December 15, 2018

How Long Does it Take for Social Security to Decide my Disability Claim

How long can you expect to wait – start to finish – for Social Security to make a decision in your case.  The answer depends on the seriousness of your medical condition and whether the evidence clearly shows that you meet a Social Security listing.

Otherwise, be prepared to wait…and wait…and wait.

Given budget cuts at SSA, you could end up waiting up to 3 years for a decision – and that’s with no guarantee that you win.   [Read More…]

Am I Sick Enough to Win Social Security Disability Benefits

How do you know if you are sick or injured enough to win Social Security disability benefits?

While every case is different, certain patterns do emerge, and after 25+ years of trying cases, I want to share with you my opinions about what it takes to win SSDI benefits now.

If your impairment is physical or involves a damaged body part or system, Social Security disability judges want to see objective evidence of your problem.  Ideally, this takes the form of an MRI or CT scan, an ultrasound, a pulmonary function test, blood test or any other medical test that confirms a specific diagnosis.  This is why pain conditions like CRPS or fibromyalgia have become so difficult to win. [Read More…]

What is the Difference Between SSDI and SSI?

What is the difference between SSDI and SSI?  As I discuss in this episode, SSDI stands for Social Security Disability Insurance.  It is an insurance program and the payroll taxes you paid while you were working are the premiums.

You earn insurance “credits” based on your gross earnings.  In 2018, you earn one credit for every $1,320 of gross earnings.  You can earn a maximum of four credits in a calendar year, so once you have earned $5,280, you will have all four possible credits.

The earnings requirements for previous years are slightly lower and the earnings requirements for 2019 and beyond will be higher.

It does not matter when during the the year that you earn your credits – if you earned $5,280 during the first week of January in 2018 you would be covered for the full year. [Read More…]

How do You Prove that You are Disabled

If you decide to apply for Social Security disability, you have to prove to the Social Security Administration that you are disabled.  In the last episode, I explained how SSA defines the term “disabled.”  In this episode, I discuss the three arguments, or theories of disability, you must use to convince SSA that you meet the definition. [Read More…]

How Does Social Security Define the term “Disability”

How does Social Security define the term “disability?”  Under the law, you are disabled if you are unable to engage in substantial gainful activity because of a medically determinable condition or conditions that has lasted or is expected to last 12 consecutive months, or result in death.

What does this mean?  In this episode, I unpack this definition so that you know what you have to prove.  And if you know what SSA needs, you can make sure that every form you fill out and every statement you make addresses this threshold question – do you meet SSA’s definition of disability? [Read More…]