Sunday, September 27, 2009
Have you heard this from a lawyer? "Call me back when you get denied."
If you started looking for a lawyer for your SSD or SSI claim before you applied you may have been told by one or more attorneys
to call them back when you've been denied. In my opinion, the earlier you get a lawyer involved in your case the better. There
are of course times, when one is so obviously disabled that they do not need a lawyer. However, in most Social Security disability
cases you will want a lawyer on your side. I know many of you have heard that everyone gets denied the first time. This is
not only not true, but far from the case. Many people win at application but unfortunately many people lose as well. If you
have sought out a lawyer and were told to call back when you get denied then one has to make the assumption that you wanted
help with your application. There are many lawyers that do not take cases at application but there are also many lawyers who
do. So, if you feel you need help with your application why would you not get a lawyer and simply "wait to be denied"
before you do so. A Social Security disability application normally takes 3 to 6 months to get a decision and sometimes longer.
If you lose and you are in a state that has reconsideration you will then have to wait another 3 to 6 months to get a second
decision and the denial rate at reconsideration can be anywhere from 80 to 90%. If you are in a state that does not have reconsideration
or you received a denial at reconsideration then you will have to wait anywhere from one to three years to get a hearing.
If you feel you need a lawyer to give yourself the best chance to win then why would you not get a lawyer as early in the
process as possible. At each step in the process you will have a different person or persons make a decision on your claim.
As you can imagine each individual decision-maker as their own ideas about who is and is not disabled. The adjudicator who
decides whether or not you are disabled on your application may be your best chance at winning. You simply just don't know
what type of decision-maker will be looking at your case at each stage of the process, so it is very important that you not
let an opportunity to win your case slip by because your case was not fully developed when you applied. If you do not want
an attorney you should still keep in mind this article when preparing your case. Make sure SSA has all the information necessary
to find in your favor at that first decision. This means research how SSA determines if you are disabled and what evidence
you will need to win your particular SSD or SSI case. Then make sure you get the evidence you need to win and do not
leave it up to SSA to get the evidence needed to win.
11:50 pm edt
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Why your primary care physician is important to your SSD claim.
Even though Social Security gives more weight to specialists when it comes to certain medical conditions your primary physician
is still an important part of your Social Security disability claim. I say this for several reasons. First, your primary physician
is probably the doctor most familiar with all of your medical conditions combined. This means they can probably find the best
opinion of how you are limited from all of your conditions. Chances are you have also been seeing your primary physician for
the longest period of time which means they can document your condition over a longer period of time. The third reason is
because you probably have the best relationship with this doctor and they are usually more willing to provide opinion evidence
to Social Security on your medical conditions which is extremely important in trying to prove your disability to Social Security.
Many specialists are often unwilling to provide opinions on your ability to work or on your functional limitations. It is
important to get the medical records and opinion evidence from all your doctors and your specialists are important part of
this, but the purpose of this article is to remind you to not forget about your primary doctor for the reasons I stated above.
If your disability is orthopedic in nature by all means it is important to get the records and opinion evidence from your
orthopedic doctor. However, if they are unwilling to provide opinion evidence there is nothing wrong with asking your primary
physician for this type of evidence. If you have a psychiatric disability then the best evidence that you can get is from
your treating psychiatrist. From my experience, I have found that your primary care physician's opinion on psychiatric issues
is given significantly less weight than a psychiatrist so in this instance your primary care physician may not be able to
help you as much. What a primary physician can provide particularly in cases with many disabling medical conditions is an
overview of your care and how all of these conditions combined are affecting you. So, as you can see, it is often best to
get opinion evidence from specialists for the conditions they are treating you for but it is still important to get the medical
records and opinion evidence from your primary physician as well when applying for Social Security disability benefits.
10:44 pm edt
Monday, September 14, 2009
How to win your Social Security Disability benefits.
This is what everybody applying for Social Security Disability benefits wants to know. Every case is different and some are
more complex than others, but there are certain things most winning claims have in common. Much of what I am about to tell
you may seem obvious to some of you but it sometimes helps to read it to help you prepare for your claim. The number one thing
you need to win your disability claim is evidence. What type of evidence do you need? You need all medical records, treatment
notes, and hospitalizations that are relevant to your disability. It is also extremely important that you have opinion evidence
from your treating doctors that show you meet or equal a listed of impairment and or the limitations that prevent you from
working. This opinion evidence can come in the form of a detailed report that explains your diagnosis, treatment, prognosis
and your doctors opinion of your limitations from your disabling conditions. Opinion evidence can also come from your treating
doctors filling out a residual functional capacity form also called RFC forms and sometimes ability to do work related activity
forms. You must also have a winnable case. A good understanding of how SSA determines if you are disabled can help you figure
out if you have a severe enough disability to win an SSD or SSI claim. It may be difficult for you to know so it is often
a good idea to speak to a lawyer who can help you evaluate your claim. If you have all of the above you have a good shot at
winning your disability claim. What can increase your chances of winning even more as if you seek professional help from an
attorney who handles Social Security disability claims regularly. I should also add there is an element to luck in winning
your claim for benefits. There are certain things you have no control over such as who is making the decision on your claim,
the SSA doctors examine you, and your own doctors opinions. Some doctors and SSA decision-makers are of the opinion that almost
anybody can work. But if you are persistent and you have a genuine disability or disabilities that keep you from working,
you have all of the evidence you need and are able to present it in a manner that shows you are disabled under Social Security's
rules you have a very good shot at winning your case. This information is very general and to get a better idea you should
read the rest of this website. Good luck.
