Boise Disability Lawyers

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Medical Source Statements — Part 1

Social Security Attorneys for Boise, IDThe article is the second in the series of articles covering Social Security’s  Process Unification Rulings—for more information, contact a Boise Disability Attorney in our office.  These are rulings that provide more concrete standards for evaluating your disability claim and contain information you should be familiar with. This article covers SSR 96-2p, which is entitled “Giving Controlling Weight to Treating Source Medical Opinions” and provides your disability attorney  with the criteria judges must use to evaluate the opinions of your doctors.


This article should better help you to understand the importance of your medical records and that they contain detail regarding your physical limitations, especially as to sitting, lifting, standing, carrying, fingering and handling that can support your doctors medical opinion regarding your limitations.  These are important limitations for any disability claimant to communicate to their doctors.


Over time, Social Security judges developed what became known as the ‘treating physician rule’.  Under this rule, your attorney will argue that the judge should give more weight to medical opinions from treating sources than those from non-treating sources. If you would like more information, you can look this law up online at 20 C.F.R. ß 404.1527, and in SSR 96-2p itself. Social Security Ruling 96-2p is significant because it forces judges to take your doctor’s medical opinions seriously.  Your attorney should make sure that the judge gives proper respect to your doctor’s opinions.


So it is important that your doctor be willing to provide you with their opinion about your limitations and include your limitations in their notes. Your attorney will send this form to your doctor at the appropriate time.  In the meantime, you should keep a journal in between your doctor visits of how you struggle with simple daily activities.  Review this journal before each appointment, and then provide your doctor with examples from your everyday life that illustrate your disability, especially concerning your ability to finger, handle, lift, carry, sit, stand and walk.  But it is best that you don’t discuss your disability claim with your doctor.


When A Treating Source Statement Is Entitled to Controlling Weight.


If your doctor’s medical opinion is entitled to controlling weight, then the judge must accept the limitations your doctor provides.  Otherwise, the judge assigns some lesser weight to the opinion and may or may not accept the limitations as indicated by your doctor.  To be given controlling weight, the opinion must (1) come from one of your regular doctors who is a medically acceptable source, (2) be a medical opinion, (3) be well-supported by medically acceptable clinical and laboratory diagnostic techniques, and (4) not be inconsistent with other substantial evidence in the record. If you have questions about these factors, ask your disability attorney.


Medical Opinions

Medical opinions are statements from physicians and psychologists or other acceptable medical sources that reflect judgments about the nature and severity of your impairment(s), including your symptoms, diagnosis and prognosis, what you can still do despite impairment(s), and your physical or mental restrictions (20 C.F.R. ßß 404.1527(a)(2)).


Medically Acceptable

To ensure that there is a sound medical basis for your doctor’s opinion, Social Security requires that the opinion be well-supported by medically acceptable clinical and laboratory diagnostic techniques.  Your disability attorney should make sure the judge sees these.  Medically acceptable means that the clinical and laboratory diagnostic techniques that the medical source uses comply with the medical standards that are generally accepted within the medical community as the appropriate techniques to establish the existence and severity of your impairment.



To be well-supported by medically acceptable clinical and laboratory diagnostic techniques does not mean that the opinion must be fully supported. Just because there is some conflicting results in the record will not mean that the medical opinion is not well-supported.  But this is a somewhat subjective, and open to the reasonable interpretation of the evidence by the judge.  Your disability attorney will help the judge to see all of the evidence that supports your doctor’s opinions.


Not Inconsistent

“Not inconsistent” is a term used to indicate that a well-supported treating source medical opinion need not be supported directly by all of the other evidence (i.e., it does not have to be consistent with all the other evidence) as long as there is no other substantial evidence in the case record that contradicts or conflicts with the opinion. “Not inconsistent with” has a slightly different meaning than “consistent with” because it requires the judge to search the record for inconsistent evidence in order to give the treating source’s opinion less than controlling weight, and not that the opinion only has controlling weight if the record supports it. See Dominguese v. Massanari, 172 F. Supp. 2d 1087 (E. D. Wis. 2001).

This article on 96-2p is continued on the link below.  Be sure to ask a Boise disability attorney in our office about getting a medical source statement to your doctor.  Click To Next Page

Originally posted 2014-05-30 13:30:42.

