What to Expect at a Social Security Disability Appeal Hearing

What to Expect at a Social Security Disability Appeal Hearing

Was your Social Security disability claim denied? While this may cause financial hardship, it’s not the end of the world. The Social Security Administration denies many claims, and the reason often isn’t that you’re not entitled to disability coverage.

Here’s what you can expect if you have to appeal.

Who Is Eligible for Social Security Disability?

An appeal for Social Security disability depends on whether you are, in fact, eligible. Social Security disability works similarly to the more well-known Social Security retirement benefits. When your FICA taxes are withheld, you’re paying into both potential retirement and disability benefits.

The qualifications for disability are similar to retirement. You need a certain number of work credits, and your benefits may vary based on your previous income and how much you paid in taxes. The number of credits needed varies according to your age so that young workers who are disabled early in their careers are still able to take advantage of their benefits.

You also need to be medically eligible. This means that you have a serious enough disability so that you can’t perform substantial gainful work activities. If you have too much-earned income during a year, even from a lower-paying part-time job than the full-time job you can no longer perform, you may be found not medically eligible by default.

How to Apply for Social Security Disability

If you become disabled and are no longer able to work, you should apply for disability benefits as soon as possible. The typical application process takes at least six months, and most people have to file an appeal after their initial application is denied. There’s also a five-month waiting period before your disability payments start.

If there are delays in the application process, you will usually be eligible to receive back pay of your benefits. However, you may struggle to pay your bills in the meantime depending on your level of savings.

Why Most People Have to Appeal

To prevent fraud, the Social Security Administration makes the application process very difficult. You need to correctly fill out the forms, and the supporting information provided by your doctor needs to exactly match the requirements for eligibility. Just like health insurance billing, doctors may not include enough information or may not use the magic words that the Social Security Administration needs to hear to approve your application. If your application is incomplete or doesn’t have the right medical information, you haven’t proven that you’re disabled under the law.

What Happens at a Social Security Disability Appeal Hearing?

A Social Security disability appeal hearing is similar to a trial that you might see on TV. There will be an administrative law judge who evaluates your case, representatives from the Social Security Administration who will explain why your claim was denied, and your own attorney who will explain either why your application should have been approved or why it should be approved in light of the information presented in the hearing.

You don’t have to have a lawyer at this hearing, but most of the hearing will be about legal technicalities and making sure the evidence meets the exact requirements of the law. If your application already got denied, it may be hard for you to figure out what you need to do to legally support your appeal. On the other hand, an experienced Social Security disability lawyer will know what medical records and doctors’ statements are needed to support your appeal.

To learn more about the Social Security disability appeals process or what you need to do to get your benefits, contact Joel Thrift Law today.

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Can I get Social Security Disability for my patellar tendinitis?

Can I get Social Security Disability for my patellar tendinitis?

Can I get Social Security Disability for my patellar tendinitis?

Yes, you can. There are two ways to get Social Security Disability for your Patellar tendinitis. The first way is to show that you meet Social Security’s specific listing on Patellar tendinitis  and the second way is to show that due to your physical restrictions there are no jobs available in the US economy which you would be able to do on a full time basis. I will discuss both methods of getting disability benefits for your Patellar tendinitis  below. However, it’s worth noting that you’re more likely to win your case by showing there are no jobs available than by meeting a listing because the requirements of listings are often so exact that most people do not meet them.

Method 1 – Listing: The listing for patellar tendinitis  is located in the section on major dysfunction of a joint at listing 1.02. This listing is extremely specific and requires:

“Gross anatomical deformity (e.g., subluxation, contracture, bony or fibrous ankylosis, instability) and chronic joint pain and stiffness with signs of limitation of motion or other abnormal motion of the affected joint(s), and findings on appropriate medically acceptable imaging of joint space narrowing, bony destruction, or ankylosis of the affected joint(s). With:

A. Involvement of one major peripheral weight-bearing joint (i.e., hip, knee, or ankle), resulting in inability to ambulate effectively.”

