October 21, 2018

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.

The three arguments you can use are:

  1. Do you meet a listing?  Learn more about this argument at my website MeetaListing.com
  2. Do you fit within a “grid rule?”  Learn more about the grid rules at  my website Gridrules.net
  3. Does the medical and non-medical evidence in your file prove that your capacity to function at work has been so reduced that you would not be a reliable employee at even the easiest, entry-level job.  This is called the “functional capacity argument.”

=============== FREE SURVIVAL KIT ================
Don’t know where to begin? Download my free
“Secrets of Getting Approved” Survival Kit at
http://bit.ly/SSD-Survival-Kit
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============== FREE CASE EVALUATION =============
If you or a loved one would like a case evaluation for your
SSDI or SSI case, please contact me at
http://bit.ly/Contact-Jonathan
================================================

=================== CONTACT ME =================
Jonathan Ginsberg
Social Security Disability Attorney
Website: http://www.ssdAnswers.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GinsbergLaw/
Telephone: 800-890-2262
http://bit.ly/Contact-Jonathan
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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?

Get a Free & Confidential Case Evaluation Now.  Visit www.ssdAnswers.com/Contact and fill out the short form – I’ll let you know what I think.

=============== FREE SURVIVAL KIT ================
Don’t know where to begin? Download my free
“Secrets of Getting Approved” Survival Kit at
http://bit.ly/SSD-Survival-Kit
================================================

============== FREE CASE EVALUATION =============
If you or a loved one would like a case evaluation for your
SSDI or SSI case, please contact me at
http://bit.ly/Contact-Jonathan
================================================

=================== CONTACT ME =================
Jonathan Ginsberg
Social Security Disability Attorney
Website: http://www.ssdAnswers.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GinsbergLaw/
Telephone: 800-890-2262
http://bit.ly/Contact-Jonathan
================================================
***Click Below to SUBSCRIBE to my  YOUTUBE Channel for Social Security Disability Videos***
http://www.youtube.com/subscription_center?add_user=ginsbergssd

Episode 59 – What Does it Mean When the Judge Continued my Case?

Episode 59 Show Notes

In this episode I answer a question from Cheryl, who used the “Send a Voice Message to Jonathan” button on this site to contact me.  Cheryl wants to know if it is a positive or negative sign that the judge continued her recent hearing so she and her lawyer could obtain additional medical records.  She also wants to know how long she may have to wait for a reset hearing.

Resources mentioned in this episode include:

If you have a comment about my answer or about hearing continuances, please post your comment on Twitter, using hashtag #ssdradio59.

Episode 58 – How to Explain Your Daily Activities to the Judge

“What do you do with yourself on an average day?”  You can expect to hear this question from your Social Security disability judge.   Does the judge expect you to testify that you spend your days moaning in pain, zonked out on pain medications and unable to dress yourself or prepare simple meals?  Is it okay to state that you drive to the store or to pick up your kids from school?

At what point does normal daily activity start to look like a work equivalent, and thus result in a conclusion that you are not disabled?

My experience has been that if a judge rules against you, he will point to your testimony about daily activities as evidence that you do have the capacity to perform simple, entry-level work.  This means that you need to think about how you will answer questions about your daily routine so that the judge understands how that routine is impacted by your medical condition.

I advise my clients to include limitations in their explanation of activities, for example:

“I do go to the grocery store but I only go when I know that the store won’t be crowded so I can get in and out quickly.  I use the motorized cart to go up and down the aisles and I let the grocery bagger take my bags to the car.  When I get home, my neighbor’s kids unload the bags and take it into my kitchen and they help put the groceries in the refrigerator or pantry.”

“I have to prepare my own meals but I do not cook anymore because last time I tried, I fell asleep and almost burned the house down. Now I make only cold sandwiches and whatever I can microwave.”

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Social Security Disability Hearing Tip: Make Yourself More Believable

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As you prepare for your Social Security disability hearing, put yourself in the shoes of your judge.  Every day 5 to 7 claimants come before you asking for disability benefits.  Every one of them says that they cannot work and that they are in pain 24/7.

As a judge you know that if you approve someone, that person will likely collect benefits from the government for years, and sometimes for many years.  Your supervisors locally and in Washington are pressuring you to limit your approvals because the SSD trust fund is running out of money and members of Congress are telling anyone who will listen that the Social Security disability program is rife with fraud and incompetent (or corrupt) judges.

You also know that judges with higher than average approval rates are getting squeezed out – and you need this job because it pays well and provides great benefits.

How do you decide which claimants are truly deserving of one of these coveted favorable decisions?

As an attorney for clients seeking disability benefits, I serve as an advocate – I want my clients to win.  But from the minute I accept representation I try to look at each of my cases as if I was the judge.  Is the medical evidence compelling?  Does the claimant given up trying to get better in favor of an “attitude of entitlement?”  Is there evidence in the file to suggest that this claimant is not entirely truthful?

In this video, I talk a lot about credibility and believability and demonstrate through an example about how the same fact pattern can either enhance your status or damage your case – all a function of how you present those facts.

Make no mistake, Social Security has made it much more difficult to win approvals – so you and your lawyer need to be equally prepared by avoiding mistakes that raise even a small question in your judge’s mind.