Idaho Disability Lawyers

Understanding Disability–Process Unification Rulings

boise-social-security-attorney-Couple-300x199In 1996, Social Security came out with several rulings that were designed to produce more uniform decisions across the nation. The Process Unification Rulings have helped many claimants because they have given your Boise disability attorney specific standards for determining the effect of physical limitations. Because they are typically so clear and so straightforward in their mandates, it is hard for Social Security decision makers to ignore these disability rulings.

The following rulings are the primary components of this unification process:

SSR 96-1p–Application by the Social Security Administration (SSA) of Federal Circuit Court and District Court Decisions.

  1. SSR 96-2p–Giving Controlling Weight to Treating Source Medical Opinions
  2. SSR 96-3p–Considering Allegations of Pain and Other Symptoms in Determining Whether a Medically Determinable Impairment Is Severe
  3. SSR 96-4p–Symptoms, Medically Determinable Physical and Mental Impairments, and Exertional and Nonexertional Limitations
  4. SSR 96-5p–Medical Source Opinions on Issues Reserved to the Commissioner
  5. SSR 96-6p–Consideration of Administrative Findings of Fact by State Agency Medical and Psychological Consultants and Other Program Physicians and Psychologists at the Administrative Law Judge and Appeals Council Levels of Administrative Review; Medical Equivalence
  6. SSR 96-7p–Evaluation of Symptoms in Disability Claims: Assessing the Credibility of an Individual’s Statements
  7. SSR 96-8p–Assessing Residual Functional Capacity in Initial Claims
  8. SSR 96-9p–Determining Capability to Do Other Work–Implications of a Residual Functional Capacity for Less Than a Full Range of Sedentary Work

In subsequent articles, we will go over each of these rulings and what they mean to your Social Security disability application.  You attorney can also help answer any questions you may have.

Disability Attorney Boise

Disability Attorney Boise

The first ruling, SSR 96-1p, is a fairly technical ruling, which your disability attorney will appreciate, but may not mean a great deal to you.  SSR 96-1p states how Social Security decision makers are do take into account interpretations of law and policy by federal court decisions.   Essentially, SSR 96-1p simply reaffirms Social Securities’ longstanding disability policy that unless a Social Security Acquiescence Ruling (AR) is issued stating the conflict between federal circuit court holdings and Social Security’s interpretation of the Social Security Act or regulations, Social Security decision makers must continue to follow Social Security’s nationwide policies when deciding cases and not the court holding.

SSA acquiesces only in decisions of the Federal circuit courts, and not in decisions of Federal district courts within a circuit. This policy is set forth in 20 C.F.R. 404.985 and 416.1485. There is a common misconception about these code sections and about SSR 96-1p. Some disability attorneys and a surprising number of judges think that nonacquiecense applies to all court cases for which the agency has not issued an AR. A disability attorney or adjudicator may believe that disability decision makers can not apply the holding in any court decision which is not accompanied by an AR.

This is incorrect. If there is no conflict between SSA policy and precedent, SSA considers itself bound to follow court precedent. In practice, your disability attorney should point out that absent a statement from SSA that a district holding conflicts with SSA’s nationwide policy (unless a conflict is obvious from the holding), the absence of a conflict should be presumed.

Articles on the remaining 96’ rulings will be added to our website as they become available.  Please contact our office and speak with a Boise disability attorney if you have any questions.


Originally posted 2014-03-15 21:13:18.

Low-Cost Housing in Boise Idaho and Statewide

Low-Cost Housing Assistance

older-coupleWe know that you have limited resources as you make your way through the Social Security Disability application process.  Listed below are some resources that may assist you in finding low-cost housing opportunities to help you through this difficult time.  If you find additional resources or have feedback on the resources we have listed, please inform us by calling 208-957-6966.


Idaho Navigators-Health and Welfare Housing Assistance
Call: Idaho Careline 211
Idaho Housing Hotline
(877) 438-4472


Nampa Housing Authority
1703 3rd St. N.
Nampa, ID 83687
(208) 466-1216


Caldwell Housing Authority
22730 Farmway Rd.
Caldwell, ID 83607
(208) 459-2232


Boise City Ada Housing Authority
1276 W. River St., Suite 300
Boise, Idaho 83702
(208) 345-4907

Idaho Housing and Finance Association- Rental Assistance Boise
565 W. Myrtle
P.O. Box 7899
Boise, ID 83707
(208) 331-4886

