Social Security Disability Lawyers in Erie, PA
The Erie, PA Social Security Disability Lawyers of Bernard Stuczynski Barnett & Lager have been helping Pennsylvanians get Social Security Disability and SSI benefits since 1985. Our attorneys understand how difficult the appeals process can be on a family that has lost its income due to illness or injury. When the Social Security Administration denies your claim for Disability benefits, you can trust lawyers to help appeal and fight for the disability benefits to which you’re entitled. If you simply have questions, we offer free consultations. More importantly, we understand that you aren’t working and can’t afford to pay a lawyer hourly. That’s why we only work on a contingent basis; we don’t charge a fee unless we get you a recovery!
How do I apply for Social Security Disability benefits?
The initial application for Social Security disability can be done online at Social Security’s official website, in person at your local Social Security office, or over the phone. While this can be done yourself, we highly recommend retaining an experienced Erie, PA Social Security disability attorney to help file your initial disability application. Most initial applications are denied and there are many pitfalls to filing the application yourself that can negatively affect your rights years later on appeal. We help our clients avoid these pitfalls and put forth the best case possible from day one.
Do I need a lawyer for my Social Security Disability Claim?
When you’re disabled and can’t work, your entire life is on the line. How do you pay your bills, your mortgage, your rent, or receive medical treatment? With the stakes so high and the process so long, it simply isn’t worth it to try to handle it on your own. Our Erie, PA and Smethport, PA lawyers are extremely experienced at filing disability applications and appealing disability denials. We know the law and we know what needs to be done to give you the best chances possible at not having to go through this process again. Importantly, we’re also local. You’ll meet with your attorney—face to face—many times before your hearing. We’ll know your case.
Moreover, the ALJ hearing in your case isn’t simple. You need an attorney who knows what evidence to submit, what questions to ask, and how to cross-examine Social Security vocational expert (VE), who will try to come up with jobs available to you in the national economy.
How much does an Erie Social Security Disability lawyer cost?
We understand that when you’re disabled and can’t work, you don’t have enough money to pay your bills, let alone pay an hourly fee for a lawyer. Anybody can afford our services—we only charge a fee if we win your case and if you’re awarded a lump sum of past-due benefits; we front all litigation expenses we don’t take anything from your future, ongoing benefits. If for some reason benefits aren’t awarded, we won’t send you a bill.
How do I appeal Social Security Disability denial?
If you were denied benefits, we highly recommend you hire one of our Erie, PA Social Security Disability and SSI lawyers to file your disability appeal with the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review, where your case will be reviewed by an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). Because there’s a limited period of time in which your appeal can be filed, you should call our firm immediately after you receive your “Notice of Denial” from Social Security, before it’s too late. We can appeal your case to the ALJ who, by law, performs an entirely new review of your case. We build your case, submit evidence, and represent you at your hearing.
How do I appeal a Social Security Disability claim after a judge denies my claim?
If you already had your hearing with an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) and your disability claim was denied a second time. you should contact a local Erie, PA disability lawyer to determine if it makes sense to file another appeal to the Appeals Council. If it does, we can review the ALJ’s decision, review the record, listen to the audio transcript, and make your case to the Appeals Council as to why the ALJ got it wrong. While some people choose to handle the initial applications on their own, for an appeal, you should absolutely hire a lawyer. This is too important to mess up.
Can I appeal the Appeals Council’s denial of my Social Security Disability claim?
If your disability claim was denied by the Appeals Council, all hope is not lost. You can still appeal to Federal Court. This is an extremely complex and expensive process that requires legal expertise. Our firm frequently files appeals to Federal Court when the Social Security Administration refuses to make the right decision.
Should I file for Early Retirement or Apply for Social Security Disability?
A large portion of disabled Americans over the age of sixty file for early retirement instead of applying for the Disability benefits to which they’re entitled. While some people wrongly think that Disability isn’t worth the hassle, most people don’t realize that applying for Disability instead can save them tens of thousands of dollars! Because there is no one-size-fits-all approach, the only way to know which avenue is better for you is to speak with a disability attorney. For more information about Disability versus early retirement, see our article Should I apply for Early Retirement or File for Disability Benefits? and call our office to see if it’s right for you.
Do your Erie, PA Disability Lawyers handle SSI claims as well as Social Security Disability claims?
When many private attorneys don’t handle SSI cases due to the lesser amount of money that is owed, our firm proudly handles both SSI claims and Disability (SSD/SSDI) claims. We strongly believe that all persons, regardless of income, are entitled to excellent legal representation in their SSI claims.
If you’ve been denied Social Security Disability benefits, you need a lawyer. If you’re in or around Erie, PA, call our office for a free consultation at 814-452-6232. If you’re in the Bradford, PA region, call our Smethport office at 814-887-6009. We’ll handle the rest.