Disability is more common than you might think. According to the United States Census Bureau, 9.9% of the Pittsburgh population under the age of 65 suffers from a disability. If your condition is severe enough to prevent you from working, you may be wondering how you will manage your living expenses and medical bills. Fortunately, a Pittsburgh disability lawyer can help you receive long-term disability (LTD) benefits from an insurance policy and/or receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits from the Social Security Administration while you are unable to work.
Our primary practice areas are disability insurance claims and SSDI claims. Nick Ortiz is one of the few Board-Certified Social Security Disability attorneys in the country and can help you receive the Social Security Disability benefits. He also has years of experience fighting against major insurance carriers like Unum, Cigna/New York Life, and Hartford, and can assist you with the appeal process if your claim for benefits is wrongfully denied or terminated.
Pittsburgh Long Term Disability Insurance Claims
Our job is to recover the benefits you deserve from the insurance company. We’re familiar with the tricks and tactics that the insurance company will use to delay and/or deny your claim, and we are ready to fight for your disability benefits. We do not charge an attorney fee or costs unless we win your case, so there is no risk in hiring a lawyer to represent you.
We assist claimants in the administrative appeal process in hopes of getting the claim approved or reinstated. If the insurance company upholds the denial of your claim we will file a lawsuit against the insurance company on your behalf.
Although we do not typically handle short-term disability cases, we may be able to help if you also have an LTD policy that will be impacted.
If the insurance company has offered you a lump sum to buy out your claim, we can help you evaluate the fairness of the offer and possibly negotiate a larger settlement amount.
We Represent Claimants Nationwide
Many of the claimants that contact our office ask the same question: “Can I hire you if I’m not in your local area?” The answer is yes! The Ortiz Law Firm is based primarily in Pensacola, Florida, but because most group plans are governed by ERISA, Nick Ortiz can handle a case anywhere in the United States.
In fact, in the past few years, he has represented individuals from Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, and West Virginia.
ERISA Disability Insurance Cases
Most LTD insurance claims are governed by a federal regulation called the Employee Retirement Insurance Security Act or ERISA. Under ERISA, you do not have the right to a jury trial, and – in most cases – you do not have the right to engage in extensive discovery.
This means that most of the work is paper-driven, involves a lot of brief writing, and a lot of correspondence by mail. It is highly unlikely that a court appearance will be required, and as a result, we can handle a federal court case anywhere in the state.
Communicating With Our Clients
Our firm is equipped to communicate with you regardless of your location. We use an electronic signature service for any documents you will have to sign, and we also e-mail, fax, and communicate by phone. Everything that we will need to do can be handled with mail, fax, and e-mail.
There are some cases where we may not be able to represent a claimant due to their location, but we still evaluate each case on a case-by-case basis. Nick Ortiz can either be admitted to your local federal court by what we would call a pro hac vice admission, or he can file a lawsuit here in the state of Florida. If we cannot assist you, we will make every effort to refer you to another law firm that can.
Our Pittsburgh Disability Insurance Attorney Will Fight for the Benefits You Deserve
Most LTD appeals must be submitted to the insurance carrier within 180 days of the date of the denial or termination. If you do not submit your appeal within the specified time frame may be disqualified from receiving benefits even if you are disabled. Under many LTD insurance policies, you cannot file a lawsuit against the insurance carrier unless you have “exhausted” your appeals. Therefore, you should speak with a Pittsburgh disability attorney right away if your claim is denied or terminated.
ERISA laws are very complex, but a Pittsburgh LTD attorney will understand the administrative deadlines and critical issues that must be addressed for a successful claim. While the insurance company will explain your right to submit an appeal, they will not usually disclose that any future lawsuit will be limited to the evidence submitted during the administrative appeal process.
It is essential that an experienced LTD attorney review the claim file at the appeal stage in order to determine what additional medical and/or vocational evidence needs to be added to the administrative file and to determine what adverse information needs to be rebutted.