Jesse Tree of Idaho-Emergency Rent and Mercy Assistant Program
1025 S. Capitol Blvd.
Boise, ID 83706
(208) 383-9486


Idaho Housing and Finance Association-Rental Assistance Twin Falls
844 N. Washington
Twin Falls, ID 83301
(208) 734-8531

Twin Falls Housing Authority
200 Elm St. N.
Twin Falls, ID 83301
(208) 733-5765


Pocatello Housing Authority
711 N. 6th Ave.
Pocatello, ID 83201
(208) 233-6276


Idaho Housing and Finance Association-Rental Assistance-Lewiston
215 10th St., Suite 101
P.O. Box 342
Lewiston, ID 83501
(208) 743-0251


Idaho Housing and Finance Association Rental Assistance-Idaho Falls
390 W. Sunnyside Rd.
Idaho Falls, ID 83402
(208) 522-6002

Eastern Idaho Community Action Partnership
357 Constitution Way
Idaho Falls, ID
(208) 522-5391

Originally posted 2014-02-17 15:56:32.

Low-Cost Medical Resources in Boise Idaho and Around The State

Low-Cost Medical Assistance

The following are locations where you may be able to receive low-cost medical assistance. Keep in mind that you may not be able to see a doctor at these locations as your primary care provider may be a physicians assistant. If possible, ask to see a medical doctor every 3 months. Social Security places much greater weight on the opinions of medical doctors.  For more information on why you need to see a medical doctor, see our post on Acceptable Medical Sources.Disability Lawyers Boise


Idaho Navigators-Health and Welfare
Call: Idaho Careline 211


Terry Reilley Health Services- Nampa
223 16th Ave. N.
Nampa, ID 83653
(208) 466-7869


Terry Reilley Health Services- Caldwell
2005 Arlington St.
Caldwell, ID
(208) 459-1025


Terry Reilley Health Services- Boise
848 La Cassia
Boise, ID 83705
(208) 344-3512

Friendship Clinic
704 S. Latah St.
Boise, ID 83705
(208) 429-6678

Sunshine Family Health Clinic
2308 N. Cole Rd. #H
Boise, ID 83704
(208) 375-8806


Garden City Community Clinic
215 W. 35th St.
Boise, ID 83714
(208) 384-5200


Mustard Seed Wellness Clinic
676 Shoup Ave.W., Suite 2
Twin Falls, ID 83301
(208) 320-2857

Family Health Services-Twin Falls
388 Martin St.
Twin Falls, ID 83301
(208) 734-0451


Terry Reilley Health Services- Marsing
201 Main St.
Marsing, ID 83639
(208) 896-4159


Terry Reilley Health Services-Homedale
108 E. Idaho Ave. #1058
Homedale, ID 83628
(208) 337-3189


Health West Clinic-Pocatello
845 W. Center St. #200
Pocatello, ID 83204
(208) 232-6260

Pocatello Free Clinic
429 Washington Ave.
Pocatello, ID 83201
(208) 233-6245


Community Family Clinic
2088 E. 25th St.
Idaho Falls, ID 83404
(208) 528-7655


Family Health Services-Burley
1308 Bennett Ave.
Burley, ID 83318
(208) 678-7796


Family Health Services-Jerome
133 W. Avenue A, Suite B
Jerome, ID 83338
(208) 324-3471


Family Health Services-Buhl
725 Fair St.
Buhl, ID 83316
(208) 543-8271


Family Health Services-Rupert
1024 8th St.
Rupert, ID 83350
(208) 436-0735

Originally posted 2014-02-17 15:26:36.

Social Security Attorneys Boise

Social Security Disability Doctors

Social Security Disability Attorneys

Disability Attorneys

When you’re trying to get on Social Security disability, your health care professional(s) play a very important role. Not all treating sources are equal when it comes to establishing your disability.  Social Security has what it calls “acceptable medical sources.”  Its important that you have at least one acceptable medical source and that you are seeing this person regularly.  For more information on what kind of medial professionals are acceptable to Social Security, see our post on Acceptable Medical Sources.  If you have questions, please contact one of our Boise Social Security Attorneys.

Social security gives a great deal of weight to the opinions of your treating physician.  This is because your treating physician sees you regularly, so he or she is most familiar with the nature of your disability and how severe it is.   For this reason, it is important that you see your treating physician regularly and often.  Its also important that you make the most out of these visits.

