Sunday, October 28, 2007
It has been a long but interesting 2 weeks.
Last week I was at the National Organization of Social Security Claimants Representatives conference and this week I
am at the NOVA convention and next week I will be at a meeting with SSA to discuss the agencies program for lawyers
to access the claimants file through the net. So if you have e-mailed me it will take me a little longer than normal
to get back to you but I try to get back to everyone who e-mails me as soon as possible. When I am away from my
office I try to add more pages to my website. I have already added a couple of pages and will probably add a few
more before I am done. As always I wish you all luck with your disability claims. I will post again
12:49 am edt
Sunday, October 21, 2007
Lawyers access to SSDI e-file over the net.
It looks like attorney's access to the e-file over the Internet is still a little ways away. At the NOSSCR conference
I learned that the pilot program for allowing lawyers to view the SSA file remotely is not scheduled until June
2008. It sounds like they still have some issues to deal with. At-least it looks like it will become a reality
soon. I still believe when this program is implemented it will be the best thing that SSA has done to date to speed
up the long processing times at the Social Security Administration. I will be tracking this program closely and if I
hear anything of significance on the issue I will report it hear. I will continue to report on things I learned
at the conference and will be adding more pages to my site this week. I will soon be attending the NOVA conference on
Veterans Disability and will also be reporting on that event as well.
11:17 pm edt
Saturday, October 20, 2007
Social Security Commissioner Michael J. Astrue Speaks at NOSSCR
Michael J. Astrue Commissioner of Social Security spoke at he NOSSCR conference this week. He talked about his plan to decrease
processing time of Social Security Disability claims. I will talk about a few of the his plans to reduce the huge backlog
of cases. One thing he talked about was the success and need to expand the quick disability determination. The QDD is a computer
program that screens cases for those that are most likely to win. They have reported that 97% of these cases were decided
in the first 21 days. It presently screens for only a few medical conditions and most are types of cancer. This program was
tested in the New England states. The plan is to expand the program to other states and include more medical conditions in
the screening. He also plans to continue and even expand the use of video hearings to the point were lawyers will be able
to hold hearings from their office. He also stated that they are hard at work to make SSA 100% paperless which would make
the processing of claims at all levels much quicker. He also spoke of the return of the attorney adviser program which allows
senior SSA lawyers to make fully favorable decisions before a case is assigned to an ALJ. He was greatly concerned by the
baby boom generation which is starting to reach retirement age and the impact that would have in conjunction with his
shrinking SSA work force. Commissioner Astrue also spoke of the problem of ALJ's who were not adjudicating enough cases.
After listening to him speak I came to the conclusion that he knows the immense problems he faces and appears to have
the plan and determination to make a positive impact on the Social Security System.
11:02 pm edt
Tuesday, October 9, 2007
What to do when denied by Social Security
So you have just received a denial on your Social Security Disability claim. Don't panic and don't give up.
The best thing you can do is stop and think about what you have done to try and win. Did you get in all your medical
evidence? Did you submit RFC forms from your treating doctors? Did you take the time to learn all you can about
how SSA determines if you are disabled? Did you understand what you have to prove to win? Did you handle the case
yourself or did you get a lawyer to help you? If you did all the things above perhaps you just got unlucky and the person
deciding your case feels no one is disabled. If you are taking the time to try and get disability benefits than you
probably feel strongly that you can't work. If you feel this way keep fighting. The good news is the
Social Security process has many appeals. At each step of the way don't get discouraged if you lose, figure out
why and do what you can to improve your case. If you get denied and you don't do anything to improve your file it
is hard to imagine a different result. The best thing you can do to help yourself win is be knowledgeable, get the evidence
you need and keep appealing.
9:56 pm edt
Thursday, October 4, 2007
Added Features to Ultimate Disability Guide
I have been hard at work updating the site recently. I have added more state specific pages. I have also included
more statistics on how long it takes at the hearing stage and provided the denial rates at application and reconsideration
for every state. I have also tried to post more often. I will be attending two conferences this month one on Social
Security Disability and one on Veterans disability. I will report back any information I think may be of interest
to you so make sure to check back. The subject I will be most interested in at the conference is how SSA is implementing
changes to speed up the claims process.
7:59 pm edt
Tuesday, October 2, 2007
Am I Eligible for SSI
I am frequently asked by people if they would be eligible for SSI. The first thing you should know is that SSI eligibility
is based on financial need and is only available to those with little or no income. This is a different program
than SSDI (Social Security Disability) which eligibility is based on whether you worked and paid into the system enough
work quarters. Both programs also require you to be disabled. Figuring out whether you qualify for SSI can
be very complex I recommend you read my page called SSI which can be found in the navigation bar. At the bottom of this
page is an SSI eligibility tool from the SSA website. It is a questionnaire that will help you determine if you are
eligible. I hope you find the tool useful.
8:58 pm edt