Posts Tagged ‘boise’


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.


Boise Social Security Attorneys

SSI, SSDI and Your Pain

Boise social security attorneys firm. BOISE, ID – Our Boise Social Security Attorneys office understands that if your pain affects your ability to function, you may be eligible for disability benefits.

Social Security attorneys realize that while you are applying for Social Security SSD or Social Security SSI, your pain can be a very important factor.  Pain is a subjective thing, meaning there is no real test that a doctor can perform and get a measurement of how much pain you are in.  Because this is the case, SSA tries to find objective evidence that would justify your pain, such as problems that can be identified on an MRI, X-ray or lab test that indicate a problem that is typically associated with causing the kind of pain you are complaining of.

Why Work With A Social Security Attorney?

When it comes to pain, you credibility is everything.  The judge has to make a determination as to whether he or she believes your account of your pain and the functional limitations it places on you.  This is why is so important to be accurate in your description of your pain.  Don’t underrate your pain, but don’t overstate it.  The judge is going to take everything you say about pain and loss of function and compare it to the objective medical evidence.  If there is too wide a discrepancy, you had better have a very good explanation or the judge is going to lose all faith in your testimony and likely find you not disabled.

Boise Social Security Attorneys firm in Idaho.

That is why it is important to have a local Boise social security attorney represent your case. Our Boise disability attorney firm has expert attorneys who are able to help put the pieces of your social security disability case together in a way that will help the judge see that you are indeed disabled. We have helped our clients get approved even after they have previously been denied by a judge.

Call us at 208-344-3044 or click here and fill out a request for a free consultation today. Our expert and local Boise disability attorneys office will contact you and get started on your case right away. Our social security attorneys have an extremely high success rate and you don’t pay unless we win.

Originally posted 2012-12-20 04:04:05.


Boise Disability Attorneys

Does Obesity Qualify As A Disability?

BOISE, ID – A local Boise disability attorneys office can help you determine that, if you are sufficiently obese, you may have limitations that will qualify you for disability under Social Security’s guidelines. Social Security had a specific listing for obesity, but it was deleted in 1999. Shortly after that, Social Security published SSR 02-1p which explains how Social Security views obesity in determining whether you are disabled. Below are some highlights from this ruling, but you should contact a Social Security attorney (disability lawyer) for how this ruling might apply to the specific facts of your case. A good Social Security disability attorney can evaluate your condition in light of all your limitation and give you a good idea if you should apply for Social Security Disability.

Boise disability attorney, boiseBeing obese, in and of itself, will not qualify you for disability. What is important is that that your physical or mental limitations are so severe that you can no longer work, and obesity can cause symptoms that are severe enough to qualify you for Social Security Disability. Obesity is a complex, chronic condition that is broken down into three levels based on your body mass index or “BMI”. Level I includes BMIs of 30 to 34.9, Level II includes BMIs of 35 to 39.9, and Level III, which is any BMI over 40. Level III is termed “extreme” obesity and represents the greatest risk of developing obesity-related impairments. Your level of obesity is important, but not nearly as important as the specific degree of your loss of function.

Whether you are obese or not is not a simple matter of calculating your BMI. You must be examined by a physician who determines that you are obese in an official diagnosis. For your obesity to make a significant difference in finding you disabled, it has to be a long-term condition. As a general rule, your weight fluctuations will not be considered if they are not greater than 10% of your body weight for any substantial length of time.

Obesity can be considered a severe impairment if your obesity, alone or in combination with your other impairments, significantly limits your physical or mental ability to do basic work activities. There is no specific level of BMI that equates with a “severe” or “not severe” impairment. A Boise social security disability attorney can  help you understand your options.

Because there is no longer a listing for obesity, to meet a listing or equal a listing you must have another impairment that in combination with your obesity meets the requirements of a listing. For example, obesity may increase the severity of problems with your joints so that you can no longer move effectively, or you may no longer be able to breath if you engage in strenuous activity, etc. You may have many impairments, including obesity, but no one of these impairments is severe enough to make you disabled; but when combined, these impairments are equivalent in severity to a listed impairment. For example, because your obesity affects your cardiovascular and respiratory systems, your ability to perform additional work is less than would otherwise be expected. Your obesity diminishes your ability to perform routine movement and important physical activity necessary for many jobs as well as your ability to sustain functions over time on a regular basis.