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Social Security Attorneys Boise

Your physician will never be asked to decide if you are disabled or not—Social Security believes it is their job to decide this.  However, he or she will usually be asked to give a statement regarding their opinion of how your symptoms will limit your ability to work. Then Social Security will consider these limitations and decide what jobs, if any, you can do.

When you visit your doctor, it is important that you tell him or her all about your symptoms and how they limit you in your daily activities. Be sure to tell your doctor about the duration, location, frequency and intensity of your symptoms and what the aggravating factors are. Also describe things like the side effects of any medications that could keep you from working and if the medication is effective or not. When you do this, what you say will make it into the doctor’s records.  For helpful more tips on maximizing the benefit of your doctor’s visits, see our posts on6 Ways To Make The Most Of Your Doctors Visits – Part 1 and Part 2.

If your doctor doesn’t have enough medical evidence in his records for Social Security to decide if you are disabled or not, they may request that you have additional tests or examinations. These tests are not to provide medical treatment to you. Instead, they are meant to give Social Security a recent idea of your condition and limitations. Consultative exams might be psychiatric or physical in nature. Whichever it is, be sure to give them all of your symptoms and describe all of your limitations.  If you do have to have tests or exams done by a consulting physician, you won’t have to pay the fee. One thing to keep in mind, however, is that these examinations must be done by a physician, osteopath or psychologist (in some circumstances other health professions can be used).

A state agency doctor’s opinion may also be used to determine the outcome of your disability claim. They include osteopaths, psychologists with a Ph.D., and licensed medical doctors. You do not meet these doctors. They make their decision by reviewing and evaluating your medical evidence to see if your impairments meet Social Securities requirements, assessing the severity of your symptoms and how badly they affect your ability to work, and by assessing your remaining physical and mental functions. Medical consultants might also look at ways to get more medical evidence.

If your case goes before an administrative law judge (ALJ), the judge may request the testimony of a medical expert on a complex medical issue. Medical experts differ from medical consultants in that they don’t say whether you should be allowed Social Security disability benefits or not. Their only job is to testify at hearings. Typically they respond to the judge’s questions and give answers for hypothetical situations created by the judge or your disability attorney.

If you have any questions regarding the role of health care professionals in receiving Social Security benefits, please contact one of our Social Security attorneys. They can help you understand the process and know what to say to your doctors to maximize the chances of you winning your hearing.

Originally posted 2014-02-12 15:45:44.

Social Security Attorneys Boise

Completing The Function Report II

In almost every case, Social Security (SSA) will ask you to complete a Function Report—Adult (SSA Form 3373).  The form is designed to gauge the severity of your condition by how it limits your activities of daily living.  For this reason the form is sometimes called an ADL Report.  This questionnaire asks how your condition limits your activities in a typical day and it asks about your ability to perform activities such as sitting, standing, walking, lifting and so forth. The tips provided here offer you a general strategy for completing the Function Report.  There are no stock answers, but the advice here should help you to better communicate the nature and severity of your condition.  Please see the article titled “How To Complete The Function Report.”  If after reading this, you still have questions, please contact on our Social Security Attorneys.

Social Security Attorneys Boise

Social Security Attorneys

Some claimants think that the disability attorney is the best person to complete the Function Report.  This is not the case.  You don’t need to be eloquent and you don’t need any special writing skills to complete the Function Report.  This is your opportunity to come across as honest and genuine, with all of your flaws showing, spelling errors and poor handwriting included.  But if your handwriting is so bad it can hardly be read, try getting a friend to help you out.  If part of your disability involves your hands and your inability to finger and manipulate objects, you may not be able to complete the form yourself anyway and this should be noted on the form by whoever completes it for you.

How do your illnesses, injuries, or conditions limit your ability to work?

In answering some questions, less is more.  But when you answer this question, be sure to provide plenty of details.  If you are under 50 (and maybe even if you are over 50), you need to remember that it is not just your last job that you must show you can’t do, but ANY job.  No matter what your age, provide details about your inability to perform job functions such as lifting, carrying, pushing, pulling, fingering, handling, sitting, walking, etc.  Describe difficulties you have with memory and concentration, how pain affects your ability to function and what you are like on “bad” days.

Question 6, what do I do all day?

