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Topics to be discussed include:
-Defining Social Security disability
-Filing the initial claim
-The appeal process
-Developing the medical evidence
-Preparing for the hearing
For those needing Social Security Disability, being without benefits for even an extra day puts a tremendous financial strain on a family. Win Your Social Security Disability Case helps alleviate that burdens and gets you the payments you need faster.
Excerpt from the Introduction of Win Your Social Security Disability Case
As a disabled person, no one needs to remind you how difficult it is to be able to perform daily activities. When you have your health, you take for granted that when you wake up in the morning you will be able to bathe, dress and feed yourself, and enjoy life. You can open the door to the refrigerator, throw a ball with your son or daughter, and rock your grandchild in your arms. Your world is pain free. But when you are disabled, what you know of daily life turns upside down. Regardless of your disability, doing the simple things is not so simple anymore.
Most claimants who apply for benefits share the following scenario. When you were working, life was great. You felt productive. However, you stopped working because your impairment interfered with your ability to do your job, and when you tried to find less demanding work, no one would hire you with a preexisting condition because employers want people who will show up for work on time and be productive on the job.
Eventually you learned that the government has a program where people can get benefits if they are unable to work. Since your doctor said you were disabled and your employer told you that you cannot return to your previous work because of your disability, you filed an application for Social Security Disability benefits, assuming that within a few weeks you would get a check.
Stop the presses! Your first sign that this was not going to be as easy as you thought was when you were faced with filling out the initial forms. This was followed by more forms and more questions. During this process, you started talking to other people who shared their war stories with you of how difficult their experiences were in applying for benefits.
Finally, the mail arrived and there was a letter from the Social Security Administration. It was a thick envelope, which is usually an ominous indication of something not good, as good news usually is reported in thin envelopes. As you read the letter the words became blurred as your eyes focused on the paragraph that explained why the government says you are not disabled.
The following are excerpts from actual denial letters received by my clients.
"Though you complain about tightness in your chest, difficulty breathing, and are on a waiting list for a heart transplant, it does not appear that your condition will last for twelve months and therefore you are not disabled."
"Though you have a compression fracture of your back and had surgery, and had rods and plates inserted, and are depressed, and have pain . . . you can still do sedentary work."
"Though you have been diagnosed with leukemia and are receiving chemotherapy, your condition does not appear disabling."
"Though you have mental problems, have attempted suicide multiple times, and are receiving psychiatric care, you are able to follow simple directions and can perform your past work as a child care provider."
If you have received such a letter, it would be normal for you to react with anger and frustration. In fact, many clients walk into my office waving their letters, saying:
"I have paid into this system since I was 18. How can they deny me? It's my money!"
"My doctor said I can never go back to work. This can't be right!"
"No one will ever hire me!"
Or even worse:
"I am dying. I have a terminal illness. Do I have to actually die for Social Security to be convinced that I am disabled?"
Does this all seem absurd? Welcome to the world of Social Security Disability appeals. It is the land where everything is out of focus and no matter how many times you clean your glasses and rub your eyes, the picture is blurred.
How do you juggle between treating your disability and managing to get the benefits you believe you are qualified for? Even worse, if you have a terminal illness, how do you fight the biggest battle of your life and still have the energy to contend with the government? You already have enough to worry about with seeing your doctors, going for tests, and taking your prescribed medication. You also know from your doctor that stress aggravates a physical condition.
Win Your Social Security Disability Case was written to guide you through this very difficult period in your life. It will provide all the information needed, from filing your claim to effectively representing yourself at a Social Security hearing. If it becomes too difficult to navigate solo through the sea of Social Security, this book provides resource material as well as referral information in finding an attorney who specializes in Social Security Disability law. (This book is not a substitute for legal representation.) Regardless, even if you do seek representation, this book will assist you in understanding the legal process.
Finally, you cannot allow the Social Security Administration to get in your way of obtaining the benefits you deserve. Aside from all the information that is provided, the best advice I can offer is to never give up!
Chapter 1: Meet the Social Security Administration.
Chapter 2: Defining Disability
The SSA Definition of Disability Do Not Presume You Are Disabled Proving to the SSA that You Are Disabled
Chapter 3: Who is Eligible to File?
Social Security Disability Income (SSDI)
Calculating Work Credits The Social Security Statement Additional Requirements for Applying for SSDI Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
Chapter 4: The Sequential Evaluation of Disability
Step 1: Are You Gainfully Employed?
Step 2: Is Your Medical Impairment Severe?
Step 3: Does Your Impairment Meet or Equal the Medical Listings?
Step 4: Can You Perform Your Previous Types of Work?
Step 5: Can You Perform Other Generally Available Work?
Chapter 5: Step 3 of the Sequential Evaluation: Meeting or Equaling the Listings
Understanding the Listings
Chapter 6: Step 4 of the Sequential
Evaluation: Can You Do Your Past Relevant Work?