Losing Weight And Social Security Disability

So what about losing weight? It appears that Social Security understands that losing weight is not as easy for most folks as simply eating less and exercising more and then waiting for the pounds to melt off. But that is the official attitude. When it comes to obesity, much depends on the attitudes of the judge you happen to be assigned.

So what about surgery or other recommended treatments? Failure to follow treatments is reason for a denial of benefits. But SSR 82-59 explains that Social Security will find that you have failed to follow a prescribed treatment only when:

• A treating source (your doctor) has prescribed treatment that is clearly expected to restore the ability to engage in substantial gainful activity, AND, the evidence shows that you don’t have a good reason not to follow the treatment prescribed.

• 20 CFR 404.1502 and 416.902 indicate the treatment must be prescribed and not simply recommended. So your doctor telling you that you need to lose weight and get more exercise is NOT a prescription for treatment.

Social Security’s official policy is that they understand that treatment goals for obesity are generally modest, and treatment is often ineffective, so they will not find failure to follow prescribed treatment unless there is clear evidence that treatment would be successful. This means that treatment would be expected to remove your impairments. Of course, this is just the stated policy and it will be a random judge who is making the decision in your case, and he or she may think differently.

Keep in mind that just because your doctor prescribes a treatment, doesn’t mean that if you don’t follow it your can’t get on disability. There are legitimate reasons for not following prescribed treatment—these include:

• The specific medical treatment is contrary to your religion.

• You can’t afford the treatment (you had better be able to show that the costs are ridiculously out of your ability to pay). Most insurance plans will not pay for weight loss procedures.

• The treatment carries a high degree of risk.

The best thing you can do if you think you might be disabled because of your obesity is to call a disability attorney in Boise, Idaho. Make sure this is a Boise Social Security disability attorney who’s principal practice is Social Security Disability.

Originally posted 2012-12-08 03:47:51.


Boise Disability Lawyers

Am I Disabled?

social-security-attorney-ssdi-card-300x225BOISE, ID – Am I Disabled? That is a question that most everyone who contacts our Boise disability lawyers office about disability wants answered.  Well, the simple answer that most disability lawyers will give you is that you are disabled if your symptoms and limitations prevent you form working for 12 months, or can be reasonably expected to keep you from working for 12 months.

But it gets a lot more complicated than that.  Every case is slightly different, so Social Security disability has been carefully defined using thousands of pages of statutes, regulations, guidelines and case law.  A good disability attorney is familiar with all of these and should be able to quickly determine if your disability application is viable, provide he or she has the facts.

Just because you, your spouse, your friends and your family dog know you can’t go back to work does not mean Social Security will find you disabled.  Your symptoms and limitations need to be documented by doctors.  So the better your records, the better your chances of getting disability.  In addition, there are a lot of other factors that affect your chances such as your past work experience, your age, your education, your inability to read or write, etc. This is where an attorney can help.

Age is one of the biggest factors.  There are two magic ages to consider when applying for Social Security Disability– 50 and 55.  If you are over 50 and can’t work, you really need to speak with one of your disability lawyers or bout Social Security disability benefits.

Disability Lawyers Consultation

The disability lawyers with Advocate Attorneys will provide you with a free consultation to determine if your are disabled.  An attorney, not a secretary or paralegal, will go over the facts of your case, answer your questions, and give you a plan for taking your best shot at qualifying for disability benefits.  A Disability Lawyer in Boise, Idaho (or Nampa, Caldwell, Meridian) can even visit your home to meet with your and discuss your case.  We have especially been able to help people who have been denied before.  Our expert social security lawyers are able to present your case is a way that makes it easier for the judge to recognize your disability. Local attorneys do make a difference. Give us a call today and speak with our local Boise disability lawyers for a free consultation.

Originally posted 2012-11-15 01:00:02.


Social Security Disability Myths

Common Social Security Disability Myths

Social Security Attorneys for Boise, IDMyths about Social Security disability

When you apply for Social Security disability, you will find all sorts of myths circulating, especially on the internet. A Social Security attorney with our office can answer your questions and make the process easier by separating fact from fiction. Here are some common myths and misconceptions about Social Security disability.

