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Idaho Disability Lawyers

Chronic Fatigue

As any good disability lawyer will tell you, there are some conditions that are more difficult to get on disability for than others.  One of those conditions is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or CFS.  This is primarily because CFS seems to be a diagnosis that is used to describe a loosely related set of symptoms that can not be explained by any other means, the primary symptom of which is fatigue. If you have been told by your doctor that you have CFS, contact a Boise disability lawyer in our Boise, Idaho office today to get more information on how you can prepare your case to successfully apply for Social Security Disability Benefits.

social-security-disability-attorney-justice-300x199In 2014, Social Security released SSR 14-1p entitled “Evaluating Claims Involving Chronic  Fatigue Syndrome” to help claimants and their attorneys to better understand how CFS fits into Social Security’s set of medically determinable impairments.  SSR 14-1p replaced SSR 99-2p, which was published in 1999 and first established how Social Security would deal with claims of Chronic Fatigue.

One of the key concepts in Social Security Disability that a disability lawyer must make sure every claim has is a medically determinable impairment or “MDI”.  Certain conditions such as chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia are a set of symptoms that can’t otherwise be explained, which makes them difficult to diagnose, except by eliminating other sources of the symptoms.  SSR 14-1p helps establish when chronic fatigue can be established as an MDI.

In general, SSR 14-1p defines Chronic Fatigue as a clinically evaluated, persistent or relapsing chronic fatigue that :

  1. Has a specific onset
  2. Is not explained by another identifiable condition or illness
  3. Is not related to exertion
  4. Is not alleviated by rest
  5. Results in a significant reduction in your ability to perform important occupational, social or personal activities.

Diagnostic Symptoms:  Social Security points to the CDC case definition of Chronic Fatigue states that a person must have four or more of the following specific symptoms for 6 or more months:

  • Tiredness after exerting yourself that lasts for 24 hours or more
  • Difficulty with memory and concentration
  • Soar Throat
  • Tender lymph nodes in your neck
  • Muscle Pain
  • Headaches
  • Waking unrefreshed
  • Muscle weakness
  • Problems sleeping
  • Visual difficulties
  • Fainting, dizziness or fatigue with prolonged standing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Cardiovascular abnormalities
  • Stomach Problems

There are also certain conditions that people with Chronic Fatigue also commonly suffer from, including:

  • Fibromyalgia
  • Myofascial pain syndrome
  • Temporomandibular joint syndrome
  • Irritable Bowell Syndrome
  • Interstitial systitis
  • Raynauds phenomenon
  • Migraines
  • Chronic Lymphocitic Thyroiditis
  • Sjogren’s syndrome
  • New allergies or sensitivities (cold all the time)

Disability lawyers know that Social Security will not simply take your doctor at his word that you have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.  You will need a good Social Security attorney to help Social Security to find evidence of the above signs and conditions and show if you have other conditions that may be causing these signs and conditions.  Social Security will require medical signs or laboratory findings that support your diagnosis of Chronic Fatigue before they will consider that it constitutes an MDI.

Medical Signs—Social Security will look for one or more of the following medical signs that last longer than 6 months:

  • Swollen or tender lymph nodes  on physical examination
  • Sore throat (nonexudative)
  • Tender Points
  • Other, less persuasive, signs such as Frequent viral infections, Sinusitis, Ataxia, Extreme pallor, Pronounced weight change

Laboratory Findings—Your Disability Attorney should point out the following to Social Security to indicate your diagnosis of Chronic Fatigue is legitimate:

  • An elevated antibody titer to Epstein-Barr virus capsid antigen equal to ore greater than 1:5120, or early antigen equal to or greater than 1:640
  • Abnormal MRI of the brain
  • Hypotention
  • Abnormal exercise stress test
  • Abnormal sleep studies

In addition to those discussed above, your disability lawyer may be able to point to other medical signs and laboratory findings that Social Security may accept in deciding your Chronic Fatigue diagnosis constitutes an MDI.  The key is that your doctor explains carefully what medical sings and laboratory findings he has considered in making his diagnosis.  A diagnosis of Chronic Fatigue will be much stronger the more conditions that have been ruled out as possible causes for your signs and symptoms.

Contact our Boise disability lawyers today for a free case evaluation and find out if you meet the criteria for Social Security Disability.

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Social Security Disability Doctors

Social Security Disability Attorneys

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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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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.

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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.

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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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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 Nampa Idaho

Musculoskeletal Examinations

Musculoskeletal Examinations

Your chances for receiving your disability for neck, back or joint condition depends on the quality of the medical evidence you can present to Social Security.  Not every doctor visit is the same.  You should request a full physical examination at each visit that includes important observations that will support your complaints of pain and limitation.  Contact one a Social Security Attorney in our Nampa Idaho office for an evaluation of your situation and what steps you can take to get your disability claim on track.

