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  • Disability Group 3:16 pm on March 8, 2011 Permalink | Reply  

    File for Disability – Links to Application Forms

    By: Disability Group (http://www.socialsecuritylaw.com)

    If you are filing for social security disability benefits you can do most of the application work online. We’ve put together links to the most commonly used forms required to file a disability benefits claim.  (If you have questions on how to fill out the paperwork, feel
    free to contact our office at (800) 248-1100 or get a free case evaluation at: http://www.socialsecuritylaw.com/free-consultation/.)

    If you believe you are eligible for disability benefits, you should file an application as soon as possible to preserve your application date.

    It’s important to be thorough with your forms and list everything accurately the first time to save time in the application process.  Social Security offices are under severe backlogs, you don’t want to fall further behind by making a mistake on your disability application or leaving information out.

    When answering form questions it is important to be very specific about what you can and cannot do, as well as how your disability affects your capabilities.  Your answers on these forms will be used in your claim later.

    To apply for disability benefits online, you can start here: Disability Application Checklist

    SSA-3373 Function Report-Adult:  http://www.ssa.gov/online/ssa-3373.pdf
    This form tells Social Security what functions you can do and how your disability affects your daily activity.

    SSA-3380 Function Report Adult-Third Party Form:  http://www.ssa.gov/online/ssa-3380.pdf
    This form is used when applying for disabilities on another person’s behalf.

    SSA-3369 Work History Report:  http://www.ssa.gov/online/ssa-3369.pdf
    Social Security uses this report to determine what jobs you performed in the past. Remember, even if you are no longer able to do the work you did previously, you still may not be considered disabled if there are other jobs you can still perform.

    If you are filling out paperwork on your own, remember that over 70% of initial applications are denied. Unfortunately many legitimate disability claims have to be appealed all the way to an Administrative Law Judge before being rewarded.  The best strategy is to make sure you have the most accurate and detailed forms as possible so that your claim can be handled in a timely manner.

    Disability Group has put together a quick 4 step questionnaire to help you determine if you may qualify for social security disability benefits.

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  • Disability Group 10:00 am on February 2, 2011 Permalink | Reply  

    How to Prove Pain in a Social Security Disability Case 

    What is the Social Security Administration trying to do in my disability case?

    The Social Security Administration’s main goal is to decide whether you are able to work, doing either your past job or any type of job.

    Does the Social Security Administration (SSA) consider the pain I am in when deciding whether to award me disability benefits?

    In many cases, it is the person’s pain that makes them unable to work full time. Pain is subjective, meaning it cannot be measured and everyone’s tolerance for pain differs. Pain can limit what you can do, which can be measured. For example you cannot lift more than 5 pounds, sit for more than 30 minutes or walk farther than 50 yards. These are examples of “exertional limitations.”

    What happens if my pain is just there, and isn’t from doing something (walking, sitting etc.) so it cannot be measured?

    The SSA recognizes that chronic pain and non-exertional pain (pain not from doing something) exists and can limit what you can do at a job.  The SSA looks at a number of different things to decide the effect of pain on your ability to work:

    • They look at your daily activities.
    • They look at the location of your pain, how often and how long you have pain, and how intense the pain feels.
    • They look at what makes the pain appear and what makes the pain worsen.
    • They look at the medications you take and what effects the medications may have.
    • They look at what you do in order to make the pain go away or lessen (lying flat, using heat or ice, etc.).
    • They look at how your activity is limited because of your pain.

    What can I do to prove my pain affects my being able to work?

    1)     Be SPECIFIC when describing your pain.

    Don’t say,” I hurt all over and I am in constant pain.” Rather say, “I have extreme pain in my lower back. On a scale from 1 to 10 my lower back is a 5, but if I walk or stand for more than 20 minutes, the pain jumps to an 8 or 9. The pain stays that way until I take medication.”

    Don’t always say your pain is at a level of 10 because the SSA might think you are exaggerating and have a harder time believing you.

    2)      Be CONSISTENT when describing your pain.

    Your testimony at your hearing will be considered stronger if what you tell your doctor at every visit about your pain level is the same as what you have told the SSA in the application process. If there is no medical test (MRI, etc.) to prove the source of your pain, your testimony will be a very important factor in deciding whether you are found disabled. Be consistent and specific.

    Still confused about how to describe your pain?  Give us a call, and we’ll help guide you through it!

