Friday, March 30, 2007
Is it harder to get SSD if you are young?
The short answer is usually. SSA takes into account age when evaluating if someone can learn new skills for other work.
To get a better understanding of what I am talking about read my page called "am I disabled". You will see
the steps Social Security follows to determine if you are disabled. If your condition is severe enough to meet or equal
a listing then age does not factor into the equation. If you don't and you get to step 5 this is were it becomes
relevant. Chances are if you are under 50 years old you will have to show you are limited to less than sedentary work
at this step. So how does one prove they can't do even sedentary work? See my terms page for definition
of sedentary work. Some limitations that can prevent this type of work are difficulty using your hands, mental
limitations (ie. concentration and memory), inability to sit for any length of time, extreme pain causing difficulty in concentration,
side effects from medication, need to take frequent breaks, vision limitations, and many others. Just think about how
your condition would affect you if you had to do basically a sit down job for 8 hours a day with normal breaks 5 days
a week. It is not enough that you say you have these type of limitations. You need to have RFCs from your doctor
that show the limitations you have and back that up with medical evidence.
6:33 pm edt
Monday, March 26, 2007
What is new in Social Security Disability and Veterans Law
I will be attending a conference of SSDI lawyers in a few weeks and I will update my site with any new information that
I feel may be helpful to you. I am also going to a conference on Veterans disability and will provide any new information
from that as well. Disability law is constantly changing and I will do everything I can to keep the site up to date
and full of new material. I find these conferences are extremely interesting and informative. I am especially
interested in how the new process in the Boston area is going and plan to write my thoughts on that. So keep checking
back I am adding new stuff all the time.
9:36 pm edt
Friday, March 23, 2007
Medical conditions that have become more common in disability claims.
In my practice I have noticed an increase in claims for certain medical conditions. Chronic Fatigue, Fibromyalgia, RSD,
and Sarcoidosis are a few of these medical conditions. I don't know for sure if this is a general trend in Social
Security Disability or if it is just matter of people who I have helped in the past with these conditions referring people
to me. If it is a general trend I believe one reason for this is the medical community has recently become more aware
of these conditions and there symptoms and thus they are being diagnosed more frequently. The medical community and
Social Security Administration also appear to be more accepting of these conditions as real medical conditions. It was
not to long ago and unfortunately still occasionally today that many of the people suffering from these conditions had
a hard time proving disability because they had no clear diagnosis. I can remember many Social Security consultative
doctors stating there was no objective medical evidence of any impairment. I can say from my experience that fortunately
for those suffering from these conditions that the trend has appeared to have changed. I have added to my site
some pages on some of these conditions and how they are treated in a Social Security Disability claim.
7:20 pm edt
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
I will be adding new forms and medical conditions
I just got back from a few days off. I just want to let you know if you e-mailed me I will respond as soon as possible.
I plan to work on more individual medical conditions this week and will add them to my page labeled other medical conditions.
Many of you have requested RFC forms from me I plan to add more RFCs to my site to make them easier to get. I am fine
tuning some specific RFCs for certain medical conditions. This will make available RFCs for specific conditions.
The general physical and mental forms are good I frequently use them myself but I am trying to make them better and yet still
simple enough that a doctor will fill them out. I have found that many doctors refuse to fill out forms that are too
detailed. The key is to find a balance between being thorough and yet practical. After all a form is only helpful
to your case if the doctor fills it out.
9:54 pm edt
Sunday, March 11, 2007
Should you use representative recommended by insurance company?
9:01 pm edt
Those who are receiving Long Term Disability benefits from an insurance company are often referred to a representative
to help them with their Social Security Disability claim. The reason the insurance companies do this is because if you
get SSDI then they can pay less through an offset. Should you take the representative they refer you to? It may
seem to make sense since the insurance company has an interest in you winning SS benefits so the person they recommend
is probably a good representative. The thing to keep in mind is that this representative although not an employee
of the insurance company does have a relationship with them. Now suppose there is a clause in your LTD policy that says
you can only get LTD benefits for 2 years for a psychiatric condition. You may be disabled for psychiatric and
physical reasons. How you pursue your SSDI claim could be influenced by the fact that if you are found disabled by Social
Security for mostly psychiatric reasons with less emphasis on your physical problems your LTD carrier could use this against
you and deny you after 2 years. Let me first say that most representatives would not put their business relationship
with the insurance company ahead of a client. But I personally would want someone unconnected with an insurance company since
I may have to be in a legal fight with that insurance company later.
Friday, March 9, 2007
I Continue to Update this Site
If you have not been to this site in a while check out the new additions to the website. I have added a few new medical
conditions. I also added some information on some new states. I continue to add more posts on my blog
both here and at my blog on blogger. The Ultimate Disability Guide will continue to update regularly so don't forget
to book mark this site. I will be adding more medical conditions, states and general information about Social Security
Disability and SSI. If there is an area of this law that you would like to see me address let me know by e-mail.
If you know anyone who might be helped by reading this site be sure to let them know about it. As always, good luck.
8:46 pm est
Sunday, March 4, 2007
Wait Times in Social Security Disability claims will get longer for a while
My opinion is that the amount of time it takes to get decisions will get longer at-least in the short term. I say this
because I think SSA is trying to make to many changes at ounce and they probably don't have the adequate amount of funding
to do so. Social Security is testing a new process in the Boston area. They are revamping there system on the
way lawyers get paid. SSA is also implementing electronic files. They are also making numerous other changes all
aimed at improving and speeding up the system. But as with any new changes all these things have to be integrated into
the existing Social Security System. Just imagine SSA employees have to learn all the new stuff while trying to keep
up with there present duties. In my practice I have seen the results of this. I am only speaking from my own observations
but I have noticed that many ALJs appear to have retired instead of having to learn electronic files. Even if these
ALJs are replaced it takes time and the new ALJs have to learn the system. In January of this year a new system
for paying lawyers went into affect and payment to attorneys was almost at a stand still for two months prior to and to months after
the changes. Again this is from my observation and that of other lawyers I spoke to. So I expect longer wait times
at-least until Social Security works out the new procedures. But then again the new process is coming after they are
done testing it in the Boston area so it could be bad for a while.
8:17 pm est
Friday, March 2, 2007
Reopening a Prior Claim for Social Security Disability Benefits
In a Social Security Disability claim you can only get paid from one year prior to when you applied. In an SSI
claim you can only get paid from date of your application. There is however a way to get more benefits if
you had a prior claim that was denied. You can attempt to reopen the prior claim thus allowing your benefits to be paid using the earlier
application instead of the later application. This is not always possible and the rules that govern this are complex.
What you need to know is if you had applied before and you have a lawyer make sure to tell him right away.
If you don't have an attorney you may want to consider consulting one who has handled many SSDI claims about
possibly reopening your prior claim. In my practice I have been able to get years of additional benefits paid to
disabled individuals using the rules on reopening. Not everyone who has had a prior claim can have that claim reopened
but it an issue well worth exploring.
6:53 pm est