If you suffer from spinal symptoms, your examination should include observations from your doctor regarding the following:

  • gait
  • range of motion of the spine given quantitatively in degrees from the vertical position (zero degrees)
  • straight-leg raising from the sitting and supine position (zero degrees),
  • appropriate tension signs
  • motor and sensory abnormalities
  • muscle spasm
  • deep tendon reflexes

Be aware that your doctor will also include observations during the examination such as how you get on and off the examination table, your Inability to walk on the heels or toes, to squat, or to arise from a squatting position. Your doctor should note atrophy by taking  circumferential measurements of both thighs and lower legs, or both upper and lower arms, as appropriate.  Atrophy also requires a measurement of the strength of the affected muscles based on a grading system of 0 to 5, with 0 being complete loss of strength and 5 being maximum strength. A specific description of atrophy of hand muscles should include measurements of grip and pinch strength.

Your condition will change over time and may respond to treatments.  It is not enough to have a single evaluation, no matter how extensive, or to have several evaluations over a period of time, and then stop seeing your doctor.  Social Security will want to see over the period of time you are claiming disability that your condition persists.

Major Joints

Major joints refers to the major peripheral joints, which are the hip, knee, shoulder, elbow, wrist-hand, and ankle-foot.  It dos not include peripheral joints such as fingers or forefoot or axial joints such as the spine.  The wrist and hand are considered together as one major joint, as are the ankle and foot.  If your condition involves a major joint, you will want to have regular examinations as for these joints covering the aspects described above.


If you have a severe musculoskeletal condition that will qualify you for disability, you will almost certainly have tried several unsuccessful treatments.  Your record should include, medical treatment (including surgical treatment) with documentation of its effectiveness in terms of the signs, symptoms, and laboratory abnormalities of the disorder, and in terms of any side effects from the treatment that create their own limitations.

Treatment and adverse consequences of treatment will vary widely. For example, a pain medication may reduce your pain to some degree, but will have side effects such as  drowsiness, dizziness, or disorientation, that may make it impossible to work. Each case is different and must be document with objective observations from your doctor.

Hopefully your doctor’s note will contain a specific description of the drugs or treatment given (including surgery), dosage, frequency of administration, and a description of the complications or response to treatment.  Because some effects of treatment may be temporary, review of your condition over a long period of time will be critical in establishing the nature of your condition.

If for whatever reason you have not received ongoing treatment, whether because of financial concerns or because you simply failed to see the need to continue seeing your doctor because you were not seeing improvement from your recommended treatment, etc, you need to begin seeing a doctor regularly while you await your hearing.

You need to do everything in your power to find a low-cost or no-cost clinic so that you can continue to documents your condition.  In such cases, evaluation will be made on the basis of the current objective medical evidence and other available evidence. Even though may not receive treatment your doctor’s objective observations form a significant basis for showing an impairment that meets the criteria of one of the musculoskeletal listings.

Contact one of our Social Security Attorneys Nampa Idaho to discuss the specifics of your case.  You will receive a consultation with an actual local Social Security Attorney.



Originally posted 2014-01-05 04:24:19.

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.

Idaho Disability Lawyers

After You Have Won Your Disability Benefits

Boise Idaho–Once your disability claim has been approved you aren’t automatically guaranteed benefits for the rest of your life. The Social Security Administration will periodically look at your case to make sure that you are still disabled. If you need help with this process or if you have questions, you can contact one of our Social Security disability lawyers in Boise Idaho.

Social security disability lawyers in Meridian, Idaho.The Social Security administration has two types of reviews. One is a medical continuing disability review that determines if the claimant still meets the medical requirements to collect disability benefits. The second is the work continuing disability review, where Social Security will look at the claimant’s earnings to see if he or she is still eligible. How often a case is reviewed varies from claimant to claimant. If the claimant has a medical condition that is expected to improve, they may be reviewed as soon as six to eighteen months. On the other hand, if the medical condition is not expected to improve, it might be as long as seven years before the case is reviewed. If it is possible that the claimant will improve, then his or her case will probably be reviewed around the three year mark.  Children who receive disability benefits will automatically be reviewed once they turn eighteen.

A continuing disability review can also be triggered by change in your circumstances. It may be triggered if you return to work, if you inform the Social Security administration that your condition has improved, a new treatment pertaining to your disability has recently been introduced, if someone informs Social Security that you are not following your treatment protocol or if your medical evidence indicates that your condition has improved. When you receive the continuing disability review, it’s important that you fill them out and return them. Social Security will send you a second notice. After that, however, if you don’t fill it out or if you don’t attend any examinations that Social Security schedules, you will lose your benefits.