Some people believe that everyone is denied Social Security disability benefits when they file an application, almost like Social Security has this rule so that you will be forced to appeal if you want disability. This is false. There is no such rule, although it’s easy to see where people could get the idea. On average, seventy percent of claims are denied on the first application. Keep this percentage in mind as you try to get disability benefits. It is not in your best interest to repeatedly file new applications instead of filing for an appeal. The goal is to get your case before a judge, because that is where you have the best chance of winning your case.   There are some exceptions to this where you would want to file a new claim and you should consult with one of our disability attorneys if you have been denied.

Another common and incorrect belief is that you can’t work once you start receiving Social Security benefits. In reality, you can work as long as you follow the rules. Social Security simply requires that you are unable to go over the substantial gainful activity limit. This limit changes, so be sure that your information is current. For more about substantial gainful activity and how you can still work after receiving Social Security benefits, please see the article entitled Frequently Asked Questions About Social Security disability or you can call to speak with one of our attorneys.   Working while you apply for disability is a different matter.  If you are working part-time while you apply, be sure to speak with a Social Security attorney.

Some people also think that a letter from your doctor saying that you are disabled can automatically get you on disability. This is not true. Most of the time, doctors letters don’t impact the decision very much, simply because they are too short and they don’t have enough details and provide only conclusory statements. However, a good statement from your doctor (called a medical source statement) or a well written letter can carry a lot of weight in a hearing. To make sure that you are doing everything you can to improve your chances, be sure to be very specific with your doctor about your limitations. This way the medical source statement your doctor writes is detailed, objective and very specific when it describes your physical or mental limitations. Keep in mind that it is best not to talk to your doctor about your disability application outside of asking for a letter or medical source statement.

Another misconception is that there are certain limitations that will automatically get you approved for Social Security disability. This is false, although it does have a grain of truth in it. Social Security does have medical listing, but just because you have a condition that is covered by these listings does not mean you will qualify for disability under this listing. If you symptoms match one of these conditions, you could get approved for disability benefits more easily. However, with Social Security nothing is ever guaranteed or automatic, and each case is considered on an individual basis. The Social Security Administration will always look at your medical records and see if you can still do past or relevant work, regardless of your impairment. Also keep in mind that you can still receive benefits even if your impairment is not in the medical listings.

Another myth is that you can’t get on Social Security disability if you have ever used drugs or alcohol.  Sometimes Social Security will use your use of alcohol as a reason to deny you benefits. However, that does not mean that you are automatically denied.  Social Security asks the question: if you were to stop using drugs or drinking alcohol, would your condition improve? If your medical condition is caused—or even made worse—by the drugs or alcohol, and stopping would allow you to work, then the Social Security administration will deny you benefits. However, if your condition was caused by alcohol but you have already stopped and your medical condition is not getting better, you could still receive benefits. For example, if you have a liver condition that was caused by alcohol, but the damage is permanent.. If the drugs or alcohol is unrelated to your disability, then in theory it should not have any effect on the determination, but significant abuse will always be an issue.

Some people also believe that you will receive a decision on your disability claim in ninety to a hundred and twenty days. This is untrue. Cases can be won in as little as thirty days or drag on for as long as two years. Generally, the more serious your condition is the faster you will be approved, but there is no way to predict how long a case will take.

If you have more questions about any of the Social Security disability myths listed above or about any step of the disability process, please contact a Social Security attorney with our office.

 

Originally posted 2015-02-18 18:40:42.


A Social Security Attorney On Unemployment Benefits

Unemployment Benefits Part II | Social Security Attorney

A Few More Thoughts On Unemployment

If you are receiving unemployment compensation benefits, can you still receive Social Security disability benefits? The answer to this question is quite complex, and if you are receiving unemployment you should consult a Social Security attorney with our office. You can receive benefits from both programs, but it can be tricky.  As a general rule, our disability attorneys strongly discourage applying for unemployment benefits while applying for disability benefits.

The problem is that you are saying two different things when you apply for both Social Security disability and unemployment compensation benefits. You are telling one government program that you are able and willing to work and the other that you are so handicapped either mentally or physically that you can no longer work. So while Social Security guidelines to not provide a bright line prohibition against granting disability benefits to someone on unemployment, most judges will see it as a question of credibility and it can be very damaging to your case—as every disability attorney will tell you, credibility is everything when it comes to applying for Social Security disability.

older-coupleThe first thing to consider is your onset date. If you claim that you are disabled the date you were laid off from work, you must also consider that this is probably also the date you started telling the unemployment compensation people that you are ready and willing to work.  You should consult with your attorney about moving the onset date forward to avoid this conflict. However, before you do this you should understand that the judges that will be determining the outcome of your case have very different views about the people who receive unemployment compensation benefits during the time that they are also claiming to be disabled. If possible, you should try to find out what your judge’s view on the matter is, which is only possible if you are using a local Social Security attorney who knows the local judges.

