According to the Social Security Administration's Regulations, a claim for Social Security Disability Benefits is evaluated by what is referred to in the law as the 5-Step Sequential Evaluation Process. At Step 1, Social Security determines whether or not a claimant is working and making over "Substantial Gainful Employment," or a monthly gross income of $1,170 (2017) or higher. If the answer is "no" to both, the claim proceeds to the next Step. At Step 2, they evaluate the combination of medical conditions to determine whether or not a "severe impairment" exists. If a severe impairment is found, the claim proceeds to Step 3. At Step 3, SSA determines whether or not the medical evidence on record is substantial enough to satisfy one of their specific listed impairments (i.e., major depressive disorder, chronic heart failure, leukemia, etc.). If the medical evidence supports a finding of disability at Step 3, the claim is awarded and Steps 4 & 5 become unnecessary.
If Step 4 is necessary, SSA considers any and all physical/mental abilities, skills, and the level of education to determine whether or not a claimant is able to return to his/her previous work as it was performed (Note: a claim cannot be awarded at Step 4 so proceeding to Step 5 is always necessary). Finally at Step 5, SSA evaluates whether or not a claimant is able to perform any other jobs in the national economy on a competitive basis, taking into consideration all of the medical impairments. Generally speaking, for claimants who are "Closely Approaching Advanced Age" (50-55) or "Advanced Age" (55 and over), SSA may use the Medical Vocational Guidelines (GRIDS) to evaluate a claim at Step 5 to direct a favorable outcome. The GRIDS are a useful reference tool which direct a decision based on a claimant's residual functional capacity (physical/mental abilities), age, education, transferability of skills. For claimants classified as a "Younger Individual" (49 or younger), the GRIDS generally do not apply unless there is evidence he/she is illiterate or unable to communicate in English. Although this is the case, SSA still may use the GRIDS in cases of Younger Individuals as a template in evaluating Medical-Vocational issues at Step 5. The GRIDS can be viewed in Appendix 2 to Subpart P of Part 404 of the Code of Federal Regulations, or on Social Security's Website by clicking here.
The #SocialSecurityAdministration recently reported it will be partnering with all #VeteransAdministrationMedicalCenters in order to provide #disability decisions to #veterans more quickly. Specifically, #SSA launched a computer system which allows receipt of medical records electronically. This means collecting medical records from the #VA will take a few days rather than a few weeks.
#SSA reportedly collects over 15 million medical records per year, so this is a great effort to make the administrative appeals process more efficient and effective. The new partnership will positively affect over 7,000 #VA facilities in the #UnitedStates and our #veterans in need. These new policies are in addition to a recently implemented policy which allows for expedited claim processing in cases where a #veteran has received a 100% service-connected #disability rating from the #DepartmentofVeteransAffairs.
If you are a #veteran in need of #SocialSecurityDisability, call Ricks Disability Aid today at (435) 200-5352. We can help file a new application, or step in and help at any stage of the process.
The #SocialSecurityDisability application process is not quick, and many clients experience difficulty making financial ends meet in the meantime. When you file for #SocialSecurityDisabilityBenefits, you are trying to prove to the #SocialSecurityAdministration you are unable to work enough to pay for basic living expenses. Unfortunately this means any working may hurt the case.
While often times claimants filing for benefits are forced to work, making over what the #SocialSecurityAdministration considers substantial may result in a technical denial of the case ($1,130 for 2016; $1,170 for 2017). In difficult financial situations, in the alternative, I recommend clients attend vocational rehabilitation through their local #DepartmentOfWorkforceServices (DWS). DWS offers many programs, such as special job training for accommodated job placements, referrals and payment for some medical treatment, cash assistance, medicaid health insurance, housing assistance, and food stamps. These are great programs which help many people with basic living necessities.
If you have questions about working during the #SocialSecurityDisability application process, call us today at (435) 200-5352 for a free consultation. Ricks Disability Aid can help you file a new application or represent you at any stage in the process.
You've finally made it to the point of your Social Security Disability case where you will appear before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) for a hearing to determine your eligibility for benefits. At the hearing, the ALJ will consider many different factors including your background, age, education, learning ability, past-work experience, medical history, physical/mental symptoms, residual functional capacity and general activities of daily living. It is important to have this information ready for the ALJ well in advance, so I always recommend my clients keep a daily journal. In your journal, it is a good idea to log any medical treatment you receive, how you feel on a daily basis and any difficulties you experience due to your disability.
The ALJ will also thoroughly review your medical records and work history. Prior to your hearing, it is important to make a list of all the jobs you worked 15 years prior to the date you are alleging disability. This list should include your title, type of industry (i.e., construction, general labor, retail, etc.), dates worked, dollars per hour, average hours per day, average days per week and the heaviest amount of weight lifted.
It is also important to make a list of all the medical providers (i.e., physicians, clinics, hospitals, counselors, social workers, physical therapists, etc.) you've seen after the date you are alleging disability. This list should include the name of the provider and/or clinic, condition(s) treated (i.e., back pain, headaches, etc.), approximate date first treated, approximate date last treated, treatment received (i.e., surgery, medication management, counseling, etc.) and any tests ordered (i.e., x-ray, CT scan, MRI, EKG, stress test, etc.).
If you need representation for your Social Security Disability Hearing, call Representative Cody D. Ricks at (435) 200-5352 today. I have experience in winning both physical and mental cases at all levels of the application process.
#SSA #SocialSecurity #SocialSecurityDisability #SocialSecurityDisabilityBenefits #SupplementalSecurityIncome #SSI #SocialSecurityDisabilityHearing #SSDisability #SocialSecurityDisabilityInsurance #SSDI #SocialSecurityBenefits
If your Attorney Dropped your Case before your #SocialSecurityDisability Hearing there may still be Hope!
