Serving Clients Throughout Fresno, California
Fresno, California is an exciting place to be, full of lovely and fascinating sights, both natural wonders and created wonderlands. Resting in California’s San Joaquin Valley, the city is home to Yosemite National Park, remarkable (even revered) for its geologic formations — enormous rocks, riverbeds, waterfalls, canyons, and gigantic ancient sequoias. In addition, the city is a magnet for visitors who come to see the Forestiere Underground Gardens, created early in the 20th century to mirror the grottos and courtyards of the Roman catacombs and the Fresno Chaffee Zoo which boasts a stingray touch pool. Fresno is also a cultural center, drawing crowds to its many art, discovery, and historical museums, such as the Fresno Art Museum, the Kearney Mansion Museum, and the Fresno Metropolitan Museum of Art and Science.
All of this abundant splendor, however, means very little when you are suffering the ill effects of serious health problems. When you are seriously ill or injured, you don’t need a tour guide, you need a skilled disability attorney to help you navigate the complexities of government bureaucracy so you can receive the funds you are entitled to. If you live in the vicinity of Fresno and find yourself in such a situation, please reach out to Peña & Bromberg, PLLC. We are here to help you obtain the life-changing benefits that will enable you to recreate your life in a meaningful, enjoyable way.
At Peña & Bromberg, our first priority is you. We are dedicated to assisting you as you face the complexities of both internal and external challenges. As most of us are aware, it is difficult and frustrating enough to make one’s way through government agencies when your life is going smoothly. When you are attempting to accomplish such tasks while feeling poorly and having trouble maneuvering through everyday life, the process can be overwhelming, even seemingly impossible. If you have been laid low by illness or injury, you need the support of a skilled, experienced disability attorney to see you through. That’s what we are here for. Out of all the legal specialties, our team has chosen to focus on disability law, a branch of the law dedicated to helping people when they are at their most vulnerable.
As Social Security Disability attorneys, we cover a broad range of practice areas, all tailored to meet the particular needs of the clients we work with. Even with advances in modern medicine and changing societal attitudes regarding the abilities of the “disabled,” a great many individuals are unable to work and earn a living because they have intractable illnesses or traumatic injuries. Fortunately, we live in a country in which those unable to support themselves through no fault of their own are entitled to governmental benefits.
Social Security Administration (SSA) Benefits
Because of the variations in the types of benefits you may be eligible for, it is important to have an experienced disability attorney at your side to assess your situation and determine which variety of assistance you are eligible for: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). At Peña & Bromberg, PLLC, we have an in-depth understanding not only of eligibility requirements, but of all steps in the process — from initial application through appeals and final approvals. Committed to guiding you to a successful outcome, we will relieve you of the stress of not knowing what to do next.
The Social Security Administration defines a disability as “the inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity (SGA) due to a physical or mental condition that has lasted, or is expected to last, at least one year or result in death.” Many injuries and illnesses, both physical and psychiatric, fit within the confines of this definition, but the SSA maintains a listing (the Blue Book) of qualifying medical conditions. Even if your condition is included in this, you will have to jump through the hoops of the application process. Don’t worry! We will help you. We have the legal tools to lessen your burdens and the empathy to offer you emotional support.
SSDI is available to eligible individuals between the ages of 18 and 65 who have paid into the Social Security system through income tax deductions. These benefits are not “means tested,” that is, they are not based on your financial status. In order to obtain them, however, you must have accumulated enough work credits to qualify. Work credits are earned according to the number of quarters you have worked during each of your years of employment. It is also possible to qualify for SSDI if you became disabled before the age of 22. In this case, you can receive SSDI benefits based on your parent’s Social Security earnings record once that parent begins receiving retirement or disability benefits or dies.
You are only eligible for SSI if you are blind, otherwise disabled, or over 65 years of age. Your eligibility for SSI does not depend on whether you have ever paid into the Social Security system through your earnings, but SSI benefits are means-tested, i.e. based on your income and financial resources. In other words you cannot receive SSI if you earn or possess over a certain amount of money. It should be noted, however, that the value of your primary residence is not included when the government evaluates your resources.
The specific regulations affecting your income and your SSI payments are complicated. Without a lawyer who is familiar with the system, you are likely to become muddled trying to understand how much you are permitted to earn without losing SSI. If you are able to work, we will help you figure out how much income you can take in without jeopardizing your benefits.
The Application Process
When you ask a friend or relative for assistance when you are hurting, normally there are no strings attached. Affection and compassion combine to impel your loved one to give the help you need without investigation or demands. The government is not so easily won over. Government entitlement officials are trained to be suspicious, demanding a great deal of medical and financial evidence before they will allocate funds — however well-deserved.
It is precisely under these circumstances that Peña & Bromberg can be immensely helpful. We know precisely how to submit applications as required. Once you have engaged our services, you can rely on us to make sure all the requisite forms are submitted; the tension of feeling you may have subverted or delayed your own best efforts is entirely eliminated.
Going through the pain of injury or illness — including physical examinations, diagnostic procedures, treatments and/or surgeries — is bad enough. Having to provide the government with doctor’s reports, treatment notes, lab tests, hospital records, and imaging test results exams often makes things worse. You may experience the need to prove your inability to earn a living as punitive or demeaning. Let our highly capable disability attorneys offer proof to the authorities in terms we know they will understand.
Veterans Disability & Benefits
It is particularly discouraging to be asked to prove your eligibility for injuries or illnesses that were incurred during military service. In addition to disability compensation and employment training for the veteran himself or herself, the family of a deceased veteran may be eligible to receive memorial and burial benefits, death pensions, and dependency and indemnity compensation. If you are disabled as a result of your brave efforts on behalf of your country, or if you have lost a loved one due to military-related illness or injury, the attorneys at Peña & Bromberg, PLLC are here to fight vigorously to obtain for you the compensation you so richly deserve. We are dedicated to making sure that you are treated justly and receive not only the monetary compensation, but the compassion and respect, you deserve.
Disability Benefits Appeals Process
The patience demanded by the application process is topped only by the patience required when your first application for disability benefits is denied. When you are suffering physically, mentally and financially, patience is generally in short supply. This is why we are absolutely committed to following your cause towards a successful outcome. If your application for SSDI, SSI, or Veterans’ Benefits is denied, we will make sure to request a hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ) within 60 days of the denial.
How We can Help
Tackling the cumbersome machinery of government agencies without knowledgeable legal assistance is never a good idea. You should be aware that you are much more likely to have a denial overturned when you are working with one of our competent attorneys. Having Peña & Bromberg at your side will do a great deal to level the playing field. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us by telephone or by filling out a contact form on our website.