Also keep in mind that there are some cases where there is no conflict and moving your onset date is unnecessary. This kind of case usually occurs with claimants can not do their past relevant work and legitimately receive unemployment compensation because they are willing to try something new. This will usually occur for claimants fifty years old or older who can also be found disabled using rules from the Medical-Vocational guidelines.  However, some states claim that a limitation to sedentary work does not qualify a claimant for unemployment compensation benefits because there is a requirement that the claimant be capable of performing more jobs than just sedentary ones.

Your attorney might also argue that you would have attempted to work if you found a job during the time you were receiving unemployment compensations benefits, but you would not have been able to sustain the work. This makes the unemployment compensation benefits legitimate but also provides a basis for the disability claim. If you are unsure whether or not your unemployment compensation benefits are going to be a problem, please contact one of our Social Security attorneys.

As mentioned earlier, administrative law judges vary in their views. There is no regulation or ruling that says you cannot receive unemployment benefits and still get Social Security benefits. However, some judges might think of this as double dipping and will not find you disabled during the time that you received unemployment compensation. This could be the case even if you present a legitimate claim that you can

receive both benefits. The judge may ask you to move the onset date to when you last received unemployment compensation benefits, but he may also expect you to move the onset date based on your medical condition worsening and not based on when your benefits stopped. Both could mean a significant loss of back benefits. For other judges, it isn’t a big deal that you are receiving benefits from both programs.

Another thing to keep in mind is that an application for unemployment benefits will be considered together with all of your other medical evidence. Lots of the time, underlying circumstances will be more important than the fact that you applied for unemployment benefits.  If you are clearly severely disabled and have significant objective evidence of your disability, a judge may decide to  overlook your unemployment compensation.

For help with your disability claim, you can contact one of our Social Security attorneys. They can help you correctly place your onset date and put together the best possible case.   For a few more thoughts on unemployment benefits and applying for disability, see Unemployment And Disability.

Originally posted 2015-02-02 16:50:05.


Subsidized Work and SSD -- Disability Attorneys Boise

Subsidized Work Environment–Disability Attorneys Boise

Subsidized Work Environments

Substantial Gainful Activity and Subsidized Work Environments

If you are able to perform substantial gainful activity Social Security may find you physically disabled according to their rules, but you will not be able to collect Social Security Disability benefits.  One of the components of substantial gainful activity is the ability to earn over approximately $1040/month (this amount increases ever year.  Consult with one of our Disability Attorneys Boise for the current number).  If you are earning over this amount, but feel you are still disabled, you should speak with one of our disability attorneys in Boise to see if subsidies or special conditions may be used by Social Security to reduce the amount of income they count in calculating your gross monthly pay.  A disability attorney can help you identify these and determine if you should apply for disability benefits in spite of the fact that you are otherwise making too much each month.

Subsidies and Special Conditions

You may be receiving special supports or accommodations from your employer because of your disability, which can count towards reducing the amount you earn.  If you are receiving special support, or if you are making less than your coworker, you should speak with our attorneys to see there are sufficient reasons to reduce your earnings to less than $1040/month.  You may have a subsidy from your employer if:

  • You receive special supervision or oversight (more than what other workers receive who are doing your same job)
  • You are required to do fewer or simpler tasks that those who are doing the same job for the same pay
  • You have a job coach or special mentor who does work that others in your position would do themselves
  • You are allowed extra time to perform your duties
  • Your employer provides you with an adjusted work schedule—allows you to go home early and work fewer days.

With the help of your Social Security disability attorney, you can calculate the value of any subsidies that you are receiving and subtract them from your monthly gross income.  If this new adjusted monthly gross income is less than $1040, you may then qualify for disability even though you are making more than what would otherwise be allowed.

Boise Disability Attorneys

Boise Disability Attorneys Offer A Free Consultation

The basic theory behind allowing you to make more money and still qualify for disability is this:  the income component of substantial gainful activity is meant to capture your ability to work—in other words, what your earning capacity is.  The subsidies your employer provides to you are essentially gifts to you.  In other words, you are not actually earning the money that you are being paid.  For example, if you are a salaried employee and are paid based on a 40 hour week, but you only end up working 25 hours a week, you have a 15 hour/week subsidy.  If you are then receiving $1500/month in salary, we would divide that $1500 by the 160 hours a month you are supposed to be working and then multiply it by the 100 hours that you are actually working and come up with your unsubsidized earnings.  In this example, that would be $938/month, which would allow you to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits.