The best approach is to answer question 6 after you’ve answered all the other questions on the Function Report–Adult. The questionnaire asks a lot of specific questions. If you describe something in answer to a specific question, you don’t need to repeat it when answering question 6. If you spend time in bed or in a recliner, be specific and list that you are in bed or a recliner and for what length of time.

If you do things for only a few minutes at a time and then rest, be sure to explain that. Be careful how you word things so as to avoid giving the wrong impression.  Some disabled people have been known to honestly put down that housework takes them “all day” when what they mean is that it takes them a long time to do a few simple chores that used to take them a few minutes.  But instead they give the impression that you are working all day.

A description of how you organize your life around your disability can win your case.  Be sure to write down the special accommodations that you make for yourself, such as needing to lay down after an hour of sitting in a recliner, laying down flat on a board to relieve pain, avoiding certain social situations, only showering occasionally, etc.

Beware of underestimating or overestimating your capacity. If you can lift 30 pounds, one time but then spend the next two days in bed, do you have the capacity to lift 30 pounds? No, you don’t. Lifting 30 pounds is overdoing it. You need to keep this in mind when you estimate how much you can lift, how far you can walk, how long you can sit, etc.  For example, you may state “If I sit longer than 30 minutes, without walking around, I may end up in bed for several hours.” When estimating your sitting, estimate for sitting in a work chair, not a recliner. How long can you sit in a work chair in a normal work situation before you need to get up?   Standing tolerance should be estimated based on standing in a slow moving line.

Important Points:

  • ·Be sure to give the most honest answers you can.  Your best asset is your credibility.  If the adjudicator does not believe you, you will be denied your benefits.
  • ·List only the side effects you are actually having from medications, not the possible ones listed by the drug manufacturers.  Be sure to discuss side affects from your medications with your doctor.
  • ·Everything you have been asked in the Function Report is good to go over with your doctor on your regular visits.  You don’t need to go over every single thing each visit, but be sure to report to your doctor your troubles with your daily activities EVERY time you have an appointment.
  • ·Before you send your completed Function Report–Adult to SSA, make a copy for yourself.

If you have questions about specific conditions and how you should complete your Function Report, contact the Social Security Attorneys in our office today.

Originally posted 2014-01-30 23:22:25.

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Social Security Attorneys Boise

Joint Abnormalities

Social Security Attorneys Boise

Social Security Attorneys Boise

Joint abnormalities are often the basis for receiving Social Security disability benefits.  Some Social Security listings require “gross deformity” to meet the listing.  If you have difficulty with a major joint such as hips, knees, ankles, shoulders, elbows, wrists or hands, contact one of our Boise Social Security Attorneys for a free evaluation of your condition.  You can ask question of an actual attorney rather than a paralegal or secretary.

Gross anatomical deformity of a joint means that the joint disfigurement, enlargement, instability, slippage, etc. can be observed on physical examination. Here are some of the terms that are used to describe joint deformity: ankylosis (bony fixation), subluxation (slippage out of alignment), instability (inability to maintain alignment), and contracture (soft tissue fixation). The deformity may be visually observable or detected by touch or by secondary effects such as the loss of range of motion.  Range of motion (ROM) should be determined passively, i.e., with the doctor moving the limb as active range of motion, i.e., the patient moving the limb is less reliable because it is hard to tell if the patient is giving best efforts.  Except in extreme cases, shoulder and hip deformity must be seen through imaging such as x-ray.

There are several conditions that can cause joint deformity.  Arthritis, for example, can be sufficiently severe that bone growth on both sides of a joint fuses the joint together (bony ankylosis).  Other conditions may result in fibrous ankylosis, where the joint is fixed because of hardening of tissues (ligaments, tendons, skin) around the joint, as a result of traumatic damage, disease process, or disuse. With fibrous ankylosis, tissue looses its elasticity and the joint can no longer move.

The inability to manipulate hands is particularly disabling.  Several conditions can result in the inability to finger or hand objects.  For example, Volkmannís ischemic contracture is where the hand becomes fixed in a bent position on the wrist, and the hand become claw-like. This may be the result of a crushing injury around the elbow that interrupts blood supply to the forearm muscles.  Another condition is the Dupuytrenís contracture where the fingers become fixed because the ligaments and tendons on the bottom of the hand become hardened and the hand will not open.

