Posts Tagged ‘geotagged’
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.
In 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 :
- Has a specific onset
- Is not explained by another identifiable condition or illness
- Is not related to exertion
- Is not alleviated by rest
- 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
- 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:
- Myofascial pain syndrome
- Temporomandibular joint syndrome
- Irritable Bowell Syndrome
- Interstitial systitis
- Raynauds phenomenon
- 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
- 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.
MERIDIAN, ID – If you are living with limitations because of a medical condition that make it hard for you to get through the day, let alone work, you may qualify for Social Security Disability based on a reduced capacity to work. A good disability attorney can help you to decide if applying for disability benefits is right for you. Be sure the person you contact is a social security disability attorney and not a non-lawyer representative. A non-lawyer will charge you the same but does not have the legal training a disability lawyer has.
Meridian Disability Attorney – Work Categories
There are several categories of work based on physical abilities that are important to most jobs. They are sedentary, light, medium, heavy and very heavy. The physical requirements for each of these categories differs, as does the kind and number of jobs available to you. Social Security will assess your physical abilities and assign you one the above categories. They will then look at other factors such as your age, weight, education, etc. to try to determine if there are any jobs you can perform. Here are the
physical requirements for the different categories of work.
Very Heavy—You will be capable of very heavy work if you have no restrictions on lifting and carrying. Jobs in the Very Heavy, Heavy and Medium work require that you have the ability to frequently stoop and crouch, but fine manual dexterity is typically not required except for some skilled and semi-skilled jobs. Reaching, handling, feeling, climbing, balancing, kneeling, crawling, etc are all considered when evaluating your ability to perform Very Heavy to Medium work. Use of a cane will also preclude most work at the Very Heavy, Heavy and Medium work levels, largely due to the lifting and carrying requirements.
Heavy Work—must be able to lift at least 100 pounds occasionally and 50 pounds frequently. You will also need to be able to stand for 6 hours of an 8 hour work day and have no significant limitations in the areas described in Very Heavy work above.
Medium Work—must be able to lift at least 50 pounds occasionally and 25 pounds frequently. You will also need to be able to stand for 6 hours of an 8 hour work day and have no significant limitations in the areas described in Very Heavy work above.
Light Work—must be able to lift at least 20 pounds occasionally and 10 pounds frequently. You will also need to be able to stand for 6 hours of an 8 hour work day and have no significant limitations in the areas described in Very Heavy work above. Crouching and stooping will not be required and the loss of fine manual dexterity becomes a problem for many light work positions.
Sedentary Work—must be able to lift 10 pounds. If you can’t lift or carry more than a couple of pounds, there would be very few jobs available to you even in the sedentary work category. A big difference between the sedentary work level and the others listed above is the requirement that you be able to sit at least 6 hours a day and stand at least 2 hours a day. Another difference is that postural limitations don’t really matter, but fine dexterity becomes very important. The use of a cane is only really important if it involves both legs. The ability to see well is more important at the sedentary level. The ability o reach, handle and feel, communicate, etc continue to be important factors.
Meridian Disability Attorney – SSDI Work Rules
What level of work Social Security finds you capable of performing is very important, as is your age and past work. Social Security as established a set of rules for when to find someone disabled based on their level of work ability, age and past work experience, etc. For example, if you are 55 years old, have done only heavy work all of your life and Social Security finds that you are capable of doing only sedentary work, you will be found disabled. But if you are 45 years old under the same scenario, you will be found not disabled.
If you think you are disabled and unable to work, call a local Meridian disability attorney and explain your situation. A good social security disability attorney will be able to help you decide if applying for Social Security Disability benefits is right for you. An experienced social security attorney can will be able to tell you what steps you can take to maximize your chances that a judge will see your limitations and find you disabled. Call us or request a free consultation. We don’t get paid unless we win!
Originally posted 2013-03-12 04:28:58.
MERIDIAN, ID – Our Meridian Disability Lawyers understand that in order to be found disabled under Social Security Disability guidelines, you must have a medically determinable impairment and limitations severe enough to prevent you from working. The focus of this article is the importance of credibility in establishing your limitations. For more information on what a medically determinable impairment is, please see “Medically Determinable Impairments.”
If you are wondering if your limitations are sufficient to qualify you for disability, you should contact a Social Security disability attorney. Make sure it is a disability lawyer as not all lawyers understand disability law. If a social security attorney wants to charge you more than 25% of your back payments or wants a retainer—they are not the attorney for you. Make sure you contact actual disability lawyers and NOT a non-lawyer representative—whoever you contact, ask if they are a licensed disability lawyer. A non-lawyer hasn’t had any legal training, and they charge the same as disability lawyers, so why would you not use a real social security lawyer?