Social Security defines the inability to ambulate effectively as an inability to walk without an assistive device that requires the use of both hands – like a walker or wheelchair. If you can walk with the use of a cane, you do not meet this listing above. Your patellar tendinitis  might cause severe pain, but if you do not have documentation by your doctor of all of the specific requirements in the listing, social security will not find you disabled based on the listing. People rarely win their cases based on the listing because it is difficult to document all of the findings listed above. It is not enough to have a few of the findings in the listing. You must have all of them in your medical treatment records or social security will not find you disabled based on the listing alone. All is not lost, however. You can still prove you are disabled due to your patellar tendinitis  by showing that your combination of symptoms would make you unemployable.

Method 2 – No Jobs You Can Do: You can get disability for your patellar tendinitis  if you show that the symptoms from your patellar tendinitis  along with any other health conditions you have would make you unemployable. Social Security will consider more than just your patellar tendinitis . They will also consider all of your other health conditions in determining whether or not you can work. Social Security will look at things like how much you can lift or how long you can stand, walk, and sit in a day to determine if jobs are available that you  could do. Social Security will also look at whether you have to lie down during the day, take extra breaks or miss several days a month due to your medical conditions. Social Security will even look at your ability to concentrate and follow instructions due to you medical conditions. If your combination of limitations would make you unemployable, then you can get Social Security Disability due to your patellar tendinitis .  Remember, SSA will find you disabled if your combined symptoms would keep from being able to do any job 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, week in and week out. 

What do you need to prove there are no jobs you could do?

In order to prove there are no jobs you could do, you need medical documentation from your doctors of all of your medical conditions. This means you need to make an effort to get regular treatment to document your condition over time. Further, it is helpful to get statements from your doctors on how your medical condition limits your ability to work. This can include a letter from the doctor or simply having your doctor fill out a questionnaire on your condition. Doctors often do not comment on your ability to work in their office notes because they’re focused on treating you rather than commenting on your ability work. It helps to ask your doctor’s opinion on your ability to work. Our firm often gives our clients questionnaires to take to treating physicians to document your symptoms and how they would limit your ability to work. We have developed questionnaires over time that ask the questions we have found are helpful in proving your case.

It can be overwhelming to try to prove that you are disabled. You have to collect medical records and submit them to social security and you have to get opinions from doctors that prove your inability to work. We can help you get all this information and improve your chances of getting social security disability benefits. If you would like help proving you are entitled to social security disability due to your patellar tendinitis , feel free to call us for help.

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How Will I Know if I’m Approved or Denied for SSDI? What Do I Do After That?

How Will I Know if I'm Approved or Denied for SSDI? What Do I Do After That?

Every time you collect a paycheck, part of your payroll taxes go into a general disability fund. The Social Security Disability Insurance fund is there to provide a kind of insurance policy, a safety net. Its purpose is to allow a working person the chance to submit a disability claim if they should become disabled and to provide coverage if they qualify.

The amount of coverage a disabled person can receive depends on how much he or she has paid into the SSDI fund over the course of their working life. It can also depend on the severity of the disability.

Many people wonder if their SSDI claims will be approved, how long it might take before they know they are approved, and what to do after they are approved or if they are denied SSDI.

Here, we will answer these and other essential questions concerning those who apply for SSDI.

How to Apply for SSDI

You can apply online by visiting SSA.gov or by calling 1-800-772-1213. Representatives will make an appointment to take your application by phone or at a social security office near you. You may also be provided with a Disability Starter Kit, which will help you prepare for the application process. Kits are available for adults and persons under 18.

How Do I Know if My Claim Is Approved or Denied?

You will receive a notice by mail, which will tell you whether your claim was approved. Unfortunately, there is no specific time frame within which your claim is sure to be processed. The time it takes to process a claim depends on how much staff the social security office has on hand, how many claims they have to handle, and the complexity of those claims. Weekends and holidays also slow the process down.

