Saturday, February 27, 2010
What do you do if your doctor will not give an opinion for your Social Security Disability claim?
A question I often get is how do I get my doctor to fill out the forms for Social Security. Your doctor may not be willing
to write a report for you, fill out SSA forms, or complete a residual functional capacity form. So what do you do? You first
have to consider why it is your doctor does not want to complete the forms, or write you a report. There are many possible
reasons, and how hard you should push your doctor to get his opinion depends on the reason he or she is reluctant to do so.
Some doctors will not fill out forms or write reports for anyone. In this situation, you may want to consider finding another
doctor and simply requesting his medical records. If the doctor is even unwilling to send you his or her records you can ask
SSA or your lawyer to send a subpoena to get them. Other doctors might be willing to fill out forms or write a report if they
know they will be paid for their time to do so. If you think this is a case, you could try bringing the forms with you on
a scheduled appointment. If this does not work you try asking what the fee would be to write your report or fill out the forms.
One thing you should always consider is the possibility that the doctor is not filling out the forms for writing a report
because he/she does not think his/her opinion will help your case. In other words, the doctor might not think you are disabled.
Doctors are people too and have their own opinions on disability. There are many doctors who believe almost no one is
disabled. In this situation, if you have other doctors who feel you are disabled you can get your opinion evidence from those
other doctors. If you know you are disabled and unable to work and your doctor falls into this category you may want
to consider getting another doctor and just requesting your present doctors treatment records. You cannot force any doctor
to give his or her opinion of your ability to work, so if you have a Dr. that is unwilling for whatever reason there are a
few things you can do. As I stated earlier, you could seek to find a new doctor or ask one of your other doctors who
is more helpful. If you have a lawyer you should discuss with your lawyer what your options are. In some cases, your lawyer
may be able to put together a good theory of your case without this evidence. In other cases, your lawyer may send you for
an independent medical examination or functional capacity evaluation. Although rare, sometimes even the SSA doctor exam and
opinion may be enough with the other evidence to win your SSD or SSI case. I wish I had some secret way of getting doctors
to cooperate in Social Security Disability claims, but the truth of the matter is that most doctors are extremely busy and
do not want to have to fill out forms or reports for disability.
9:41 pm est
Monday, February 22, 2010
If I win my Social Security Disability claim how often will they review my claim?
9:39 pm est
I was recently asked in an e-mail how often the Social Security Administration reviews cases to see if you
are still disabled. Many factors can determine when and if your SSD or SSI case will be reviewed by SSA. On this post, I will
discuss some of the factors that go into whether or not your disability case will be reviewed and how often. I do not have
access to exactly how SSA determines when a case will be reviewed but through assumption and my experience there are a few
things that I have noticed. The younger you are the more likely you are to have your case reevaluated more frequently. If
you are older than 50 years old your chances of having your case looked at again are less. If you are 55 years
or older there is probably very little chance your case will come up for reevaluation. I have also noticed that certain types
of cases are looked at again more frequently than others. If you have a cancer that has a good chance at remission after treatment,
then there is also a good chance this type of case will be looked at again sometime in the future. I have also noticed when
a person's disability is based primarily on a psychiatric condition that these types of cases are also frequently reviewed
to see if there is any improvement in the condition. Many times ALJs when they make their favorable decision will mark the
file for review after a certain time period. When a judge will do this, and for what time period will depend upon the ALJ's
assessment of your medical condition and the probability of improvement with treatment over time. When they do review your
case the first thing they will look at is whether there has been improvement in your medical conditions which you are
found disabled for. If they find that there has not been improvement then your benefits will continue. If they find that there
has been improvement in your medical conditions, SSA will then make a determination if you are still disabled despite the
improvement. If your SSDI or SSI case is selected for review and you know that your condition has improved to some degree,
you may want to seek the help of a lawyer at this point since you may have to prove you are still disabled despite this improvement.
If your disability case is chosen for a reevaluation and you know your medical conditions have not improved then you can ask
your doctor for a report to send to Social Security. If it is your doctors opinion that your medical conditions have not improved,
it is very important that the doctor says so in the report and supports it with his treatment notes and other medical evidence.
This is one reason why it is highly recommended that even if you are found disabled you continue to see your doctors and follow
their advice on treatment.