If you have a job for a family member where they pay you to “watch the phones” or to “hold down the fort” or if you are in the military and are receiving full pay in spite of the fact that you are not performing your duties or are only performing some of your duties, you should contact one of our Social Security disability attorneys in Boise today to find out if you should apply for disability.  A good attorney will provide you with important guidance that will help you to avoid some of the common mistakes made by those who apply for Social Security disability without the help a disability lawyer.

 

Originally posted 2014-11-19 17:32:05.


Denied Disability? Common Reasons For Which Social Security Attorneys Find Claims Are Denied

Denied Disability? Understand Why

 Social Security Attorneys for Boise, IDHave you been denied Social Security Disability?  There are many possible explanations.  

Lack Of Proper Medical Documentation:  The most common reason for being denied disability is that your medical records do not sufficiently document your limitations.  What goes into your medical records is not entirely in your control, but there are some things that you can do to dramatically increase the chances that important details about your limitations make it into the record.  You will almost certainly be denied if your disability is not well documented.  You should speak with a Boise Social Security Attorney from our office for more information on how to best deal with your doctors and how to properly document your limitations.

Your Disability Is not Expected To Last Longer Than 12 Months:  Another reason you may have been denied is that Social Security believes that your disability simply won’t last long enough. For Social Security SSI disability or SSD disability benefits, you must be able to prove to Social Security that your disability is severe enough that it will last at least twelve months. Injuries that result from accidents (such as trauma or bone fracture) are denied simply because most likely they won’t keep you from working more than 12 months. Of course, that doesn’t mean you can’t get on disability if you did fracture a bone. Just because most bone fractures heal in less than a year doesn’t mean that yours will. If you have a severe bone fracture that is still hasn’t healed after seven months, Social Security will be more likely to believe that it will last a year. Each case is considered on an individual basis.  In addition, your Social Security attorney can help you to document that your condition is expected to last longer than 12 months.

Social Security Cannot Find You:  If the Social Security administration cannot find you to schedule examinations or to simply communicate you, your case may have been denied. When you use a Social Security disability attorney to handle paperwork and stay in contact with Social Security, Social Security can always find them, and this will help to avoid being denied because of a lack of communication. Make sure that if you move while your application is being considered that your attorney knows how to contact you.

Failure to Cooperate:  Refusing to cooperate is another reason that you may have been denied disability. For example, if you fail to attend a consultative exam or you refuse to release medical records to the Social Security administration, your claim could be denied. In the same way, if you fail to follow prescribed therapy you could be denied.

Alcohol and Drug Addictions:  If your disability is based on alcoholism or drug addiction then that may have been why you were denied. If you have problems with alcohol or drug addiction, the first thing Social Security will do is verify if it is directly related to your disability. If it is, then Social Security will ask what part of your disability would remain if you stopped using alcohol or drugs. Would any of the remaining limitations be disabling? If you have a permanent impairment from damage created by the drugs or alcohol, then the impairment could still be the basis for disability.  If you have or are struggling with addiction, tell your Social Security attorney right away.  He can help to clarify how much of your disability relates to your addiction.

To Much Income or Assets:  Another reason you may have been denied disability benefits is that you simply have too many assets or earn too much income.   To apply for any kind of disability, you must not be working full-time or earning more than what is called SGA (substantial gainful employment).  To be eligible for SSI, you have even lower income levels and you can’t have too much in assets.  To find out what the substantial gainful activity limit is currently, you can contact one of our disability lawyers.

If you have been denied Social Security benefits, it isn’t too late to get your disability, but time is limited for making an appeal. For help with appealing your claim, please contact a Boise Social Security attorney in our office.

Originally posted 2014-09-24 15:51:58.


Boise Social Security Attorney

Consultative Examinations–A Review

This article discuses the consultative examination. Your Boise Social Security Attorney can help you understand how this examination affects your disability application and its interplay with your own doctors records and statements.  If you have questions about your consultative examination, contact a Social Security Attorney in our Boise Idaho office.