In most cases, it will take between 30 and 90 days to process your claim. To know what your chances of approval are, you should understand the definition of disability according to the Social Security Administration.

What to Do if I Am Denied for SSDI

Some 70% of disability claims are initially denied. If your application for disability benefits is turned down, don’t give up – you still have options. The two most common mistakes people make after they are denied is to give up or to apply all over again – making the same mistakes they made the first time.

Many applications are turned down because of missing information, missing or incomplete forms, or because the application was completed incorrectly.

When you are denied, you have the option of filing an appeal. What happens when you file an appeal is that another representative will review your forms and reconsider your case. In most cases, it is best to add additional information that you may not have included with your first application.

If you can afford to, hiring a lawyer to work with you as you put your paperwork together will give you the best chance of being approved.

Review the SSDI Blue Book to make sure you have provided enough evidence that you are disabled and cannot work and that you qualify for coverage.

My Claim Was Approved; What Now?

If, after the long wait, you are finally approved, you will receive payments in arrears for the time you were unable to work up until the present. Payments will continue on a monthly basis for as long as you are deemed to be unable to work due to your physical condition or disability.

You should know that there is a five-month waiting period between the time you are approved and the time when your first check will be sent. You should do your best to be prepared to weather this interim period.

The amount you receive will depend on your previous income and the amount of time you worked in recent years. Today, the Social Security Administration prefers to deposit funds electronically via direct deposit. You can still receive physical checks, but it is faster, easier, and more economical for everyone to use the direct deposit option.

MISCELLANEOUS

  • If you qualify for SSDI and have dependents, they may also receive benefits.
  • Taxes may apply to your benefits if you collect more than $44,000 in benefits.
  • The continuation of your benefits will depend on a regular review of your condition. If your condition is believed to have improved and that you can work, benefits may be discontinued. If you believe you are truly unable to work, it is crucial to make sure that your continued disability is clearly and fully communicated with SSA during their reviews.

Optimize Your Chance of Approval

Working with an attorney who specializes in social security benefits is the best way to ensure that you qualify and that your application is full, complete and convincing. To learn more about SSDI and your chances of approval, get in touch with Joel Thrift Law today.

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How Long Does a Claim for Social Security (SSDI) Typically Take?

How Long Does a Claim for Social Security (SSDI) Typically Take?

Applying for Social Security Disability Benefits, waiting for approval, and navigating appeals can take years. If you have been injured or disabled due to a medical condition and are unable to work, filling out an SSDI application and waiting for approval can deplete your savings and leave you with few options.

You want to have the best possible chance that your claim will be approved and start collecting benefits as soon as possible. Here, we will discuss the risks associated with long approval times and some ways you may be able to endure the wait.

How Long Does the SSA Take to Process Claims?

Unfortunately, there is no set amount of time within which you are guaranteed to have your application reviewed and either approved or denied. Generally, thoroughly reviewing, approving, or denying your claim can take an average of between one to three months in the review process.

The amount of time your claim will take depends on several factors. They include:

·       The workload of the SSA office reviewing your application

·       The available staffing at your local SSA office

·       The types and complexity of claims in line ahead of yours

·       The complexity of your claim

The SSI Waiting Period

It’s also important to understand that if you are approved for SSI, a waiting period of five months must pass before you can begin receiving your payments. This means you will have to be financially prepared to endure the interim period.

The good news is that you will receive payments in arrears to cover the interim, but not until the five months is complete. You may have to live on your savings during that time or make other plans.

Naturally, the best insurance policy against disability is savings. Of course, not everyone has enough savings to carry them should the approval and appeals process take years to complete.

What Should I Do While I Wait for Approval?

Some SSDI applicants have had to wait years before finally receiving the benefits that they have paid into for their entire working lives. If you find yourself in this challenging situation, watching your savings being whittled away while you wait for approval, know that you still have options.

