December 15, 2018

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…]

Episode 22: Can Social Security Force Me to Take a Less Demanding Job?

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Here is a question I received from a woman named Phyllis who sent me the following email:

IF YOU HAVE WORKED AS A PROFESSIONAL NURSE FOR PAST 25 YEARS AND CAN NO LONGER DO THE JOB AS A NURSE DUE TO DISABILITY, CAN SOCIAL SECURITY REQUIRE YOU TO WORK AS A  NON-PROFESSIONAL WITH ALOT LESS PAY  DOING SOMETHING TOTALLY DIFFERENT THAN WHAT YOUR WERE TRAINED TO DO ? IF THE ANSWER IS YES,  DO THEY  ASSIST YOU IN FINDING ADEQUATE EMPLOYMENT  IN YOUR COMMUNITY WHERE YOU LIVE.

In the podcast, I make note of the following:

  1. In evaluating your case, Social Security is asking whether there is work out there that you could do, within Social Security’s regulatory framework.  If you are successful in proving that you cannot work, you win; if the judge concludes that you can work, you lose.
  2. Social Security cannot force you to take a job.  Similarly, Social Security will not find you a job – they are not an employment agency.
  3. Social Security will ask whether you have transferrable skills from past work.  If so, they will ask whether skills you may have obtained working could transfer to an easier job
  4. Generally, I approach most cases with the mindset that I need to prove that my client would not be a reliable, dependable worker in any job setting.
  5. You can read more at my Social Security disability blog about how Social Security classifies jobs based on exertional capacity and based on skill level.

Episode 21 – Complex Social Security, Workers Comp, Bankruptcy and Med Mal Problem

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Here is a question I received by email from a lady named Brenda.  She raises a number of issues, Social Security, workers’ compensation, bankruptcy, the timing of her Social Security application and even medical malpractice.   If Social Security disability was a law school class, this would be a final exam question:

I was injured in may of 2004, my workers comp case is still pending. My question is that I have applied for disablity but I have been denied 3 times. Not sure if I should apply now or wait until I settle my comp case. Please let me know if that is what I need to do, I have also talked to your staff but did not go any further due to this concern. Also I
had to file bankrupsty and it will be over in July , should I wait for that to be over before I file for disabilty. My injures are crushed ankle, back injury that cannot be operated on, and got staph when my comp doctor gave me a shot in my ankle, they mess around on who was at fault and in the meantime after my frist surgery I was not cared for enough due to the cliaming who was at fault.  THen the staph went into my bone had 2 have another surgery,
thanks for your time