Chapter 7: Step 5 of the Sequential Evaluation: Can You Do Any Other Work?
Analysis of Step 5
Determining Physical Residual Functional Capacity Understanding the Grid Rules Age, Education, and Past Work Reading the Grids
Chapter 8: When the Grids Do Not Apply
Physical Nonexertional Limitations Determining Mental Residual Functional Capacity Summary of Step 5
Chapter 9: Filing the Initial Claim
Applying for Benefits by Phone Applying for Benefits in Person Applying for Benefits Online Adult Disability Report Providing Medical Records Tips for Applying for Benefits
Chapter 10: Consultative Examinations
Why Consultative Examinations May Be Required Your Doctor May Also Perform the Consultative Examination The Inherent Problems Associated with Consultative Examinations Types of Consultative Examinations What Does the DDS Do with the Consultative Doctor's Report?
Dos And Don'ts for Consultative Examinations
Chapter 11: Developing Your Medical Evidence:Your Doctor's Role in Obtaining Benefits
Your Doctor Is Very Busy If You Have an Attorney Ensure that Your Doctor Cooperates with the SSA and You If Your Doctor Does Not Support You Who Are Acceptable Medical Providers?
Getting the Right Report from a Credible Source Obtaining Timely Reports Obtaining Accurate Records Obtaining Sufficient Records Obtaining Legible Records Compensating Your Doctor for His or Her Time Developing the Medical Proof that You Meet or Equal the Listings Strategy for Winning When to Obtain Medical Questionnaires Submitting Questionnaires to Your Doctor
Chapter 12: If You are Denied: The First Appeal
The First Appeal: The Request for Reconsideration Completing the Request for Reconsideration SSA-3441-BK (Disability Report - Appeal)
SSA-827 (Authorization to Disclose Information to the Social Security Administration)
Supplementing the Request for Reconsideration What Happens Next What to Do While You are Waiting Filing a New Application While the Request for Reconsideration Is Being Decided If You Never Hear on Your Initial Claim
Chapter 13: If You are Denied Again: The Second Appeal
Request for Hearing Before an Administrative Law Judge Completing the Required Forms On-the-Record Decisions
Chapter 14: Understanding the Hearing Letter and Preparing for the Hearing
The Hearing Letter The Acknowledgment Card List of Exhibits Additional Forms Reviewing the File and Its Exhibits Medical and Vocational Experts Preparing for the Hearing
Chapter 15: Requesting an On-the-Record Decision
On-the-Record Decisions Drafting an OTR Brief
Chapter 16: The Hearing
Arriving for the Hearing Immediately Prior to the Hearing The Hearing Room Meet the Administrative Law Judge How a Hearing is Conducted The Order of the Hearing Your Testimony How to Conduct Yourself During the Hearing Your Body Language Can Tell More about Your Claim than Your Testimony American Idol and the Likeability Factor Dos And Don'ts about Testifying Video Hearings Expert Testimony Your Own Witnesses Having Your Doctor Testify Other Witnesses
Chapter 17: The Waiting Game: How Do You Survive?
Consider Filing Bankruptcy Negotiate with Your Creditors Apply for General Relief If You Are About to Become Homeless Presumptive Disability Contact Your Congressperson and Senator The Dangers of Working Part-Time The Dangers of Attending School
Chapter 18: Favorable Decisions
Partially Favorable Decisions The Award Letter Medicare and Medicaid Benefit Offsets Overview of Workers' Compensation Offsets Getting Around a Workers' Compensation Offset Public Welfare Programs Advance Payment Cases Long-Term Disability Benefits
Chapter 19: Unfavorable Decisions and Your Right to Appeal
Appeals Council Appeals Federal Court Appeals Filing a New Claim
Chapter 20: Anatomy of a Social Security Disability Case
Time Line Commentary
Chapter 21: Turning a Losing Decision into a Victory
Chapter 22: Obtaining First-Time Benefits for Children and Adults with Childhood Disabilities
Obtaining Benefits if the Child is Under 18
Defining Childhood Disabilities Children with Severe Disabilities Tips for Winning Children's Cases Top Five Misconceptions about Childhood Disabilities Obtaining Benefits for Adults with Childhood Disabilities Highest Grade in School Completed Satisfying the Nonmedical Requirements Nonfinancial Requirements to Receive Benefits Interest in Trusts Special Needs Trusts Assets that Have Been Invested for Your Child Calculating the Amount of Benefits The Representative Payee
Chapter 23: Do I Need an Attorney?
Do Not Be Discouraged By Statistics When it Is Advisable to Seek Legal Representation Finding an Attorney The Fee Agreement Negotiating Attorney's Fees
Glossary of Acronyms Frequently Asked Questions Appendix A: Medical Questionnaires Appendix B: The Grids Appendix C: Support Groups Index About the Author
Posted November 15, 2012
No text was provided for this review.