Friday, February 19, 2010
With all this free information why would you need a disability lawyer?
8:52 pm est
To be quite honest, you may or may not need a lawyer for your particular case. This website and other websites
on the Internet including the Social Security Administration website can help a lot in understanding the process and how Social
Security in general determines if someone is disabled. The problem is no two cases are the same. When I write my website,
I am trying to give the best information I can to cover as many topics as possible, yet even if I wrote for the next 10 years
on this website I would still not be able to cover every possible scenario. You can learn the laws and what evidence you need
and what forms you should have your doctors fill out, but chances are there will come a time in your claim where the assistance
of a lawyer would be helpful. For example, if you memorized this website and the SSA website and all the rules and laws that
pertain to a Social Security disability claim you would feel pretty confident in your ability to handle your claim. Even in
this unrealistic scenario, you may still have to go to a hearing. All the reading in the world cannot make up for
an experienced SSD lawyer's ability to represent you at a hearing. Chances are you have no experience in cross examining expert
witnesses or reading the body language and statements of an ALJ to know where you should be taking your testimony. Another
example, is in many claims a brief explaining your position as to why you are disabled under SSA rules may be required or
helpful. Again, chances are you probably have no experience writing a legal brief. There is a reason law school takes three
years to finish and you have to pass a bar exam to become a lawyer. Just so I am clear, sometimes the evidence is so in your
favor that if you understand the process, and what you have to prove you can win your case without a lawyer. The problem is
if you have no experience representing someone in a Social Security disability claims you may have difficulty
knowing how good your case really is and what you could be doing to improve it. I know that some of you will decide to do
your case on your own and some of you will win your claim without the assistance of a lawyer. This is great and one
of the reasons I started this website, but for those who have started their claim without a lawyer and have received
a denial now might be the time to consider what I am saying in this post. Whether you decide to use a lawyer or not if you're
reading this you are at least taking important steps towards giving yourself the best chance to win, which is learning as
much as you can about what you're getting into and what you can do to help your SSD or SSI claim. I wish you luck and
hope the information I provide in this website helps you, but if you get to a point were you feel you need a lawyer feel free
to give me a call or send me an e-mail even if you just have a question or two.
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
How do you know if you are eligible for SSDI or SSI?
In this post, I am not talking about whether or not you are medically disabled. I frequently get e-mails that ask me if they
are eligible to apply for Social Security disability or SSI benefits. This can be a very difficult question to answer without
knowing all the facts of an individual's particular situation. If you have worked consistently and paid your Social Security
tax and you are no longer able to work chances are you will be eligible for SSD. Whether or not you are eligible for Social
Security disability becomes more difficult when you have a sporadic work history or you have not worked in several years.
You can find out if you are eligible for SSD by getting a copy of your work history record from the Social Security Administration.
You get this on a fairly regular basis through the mail, but if you are unable to locate it you can go to the Social Security
website and there is instructions there on how to get a copy of your earnings report. You could also call SSA at 1-800-772-1213.
On this report, it will show you all the years you have worked and how much you have paid into the system.
It will also tell you your date of last insured. This is the day that your last covered for Social Security disability benefits
and you must prove you are disabled at some point before this date to be eligible for this benefit. You will also find on
this report, that if you were to become disabled how much would be entitled to per month. It also tells you how much you will
get at retirement age based on the earnings you put into the system so far. Determining if you are eligible for supplemental
security income benefits also known as SSI can be a little more difficult. SSI is a needs-based disability program. This means
you must have very low income and resources to be eligible. You can call SSA at the number above and make an appointment at
your local SSA office to see if you are eligible for these benefits. I hope that any of you who have this question find this
post useful in helping you determine if you are eligible for benefits. I should also mention that to be eligible for
Social Security disability or SSI you need to be out of work for your more or expected to be out of work for your more. Continue
to read my website and you will find much more information on the eligibility requirements and how Social Security determines
if you are disabled if you are eligible.
9:37 pm est
Sunday, February 14, 2010
Some Interesting Updates on Social Security Disability.
