Friday, February 29, 2008
Thank You to all my readers!
I just want to thank all of you and share with you the success of this website. I started this website one
year and two months ago and I have had 139,410 new visitors to the site. This number does not include return visits
to the site. This motivates me to continue to try and provide the best information on Social Security Disability and
SSI on the web. I hope that all of you who have read my information were able to get better insight into Social Security
law and how the process works. Most of all I hope it has helped many of you win your claim for benefits. I have
received many e-mails from some of you telling me how much the information has helped you and how you found information on
my site that you could not find anywhere else. I appreciate the feed back and again thank you.
9:59 pm est
Thursday, February 28, 2008
RFCs and Social Security Disability
Many of you who have read my website have learned about using RFC forms to help prove your disability. However, it is
important that when you have your doctors fill out these forms that they also explain what their opinion is based on.
There is spaces provided on these forms to provide this information and it is extremely important that your doctor fill these
sections in as well. there is a growing case law that is stating that a form that amounts to just checking off boxes
is not sufficient for proving ones limitations. So it is very important that you have all your doctors medical records
in the file and his explanation as to how he or she concluded your limitations. It can also help to have a report from
your doctor that gives a diagnosis, history, physical and/or mental exam findings, test and other medically acceptable techniques.
If you have an RFC that shows you to be disabled and it is supported by the records and either a report or is well explained
in the the RFC it would be very difficult for SSA to deny you even if their doctors show you less limited.
9:37 pm est
Friday, February 22, 2008
SSA Medical Listing Changes
The Social Security Administration has been hard at work on making changes to the medical listing of impairments. Their
stated goal is to bring the medical listings up to date and to make them easier to understand and use in SSDI and SSI cases.
I will be updating my pages on these listings soon. I have already changed the digestive system listings.
As more listings change I will try and replace them with the up to date version. Lets keep our fingers crossed and hope
that the changes they make will be more use-able and understandable than the present listings. It is my fear, but I
hope I am wrong, that the medical listings will be even harder to prove than they are today in Social Security Disability
cases. As always I will be following the process and look forward to the next conference to see what SSA has to say
about the upcoming changes and how they feel it will help the process.
3:54 pm est
Saturday, February 16, 2008
SSDI Hearings and ALJs
For detailed information on what happens at a hearing see my page on the subject. I am just going to talk about how
differently hearings are conducted depending on the ALJ who is running it. Some hearings are very long lasting from
1 to 2 hours. These may include experts and lay witness testimony or the ALJ or lawyer asked every question possible.
Some hearings can be extremely short lasting only 10 or 20 minutes. On some occasions you may never enter the room because
your lawyer and the ALJ worked it out in a pre hearing meeting. The length and intensity of your hearing can depend
on many factors. Some ALJs only ask a few questions and others ask every question possible whether relevant or not.
The same goes for lawyers. Most hearings last somewhere between 45 minutes to an hour. My point in telling
you this is so that you don't draw any conclusions from how long your hearing lasted. You can ask your lawyer how
thinks it went since sometimes the lawyer has a feel for how the case may go. But even then I can tell you from experience
I have been surprised by decisions that came out favorable and unfavorable. The best thing you can do is be patient
and try not to think about it too much until you get decision.
9:22 pm est
Friday, February 8, 2008
Disability Service Improvement Process Appears Dead
At least for now it looks like the Social Security Administration will be terminating the DSI process in the Boston region.
I have posted before about the new process that was coming to Social Security Disability claims. I have learned through
the NOSSCR Forum that the new process presently being tested in the Boston region will stop. The two biggest problems
of that new process were the "5 day rule" which required all evidence be submitted 5 days before the hearing.
The other major problem was the elimination of claimant initiated administrative appeal of ALJ's decisions.
The process is still active in that region until officially stopped by the Commissioner. The decision to halt
this process is good news for all those with SSDI and SSI claims. SSA has listened to the complaints of many representatives
who had complained that this was unfair to claimants given the great difficulty in obtaining medical records from medical
sources. There appears that there will still be some sort of changes to the process but for now SSA has agreed
to consult with lawyer and representative groups about the best way to improve the process without hurting claimants rights.
7:57 pm est