Blog

Claimant’s witnesses at the SSA hearing

Posted on July 26th, 2018

Some representatives love to call lots of witnesses to testify on your behalf. Again, I believe this is a matter of style or preference, but I am very happy with my outcomes over 43 years. More often than not, if you have witnesses, the ALJ will sequester the witness outside of the hearing room while you testify. If so, the… READ MORE

Filling out SSA forms

Posted on July 26th, 2018

SSA’s disability adjudication system is the largest in the United States, if not the world. It is far larger than a civil or criminal system. With the huge volumes of claims SSA uses a large variety of forms at all adjudicative levels, even at the ALJ level, to insure they ask everyone the right questions to get the necessary answers… READ MORE

What Happens At The Hearing

Posted on July 26th, 2018

These SSA hearings are reasonably informal. They are not civil or criminal. Many of the ALJ’s now call them inquisitorial. They are an opportunity for you to have a face to face meeting with decision-maker. He or she has the opportunity to talk to you, ask you questions, assess your demeanor and credibility, etc.. At all other levels of the… READ MORE

Getting A Hearing Sooner

Posted on July 26th, 2018

This is a very troublesome problem. Some parts of the country have more or less pending claims than others. There are more ALJ’s in some hearing offices than others and they cannot be easily moved. There tends to be more claims when the economy is worse. SSA has created several National Hearing Centers and doing hearings with these ALJ’s by… READ MORE

What Can I Do To Harm My Claim With SSA

Posted on July 26th, 2018

1. The single biggest thing you can do to ruin a claim is not to continue seeing your doctors, and this doesn’t mean a random visit to the ER is fine. They do little testing in the ER and rarely do you see the same doctor(s). The burden of proof in an SSA claim is on you, not SSA. You… READ MORE

Main Similarities/Differences between SSD and SSI

Posted on July 26th, 2018

SSD is Title II of Social Security Act SSI is Title XVI of the Social Security Act In general, SSI is SSA’s version of welfare benefits. The definition of disability is the same for both programs: A medically determinable impairment or impairments that is as severe as to preclude both past relevant work and all other work and has lasted… READ MORE

Why don’t you send me to see your doctor?

Posted on July 26th, 2018

SSA and especially its ALJ’s are granted a certain degree of discretion to decide if a claimant is or is not disabled. SSA does not have to award you benefits solely because you say your pain is so severe it precludes work or your doctor thinks you are disabled. Under certain situations, a “longtime treating physician”, not somebody you have… READ MORE

Social Security and Medicare

Posted on June 28th, 2018

One of the bigger benefits of being found “disabled” by SSA, sometimes even more important than the monthly disability check, is the entitlement to Medicare. Most claimants, who have their health insurance through work, frequently lose their health insurance soon after they stop working, whether they quit or are fired, even if for health reasons. Medicare beings with the 25th… READ MORE

Social Security and Work

Posted on June 28th, 2018

SSA defines “disability” not as severe back pain, coronary artery disease, bipolar illness, etc.. “Disability” Is defined as the inability to perform “substantial gainful activity” (SGA). SGA is defined in 2018 as gross monthly earnings of $1,180.00. In 2017, SGA was $1,170.00. SGA increases each year, generally consistent with COLA adjustments. In 2000, for example, SGA was $700.00. If one… READ MORE

SSA HAS EXPANDED THE TYPES OF ISSUES THAT CAN BE APPEALED OVER THE INTERNET

Posted on March 29th, 2017

Previously, SSA only allowed claims for medical/disability issues to be filed over the Internet. Claimants can now also appeal decisions to reduce or suspend SSI benefits, appeal an overpayment. These new types of appeal must be filed at: https://secure.ssa.gov/iApplNMD/start This is not the ordinary SSA website at ssa.gov