Consultative Examinations

It is not uncommon for Social Security to send you to one of their doctors if they feel you do not have sufficient medical records to determine the extent of your limitations.  This is called a consultative examination.  But sometimes Social Security will seek to send you to one of their doctors for no apparent reason other than as an attempt to create substantial evidence to justify denying a claim for disability benefits. If this is the case, your disability lawyer should object to this consultative examination.  This is also a reason to choose a local Social Security attorney who is familiar with which doctors tend to be unfair in their reporting of claimant’s symptoms.  Social Security should not request a consultative examination until “every reasonable effort” has been made to obtain evidence from the claimant’s own medical sources.

…we will make an initial request for evidence from your medical source and, at any time between 10 and 20 calendar days after the initial request, if the evidence has not been received, we will make one follow-up request to obtain the medical evidence necessary to make a determination. The medical source will have a minimum of 10 calendar days from the date of our follow-up request to reply, unless our experience with that source indicates that a longer period is advisable in a particular case.  (20 C.F.R. ßß 404.1512 (d)(1)).

 If you have a treating physician, your Social Security disability attorney may want to ask that this doctor be used by Social Security for your consultative examination.  Your own doctors are generally supposed to be Social Security’s preferred source for disability examinations.  (20 C.F.R. ßß 404.1519h).  So if a consultative examination is required, after every reasonable effort has been made to obtain from your doctors the needed information your disability lawyer should insist that Social Security send you to one of your own doctors, provided that doctor is willing and able to provide such an examination.  Social Security may deny your request for examination by one of your doctors if they know from prior experience that your doctor is not be a productive source, e.g., he or she has consistently failed to provide complete or timely reports. If the agency states that your doctor is not an acceptable source for an examination, your disability lawyers should demand proof.  (20 C.F.R. ßß 404.1519i)

If your Social Security Attorney is not able to get Social Security to send you to one of your own doctors for an examination, they should object to any doctor that they have reason to believe does not provide adequate examinations.  Your disability attorney can object to a consultative examination for the following reasons:

Social Security Attorneys for Boise, ID(1)        If the medical source Social Secuirty designated had previously represented an interest adverse to you. For example, the medical source may have represented your employer in a workers’ compensation case.

(2)        The presence of a language barrier.

(3)        The medical source’s office location (e.g., 2nd floor, no elevator).

(4)       Travel restrictions.

(5)        The medical source had examined you in connection with a previous disability determination or decision that was unfavorable to you.

(6)        If your objection is that a medical source allegedly lacks objectivity in general, but not in relation to you personally, we will review the allegations. See 20 C.F.R ß 404.1519s.

To avoid a delay in processing your claim, the consultative examination in your case will be changed to another medical source while a review is being conducted. (20 C.F.R. ßß 404.1519j)

If SSA refuses to change your examination and asserts that the agency had previously conducted such a review and found that the reports of the medical source in question conformed to agency guidelines, your disability lawyer may want to file a FOIA request to ascertain the validity of the review.

If there is any conflict in the evidence in the record, Social Security must first contact and then re-contact the medical sources responsible for creating the conflicts and ambiguities. SSA may not first resolve those conflicts and ambiguities by engaging a third party expert to create his or her own additional conflicts.

 Be sure to ask a Boise Social Security Attorney in our office about getting a medical source statement to your doctors.

Originally posted 2014-09-12 23:57:26.


Social Security Attorney Boise -- Doctors Opinions

Medical Source Statements – Part IV

This the is the fourth part of an article entitled Medical Source Statements, which discusses how your Boise Social Security Attorney can use statements from your doctors get you your disability benefits.  You may read this article from the beginning, starting with “Medical Source Statements — Part I”.  You may also want to contact a Social Security Attorney in our Boise Idaho office.

This article covers SSR 96-2p, which is entitled “Giving Controlling Weight to Treating Source Medical Opinions” and provides your Boise Social Security attorney  with the criteria judges must use to evaluate the opinions of your doctors.

 Controlling Weight

If the opinion of your doctor is entitled to controlling weight, the ALJ must use the limitations your doctor provides in determining your disability.  Not all opinions from your doctor are entitled to controlling weight and not every treatment provider qualifies to provide a controlling weight opinion.  In order to be entitled to controlling weight,

1.   The opinion must come from a treating source;

2.   The opinion must be a medical opinion;

3.   The adjudicator must find that the treating source’s medical opinion is well-supported by medically acceptable clinical and laboratory diagnostic techniques; and

4.   The treating source’s medical opinion must be not inconsistent with the other substantial evidence in the individual’s case record.

