Archive for Social Security Disability

Can I get Social Security Disability while on Unemployment?

SSDI.Unemployment

Filing for Social Security disability while receiving unemployment benefits is very difficult. The problem is that you are saying two different things to collect each type of benefit. When you are on unemployment, you are stating that you are ready and willing to perform work, but that you simply cannot find a job that fits your skills. When you are applying for Social Security disability benefits, you are stating that you cannot work for a period of at least twelve (12) months due to physical or mental limitations. In most cases, the safest practice is to not be on unemployment while applying for social security disability benefits. Administrative Law Judges will often look with disfavor on applicants who are on unemployment. Some will even outright deny claims on that basis alone.

However, if you are over 50, you may be able to collect disability benefits while on unemployment. The reason for this exception, is because after an applicant reaches 50, they are eligible to collect disability benefits under the medical-vocational allowance grid. This grid allows for older workers to qualify for disability benefits if they have limited education and limited residual skills. Therefore, in this limited circumstance it is still possible for someone to collect disability benefits while on unemployment. But it is still a risk for even an individual over 50 to try to do so.

McFalls Wins a Tough Social Security Disability Case

Hodges Trial Lawyers was successful in helping another client get approved for Social Security Disability benefits.  This case had been denied after the original application had been filed.  Attorney Tim McFalls filed an appeal in this matter and requested a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ).  Mr. McFalls convinced the Administrative Law Judge that the original determination was incorrect and that his client was unable to perform any job in the national economy and therefore qualified for Social Security Disability benefits.  In order to convince the judge that his client was disabled Mr. McFalls acquired relevant medical evidence, obtained a statement from the client’s treating physician and wrote a pre-trial brief that explained the medical conditions that his client was undergoing.  These efforts were successful in helping the judge understand the severity of his client’s condition which led to the judge issuing a Fully Favorable Decision in the case.

 Studies have shown that having a lawyer in a Social Security case greatly increases your chances of getting approved.  Lawyers have expertise in reviewing medical records, obtaining medical evidence to prove your case, building a strong record for your claim, preparing briefs in support of your case, and arguing your case at the Administrative Hearing.  Our firm has personally helped numerous clients get approved for Social Security benefits.  If you think you are in need of Social Security benefits, call our office and schedule a free consultation today.

Social Security Disability: How can I help my Disability case?

Clients often ask us what they can do to help their disability case.  Obviously, they cannot change their medical situation, but they can do a number of things that will help improve their chances of winning.  Here’s a few tips that anyone can use to help their own disability case.

  1.  Be Thorough on the initial application:  The initial Social Security Disability application is long and tedious.  Many of the questions are relatively simple and just take time to get through.  However, a number of questions ask for details about your work and medical history.  If you want to improve your chances, it is best to fill out this application as thoroughly as possible.  Doing so gets as much information to Social Security which only improves your chances of being approved on the front end.
  2.  Keep a Log of your Medical Treatment:  Keep a journal or notebook for when you see a doctor.  Write down who you saw, their address, phone number, what condition(s) they treat you for, what tests they performed (if any), and what medication they prescribed.  This will help you on the initial application in being thorough, and will help your lawyer be able to supplement your records at the appeal level.  Keeping a good medical notebook will go a long ways towards helping your case.
  3.  Get consistent medical treatment – Many disability claimants are in a tough spot. The bills are piling up and no money is coming in. This means it’s not easy or affordable to get consistent medical treatment.  However, getting consistent treatment is VITAL to your Social Security case.  The examiner and administrative law judge rely on medical records more than anything else in making their decisions.  If you don’t have a good history of going to your doctor, you are hurting your chances at winning you case.  So as hard as it may be, you have to make sure you are still getting your medical conditions handled.
  4.  Keep your lawyer informed – Your lawyer cannot help you if you don’t keep them updated of your conditions and treatment.  If you go to the doctor, tell your lawyer. If you’ve been diagnosed with another condition, tell your lawyer.  Your lawyer is there to advocate for you and can build up your case so you have the best chance of winning.  But if you don’t tell your lawyer about what’s going on with your medical history, the lawyer will be hindered from doing his/her job effectively. So keep your lawyer informed of what’s going on in your life.

What does it take to get Social Security Disability?

Social Security relies on both medical disability criteria and non-medical criteria to determine whether you qualify for Social Security Disability or Supplement Security Income (SSI).  To be considered a disabled person under for Social Security’s standards, you must be unable to perform Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA).  This means working and earning income above a certain amount.  This year, the threshold amount is $1,090 per month.

 To qualify for disability benefits, an applicant must have medical evidence in his or her medical records that illustrate that the person has physical or mental impairments that are so severe that it prevents the applicant from working.  If a person’s conditions and/or impairments are severe enough, he/she may meet a specialized Social Security listing that automatically qualifies him/her for benefits.  If not, Social Security will review a person’s “residual functional capacity” to determine if there are any jobs in the national economy that the applicant could perform with his/her limitations.  Social Security will also review the applicant’s past work and education to determine what specialized skill or training the applicant has.  Based on these factors, Social Security will determine whether the applicant is able to perform substantial gainful activity.

 This process is complicated and statistics have proven convincingly that applicants have a much better chance at disability benefits if they are represented by an attorney.  Please contact our office today if you are interested in applying for benefits and we will be happy to help you with the process.

Can a lawyer improve my chances of winning my Disability claim?

Social Security does not require you to hire an attorney to assist you at your disability hearing.  However, having an attorney will greatly improve your chances of winning your claim.  Statistics show that represented parties are two (2) times more likely to win their claims at the hearing level than unrepresented parties.

 Your disability lawyer can help do much of the leg work in preparing your case for the Administrative Law Judge.  First, hiring a lawyer means that the lawyer will gather your medical records rather than you having to do that on your own.  Your lawyer will also review your medical records and determine whether the records should be submitted to the Social Security Administration.  This is important because it allows the attorney to determine whether your case needs additional medical evidence, whether any key test results or documentation are missing, and to spot important records to highlight at the hearing.  Good disability lawyers will also prepare a brief highlighting the relevant medical evidence for the Administrative Law Judge to consider.

 Your disability lawyer will also get opinions from your doctors to help prove your case to the Judge.  Judges love to have medical source statements from a claimant’s treating physician.  Your doctors are experts at your health and your abilities.  Your lawyer can help these experts become advocates for your case.

 A disability lawyer will help prepare you for questioning at the hearing.  The disability lawyer knows the questions you will be asked at your hearing and can practice with you on how to answers these questions.  This will have you better prepared and less nervous about what happens at the hearing.

 A disability lawyer will also question the Vocational Expert at the hearing.  The Vocational Expert is an expert on what jobs are available in the national economy.  Disability lawyers are used to asking questions to Vocation Experts and are in a better position to make the Vocational Expert an advocate for your case.

 These are just a few of the reasons why a disability lawyer greatly increases your chances of winning your disability case.  The disability process is long, complicated and difficult.  Without good representation, a person can easily become confused and overwhelmed by the process.  So if you’re interested in applying for Social Security disability, hire a good disability lawyer to represent you.