    • felicia 9:15 pm on May 10, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      I was involved in an accident 16 years ago. A car drove through a store I worked at and I got hit by debri. My right knee was injured. Over the years, I have had 4 surgeries, the last being a partial replacement. The pain now is worse than before the surgery, and I can’t sleep without Ambien. I have been out of work since this past November. My pain is constant. Usually my pain level is around a 4 or 5, but after I’ve been sitting in one place for too long (10-15min) the pain gets sharp and goes to a 7. If I walk to my mailbox and back when it is only a 5, by the time I get back to the house it’s up to a 9. I’m most comfortable when I’m stretched out on my right side with my injured leg stretched under me. That position helps, but even then when I go to bend my leg to get up, I experience a sharp pain that levels an 8 at least. With weather, usually 2 days before a front moves into the area I start hurting at higher levels. For those 2 days it is commonly around a 7 and sometimes goes up to a 9. I generally have a high tolerance for pain, but with it being my knee, I can’t function to my normal. I have worked convenience stores most of my life and in 1996 decided to go to school to become a medical assistant. My last surgery was about 6 months before I was hired at my first position as a CMA. Over the year I worked there, the pain increased until I couldn’t really do the job they expected. I can’t go up and down stairs normally, I can’t make sudden turns, and after being on my feet for a few hours, my knee would swell. As I’m sitting here typing this, my knee is feeling as if an icepick is being stuck in it. My family says I’m depressed. I feel useless most of the time because I can’t do the things I used to. Driving is getting harder. I have to use both feet for gas and brake because I can’t turn my right knee to get my foot to go to the brake. It even hurts to get out of the vehicle, because of the way I have to turn to get out. I know this is a lot of information, but I wanted someone to kind of understand why I’m checking in to this. What should I do? Everything was initially filed with Worker’s Comp. so they have all my information. I feel like giving up, because they don’t seem to care. My doctor has suggested another surgery (total knee replacement), but the WC people are having their doctors look at it because they aren’t sure another surgery would help me any.

      • felicia 9:18 pm on May 10, 2011 Permalink | Reply

        I correct… it was in 2006 not 1996 that I went to school for my CMA

    • felicia 9:26 pm on May 10, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      to correct… I started school in 2006, not 1996 for medical assistant.

      • Disability Group 9:22 am on May 13, 2011 Permalink | Reply

        Hi Felicia,

        Thank you so much for your comment and question. I am forwarding your comment to our paralegals. Stand by!

        Disability Group

    • adrian rivas 2:56 pm on July 1, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      I got lupus when I was 12 and know as a adoult I have arthritis, fibromyalgia,chronic migranes, anxiety attachs and depression. All the meds I take for these things make me tiered. I need help pruving to s.s.i that I am unaboule to hold a job.

    • Nina Luu 8:12 pm on June 3, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      I lost a kidney during a surgery after thst during the years my pain is around 5, but i can’t carry anything more then 5 pounds i tried carrying heavy stuff but i couldn’t. The pain is on the right side of my storamch sometimes if i walk more then 10 minutes 7 or 8. The surgery was caused by of bleeding in my storamch, but yhr doctors did something wrong and i lost a kidney. Since i can’t do a lot of things i have my son Victor do this. What should i do? Can you guys help me?

  • Disability Group 10:00 am on January 28, 2011 Permalink | Reply  

    SSDI Benefits for Family Members 

    Once you are approved for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, certain members of your family may also be entitled to payments; auxiliary benefits may be available for your spouse, your former spouse, and your children.

    Auxiliary Benefits for Your Spouse

    Your spouse may be eligible for payments upon your award of SSDI benefits, if the spouse is (i) caring for your child, or (ii) age 62 or older.

    To receive benefits for caring for your child, the child must either be under age 16 or disabled and receiving Social Security benefits.  Benefits for a spouse caring for your child under age 16 will end once that child reaches age 16.

    Similarly, when your spouse reaches age 62, he/she will be eligible for benefits based on your earnings record.  However, the monthly amount your spouse will receive at age 62 will be less than if he/she waits until full retirement age to receive the benefit.

    If your spouse is eligible for SSDI benefits based on his/her own earnings record, your spouse will receive either that amount or the amount based on your record, whichever is higher.

    Auxiliary Benefits for Your Former Spouse

    A spouse you have divorced will be eligible for SSDI benefits based on your earnings if he/she is (i) at least 62 years old; (ii) unmarried; (iii) was married to you for at least 10 years; and (iv) is not eligible for a higher benefit amount on his/her own.

    Auxiliary Benefits for Your Children

    Your child will be eligible for SSDI benefits if the child is unmarried and (i) under age 18; or (ii) 18 or 19 and a full-time elementary or high school student; or (iii) 18 or older with a disability that began before age 22.

    For the child under age 18, the benefit will stop when he/she reaches age 18.  For the full-time student, the benefit ends upon graduation or 2 months after the child’s 19th birthday, whichever comes first.  For the disabled child, the benefit will last for the duration of the disability.  An eligible child may be biological, a step-child, adoptee, or dependent grandchild.

    As far as the amount of SSDI benefits your family members are entitled to, each may receive up to half of your benefit amount, but there is a limit on the amount SSA will pay family members in total.  The limit depends on your benefit amount and the number of family members who qualify based on your record, but the total is generally around 50 to 80 percent of your benefit amount.