11:12 pm edt
Friday, September 11, 2009
82% of you do not trust the Social Security Administration to handle your disability claim fairly.
This is the result of the poll I have had on my website for the past three weeks. As of this post 432 people have responded
to the poll. There was only two choices yes or no. Although I am not surprised that many of you do not trust The Social Security
Administration (SSA) to handle your claim fairly, what did surprise me is how high the percentage was. I have released
this poll to the general public in a press release. For those of you who read my website regularly or have read a significant
portion of the website, know that it is my opinion, that SSA has made significant strides in improving the disability process.
What is clear from this poll is that there is still an overwhelming distrust in the Social Security system and the handling
of disability claims. My guess would be the biggest reason for this is the extremely long wait times to get a decision from
Social Security. As I have written about before SSA has implemented many improvements in the process but it appears from the
statistics that these improvements are just doing enough to keep the wait times from getting worse and not actually shortening
the time it takes to get a decision. One reason for this is clearly the increased number of claims as a result of the baby
boomer population and the tough economic times. What may also be overlooked is that many of the most experienced SSA employees
are part of the baby boomer generation and are themselves retiring and leaving less experienced workers to do the same jobs.
I also believe, that many people may feel that since the Social Security System is running out of money and no action is being
taken to fix this problem that the government does not want to pay disability benefits to keep the system from running out
of money. My hope is that this poll will be seen by as many people as possible in a position to do something about it such
as politicians and top decision-makers at the Social Security Administration. One thing that is not in doubt is that if politicians
do not address the shortage in the Social Security trust fund then the money will run out quickly. This is by no means a political
article and I hope it is not taken that way. However, the government must realize that Americans see the government spending
a great deal of money on other problems including bailing out banks and other industries and appear to be ignoring our most
important safety net which is our Social Security benefits. It is the responsibility of our Congress and Senate to stop putting
off the shortage in the Social Security trust fund. I also believe it is SSA's responsibility to regain the trust of the American
people applying for benefits so that they know, despite the shortages in the trust fund, that their claims will still be handled
fairly. I believe if politicians begin to take efforts to sure up the Social Security trust fund and the Social Security Administration
does a better job of publicizing the improvements they have made and that they are committed to treating each application
as fairly and timely as possible then the government will be able to regain the trust of the American people when it comes
to their Social Security benefits. Although some may disagree with me, I see no bigger domestic issue that needs to be addressed.
11:03 pm edt
Sunday, September 6, 2009
Always check the medical listings of impairments.
If you have a claim pending for Social Security disability benefits or plan to apply it is important that you know how Social
Security determines if you are disabled. To see the five step process SSA uses simply go to the page on my navigation bar
called "am I disabled". It is important to read all the steps the Social Security Administration goes through to
determine disability but the purpose of this post today is to address one of the steps. If you meet or equal a listed
impairment you are found disabled. That is why I recommend you check the medical listings of impairments found on this site
and the SSA website. I update my website frequently and try to keep these pages up to date but you should always check the
SSA website medical listings of impairments to see if any changes have recently been made. That being said, the listings are
grouped into categories. Look in the categories that you think your medical condition(s) would be in. If you do not find it
then look into different categories where your medical condition could possibly be listed. When you find your medical condition
read the requirements of that listing to be found disabled. Often times you will read the requirements and think that you
meet the listing, however, it is important that you show a copy to your doctor to see if he or she feels you meet or equal
a listed impairment. It is important to show your doctor for two reasons. These listings are written for doctors and they
are best understood by doctors. So although you may think you meet the requirements, your doctor is better equipped to make
that determination. The other reason it is important that you show your doctor is because if they feel you meet or equal a
listing and they are willing to write a report explaining your medical condition and why you meet or equal one of the listings,
and that doctor is able to support it with the medical records this can really improve your chances of winning your SSD or
SSI claim. It is very important to keep in mind that this is only one step in a Social Security disability process and you
can still be found disabled even if you do not meet or equal listing. The purpose of this post is simply to inform you of
this important step in the disability process.
11:31 pm edt