It is extremely important to understand that a full range of normal motion does not mean a claimant does not meet a listing because abnormal motion can greatly impair function even if the normally expected range of motion is present. In fact, ligament laxity is a condition where there is too much motion and it can be quite disabling because of abnormal forward (anterior), backward (posterior), or sideways (lateral) motion.  It is important that doctors do not simply note “full ROM”.  They also need to report the presence or absence of abnormal range of motion.

X-ray, CT and MRI can be helpful, but the right imaging must be used. For example, a plain X-ray might be sufficient to rule out a bony arthritic process, but would not show soft tissue damage (e.g., fibrous ankylosis) that would be visible on a MRI. To meet a listing there must be evidence of joint involvement (joint space narrowing, bony destruction, or ankylosis), whether or not there is soft tissue damage resulting in instability.

Joint deformity of itself is not enough to meet the listing.  If the deformity is in the hip, knee, or ankle joint, the claimant must not be able to effectively ambulate. The nature of ineffective ambulation is discussed by the SSA in Listing 1.00B2b.  If the joint deformity is in shoulder, elbow, or hand-wrist joint in each upper extremity, the nature of ineffective function is defined by the SSA in Listing 1.00B2c.

For more information on how a joint deformity may qualify you for Social Security Disability benefits, contact one of our Social Security Disability Attorneys in Boise Idaho.

Originally posted 2014-01-27 14:04:17.

Social Security Attorneys Boise Idaho

Completing The Function Report

Social Security Attorneys Boise IdahoHow To Complete The Adult Functional Report

One of the most important forms you will complete in your Social Security Disability Application is the Function Report.  You will actually see this type of report more than once.  When you initially apply, Social Security will send you SSA Form 3373 (the “Function Report-Adult”).  The Function Report is intended to determine what abilities you have and focuses on you daily activities.  One of our Social Security Attorneys Boise Idaho can help you to complete the form in a way that accurately reflects your physical and mental capacities.

Important:  When it comes to describing your limitations, be as detailed as necessary to illustrate the severity of your condition. Otherwise, less is more when completing the Function Report.  Use your worst days as a reference, but be sure to indicate that your answer is based on a worst day.  We find that the Function Report is cited most often to deny claims and medical records are what will get your claim approved.  Your goal in completing the Function Report is to give Social Security an accurate sense of what you CAN NOT do (not what you can do) in a way that fosters your credibility.

There are several things to keep in mind when complete the Function Report that will help you to complete it in a way that is most beneficial to your case.  Below are few of those things:

Be completely honest.  Many times we understate our problems and difficulties because nobody likes a whiner.  When you are competing the Function Report is not a time to be stoic.  Tell things as they really are.

Don’t overstate your limitations.  Some people have the tendency to overstate their symptoms.  Be careful to avoid exaggerations.  Your credibility critical to your success.  If the adjudicator thinks he can’t fully trust you, he will discount your claim.

Hobbies.  Don’t list hobbies and activities that you once did but no longer participate in.  If you no longer participate in a hobby or activity because of your limitations and want to use this to illustrate the severity of your condition, make sure that you are very clear as to what your limitations are and put this in response to Question 10 and not Question 18.

If you need more space to illustrate how your life has changed because of your disability, use the comments section at the end.  Give specific symptoms and limitations that prevent you from doing things you loved to do once or how your mental and physical symptoms have caused issues in your social life, personality, important relationships, etc.

House Work and Yard Work. Only list the things that you do NOW.  Don’t list anything that you did even a few months ago, but no longer do.   If you are no longer doing housework or yard work, simply indicate how your limitations prevent you from doing work of any kind.  If you are able to do some chores, don’t feel you need to make a complete list of every little thing you do.  The best way to respond to these types of questions is to pick one light chore that you do and list all of the difficulty you have with doing that chore.Social Security Attorneys  In Banner Ad

For example, you may do dishes.  Don’t simply list “I do dishes.”  Indicate that you do dishes and then indicate all of the limitations that you have.  For example:  “I do dishes when my symptoms are not too severe.  When I can do dishes, I can only stand for 10 minutes and then I have to rest.  My husband has to take care of any large pots and pans.  I can load the dishes in the top of the dishwasher, but I can’t bend over to load the bottom.”  In the above example you would refer directly to the condition, such as back pain, that is causing your limitations.

Important Details to Provide.  When you are describing your symptoms and limitations, provide information as to the frequency, intensity and duration of your symptoms. You can also provide information on how much you can lift, how long you can sit, how long you can stand, how often you have to lay down, elevate your feet, etc.  If you have bad days, be sure to describe what your symptoms are like on these days and how many bad days you have in a month.