Number four above should make it clear to you that having a Social Security attorney at the initial levels of application is very important.  Many of the forms that Social Security disability claimants are asked to complete require details of your daily activities.  There are many common mistakes that claimants are prone to making that miscommunicate their actual abilities.  In order to effectively communicate your disability to Social Security, make sure you get advice for an experienced Boise Social Security attorney on completing function reports, work history reports and other forms sent to you by Social Security.  By correctly completing these forms, it is more likely that your doctor’s opinions will be found not inconsistent with the record.

In addition, if you suffer from both mental and physical impairments, it is important that your Social Security disability lawyer distinguish between the opinions of your doctors, which should take into account both your physical and mental limitations, and the opinions of Social Security doctors, which frequently only account for either physical or mental limitations, but not both.  Your disability must be evaluated in light of ALL of your conditions/limitations and it is improper to say that a medical opinion or other evidence that conflicts with your doctor’s opinion is inconsistent with it unless it takes into account all of the same conditions that your doctor’s opinion does.

Ruling 06-03p has significantly increased the value of nonmedical evidence, including the testimony of lay persons such as your family members, friends, chiropractors, clergy etc., so it is important that none of this testimony conflict with the opinion of your doctor.  Be sure to send such letters to your disability attorney and do not submit them directly to Social Security.

You judge may need to consult a medical expert to gain more insight into what the clinical signs and laboratory findings signify in order to decide whether a medical opinion is well-supported or whether it is not inconsistent with other substantial evidence in the case record.  Your disability lawyer may seek clarification from your doctors if your doctor is willing to produce it.

Controlling Weight Versus Greatest Weight

older-coupleIf a judge finds that your doctors’ opinions are not entitled to controlling weight, that does not mean he or she does not have to take them into account.  SSR 96-2p indicates that even though your treating source’s medical opinion may not be entitled to controlling weight, it may, nevertheless, be entitled to the greatest weight of any opinion in the record and should be adopted.  SSR 96-2p  states as follows:

“Adjudicators must remember that a finding that a treating source medical opinion is not well-supported by medically acceptable clinical and laboratory diagnostic techniques or is inconsistent with the other substantial evidence in the case record means only that the opinion is not entitled to controlling weight, not that the opinion should be rejected. Treating source medical opinions are still entitled to deference and must be weighed using all of the factors provided in 20 C.F.R. ßß 404.1527 and 416.927. In many cases, a treating source’s medical opinion will be entitled to the greatest weight and should be adopted, even if it does not meet the test for controlling weight.”

The Court of Appeals has pointed out the differences between controlling weight, some deference, and no weight:

“The initial determination the ALJ must make with respect to a treating physician’s medical opinion is whether it is conclusive, i.e., is to be accorded controlling weight on the matter to which it relates . . ..  But finding such deficiencies to resolve the controlling-weight question against a claimant does not end the inquiry. Even if a treating opinion is not given controlling weight, it is still entitled to deference; at the second step in the analysis, the ALJ must make clear how much weight the opinion is being given (including whether it is being rejected outright) and give good reasons, tied to the factors specified in the cited regulations for this particular purpose, for the weight assigned.

Thus, a deficiency as to the conditions for controlling weight raises the question of how much weight to give the opinion; it does not resolve the latter, distinct inquiry. This second inquiry is governed by its own set of factors, summarized as follows:  (1) the length of the treatment relationship and the frequency of examination; (2) the nature and extent of the treatment relationship, including the treatment provided and the kind of examination or testing performed; (3) the degree to which the physician’s opinion is supported by relevant evidence; (4) consistency between the opinion and the record as a whole; (5) whether or not the physician is a specialist in the area upon which an opinion is rendered; and (6) other factors brought to the ALJ’s attention which tend to support or contradict the opinion. In applying these factors, the ALJ’s findings must be sufficiently specific to make clear to any subsequent reviewers the weight [he] gave to the treating source’s medical opinion and the reason for that weight.  (Krauser v. Astrue, 638 F.3d 1324, 1330-1331 (10th Cir. 2011))

Be sure to ask a Boise Social Security Attorney in our office about getting a medical source statement to your doctors.  To continue with this article, please click the link below.

 

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Originally posted 2014-09-05 18:06:30.