SET UP A SECOND CHECKING ACCOUNT

If you’re running out of money, you’re almost certain to incur late payment fees on your current bills. By setting up a secondary checking account, you can move funds into it, knowing that any automatic payments you have set up will not be able to touch the funds in your second account. You will have to pay your bills and any late fees eventually, but you can hold them off until your SSI payments start coming in.

ESTABLISH ANOTHER CREDIT CARD ACCOUNT

This may seem counterintuitive, but if you’re confident that your disability claim will be approved in time, then you know you will be able to pay off the debt you accrue while you wait.

DO NOT DELAY THE APPLICATION PROCESS LONGER THAN NECESSARY.

Many people fail to begin the SSDI application process in a timely fashion. They do this for many reasons. They may feel embarrassed about being unable to support themselves. They may have unrealistic hopes for recovery and bet on their ability to generate an income sooner than later.

These are common and understandable attitudes, but they can place you in danger of subsisting on little or no income. Don’t take the risk, and don’t delay the process longer than necessary. Apply for your SSI benefits as soon as you believe you may need them.

Remember; taking advantage of SSDI funds is not a sign of weakness or laziness. You have worked for your benefits all of your adult life, and the SSDI fund is there for the express purpose of protecting people like you.

When Is It Time to Consult an SSDI Legal Professional?

The short answer to this question is as soon as possible. Accessing legal representation can save you months or years of financial deprivation and worry in addition to the accumulation of debt.

An attorney who specializes in the SSDI application and approval process can help ensure that your application is filled out correctly and that all of the necessary evidence is included in your claim. With legal representation, you will obtain the best chance of being approved in a timely fashion.

To learn more about the SSDI application process, consult the professionals at Joel Thrift Law today.

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What Does SGA Mean in Social Security?

What Does SGA Mean in Social Security?

The Social Security Disability Insurance fund is a collective coffer that is paid into by working, tax-paying citizens to protect them if they should become disabled and unable to work. Therefore, it stands to reason that a person must demonstrate that the medical condition they claim prevents them from engaging in gainful employment is true, real, and sufficient to qualify for benefits from the fund.

Unfortunately, it does happen that some people will try to cheat the system. Worse still, some will be suspected of cheating the system when they have not. One of the most common ways of cheating the system is to present one’s self as disabled while maintaining substantial gainful activity (SGA) on the side.

What Is SGA or “Substantial Gainful Activity”?

Substantial gainful activity is any activity that generates an income that, given the person’s circumstances and type of disability, would disqualify the person from receiving disability benefits.

Substantial gainful activity, as of 2019, is defined by the Social Security Administration as an activity that generates $2,040 in monthly earnings for a legally blind person, or $1,220 in monthly earnings for a non-legally blind person.

The NOLO Legal Encyclopedia goes into greater detail in defining the phrase. They define the operative words in the term as follows:

Substantial: “Substantial work activity means that you are doing significant physical or mental activities. Work can be substantial even if you can only work part-time, or even if you don’t do as much or get paid as much as you did before you became disabled.”

Gainful: “A gainful activity is one that you get paid to do. However, even if you don’t get paid, the SSA may conclude that your work is gainful if it is an activity that people usually get paid to do.”

What if I Am Mistakenly Accused of Participating in SGA?

The review process for the average SSDI claim is, on average, between one month and 90 days. Seventy percent of claims are denied, and the appeals process can take years.

In a recent article, we described some of the measures a person can take to help survive the often interminable waiting period and appeals process when attempting to obtain social security disability benefits. While it may be unusual, it is possible that an applicant could be wrongfully accused of engaging in SGA during the interim.

If this happens to you, there are a few things you can do to defend yourself and secure your right to receive benefits.

Surviving the Interim Without Triggering an SGA Accusation

Given the monetary limits of what it officially means to engage in SGA, you are armed with valuable knowledge that can help you survive the wait to receive your SSI benefits. If you are unable to work, but can in some way earn less than $2,040/month (if legally blind) or $1,220/month (if not legally blind), this can help make up for some of your lost income until your benefits start coming in.

