Serving Clients Throughout Madera County
Peña & Bromberg, PLC, an outstanding Social Security/Disability law firm, is located in Fresno, California, in just about the geographic center of the state. The bordering county of Madera contains some of the most beautiful places in the country, drawing visitors year-round. The county’s most well-known attraction is Yosemite National Park which is home to a multitude of awe-inspiring natural phenomena, including Sequoia National Park and Mariposa Grove with their stupendous, ancient trees, John Muir Trail with its winding wilderness paths and fascinating wildlife, Lassen Volcanic National Park with not only volcanoes but underground hydrothermal systems, and Mammoth Mountain Ski Area, a 3500-acre wonderland for skiers and snowboarders.
Even amidst the amazing magnificence of Madera County, however, the world is not paradise. Here, as everywhere, a certain percentage of people are disabled, either from birth defects or due to illnesses or injuries that occur or worsen later in life. Fortunately for these individuals, the caring, compassionate Social Security/Disability attorneys of Peña & Bromberg are highly skilled and conveniently located to assist clients with physical and/or mental impairments. Our law firm works on a contingency basis, meaning that you won’t have to pay us anything until we succeed in getting you the benefits you need.
How Peña & Bromberg can Help You in Madera County
Our law firm specializes in a number of practice areas relating to disabilities. We are always available to help you navigate the often confusing pathways to government benefits. Our goal is to assist you in receiving the benefits you are entitled to. Our practice areas include:
- Social Security Disability (SSD) law
- Social Security Disability benefits and eligibility
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits and eligibility
- Veterans’ Disability benefits and eligibility
The major difference between SSD and SSI benefits is that the latter (with an exception or two) is available to those who have previously worked, and the latter is available to those who have never worked and have very low or non-existent income and assets. Well aware that everyday life presents unusual difficulties for people who are challenged with physical or mental disabilities, we are here to help you assess your eligibility and to apply for and receive benefits to lessen your struggles. We are also prepared to help you with the periodic disability reviews during which the government will re-evaluate your eligibility claims. At Peña & Bromberg we help people like you whether your disability is physical or mental, always committed to treating you with the respect and empathy you deserve.
Qualifying as Physically Disabled
As mentioned, there are several ways to suffer physical impairment. You may be congenitally disabled; you may suffer a progressive illness that (rapidly or slowly) leads to disability, or you may suffer an injury that causes immediate and permanent disability or that leads to increasing disability over time. While determining whether an individual is disabled may seem to be a clearcut decision, this is by no means the case. Besides the unique nature of each impairment, the Social Security Administration (SSA) has its own rules and regulations for evaluating disability. This is why it is crucial to work with an experienced disability attorney when you are trying to qualify for benefits.
What Constitutes a Physical Impairment?
Our attorneys are well-versed in the conditions the SSA considers physical impairments and we are therefore able to make sure that medical documents conform to the correct standards. We have a strong track record of bringing disability claims to a positive conclusion.
According to the SSA, to qualify for disability benefits you must have a physical impairment that prevents you from performing any substantial gainful activity (SGA). An SSA listing, referred to as the Blue Book, includes disabilities the SSA considers qualifying impairments. These include:
- Cancers of certain types or at advanced stages
- Cardiovascular conditions (congestive heart failure, cardiomyopathy, atherosclerosis)
- Endocrine disorders (Type 1 diabetes, Type-2 diabetes, thyroid cancer)
- Gastrointestinal disorders (liver disease, ulcerative colitis, inflammatory bowel disease)
- Hematological disorders (sickle cell disease, hemolytic anemias, bone marrow failure)
- Immune system disorders (HIV/AIDS, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis)
- Kidney disease (kidney failure, chronic renal failure, bladder or kidney cancer)
- Loss of hearing or vision, or other sensory or speech issues
- Musculoskeletal problems (serious spinal or joint issues, muscular dystrophy)
- Neurological disorders (cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease,epilepsy)
- Respiratory ailments (COPD, asthma, pulmonary fibrosis, lung cancer)
You should be aware that other physical disabilities not mentioned can also qualify you for disability benefits. The reality is, though, that you stand a much better chance of being approved for benefits if you work with qualified attorneys. The challenge is to convince the SSA that your unlisted condition is as incapacitating as those in the Blue Book. Having been through the process so many times, we know how to guide you through the bureaucracy of the federal government as efficiently as possible.