Pittsburgh, PA Courts, Government, and Department of Insurance Information
Pittsburgh Social Security Disability Lawyers
Although we are based in Pensacola, Florida, a Pittsburgh Social Security Disability lawyer at our office can represent Social Security Disability claimants anywhere in Pennsylvania. Our office is now serving Pittsburgh, PA, and the surrounding areas, including Allison Park, Aliquippa, Altoona, Baldwin, Bethel Park, Clearfield, Coraopolis, Crafton, Crawford County, Castle Shannon, Clairton, Duquesne, Dormont, Ellwood City, Erie, Fox Chapel, Forest Hills, Greensburg, Johnstown, Meadville, McCandless, Mckeesport, McKees Rocks, Monroeville, Mount Lebanon, New Castle, Plum, Seven Fields, Union City, Upper St. Clair, West Mifflin, and Wilkinsburg.
Qualifying for Benefits Under SSA Rules
Disabled individuals will need to prove that they meet the medical and non-medical qualifications for benefits. The initial requirement to determine if you qualify for benefits under the SSDI program is that you must have enough work credits to qualify. The number of credits needed to be approved for the program is determined by the age of the claimant.
The Book of Impairment Listings
Although it is easy to prove your work history and income, it is not so easy to prove that your illness (mental or physical) prevents you from working to the degree that is required by the SSA. The Social Security Administration will consult “the Blue Book” to determine if a claimant meets the criteria for their illness. The Blue Book contains a variety of illnesses that could potentially be disabling and the criteria you have to meet to receive benefits.
Proving Your Residual Functional Capacity (RFC)
You may not meet the criteria listed in the Blue Book, or your illness might not be included in the Blue Book. Fortunately, you can be approved for the SSD benefits program based on your residual functional capacity instead. An RFC is an evaluation of your symptoms and limitations and how they affect your ability to work.
What If The SSA Says I Don’t Have Enough Work Credits?
You may be able to receive benefits even if you do not have enough work credits to qualify for SSD. Claimants with a low household income and assets under a certain threshold may be eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI). You can qualify for SSI even if you have never worked, but the benefit amount will likely be much lower than if you had been approved for SSD.
You can check to see if you are eligible for SSDI benefits by downloading your Social Security Statement from the SSA’s website. The statement will include a list of your income over the years as well as your estimated benefit amount.
How a Social Security Disability Lawyer at Our Firm Can Help You Receive Social Security Benefits
The Social Security Disability Attorneys at our office assist PA Social Security Disability claimants with Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI or SSD) cases at the following stages:
- Initial Application
- Request for Reconsideration
- Request for Hearing before an Administrative Law Judge
During the claim process, we will obtain medical evidence to support your claim and guide you through the various paperwork that will have to be submitted throughout the process. We have sample forms prepared to assist you in filling out paperwork, plus several hours of video content to ensure you are fully prepared for a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ).
Pittsburgh Social Security Administration (SSA) Locations and Resources
Get Help From a Pittsburgh Disability Lawyer
In summary, you should not allow our geographic location to limit your contacting our team to see what we can do to help you. If you are unable to work due to a disability you may be eligible to receive disability insurance or Social Security Disability benefits.
Nick Ortiz and his legal team are ready to fight for the compensation you deserve. We represent disabled people in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, even nationwide, and we only get paid if you get paid, so you can seek help without taking any risks.
Call Us Today for a Free Consultation
If you are disabled and have been denied benefits then we encourage you to contact our law office by phone or online to see how our team can help you qualify for benefits. We offer a free consultation for LTD claimants that have been denied or terminated and SSDI claimants from the initial application process to the hearing stage. We have recovered millions in denied benefits for our clients.
Please contact us right away by phone at (866) 853-4512 or fill out the contact form on this page to discuss your free consultation call with a disability attorney. Our experienced legal team would welcome the opportunity to review your case, help you understand your legal rights, and explain how we can help you receive the LTD or SSDI benefits you deserve.