Posts Tagged ‘geotagged’


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.


Meridian Disability Attorney

Your Residual Functional Capacity.

Meridian disability attorneyMERIDIAN, 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

Meridian Social Security Disability AttorneyWhat 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 Disability Lawyers

Disabilities Credibility Analysis

Meridian social security disability lawyers firm. 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.)

Social security disability lawyers in Meridian, Idaho.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:

  1. The location, duration, frequency and intensity of your symptoms
  2. What causes your symptoms to get worse
  3. What medications you are taking and in what dosages
  4. What treatments you have received for your symptoms
  5. 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 Disability Lawyers

Is My Disability Severe Under SSDI Guidelines?

Our Nampa Disability Lawyers can help get you approved.
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.

Nampa disability lawyers free consultationDisability Lawyers – Free Consultation

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 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.


Nampa Social Security Attorneys

Fibromyalgia As A Social Security Disability

Nampa Social security attorney firm in Nampa, Idaho
NAMPA, ID – Our Nampa Social Security Attorneys realize that fibromyalgia is hard for most people to understand.  There is no x-ray or MRI to show what is wrong with you.  You simply hurt all over and have difficulty functioning.  For this reason, many Social Security Disability attorneys found that judges would often tend to disregard fibromyalgia as a legitimate cause of disability.  Fortunately, Social Security came out with SSR-12-2p in July of 2012.  This new ruling helps to define a proper diagnosis for fibromyalgia and how it can be a disabling condition.

One of the most important things is that you are diagnosed by an acceptable medical source—this means a regular medical doctor or osteopathic doctor, NOT a physician assistant, chiropractor or other non-doctor.  It is also important that the doctor diagnosing you be your treating physician who you see regularly or you must be able to show that the doctor diagnosing you reviewed your medical history and conducted a physical exam.  Its also VERY important that your doctors notes reflect details that support a diagnosis of fibromyalgia.

Social Security Attorney – Fibromyalgia Specific Criteria

There are two sets of criteria that Social Security can use to establish that you have fibromyalgia.

Criteria A

Social Security may find that you are disabled on the basis of your fibromyalgia if you can show ALL of the following:

  1. A history of widespread pain—pain in all quadrants of the body (on both the right and left side of the body AND above and below the waist).
  2. At least 11 of the 18 tender points. The doctor must find tender points in all quadrants of the body (on both the right and left side of the body AND above and below the waist).   In testing the tender points, the doctor needs to put about 9 pounds of pressure on the spot with his finger.  (9 pounds is enough to “blanch” or bend the first knuckle of the finger completely back.  The doctor may consider the point “tender” if the person has any pain when applying the right amount of pressure.
  3. There must be evidence that other causes of the symptoms have been ruled out.  Other causes of pain similar to fibromyalgia like symptoms can include rheumatologic disorders, myoficial pain syndrome, polymyalgia rheumatic, chronic Lyme disease and cervical hyperextension.  

Social security attorney for Nampa, Idaho

 Criteria B

Social Security may find that you are disabled on the basis of your fibromyalgia if you can show ALL of the following:

  1. A history of widespread pain—pain in all quadrants of the body (on both the right and left side of the body AND above and below the waist).
  2. Repeated manifestations of fibromyalgia symptom, signs or co-occurring conditions such as fatigue, cognitive or memory problems (“fibro fog”), waking unrefreshed, depression anxiety, irritable bowel syndrome, muscle pain, headache, cramps, dizziness, insomnia, depression, constipation, nausea, nervousness, chest pain, blurred vision, fever, diarrhea, dry mouth, itching, wheezing, Raynaud’s phenomenon, hives or welts, vomiting, loss of taste, seizures, dry eyes, loss of appetite, hair loss, bladder issues, etc.
  3. There must be evidence that other causes of the symptoms have been ruled out as in Criteria A(3) above.

What Kind Of Documentation Do You Need?

You need to have seen your doctor regularly and he or she needs to have detailed your symptoms in your medical records.  The longer you have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia and the more often you have been to your doctor, the more credible your record will seem to Social Security.

In addition, letters from neighbors and friends, clergy, past employers, etc.  can be very helpful.  Your Social Security Disability Lawyers can help you by providing a memo for describing how to write a letter that will be the most effective.  A good local Nampa Social Security Attorney can also work with you to get the documentation you need from your doctor.  Fibromyalgia is not an easy illness for judges to get their minds around because there are no MRIs or X-rays that can explain why you are in so much pain.  But SSR-12-2p now provides Social Security Attorneys with the tools he or she needs to establish that you have a disability that meets Social Security Application guidelines. You can get a free consultation with a social security attorney in Nampa, Idaho – here.

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


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.