Monday, January 22, 2007
To Lawyers Reading This Site
If you are a lawyer reading this site chances are you have not handled many Social Security Disability claims. I invite
lawyers and representatives who have any questions about Social Security Disability to e-mail me anytime. The purpose
of this site is to help the disabled get there benefits by being informed of the process. So if I can help any attorneys
out there it will help more of the disabled. Also feel free to e-mail me if you are an experienced Social Security Disability
lawyer and disagree with anything I have written in this site. My goal is to provide as accurate information as possible
and I would appreciate different views on any of the topics covered in this site.
9:56 pm est
Sunday, January 21, 2007
Social Security Disability decisions are anything but consistent.
I am often asked by frustrated claimants why they are having difficulty getting benefits when they know someone who is less
disabled who is? There are many reasons for the inconsistency in decisions. The biggest reason may come done
to simply who is deciding your particular case. There are rules and regulations that guide the disability
process but how they are interpreted and used often comes down to who is deciding your claim. The decision to find you
disabled or not will ultimately be decided by a few individuals. So you may get some very sympathetic people deciding
your claim or you may get someone who thinks practically no one is disabled. This is most apparent at the hearing stage
before an Administrative Law Judge. At this stage the ALJ is the sole decider of your claim. I have experienced
ALJs on both ends of the spectrum. The Appeals Council does act as a check on ALJs decisions but it is certainly no
guarantee. As long as human beings are deciding the issue of disability in Social Security cases there will be inconsistency
in decisions. Social Security is playing around with the idea of using computer programs to make decisions more uniform.
I feel this could be an even worse situation because I can't tell you how many times I won Social Security Disability
hearings because of the claimants appearance and testimony. Sometimes the medical records and other factors like age
education and work background don't tell the whole story. So the Social Security Disability system is less
then perfect and to the Social Security Administrations credit they do acknowledge this and are trying ways to correct
it. My advice to you is if you know you are disabled don't give up because the longer your case goes the more people
at SSA will get to decide your case and you might finally get the one person who sees that you are disabled.
10:29 pm est
Monday, January 15, 2007
New Pages on Disability for Fibromyalgia and Asthma
I have added new pages on fibromyalgia and asthma. You can find them by clicking on other medical conditions on the
navigation bar. I will soon be adding pages on Social Security Disability and SSI in different states. I currently
have pages for New York and New Jersey. I try and add more information on Social Security Disability and SSI everyday
so keep coming back to see what is new. If you ever have any questions feel free to contact me.
10:22 pm est
Saturday, January 13, 2007
Social Security Disability and SSI Electronic Files
SSA will soon have electronic files in all states. This means your files will no longer be in paper format.
This should improve the process for several reasons. First, many of the paper files get lost. When this
happens the file must be reconstructed. When a file is reconstructed valuable evidence can be lost and it certainly
slows down the processing of the claim. This is one of the reasons I always suggest you follow up on your claim regularly.
Electronic files should solve this problem of lost files. Second, SSA's plan is to send a CD of the file to
the claimant or representative at varies stages of the process. This should help quit a bit because you will be able
to know what is in your file and will be able to get what is missing from the file. It will also prevent sending in
duplicates of records already in file which can save the claimant money by not paying for records Social Security already
has. Third, with paper files the files have to be mailed from one Social Security office to another during different
stages of the process. This causes delays in processing and lost files. Lastly, if the medical profession starts
to make better use of electronic records then transfer of records to Social Security will be quicker and less costly since
the records would not have to be copied or mailed. My experience so far with Social Security's electronic files
has been mixed but I definitely see the potential in its use. In the cases I have handled that have electronic files
I was only provided a CD late in the hearing stage. While this still has advantages it will be much better when I can
get the CD at the earlier stages. If you don't have a computer and you have an electronic file you can have Social
Security print you a copy.
9:09 pm est
Monday, January 8, 2007
Denied by ALJ Now What?
I am frequently asked by claimants and lawyers if one should file a new application or appeal to the Appeals Council after
being denied at the hearing level by an ALJ. Most of the time I do both at the same time. There are many reasons
for this. First, appeals take a very long time but are essential if you want to be able to get your payments paid back
to your onset date in that claim. If you don't appeal, the date of the ALJ's denial will be your new onset date
for any new claim. You might now be wondering why you should file an application while your appeal is being processed.
As mentioned earlier application are usually decided faster than Appeals Council appeals. Also if you get a favorable
decision on your new application this can sometimes trigger a remand at the appeals council which means you can get a new
hearing for your earlier claim. There may be reasons in individual cases not to make a new application while the appeal
is pending. There may also be reasons in individual cases to not file an appeal and to just file a new application.
If you are at this point and don't have the advice of a lawyer it would be a good idea to consider consulting with one.
9:13 pm est
Sunday, January 7, 2007
Social Security Disability and Specific Medical Conditions
I am presently working on a pages for this site on specific medical conditions in the context of Social Security Disability
and SSI. I already have pages on back disorders and depression. I plan to add fibromyalgia, RSD, HIV, Seizure
disorders, and many others. I will then be adding pages on childhood disabilities like ADHD and Asthma in relation to
Child's SSI. My plan is to make this the most comprehensive resource on the web for Social Security Disability,
SSI and Child's SSI. This will all take time and I encourage you to book mark this site and keep checking back for
updates. If you have spent any time on this site you will realize that I have provided quite a bit of information on
SSDI, SSI, and child's SSI in just two months of being on-line. I plan to continue this pace and to keep providing
this free information so that anyone trying to get disability benefits has access to this information. If you can't
find the information you are looking for on my site feel free to e-mail me and I will try and get you the information.
7:46 pm est
Friday, January 5, 2007
Wait times for Social Security Disability and SSI Hearings
I have made a page on how long it takes to get a Social Security Disability and SSI hearing. You can find this page
by going to the hearing page on this site and clicking on the link at the bottom of the page. I will research the other
stages of the process and try and post pages on wait times for application and reconsideration.
8:54 pm est
Thursday, January 4, 2007
New Information on Social Security Hearing Delays
I will be posting on this site the average amount of days from requesting a hearing until you get a an ALJ hearing.
I recently came across Social Security's internal report on delays in the hearing process. I will post the results
by region. I will also include some other interesting hearing statistics. Look for it in the next couple of days.
I also will be adding the promised section on fibromyalgia and Social Security Disability.
10:35 pm est
Wednesday, January 3, 2007
Observations at a Local Social Security Disability Office
I was at a local Social Security Administration Office today and I made a few observations. This is a point I have made
in the past but seeing it first hand I want to share it with you again. I noticed claimants were visibly upset about
the process and expressing it in their demeanor and attitude at the employees of Social Security. It is understandable
that people are frustrated with Social Security and the process; however, never take it out on the people who are working
on your case. In most cases the employees who are getting the anger directed at them are not to blame and have frustration
with the system as well. Social Security has a huge case load and from my experience, and this was reaffirmed by my
visit to this particular field office the employees work very hard to get it right. I handle many of these cases and
I am aware of all the problems in the Social Security process so I too have to constantly remind myself to treat the employees
with the respect I would want them to show me. So when you deal with Social Security keep your mind on the goal and
that is to win your Social Security Disability benefits. Before you take out your frustration think to your self is
this going to help or hurt my claim.
5:32 pm est
Tuesday, January 2, 2007
Recent Awards for Ultimate Social Security Disability Guide
9:50 pm est
The Ultimate Disability Guide has recently won two website awards. I would like to thank those websites for recognizing
this site. It is nice to be recognized by other quality sites on the web. To see the awards go to the awards page
in the navigation bar.