However, it is important to keep in mind that the SSA will investigate your claims and attempt to verify that you are truly disabled and incapable of engaging in full-time work.

Preventing a False SGA Accusation

If you are accused of taking money under the table, it can be difficult to prove otherwise. Your best bet, when engaging in the SSDI application process, is to document your activities thoroughly. Keep receipts, bank statements and track all financial activity carefully.

It would be a good idea to have statements available from trustworthy people to verify your whereabouts and activities at key points in time.

When to Access Legal Representation

Dealing with the SSA alone can be a daunting challenge. Those with the means to best survive the long waiting periods and appeals process are most likely to be disapproved on the grounds of SGA. This is where an attorney who specializes in social security claims can prove invaluable. Your legal representative can give your application the best chance of approval and help defend you against any challenges to your claim.

To learn more about the application and approval process for SSI claims, contact the social security legal professionals at Joel Thrift Law today.JUNE 28, 2019

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What’s the Difference Between SSI & SSDI?

What's the Difference Between SSI & SSDI?

The Social Security Administration offers two types of assistance: SSI and SSDI. Both are designed to assist individuals who can no longer work to earn a wage due to either their age or having a disability. Individuals that qualify for either program receive monthly payments to assist them in meeting their day-to-day needs.

Both SSI & SSDI have has specific & distinct eligibility requirements that must be met by an applicant, to qualify. Moreover, the benefits of both disability programs are also slightly different.

SSI/SSDI Basics: Means vs. Entitlement

SSI has a strict set of eligibility requirements. As a “means-tested” program, to qualify for SSI, an individual must meet the eligibility requirements in place for age, blindness, or a qualifying disabling condition. The process for applying for this type of assistance can be quite lengthy and may take several attempts before finally being approved. In terms of receiving SSI for a disability, you must prove that you are not able to work due to your injury or illness and that there are no jobs that you can perform efficiently.

SSDI, on the other hand, is a program for individuals who have worked for at least ten years and that have paid into the program during that time.  SSDI is best thought of as an insurance policy that workers pay into.  For this reason, SSDI has little to do with one’s means.  The amount of $ one has saved, or in their bank account is irrelevant to the qualification for this benefit. Anyone who has paid into the program is entitled to receive SSDI if they become totally disabled from being able to work.

Medicaid or Medicare for SSI & SSDI

When it comes to healthcare coverage, individuals who receive SSI are placed on Medicaid while those receiving SSDI will likely receive Medicare.

Medicaid is a comprehensive healthcare plan that offers various types of coverage and can be used for almost all health-related needs, including prescriptions. Medicaid programs are funded by both the state and the federal government.

A person who receives SSDI will begin receiving their Medicare benefits approximately two days after being approved. Although Medicare is a federally sponsored health insurance policy through the Social Security Administration, it is less comprehensive than Medicaid and typically only covers routine medical care and hospital stays. Individuals have the option to pay for additional supplemental forms of insurance to close the gaps in the coverage. Supplementals are referred to as “Medigap” policies for this reason. 

SSI & SSDI: Differences in Benefits

As of 2019, the maximum payment received by an individual on SSI was $771 per month. This is a set amount and can be reduced depending on whether or not the person receiving benefits also receives additional income through partial employment or other benefits (VA disability for exampled).

Individuals are allowed to earn a specific amount each month without affecting their SSI payments, once they begin to exceed that threshold, their payment will be reduced by a percentage based on the amount they earn through their employment.

The average SSDI payment per month is $1,234. Because this is an entitlement program based on what an individual has paid into the program over their employment career, they may be entitled to a larger or lesser amount each month. The award amount will depend on how much they paid into the system while they were working. Usually, the longer they spent in the workforce paying into the account, the more substantial their monthly income from SSDI.

