Whether condition “significantly limits” ability to work
- Whether disability is on SSA’s list of qualifying impairments
Claimants with a qualifying disability must also meet the “earnings requirement” to be eligible for SSDI. The earnings requirement is composed of two tests. The “recent work” test is based on your age at the time you became disabled. For example, if you became disabled at the age of 30, you would generally need two years of recent work out of the six-year period ending with disability. The “duration of work” test determines whether you have worked long enough to qualify for SSDI. The applicant must have at least 20 work “credits” or paid Social Security taxes for five of the last ten years to be eligible. Disabled applicants who meet the earnings requirement are entitled to monthly cash benefits based on their average lifetime earnings.
In Martinsburg, Charles Town, Inwood, Berkeley Springs, Shepherdstown, Hedgesville, and other cities in West Virginia, the process to obtain SSDI can be complex. Applicants with legitimate disabilities are often denied assistance because they fail to obtain detailed medical records or present a sufficiently persuasive case, and the SSA often issues denials based on the overwhelming number of claims and appeals filed each day. Those who are improperly denied benefits have a limited time to file an appeal and supplement their application with supporting evidence. A qualified Social Security Disability attorney is instrumental in guiding you through the SSDI process.
If your disability prevents you from working or your SSDI claim was denied, the experienced Social Security Disability lawyers at Burke, Schultz, Harman & Jenkinson can help. For over 25 years, we have successfully handled many types of SSDI cases, ensuring that disabled workers receive the benefits they deserve. Our firm is dedicated to helping you achieve the best outcome possible in your claim or appeal. Whether this requires ordering medical records or presenting a doctor’s testimony, we have the resources to help you prevail. At Burke, Schultz, Harman & Jenkinson, we know that having to stop work because of a disability is frightening. We can help you recover the compensation you deserve. Call 304-263-0900 or 800-903-0901 for a free consultation or contact us online.