If your disability claim is up for review, you will first receive a notice by mail. The Social Security Administration will have you fill out some paperwork describing what your current condition is. They will also ask you for a list of all the places where you have received treatment. Just like when you were first applying for benefits, Social Security will get copies of all your recent medical records. If you haven’t been seeing the doctor or if you don’t have enough medical records, they will schedule you for a Consultative Exam.  For this reason, it is important that you continue to see a doctor, even after you have been awarded Social Security Disability benefits. It’s better that you are seen by someone who is familiar with you and your disability than to have your case reviewed by a Social Security doctor. When you do visit the doctor, be sure that you describe your symptoms in every visit, and be as truthful as you can. Don’t exaggerate your symptoms, but don’t understate them either.

If your symptoms haven’t improved, then your disability benefits will continue. However, if your symptoms have improved, then Social Security will look so see if they still meet the disability requirements.

Social Security tries to reward people who are trying to work despite their disability, so you can still work and receive disability benefits. However, you are responsible for informing the Social Security Administration when you return to work, when your duties or pay change or when you start paying for work expenses due to your disability.

You can still work as long as you follow certain rules.  You can go over the Substantial Gainful Activity limit if it’s during a trial work period. There is also something called the Ticket to Work Program that can help you attempt working again without fear of losing your benefits.

When the time for your case to be reviewed does come, don’t worry too much. In general, it’s easier to pass a continuing disability review than it is to be granted benefits in the first place. If your benefits do stop, then you can appeal. For more information, you can contact one of our Social Security Disability attorneys in Boise Idaho.

Originally posted 2013-12-18 04:46:01.

Idaho Disability Lawyers

Musculoskeletal Listing–Part I

Social Security has provided guidance on many disabling conditions in what it calls its “Listings”.  The first of these listings if for Musculoskeletal disorders, which covers disabilities that affect your ability to move without pain.  A large percentage of disability claims fall under this listing.  Our Boise Social Security Attorneys can provide you with a free consultation and determine if your disability satisfies the requirements of this listing.  Our disability lawyers are experts in Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits applications.

The purpose of this article is to familiarize you with what kinds of conditions fall under the Musculoskeletal Listing and some important definitions and terms, especially the following: Inability To Ambulate Effectively and Inability To Perform Fine And Gross Movements Effectively.

Disability Attorney firmThe Musculoskeletal Listing covers any condition that causes or results in bone or joint deformities, including disorders of the spine, amputations, fractures or soft tissue injuries that require long periods of immobility.  Arthritis is also covered by Listing 14—Immune System.  Regardless of the cause of your condition, in order to satisfy the Musculoskeletal Listing, your condition must cause you to have significant difficulty in walking or handling and fingering, and the condition must be expected to last for 12 months or longer (so broken bones and even some amputations don’t qualify).

Inability To Ambulate Effectively—The inability to ambulate effectively means that you have such difficulty with your feet or legs that you have to use a two handed walker (or a cane if only have the use of one hand).  What it means to ambulate effectively is also defined as follows:  for Social Security to be able to find that you ambulate effectively, it must be shown that you are capable of sustaining a reasonable pace or a sufficient distance to carry  out your normal activities.  You also must be able to make it to work without needing companion assistance.  Examples of the inability to ambulate effectively include:  (1) the inability to walk without a walker, two crutches or two canes, (2) the inability to walk for a block at a reasonable speed across rough or uneven ground, (3) the inability to run errands, and (4) the inability use stairs at a reasonable pace.

Inability To Perform Fine and Gross Movements Effectively—Fine motor activity is fingering.  Gross motor activity is reaching, lifting and handling.  If you are unable to use your fingers effectively, there are very few jobs you can perform and you will likely be found disabled.  If you can finger, but have difficulty reaching lifting, and handling, you may also be found disabled, even though there are a few jobs available.  Examples of the inability to perform fine and gross motor activity include: (1) the inability to brush your teeth, (2) the inability to comb, braid or wash your hair, (3) the inability to cook meals, and (4) the inability to hand files, papers, money, etc.

Pain And Weakness And Your Ability to Function—Pain and weakness are almost always a component of your inability to move.  These are very subjective, especially complaints of pain.  Because of this, you need to have your pain and weakness backed up by objective findings such as X-rays, MRI’s, atrophy and weakness, numbness, etc. that clearly demonstrate that there is a mechanical problem of some kind.  Its very important that you provide as much of this objective evidence as possible.

If you have a condition that results in difficulty walking, handling or fingering, call today to speak with a Social Security Disability attorney in Boise.  We don’t charge you for the consultation and you don’t pay a fee until we win your case.

Originally posted 2013-12-16 19:58:20.