I have just finished updating the medical listing for malignant neoplastic disease or cancer on my website. The Social Security
Administration had recently made changes to the listing so if cancer is a part of your SSD or SSI disability claim you may
want to look at the new medical listings. You can do this by visiting the SSA website or by going to the medical listings
of impairments section of this website. SSA has also recently announced it is adding more medical conditions to its Compassionate
Allowance Program. This initiative by the Social Security Administration is to identify and pull out cases that have certain
medical conditions from the regular disability process and making quick favorable determination on cases that have a medical
condition on this special list. When the program was first released most medical conditions were different types of cancers
but they recently released a new list of additional medical conditions that will be given the same treatment. There is an
electronic program in place which automatically finds these medical conditions and puts them into the special process. This
will not only help those who are seriously ill with a medical condition on this list but should also help others applying
for Social Security disability, because there should be less cases in the regular process as a result of this program. The
hope is that this will lead to faster processing times for all SSDI and SSI claims. However, how much of an impact it will
have remains to be seen since the number of claims pending is still very high and there does not appear to be a slowdown in
the number of new SSD or SSI cases filed. I still think this is good news, because any measures taken to improve the speed
at which disability claims are handled should be welcome to those who are suffering and waiting for a decision.
9:17 pm est
Thursday, February 11, 2010
What you can do to help win your SSD claim even if you have a lawyer.
Even if you have hired a disability lawyer to help you with your Social Security disability claim there are certain things
you can do to help give yourself the best chance to win your claim. If your lawyer is having difficulty getting medical records
from one of your doctors it would be a good idea for you to speak your doctor about getting this information. Doctors
offices are notoriously slow at providing records to lawyers in a timely matter when they are requested by an attorney for
a legal matter. Many times the doctor plays no part in getting these records to the lawyer and is probably even unaware
of the request. There is usually someone in the doctors office whose job it is to provide these records. If your attorney
is having difficulty getting records and you let the doctor know of the importance of the records and the attempts to get
them, many times the doctor will take action and tell the person in charge of records to send them. Even more often lawyers
have a difficult time getting doctors to fill out forms which show your doctors opinion of your ability to do work related
activities. These forms when they show limitations that would prevent you from working are invaluable to your Social Security
disability claim. You can help your claim by making an appointment with your doctor and bringing the form with you and asking
that doctor to fill out the form while you are there. There are two reasons why this method is effective in getting these
forms filled out. You have a relationship with your physician and he or she is more willing to fill this out
for you then for a letter sent from your attorney. The second reason, is that because you are in his office on a scheduled
appointment he or she is at least being paid for his or her time to fill out the form. There are other things you can do to
help your SSDI or SSI claim, such as, make sure you send any information SSA or your lawyer asked from you as soon as possible.
It is also important that you keep your lawyer informed of any new information such as: your doctors information, new surgeries,
new hospital visits, address changes, phone changes, or if you return to work in any capacity. Just keep in mind that just
because you hired a lawyer does not mean you can sit back and let things happen. To give yourself the best chance to win you
should stay active in your claim and check up on it every couple of months. Good luck to all of you trying to get your Social
Security disability benefits.
10:32 pm est
Monday, February 1, 2010
How to approach your SSD or SSI claim.
If you want to give yourself the best chance to win your Social Security disability claim then you should have the mindset
that you are going to do everything you can within the law to win your case. You should assume that the person who will decide
your case does not want to approve your claim. Now this is not the case, in fact there are many good people at Social Security
who will take a good honest look at the evidence and decide if you are disabled under SSA rules. However, if you assume the
person deciding your case does not want to award you benefits then it will motivate you to make sure you include all the evidence
you need and do everything you can to give them no choice but to find you disabled. Read this website and you will find valuable
information which can help you win your claim if you take the time to read it and understand what it is you have to prove
and how you have to go about doing it. This website is the equivalent of a how to book on Social Security disability benefits
with one exception, here it is free. I do not think this website or any book is a substitute for hiring a lawyer to help you
with your claim but it will certainly help you understand the process and teach you things you need to know whether you have
a lawyer or not. I encourage you to take advantage of this free information. You can also find good information on the Social
Security website however they are certainly not going to share with you information in the form of tips that will help you
win your case. I have put a lot of hard work into this website and I hope you find it user-friendly and helpful in your pursuit
of SSD or SSI benefits. Good luck in your claims.
10:36 pm est