Call Joel Thrift Law Today

Applying for SSI and SSDI can be quite confusing. When it comes to an understanding of the guidelines and eligibility requirements, a lot of people are shooting in the dark. Unfortunately, whether you were denied these benefits due to errors of your own or errors of the Social Security Administration, is all up to interpretation.  One thing you can do today, though, is get a seasoned Social Security Attorney to review your claim and provide options for overcoming any denials that you’ve received.

Contact Us Today if you have an SSI or SSDI claim with the Social Security Administration and need help!

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How Do You Prove There are No Jobs You Can Do to the Social Security Administration?

How Do You Prove There are No Jobs You Can Do to the Social Security Administration?

Social Security Disability, whether SSI or SSDI, requires that you are unable to perform work-like activity.  But the type of work-like activity you might be able to perform can vary widely from person to person depending on their skillset.  A significant part of any Social Security denial appeal is devoted to demonstrating that there is a clear barrier that your disabling condition is creating to you being able to work or earn a wage. 

In addition to demonstrating that you cannot do work with your current knowledge, skills, and abilities, you will also have to prove that you cannot be re-trained to do any other type of work.

While you may be focused on proving that you have a diagnosis or asking doctors their opinions on your conditions, you might be surprised to find that demonstrating your inability to work may be your biggest challenge in overcoming a denied claim.

Here’s a bit more about the process of proving your disability.

The Role of a Vocational Expert in a Disability Claim

After you appeal a disability denial, your claim goes through a reconsideration phase.  If at reconsideration, the SSA still believes they denied your claim correction, you will have an opportunity to appeal your denial before a judge (ALJ – administrative law judge).  In your hearing before the ALJ, a vocational expert will be called to testify and give expert testimony on your skills, abilities, and the availability of jobs that would match them, given your level of impairment.

The testimony of the Vocational Expert, and the questions of your disability attorney, are critical in helping the ALJ determine whether or not your disability has an impact on your ability to perform the tasks you would otherwise be qualified and able to do.

Undergo an Assessment or Skills Test

During the course of your disability claim or your appeal, you may be asked to undergo an assessment or skills test to determine if you still have the physical capabilities to do the job you held before the diagnosis of your disability.

The skills test may prove that you can no longer perform those tasks related to your previous employment.  However, it may indicate that you can be re-trained to do similar work that doesn’t require the same tasks you performed prior to your injury or condition.

Generally, the skills test will assess the degree of your physical limitations and allow a vocational expert to make a better determination.

Keep an Accurate Account of Both Your Past Employment and Medical Records

Several factors go into disability determination; one of them is your age. If you have reached an age where being re-trained is more of a hardship than an asset, you may be eligible for disability without having to go through the skills/assessment test we discussed above. More than age, though, your previous work history, and medical story (or fact pattern) will tell much of your story.

It’s for this reason, after you file your claim, when waiting for a determination, after receiving your denial, or at any other stage of your attempt to get SSI or SSDI, you need to be reviewing, brainstorming, and cataloging your employment and medical history.  Why?

The reason your records are so valuable to your claim or appeal is that they tell a story of you at your best, you at your worst, and you today (even if it’s not one of those two extremes). Your disability story will be much more compelling if you can tell it with supporting evidence from your own past. 

For example, instead of making the case that your back is injured so you can’t work anymore.  A detailed work and medical history will tell the story that: you used to be a star employee, work 40+ hours a week, train new employees, and took 5 medical days off in 10 years before your injury.  After your injury, you spend an average of 2 days a week at a different doctor.  You went from star employee to being let go.  When you have attempted to work a part time job, your frequent doctors’ appointments created a barrier.  Even when you didn’t have doctors’ appointments, your injuries caused you to need to take a day off for emergency care.  All of this, of course, supported by documentation.   

Call and Talk to a Disability Attorney Today!

When applying for disability, it might be up to you to prove that you are no longer capable of working and earning a wage, but you don’t have to do it alone!

At Joel Thrift Law, the goal is to help you get the answers you need when pursuing a disability claim.

We will help you fight your unfair SSI or SSDI disability denial. 

Contact Us Today for help!