Factors the SSA Uses to Determine Eligibility for Physical Disability Benefits
To prove that you are disabled, our attorneys will make sure that statements from your doctor(s) describe limitations that prevent you from being gainfully employed. No matter how serious your condition, in order for you to qualify for ongoing disability benefits, the condition must be expected to last for at least 12 months, prevent SGA, or be anticipated to result in your death. Unless you have been disabled since birth or before the age of maturity, the SSA will examine your work records to see if you have been able to work previously in spite of your disability. They will then check whether you are presently employed and whether your income is sufficient to provide for you. If you are no longer able to work at the job you had formerly because of progressive disability, they will assess whether you are able to do less-demanding work. Your age, education, training, and work experience will all be taken into account.
Qualifying as Mentally Disabled
Although there are many people who qualify for benefits based on a combination of physical and mental infirmities, qualifying for mental health benefits is typically more difficult. For one thing, there are fewer concrete ways to prove the origin and/or effects of mental problems; for another, there is still a veil of suspicion and stigma over psychiatric ailments. If you are suffering from a mental or psychiatric disorder, rather than a physical disability, it is even more important that you have capable legal counsel to help you prove your case to the SSA.
From our office near Madera County, Peña & Bromberg, PLC routinely represents mentally challenged or psychiatrically disabled individuals and their families throughout Central California and across the United States. We commonly deal with clients who have one or more of the following conditions:
- Autistic disorders
- Bipolar disorder
- Cognitive disorders
- Substance abuse disorders
Although these conditions may be disabling to the extent that they prevent SGA, there are also circumstances in which, with the help of medication and/or therapy, patients can recover from one or another of these disorders to the extent that they are able to support themselves. This is why it is essential to have one of our skilled attorneys handle your case. Even if you suffer from a condition listed above, we must still make convincing arguments and help you to submit the proper medical documents to demonstrate your inability to work at gainful employment.
Factors the SSA Uses to Determine Eligibility for Mental Disability Benefits
In order to certify a patient as mentally disabled, the SSA will first determine whether that patient has an impairment listed in the Blue Book, or one that is equally disabling. They will review notes from psychiatrists, social workers, psychologists, and other mental health care workers, and case histories from any hospitalizations in psychiatric facilities or other institutions. In addition, they will usually review questionnaires filled out by friends and neighbors of the patient who can attest to the individual’s capabilities in activities of daily living (ADL).
There are several factors that make the determination of whether a patient suffers from a serious mental disorder more difficult than evaluating a physical disability. Apart from the fact that psychiatric symptoms tend to be more subjective than physical ones, many psychiatric symptoms come and go, so a patient may seem fully intact at one moment and may be hallucinating or suicidal the next. Since the SSA professionals are not medically or psychiatrically trained, this may lead to misunderstanding of what a diagnosis entails. This is why you need the help of the disability attorneys at Peña & Bromberg, PLC. We are fully familiar with psychiatric diagnoses and symptoms and carry more authority when we present your case to the officials in charge.
Why Choose Peña & Bromberg in Madera County?
If you reside in Madera County and believe you are entitled to obtain or retain your SSD or SSI benefits because of a physical or mental disability, come to Peña & Bromberg where our compassionate, committed disability attorneys have the acuity and tenacity to stand up for your rights. Remember, there is no fee unless we are able to achieve positive results. Please call our office in Fresno or fill out a contact form on our website.