Meridian Disability Lawyers – How Social Security Evaluates Credibility
Because your credibility is so critical to your disability application, it is well worthwhile to take a look at the factors Social Security looks at to determine if they will believe what you are saying. These are mostly common sense types of things, but unless you take a moment to think about them, you may inadvertently say or do things that create the impression that you are less than trustworthy.
Your credibility is all you have when establishing symptoms such as pain, fatigue, shortness of breath, weakness, anxiety or nervousness, etc. Social Security has established a two step process for evaluating your credibility: 1) they look at whether your symptoms are similar to those that would be expected from someone with your condition and with your objective medical evidence, and 2) the judge will look at and evaluate the credibility of your statements regarding the intensity, persistence and limiting
effects of your condition.
The adjudicator must consider whether there is an underlying medically determinable impairment that could reasonably cause the pain you are complaining of. “Medically determinable” means that you condition can be demonstrated by MRI, Xray, lab results or objective clinical evidence. For example, if you are complaining of back pain, it is extremely helpful to have an MRI that shows your nerves in your back are compressed and would likely be causing you severe pain. If there is no medically determinable
impairment, or the if the symptoms you are complaining of can not reasonably be expected come from your medically determinable impairment, then the rules say that you cannot be found disabled. (As a practical matter, judges rarely decide there is not medically determinable impairment and instead look at the severity of the symptoms.)
Our disability lawyers understand that once a judge has determined that you have a medically determinable impairment that could reasonably produce your symptoms, the judge will decide if your symptoms are severe enough to find you disabled. A judge will look at the intensity, persistence, or functionally limiting effects of pain or other symptoms. If your symptoms are supported by the objective medical evidence, a just may not spend a lot of time thinking about your credibility. On the other hand, if the objective medical evidence is lacking, a judge will have to go through credibility analysis to carefully weigh whether your symptoms are as severe as you say they are based on the entire case record.
Disability Lawyers – Disability Analysis Questions
Social Security does recognize that your symptoms can sometimes be more severe than the objective medical evidence suggests. When this is the case, a judge can look at the following to try to find support for your claims:
- The location, duration, frequency and intensity of your symptoms
- What causes your symptoms to get worse
- What medications you are taking and in what dosages
- What treatments you have received for your symptoms
- Any measures you take to limit your pain, such as lying sleeping on a board, elevating your feet, etc.
A judge will look at the above factors, and any other factors they want to really, and determine the extent to which your symptoms limit your ability to do basic work activities.
Contact our Meridian disability lawyers office today if you need assistance in applying for your disability benefits. Our disability lawyers can help you establish what may be lacking in your case and help you to prepare your case so that you have the best possible chance for success.
Originally posted 2013-02-22 06:26:15.
NAMPA, ID – Our Nampa Disability Lawyers office understand that to be found disabled, an individual must have a medical condition that is “severe”. The impairment can be mental or physical, but must significantly limit the individual’s abilities to do basic work activities. An impairment is not severe if it is a slight abnormality (or a combination of slight abnormalities) that has no more than a minimal effect on the ability to do basic work activities. If you have a mental or physical condition that limits your ability to work, be sure to contact experienced Social Security attorneys or a disability lawyer who can listen to your symptoms and limitations and recognize whether they are severe enough to qualify you for Social Security Disability.
Symptoms such as pain, fatigue, shortness of breath, weakness, or nervousness, will not be found to affect your ability to do basic work activities until it can be shown that these conditions are caused by a medical condition that would be expected to produce these symptoms. This boils down to a credibility issue. Subjective symptoms such as those listed above must be connected to some objective medical evidence such as X-Rays, MRIs, laboratory finds, medical signs, etc.
Nampa Disability Lawyers – Judges Determination
Before a judge can determine that your condition is not severe, he or she must carefully evaluate the medical evidence in your file. Just because a judge finds that your impairments could reasonably be expected to produce the alleged symptoms does not mean that they will find you disabled. The judge will have to make a determination as to the intensity, persistence and functionally limiting effects of your symptoms. The judge must determine if your symptoms limit your ability to function so severely that you cannot do basic work activities.
Most of the time, a judge will find that your condition is severe because all you have to do is show that your limitation or restriction has more than a minimal effect on your ability to do basic work activities, even if the objective medical evidence does not show that your condition is severe. In fact, if the judge cannot clearly show that your condition is NOT severe, they must consider it severe and move on to make a determination about your ability to work.
If you have any questions about your physical or mental limitations, contact a disability attorney who knows Social Security Disability guidelines and can help you with your Social Security Disability application. Finding good disability lawyers to help you with the function report and work history reports is very important. Our Nampa Disability Lawyers are happy to speak with you and provide a free consultation. What’s more, if you decide you need a social security attorney with your case, you won’t pay anything unless we win! Call (208) 466-2972 or click here to speak to our expert disability lawyers in Nampa, Idaho.
Originally posted 2013-01-04 03:23:48.
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.
Being 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.
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.
The 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.