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My SSDI Was Denied; Does This Mean My SSI Is Denied Too?

My SSDI Was Denied; Does This Mean My SSI Is Denied Too?

SSI & SSDI are two different disability programs under the Social Security Administration.

To be eligible for either program, you will have to meet specific guidelines in terms of age, income, and of course, a disability that hinders or fully stops your ability to earn a wage (work).

First, it is possible for a person to be approved for SSI and be denied for SSDI; each program has different eligibility requirements and different purposes, relating to which populations of disabled adults they can support. 

We cover the difference between SSI and SSDI, extensively in our blog. However, in this article we are going to steer more towards denials for SSI and SSDI, and how they may or may not affect each other. 

So, What Does a Denial Mean?

A denial from the Social Security Administration (SSA) means that according to the documentation you provided with your application, you may not meet the eligibility requirements for the program. An adjudicator, basically a staff member at the SSA, reviewed the evidence and found it not clear enough for some reason to grant your application for the program (SSI or SSDI or both) that you applied for.

Your denial could mean that you didn’t provide sufficient proof to substantiate your claim for the program you applied for. It could, however, be in complete error.  A significant number of disability claims that ultimately get approved are denied at the initial application step.  If you get denied for SSI or SSDI, you still may qualify. And it may not be because you did anything wrong at all.

If You’re Denied for SSDI, What Does That Mean for Your SSI Benefits?

To apply for and be granted SSDI, you need to have a work history that includes employment within the last five years. You must also be able to prove that you can no longer hold a job or be considered for a re-training program that will allow you to acquire new skills.

Being denied for SSDI does not mean a guaranteed denial of or a reduction in your SSI benefits. The reason? SSI benefits are predicated on a wholly separate eligibility. For instance, employment is not a pre-requisite of SSI benefits.

The summary here is, NO, you may still be granted SSI even if you are denied an SSDI claim.  Why?  They are two separate programs.

How Do I Appeal the Disability Denial?

After a denial, you have a choice between filing a new application or an appeal of your existing case.

In most situations where you can still appeal, maybe all – re-applying from the beginning of your claim will not help your situation. Additionally, a new application means a new effective date when your claim is ultimately approved.  You might be losing out on months, or years, of benefits, simply by choosing to start over from square one. 

If you believe your case holds merit as it is, then an appeal of an existing denial is your best option. One of the big drawbacks of an appeal is that it takes time, sometimes over a year. Moreover, you will almost surely need representation.  Why?

Essentially, you’re ratcheting up the complexity of your situation.  And if you’re already applying for SSI or SSDI, your situation is complex enough!  It’s time to bring in someone that fights the SSA every day. 

Complexity, representation, stress, and more are, perhaps, why some choose to try to re-apply from scratch, instead of appealing an erroneous denial.  Again, though it may seem like appealing a denied disability claim is harder, the results are certainly worth the effort.  And, of course, it’s in your advocate’s best interest to make this process as painless for you as possible. 

Don’t Go Through the Process Alone!

If you have applied for either SSI or SSDI and been denied for one or both, your first step should be to hire a reputable disability attorney.

At Joel Thrift Law, we’ve been practicing disability law since 2007.  We will walk by your side the whole way and help you get the disability benefits you should have gotten in the first place. 

Contact Us Today!

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Can I get Social Security Disability for my knee bursitis?

Can I get Social Security Disability for my knee bursitis?

Can I get Social Security Disability for my knee bursitis?

Yes, you can. There are two ways to get Social Security Disability for your knee bursitis. The first way is to show that you meet Social Security’s specific listing on knee bursitis and the second way is to show that due to your physical restrictions there are no jobs available in the US economy which you would be able to do on a full time basis. I will discuss both methods of getting disability benefits for your knee bursitis below. However, it’s worth noting that you’re more likely to win your case by showing there are no jobs available than by meeting a listing because the requirements of listings are often so exact that most people do not meet them.

