Monday, June 25, 2007
Reminder to all Veterans
If you filed your Notice of Disagreement after June 20th you can now hire a lawyer to help with your claim for compensation
or pension. If you have any questions feel free to e-mail me.
7:27 pm edt
Thursday, June 21, 2007
U.S. District Court Fees in Social Security Disability Claims
I have recently learned that the Government has begun to file motions to have EAJA (Equal Access to Justice Act) fees
paid to the claimant instead of the attorney in United States District Court Cases. If you are a claimant and not an
attorney you might be thinking this is a good idea. However, if the government is successful this could have the result
of making it extremely difficult to find a lawyer to pursue your claim in Federal Court. Most lawyers who handle federal
court cases for Social Security Disability claims do so knowing that if their hard work is successful and they win they will
get the fee paid by the government and will not have to go to the client to get the fee. Attorneys already know that
if they lose the case they will not get paid for their effort. If lawyers now have to worry that the client may
not pay them there will be less lawyers willing to go to federal court. This all appears to be coming from the Governments
desire to collect federal debts such as student loans and child support. This means the government will offset
any debt out of the attorney's fee. Therefore, the client will have to pay the lawyer the balance or the lawyer
will not get paid. This will most affect the poor and will work against the purpose of the Equal Access to Justice
Act. I will follow this trend and keep you posted.
8:18 pm edt
Friday, June 15, 2007
Social Security Administration Budget
The Senate Appropriations Committee is scheduled to set the appropriations for SSA on June 19th. For the past 6 fiscal
years Congress has appropriated less than the President and Commissioner of SSA have requested. Because of this there
is presently a shortfall in appropriations of over 4 billion dollars. Many believe that this shortfall is one of the
main reasons the delays are getting longer for Social Security Disability claimants at hearing. Recently,
the appropriations committee provided 9.7 billion. This amount will not cover what is needed to hire new ALJs and
other ODAR employees which are needed to decrease the backlog at hearing offices. The Commissioner of SSA has requested
10.44 billion. The Congressional Budget Resolution Conference Report suggested 10.1 billion. Hopefully on June
19 the amount appropriated will be increased to a minimum of 10.1 billion. The source of this information comes from
NOSSCR which is the National Organization of Social Security Disability Representatives.
5:33 pm edt
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Medical Expert at Social Security Disability Hearing
So you have read your hearing notice and it says a medical expert will be at your hearing. The first thing you may want
to consider at this point is getting a lawyer if you don't have one. The reason I say this is cross examining a
medical expert can be very difficult because many MEs are very set in their ways and don't like to change their opinion.
I have found that many MEs don't like to be challenged and it can take a skilled cross examiner to get the testimony in
your favor. If you don't want a lawyer you should know your medical evidence like the back of your hand. It
is also important to have all your medical evidence in your file including RFC and report if possible from your doctors.
The medical expert will do two very important things in the hearing. They will give their opinion based on the medical
evidence whether you meet or equal a listing. So know the listings that are relevant to your conditions. I would
suggest bring a copy of those listings with you so you can refer to them. The medical expert will also give his opinion
as to what your limitations are given your medical condition. What is important to remember is that your treating doctor's
opinion is supposed to carry more weight than that of the expert so make sure to have your RFCs. Medical experts are
often good to have at your hearing. Like everything else it depends on the expert and the medical evidence. Many
times you may win a case that you might have lost if it were not for the experts opinion. You of-course can also lose
a case you might have won because of their opinion. I have noticed that sometimes the same expert before one ALJ
might act completely different before another ALJ. Just another reason to have a lawyer when there is a ME at your
8:04 pm edt
Monday, June 11, 2007
Most important thing to do in SSDI or SSI claim
I have made this point before but because I feel it is so important I will make it again. When trying to get Social
Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income the most important thing in your case is the medical records. Do
not rely on SSA to get all your records most of the time it will not happen. It is very important to make sure SSA has
all your medical records that are relevant and that you have residual functional capacity forms filled out by your treating
doctors. If you have a lawyer make sure to provide him or her with all your doctors names and addresses and what they
are treating you for. This includes all hospital visits. Getting all your records and RFCs does not guarantee
that you will win but with out them your chances are much less. There is much more to a disability claim than this as
you can tell by the amount of information in my site but these records are the bricks for building a good case.
9:06 pm edt
Tuesday, June 5, 2007
New pages to be added this week.
I plan to add several new pages to my website this week. One of those pages will be about HIV or AIDS and Social Security
Disability. I will also be adding some information on Hepatitis C. I will also try and add a few more medical
conditions and explain how they are handled by SSA. I will also be updating some of the current pages.
If you are signed up for my newsletter a new one will be going out shortly with some tips to help with your claim and some
other general information. I will post again soon with some more updates.
5:06 pm edt