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Our Social Security Attorneys can help you to navigate your disability application.

Good days, bad days and your credibility. Most people applying for disability don’t have constant symptoms.  They have good days and bad days.  This can lead to conflicts between your answers on the Function Report and other evidence in your file that can lead Social Security to discount your credibility.  If you don’t indicate to Social Security that your answer to a particular question is based on your bad days, Social Security will compare your answer to other evidence in the file that does not seem to indicate your condition is as severe as you describe and begin to question your credibility.

For example, on a good day you went shopping or for a drive and mention this in passing to your doctor who then puts something in the records like “Feeling better, enjoying shopping”.  But in your Function Report you indicate that you can’t do any shopping because you were thinking about your bad days when you have to stay in bed.  So be sure that you use the phrases “On bad days…..” and indicate how often you have bad days.  You can indicate in response to any question that on your bad days you can’t do anything, but on your good days your can perform certain limited functions.

For example,  in response to question 12, you could indicate that on bad days you do not bathe or shower and your spouse has to help you put your shoes on and button your clothing.  Or on Question 13 you can indicate that on bad days you can not prepare a meal and your roommate will help you out, but on good days you are able to prepare a sandwich or soup.

Your mental capacity.  Mental limitations are particularly difficult to establish.  Your credibility is your best asset here.  If your disability is largely due to cognitive limitations such as concentration, remembering, etc, you will want to provide as many anecdotes as you can that demonstrate your limitations.  For example, “I have to have my brother help me each month with bills because I make too many mistakes with inverting numbers on the checks,” or “I find that I have to re-read something several times before I can get the meaning,” or “my wife has taken over my medications because I can’t remember what I have taken, and I can’t even remember to write it down.”

The Function Report can be a trap for the unwary.  Be sure to speak with one of our Social Security Attorneys In Boise Idaho before you complete your form for detailed advice with respect to your specific disability.

Originally posted 2014-01-03 18:58:00.

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Common Disability Forms

Common Forms You Will Be required To Complete In Social Security Disability Benefits ClaimSocial Security Attorney

You’re disabled and have decided that you want to receive Social Security disability benefits. What do you do next?  To start the process, you will be filling out a lot of forms, both from the Social Security administration and from a Boise Social Security Attorney with Advocate Attorneys.  Below is a brief overview of some of the most common forms you will be completing.

Your disability attorney will send you several forms you need to complete for him. Two of these forms are the SSA-1696 and a fee agreement. The 1696 is the form that appoints your Social Security disability lawyer as your representative. You’re not supposed to name an entire law firm as a representative, but you can name multiple lawyers as representatives if you wish. If you do this, you will have to indicate a main representative because Social Security will only send copies of notices to one representative.

The fee agreement establishes how your disability attorney gets paid.  You will simply have to sign and return it. Typical language used in a fee agreement form is as follows. “There will be no fee unless I win my case. If my claim is approved at any time in the initial, reconsideration, hearing, appeals counsel level, I agree to pay a maximum fee of the lower of (a) twenty-five percent (25%) of past due benefits, or (b) $6,000 (or such higher amount as the Commissioner of Social Security may allow that is in effect at the time of a favorable decision).” If you see language much different than this, of if the attorney wants to charge you an upfront fee, find someone else to represent you.  Your disability lawyer may also send you Form SSA-3288, which is simply a form that allows them to release your records to your representative.

You will also receive Form SSA-827 from Social Security. This form will allow Social Security to request your medical records. Your medical records are very important, because the Social Security administration and the DDS office will look at them to determine whether or not you will receive benefits.

Your initial claim will take somewhere between 90 to 120 days.  Unfortunately, most people are denied at the initial level. The thirty percent or so of claimants who are approved usually have very severe cases that are documented very well by medical records. Don’t get discouraged if you are denied—there is always the reconsideration and the hearing.

If you are denied initially, typically you or your attorney will complete an online version of the Form SSA-561, which is the request for a reconsideration. This form will just briefly ask you why you disagree with the decision. The reconsideration process will usually take another 60-90 days. About 10% of people who file for reconsideration are approved.  If you are denied again, then you or your attorney will complete an online version of the Form HA-501, which is the request for a hearing with an administrative law judge. These forms must be completed within 60 days or your case will be closed.