Method 1 – Listing

The listing for knee bursitis is located in the section on major dysfunction of a joint at listing 1.02. This listing is extremely specific and requires:

“Gross anatomical deformity (e.g., subluxation, contracture, bony or fibrous ankylosis, instability) and chronic joint pain and stiffness with signs of limitation of motion or other abnormal motion of the affected joint(s), and findings on appropriate medically acceptable imaging of joint space narrowing, bony destruction, or ankylosis of the affected joint(s). With:

A. Involvement of one major peripheral weight-bearing joint (i.e., hip, knee, or ankle), resulting in inability to ambulate effectively.”

Social Security defines the inability to ambulate effectively as an inability to walk without an assistive device that requires the use of both hands – like a walker or wheelchair. If you can walk with the use of a cane, you do not meet this listing above. Your Knee bursitis might cause severe pain, but if you do not have documentation by your doctor of all of the specific requirements in the listing, social security will not find you disabled based on the listing. People rarely win their cases based on the listing because it is difficult to document all of the findings listed above. It is not enough to have a few of the findings in the listing. You must have all of them in your medical treatment records or social security will not find you disabled based on the listing alone. All is not lost, however. You can still prove you are disabled due to your knee bursitis by showing that your combination of symptoms would make you unemployable.

Method 2 – No Jobs You Can Do

You can get disability for your knee bursitis if you show that the symptoms from your Knee bursitis along with any other health conditions you have would make you unemployable. Social Security will consider more than just your Knee bursitis. They will also consider all of your other health conditions in determining whether or not you can work. Social Security will look at things like how much you can lift or how long you can stand, walk, and sit in a day to determine if jobs are available that you  could do. Social Security will also look at whether you have to lie down during the day, take extra breaks or miss several days a month due to your medical conditions. Social Security will even look at your ability to concentrate and follow instructions due to you medical conditions. If your combination of limitations would make you unemployable, then you can get Social Security Disability due to your knee bursitis.  Remember, SSA will find you disabled if your combined symptoms would keep from being able to do any job 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, week in and week out. 

What do you need to prove there are no jobs you could do?

In order to prove there are no jobs you could do, you need medical documentation from your doctors of all of your medical conditions. This means you need to make an effort to get regular treatment to document your condition over time. Further, it is helpful to get statements from your doctors on how your medical condition limits your ability to work. This can include a letter from the doctor or simply having your doctor fill out a questionnaire on your condition. Doctors often do not comment on your ability to work in their office notes because they’re focused on treating you rather than commenting on your ability work. It helps to ask your doctor’s opinion on your ability to work. Our firm often gives our clients questionnaires to take to treating physicians to document your symptoms and how they would limit your ability to work. We have developed questionnaires over time that ask the questions we have found are helpful in proving your case.

It can be overwhelming to try to prove that you are disabled. You have to collect medical records and submit them to social security and you have to get opinions from doctors that prove your inability to work. We can help you get all this information and improve your chances of getting social security disability benefits. If you would like help proving you are entitled to social security disability due to your knee bursitis, feel free to call us for help.

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How Can My Doctor Help me win my Social Security Case?

How Can My Doctor Help me win my Social Security Case?

There are two things your doctor can do to help you win your case. The first is to keep detailed and consistent treatment notes that document your condition and your symptoms. Often times, the records I get from doctors provide little information other than a diagnosis. Other times, the medical records are clearly auto-filled by a computer-based on something the patient said at an initial visit that might no longer be accurate. It is much easier to prove your case if your doctor’s medical notes provide specific details about your symptoms at each visit. That way your testimony about how your condition affects you will be corroborated by your treatment notes.

The second way your doctor can help you is by filling out a disability questionnaire. Doctors aren’t always focused on how your condition would prevent you from working so asking them direct questions can help. Some doctors don’t like to fill these forms out, but it never hurts to ask. I’ve created several questionnaires over the years that I’ve found help clients win cases and if your condition is unique, I can help draft a questionnaire that is specific to your case and will help guide a doctor to answer the most relevant questions.

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