  • Disability Group 10:00 am on January 25, 2011 Permalink | Reply  

    Seizures and Social Security Disability Claims – How To Prepare Your Case 

    There are more than 29 different seizure disorders, and not all of them result in convulsions. In fact, seizures are experienced differently from person to person.

    Many individuals with chronic seizure disorders are able to control seizures with medications.  If you take medications as directed and still continue to experience seizures that prevent you from working, you may qualify for Social Security disability benefits.

    When evaluating your case, Social Security checks if you are seeing a neurologist, for compliance with all prescribed medications and doctor’s orders. They make sure that your seizures are not because of drug or alcohol abuse, and they check to see if medication prevents the seizures.

    It is sometimes difficult to prove seizures, because tests are often normal even after seizures.  To prepare a strong case, it is important to go to the hospital after every seizure and report seizures to your neurologist. Witness statements are helpful.  Also, it’s a smart idea to create and maintain a dairy to track the frequency and severity of your seizures.

    What Do I Put In My Seizure Diary?

    Keep your diary up to date, and write in it after every single seizure.  Here is the data you should record:

    • The date of your seizure
    • The time of your seizure – when did it start, when did it stop?
    • A description of your seizure – what did it feel like?  How did you notice when it was coming on?  Was it worse or better than your last seizure?

    Residual effects from a seizure and how long they last should also be documents in your diary and your medical records.

    Seizure disorders are difficult to prove because there are not always objective findings that prove they exist. Regular treatment and documentation of the seizure and residual effects by you and a specialist is of utmost importance in proving this disorder.

    If you keep track of your seizures by maintaining a regular diary, and by regularly seeing your physician, you will help strengthen your Social Security Disability case!

  • Disability Group 10:00 am on January 19, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: cdr, medical review. children,   

    You got your benefits – now how do you pass a review? 

    Once you are receiving Social Security Disability benefits, the Social Security Administration will periodically review your case to make sure that you are still disabled. This review is called a Continuing Disability Review (CDR) and the law requires it.

    What can you expect from a CDR?

    When the SSA determines that you are disabled, your disability determination specialist sets a date for your case review. This schedule is called a diary. Most diaries are based on the expectation of recovery and are for three or seven years, but they can be sooner:

    • If medical improvement is “expected,” a case normally will be reviewed within six to 18 months;

    • If medical improvement is “possible,” a case normally will be reviewed no sooner than three years;

    • If medical improvement is “not expected,” a case normally will be reviewed no sooner than seven years.

    The CDR is a medical review.  SSA is trying to decide if your level of disability has improved to the point where you have medically recovered and are able to work.

    SSA will want to gather the same kind of evidence that you provided during your initial claim for Social Security Disability benefits. SSA will have you fill out forms describing your current condition and list all of the places where you have received treatment. SSA will also obtain copies of all recent medical records. If more information is needed about your condition, SSA may schedule a Consultative Exam.

    If your condition has not improved since SSA last reviewed your case, then your Social Security benefits will continue. If your condition has improved, SSA will look to see if your condition meets the current disability requirements.

    It is important that when you receive the CDR notice and forms that you fill them out and return them. If you receive the CDR mailer and throw it in the trash, SSA will send a second one. Continued failure to provide information that SSA asks for, or failure to attend an examination that it schedules, will result in termination of benefit payments. You may need help answering the questions, especially if you are not certain what is being asked and why. This is where an attorney may help.

    Continuing Disability Reviews for Children

    When a person is found to be disabled under childhood regulations, SSA will review the case when the person turns 18 to determine if the person is disabled under the adult regulations. The case is reviewed as if it were a new case. SSA is looking to see how your disability affects your ability to work as an adult. Even if your condition has not improved, your benefits will cease if your condition does not meet the current adult rules.

    Tips for a Continuing Disability Review

    SSA looks at the original status of your medical condition(s) and compares it to the current status of your medical condition(s) to decide if there has been significant medical improvement. For this reason, it is important that you continue to seek medical treatment for your condition. If you have not continued to seek medical treatment, SSA will likely order a Consultative Exam to assess your current condition. It is usually more beneficial to you if your own doctor provides that information rather than a doctor hired by SSA who really doesn’t know you or your medical condition well.

    Be honest and don’t exaggerate the symptoms caused by your current medical condition(s). The opposite is also important: don’t try to portray yourself as better than you truly are.

    SSA is required to thoroughly evaluate any new medical conditions that have arisen since you were first awarded disability benefits. For this reason, it is important to tell your disability caseworker about any new conditions or treatment you have received.

    If you receive notice that your benefits are being terminated, you are entitled to an interview with the person making the final decision on your case. If your benefits are still terminated after this interview, you can appeal the decision to an administrative law judge. You may have an attorney represent you.

    • Jera 6:19 pm on May 11, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      At last! Someone who understands! Thanks for ptosing!

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