Waiting for your hearing takes the longest, lasting anywhere from nine to twelve months. If you can show that you are in dire need, you may have your case expedited.  Your disability attorney may also decide that you are a good candidate for an on-the-record-decision, which means you may not have to go before a judge and the process could take much less time. If you do have to go before a judge, don’t be discouraged—this is where most people get approved. Our Boise disability lawyers get 85-90% of our claimants approved at the hearing level.

There are two other very important forms you will see: the SSA Form 3373 (The Function Report, sometimes called the Activities of Daily Living Report) and the SSA Form 3369 (The Work History Report).  These forms are so important that a separate article has been dedicated to completing these forms.  You should seek tips from your Social Security Attorney before completing these forms.

If you have any questions about forms or the disability process, please contact one of our Boise Social Security disability lawyers. Not only can our Social Security lawyers help you fill out all these forms, but they can help you fill them out in a way that helps your case and avoids costly mistakes. They can help you properly state your claim, and they can help answer questions about the forms.

Originally posted 2014-01-02 17:16:27.

Disability Lawyers Boise Idaho

Non-Citizen Eligibility For SSI

Most of the time non-citizens are not eligible for disability benefits because of the welfare reform legislation that was signed on August 22, 1996. However, there are a few complicated exceptions. If you are a non-citizen and wish to receive disability benefits, you can contact one of our Boise Social Security disability lawyers

You may be eligible for disability benefits if you were admitted for permanent residence under the Immigration and Nationality Act and if you have worked long enough to have at least forty quarters of work. Work that is done by a parent or spouse may also qualify you. You could also qualify if you are blind and disabled and were in the United States lawfully on August 22, 1996.

Social Security attorneys, Meridian, idaho with questions.If you are an American Indian who was born outside the United States and are under section 289 of the INA or if you are a member of a federally recognized Indian tribe under section 4(e) of the Indian-self Determination and Educational Assistance Act, you could be eligible. Another way you could be eligible is if you are admitted as a refugee. The seven year limit applies even if the non-citizen’s status changes to lawfully admit for permanent residence.

If you are a non-citizen who is granted asylum under section 208 of the INA you could still be eligible. SSI eligibility is limited to the first seven years after asylum is granted. This seven year limit applies even if your status changes to lawfully admitted for permanent residence. Another way you can qualify if you are a non-citizen whose deportation has been withheld under section 243(h) of the INA as in effect prior to April 1, 1997 or if your removal has been withheld under section 241(b)(3) of the INA. SSI eligibility is limited to the first seven years after deportation or removal is withheld. The seven year limit applies even if the non-citizen’s statues changes to lawfully admitted for permanent residence. However, there is no time limit if you also meet different requirements. Public law 110-328 also extended the time limit by two or three years.

If you are a Cuban or Haitian entrant as defined in section 501(e) of the Refugee Education Assistance Act of 1980, then you could also qualify. SSI eligibility is limited to the first seven years after entrants status is granted. As before, the time limit still applies even if your status changes to lawfully admitted for permanent residence. However, it does not apply if you can meet certain other requirements.

You could apply for Social Security disability if you are admitted to the United States as an Amerasian immigrant under section 584 of the Foreign Operations, Export Financing, and Related Programs Appropriations Act.

You could also qualify if you are an active duty member of the United States Armed Forces (this doesn’t count if you are only admitted for training purposes) or if you are honorably discharged from the Armed Forces and the discharge has nothing to do with the fact that you are a non-citizen. The above two could still qualify you if you are the spouse or the unmarried widow or widower or if you are the unmarried dependent child of a member of one of  the two groups.

Even if you qualify per the above, you may still have to meet other requirements, such as you must be lawfully admitted for permanent residence under the INA. You must also be a refugee under section 207 of the INA, an asylee under section 208 of the INA, or  a person whose deportation is withheld under section 243(h) of the INA as in effect prior to April 1, 1997. You might also have to be a non-citizen, or a non-citizen parent of a child or a non-citizen child of a parent who has been battered or subjected to extreme cruelty in the U.S. by a spouse, parent or certain other family member and been determined to need SSI because of this abuse.

Social Security disability eligibility for Non-citizens is very complicated. If you think you might qualify, you can contact one of our Boise Social Security disability lawyers for further help in getting your claim approved.

Originally posted 2013-12-19 17:04:25.