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Social Security Attorneys Boise

Completing The Function Report II

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

Social Security Attorneys Boise

Social Security Attorneys

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

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

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

Question 6, what do I do all day?

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

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

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

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

Important Points:

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

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

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

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Social Security Attorneys Boise

Joint Abnormalities

Social Security Attorneys Boise

Social Security Attorneys Boise

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.