Because of the way Social Security's laws are currently written, your representative may withdraw from your case at any point in time--even if your hearing is already scheduled. In my career I've even seen attorneys who drop cases the day before their hearing! I understand what an inconvenience this is, but it does not necessarily mean all is lost. Know that, unless your prior representative withdrew your entire application, your case should still be pending appropriately with the Social Security Administration. Generally speaking, a new representative can represent you where the prior representative left off.
However, if a prior representative dropped your case, it probably had to do with its overall strength. My recommendation is to immediately seek medical care, so there is accurate, up-to-date information about your current condition (especially if your hearing is scheduled).
If you find yourself in a situation where you are unrepresented for your Social Security Disability hearing, call me today at (435) 200-5352. I won't leave you hanging.
#SSA #socialsecuritydisability #socialsecurityadministration #disability #SSdisability #SSAdisability #medicare #socialsecurity #disabilityhearing #utahdisability #SSI #supplementalsecurityincome #socialsecuritydisabilityinsurance #ssdi #medicaid
This is a question I am often asked, and I always give the same answer, "as soon as you believe you are disabled." As you've probably heard, the Social Security process can be lengthy, so it is good idea to submit your application as soon as you are unable to return to work. This is important because, if your case is awarded later, Social Security may pay you back to the date you filed your application. It is also important because you can always withdraw your application if your health improves and will still be able to apply in the future, if necessary. Please keep in mind, your application may be denied if you are currently working and making more than what SSA considers 'substantial.' If you would like assistance in applying for benefits or the application process, call Disability Advocate Cody D. Ricks at (435) 200-5352.
As the Washington Post accurately states, the Social Security Administration currently has the largest backlog in the United States Government--more than 1 million cases waiting to be heard. According to public data, wait times to receive a scheduled hearing before an Administrative Law Judge in Salt Lake City alone have reached 18 months! This is due to many factors like understaffing, lack of funding, and the still unrecovered economy. In response to both this issue and public outcry, SSA has been working frantically on providing new solutions. This includes moving towards expanding the use of National Hearing Centers by using video hearings and also changing the way the Appeals Council (Social Security's highest appellate court) handles cases which are remanded. While these efforts are commendable, there has been widespread concern among Social Security Disability representatives who are worried these changes may infringe on a claimant's right to a fair hearing. While a video hearing may be scheduled more quickly, public data indicates, in many cases, National Hearing Center Judge approval rates are significantly lower. For these reasons, I always recommend my clients object to video hearings and retain the right to appear before a Judge in-person. If you have questions about your right to a fair hearing call Ricks Disability Aid today at (435) 200-5352 to ensure you go to your hearing with the best chances of winning. We will do everything in our power to make sure your hearing is scheduled as quickly as possible, without any unnecessary delays.
How Attending Vocational Rehabilitation can Strengthen your claim for #SocialSecurityDisability Benefits
When the #SocialSecurityAdministration evaluates your claim for #SocialSecurityDisability benefits, they consider several different factors. One of these factors includes whether or not you are able to perform other jobs in the national economy, aside from any work you may have performed in the past. If #SSA determines you have the ability to perform other jobs, there is a strong possibility your claim will be denied. In order to counter this argument, I always recommend my clients attend the Vocational Rehabilitation program through the State Department of Workforce Services. This is a program which evaluates participants by considering their age, medical conditions, skills, and education and attempts to place them in accommodated jobs. If they determine there are no jobs in the national economy you are able to perform, it may help strengthen your claim significantly. This is also a great program because they often pay for medical treatment, and they are also able to assist in other areas of hardship, such as Food Stamps or Financial Assistance. If you have questions about how participating in the Vocational Rehabilitation can help strengthen your case, call Disability Advocate Cody D. Ricks at (435) 200-5352 for a free consultation. There is no fee unless I am able to win your case!
The acting commissioner of the Social Security Administration, Carolyn Colvin, recently implemented a new agency rule allowing for expedited processing for veterans filing for Social Security Disability benefits with a 100% Disability Rating from the Veteran's Administration. Because the Social Security Administration will generally not take the initiative to begin expediting these types of reviews on their own, it is important to have the assistance of a knowledgable representative to help you. In order to request this type of processing, we will make a formal request for expedited processing while providing evidence of your 100% Disability Rating from the VA. Usually a copy of the decision rating is sufficient.
If you are a veteran who meets these requirements, please call Ricks Disability Aid at (435) 200-5352 for a free consultation of your case. We will do everything we can to make sure your case is processed as quickly as possible through the system.
What is the difference between Social Security Disability Insurance (DIB) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI)?
To easily explain this type of benefit, think of an insurance policy that supplements your income if you are disabled or retired. Each working citizen in the United States pays for their own Social Security policy by a special social security tax on earned income. You are generally entitled to this benefit when you reach full retirement age (currently 67 for those born in 1960 or later) or if you are able to prove you are medically disabled beforehand.
Monthly entitlement amounts depend on your lifetime earnings as reported to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The more you earn and pay into the system, the larger your monthly payment is. Generally speaking, if you are found eligible for DIB benefits, a spouse and dependent children may increase this amount. Usually, if you are awarded DIB benefits, you are also entitled to Medicare insurance, although restrictions apply to a spouse and dependent children.
Supplemental Security Income is fundamentally different because it is not an insurance policy. This type of benefit is considered "need-based" and depends on your household income. Limits on income fluctuate depending on different types of earned or unearned income and the number of dependent children who live in the household.
Generally to qualify for this type of benefit, you must prove you are medically disabled. The current maximum SSI monthly payment is $733. This amount may be reduced if you are not paying some living expenses, such as rent, or if you are receiving other forms of income. Usually, if you are awarded SSI benefits, you will also be entitled to Medicaid insurance.