Social Security Disability Archives

Tag Archive for: Social Security Disability

A Social Security Disability hearing holds the key to accessing essential benefits, but the process can be intricate and overwhelming. With proper preparation and knowledge, you can boost your chances of triumphing in this critical moment.

For individuals receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), a Continuing Disability Review (CDR) can bring both anticipation and anxiety. A CDR is a routine evaluation to determine whether you still meet the eligibility criteria for disability benefits.

The journey toward obtaining Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits is a complex one, marked by intricacies and challenges. Amidst this complexity, the dialogue between patients and their medical professionals emerges as a pivotal factor.

San Diego Social Security disability lawyers regularly help applicants apply to receive benefits if they are unable to perform any easy work they have done in the past. This may seem like a simple process, but San Diego Social Security disability attorneys frequently need to guide clients through the often complicated yet necessary procedures.

Because the Social Security Disability application and appeals process can be difficult, especially when a claimant may be suffering from multiple medical impairments, it is crucial to hire an attorney that specializes in Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Insurance (SSI) claims.

Aline Gaba, attorney and founding partner of the San Diego Disability Law Group (SDDLG) recently participated in a webinar for the San Diego County Bar Association. In this webinar, she discussed the role of Social Security Disability Attorneys in helping their clients, along with the differences between SSDI and SSI claims. One particularly valuable focus included how medical evidence helps in achieving successful SSDI and SSI claim outcomes.

You can watch the discussion touching on the points above through the recorded 23-minute webinar published here: https://www.sdcba.org/index.cfm?pg=ssi

Below, we will review some of the main points from the webinar. If you still have questions, please feel free to call the San Diego Disability Law Group at (619) 338-9000 or contact us via email and we will do our best to get your questions answered as quickly as possible.

SSI Claims vs SSDI Claims

It is important to know the difference between a Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claim and a Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) claim. 

SSI is a needs based program for individuals who have a severe impairment that prevents them from being able to sustain gainful employment.  There are different financial requirements depending on your marital status; however, SSI does not require any work history or qualifying quarters. As such, an individual may qualify for SSI if they have never worked a day in their life so long as they meet the financial and medical requirements for SSI.  For this reason, SSI benefits are usually much lower than SSDI benefits.

SSDI also requires a severe impairment that prevents substantial gainful employment; however, you must also have sufficient qualifying quarters.  In other words, you must have sufficient work history as well as a medically determinable impairment in order to be eligible for SSDI.  Because SSDI is based on your earnings, these benefits are usually much higher than SSI benefits.

Why Hire an SSDI/SSI Attorney?

What does an SSDI attorney really do, and is hiring one actually necessary? A Social Security Disability attorney, like Ms. Gaba, has many years of knowledge and experience in dealing with the processes and procedures of the Social Security Administration (SSA).  You could say that we are fluent in the language that the SSA speaks, which makes us uniquely qualified to address the many problems and pitfalls that may arise during the application and appeals process. 

Attorneys who specialize in Social Security Disability, like Ms. Gaba, are well versed in the SSDI and SSI application and appeals process.  We analyze each case from start to finish, including status of the claim, pending appeals, and hundreds to thousands of pages of medical records.  Over the course of this long process, we work closely with and get to know our clients so that we can develop a comprehensive strategy to give them the best chance of winning their claim. 

The Use of Medical Evidence in an SSDI/SSI Claim

It is important to note that the role of medical evidence is critical to the successful outcome of the SSDI/SSI claims process.  An experienced Social Security Disability attorney, like Ms. Gaba, will review your entire medical file and ensure that the SSA has all of the necessary and relevant information.  Your SSDI attorney will identify and request any missing records, ask your doctors for opinion letters, and work with you to gather any additional evidence that would support your claim. 

In the webinar, Ms. Gaba also discusses the impact of the current Coronavirus pandemic situation on the processing of disability claims. Due to COVID-19 related business closures, the backlog of cases waiting to be processed by SSA quickly increased early on. However, the SSA has recently pushed though cases at a more rapid pace, which helped in reducing the claim processing delay. In addition, all of the San Diego Social Security hearings are currently being held telephonically instead of in person to comply with the related health requirements and to prevent further delays in processing claims.

SDDLG Can Help With Social Security Disability Claims

Many claimants find the Social Security Disability process daunting and discouraging due to the high rate of denials and the obscure nature of dealing with a large bureaucracy such as the SSA. However, you don’t have to go through the process alone.  Please contact the San Diego Social Security Disability lawyers for a free consultation.

RELATED: Excuses for Late Disability Appeals

You can reach the offices of The San Diego Disability Law Group by calling 619-338-9000, or contact us here.

Social Security Disability and Reflect Sympathetic Dystrophy – Is rsd a disability? We presently  have a client who has  been diagnosed with REFLEX SYMPATHETIC DYSTROPHY (RSD) also known as COMPLEX REGIONAL PAIN SYNDROME (CRPS).  RSD is a unique clinical syndrome that may  develop following trauma, severe or minor.

San Diego Social Security disability lawyers regularly help applicants apply to receive benefits if they are unable to perform any easy work they have done in the past. This may seem like a simple process, but San Diego Social Security disability attorneys frequently need to guide clients through the often complicated yet necessary procedures.

Defining the Term “Disabled”

San Diego Social Security disability attorneys are aware that the Social Security Administration defines the term “disabled” in a particular way. “Disabled” applicants are those who can no longer complete any “past relevant work,” and must meet the following criteria:

  1. The applicant must have been employed in the occupation within the last 15 years or 15 years prior to the most recent disability requirement check (whichever was earlier).
  2. He or she must have performed the work for a significant period of time. (Any applicants unsure about whether their work qualifies should consult their San Diego Social Security disability lawyers.)
  3. The applicant must have earned a certain amount of money throughout the working period.

Qualifying for Disability Benefits

San Diego Social Security disability lawyers may test whether an applicant may qualify for disability benefits by following a two-step process:

  • The San Diego Social Security disability lawyers will first conclude which occupation fits the “past relevant work” criteria and is the least strenuous.
  • Then, they may investigate why the applicant can no longer perform the occupation.

Level of Exertion Required to Perform Job Duties

An applicant will not qualify for benefits if his or her San Diego Social Security disability lawyers cannot show that he or she is unable to complete a former job of average difficulty. In addition, the Social Security Administration will ask the San Diego Social Security disability attorneys whether the applicant’s past performance corresponded to the difficulty level of each position.

Medical-Vocational Guidelines

The Social Security Administration will utilize the Medical-Vocational Guidelines to determine a candidate’s degree of disability. San Diego Social Security disability lawyers will need to prove that the applicant cannot perform any commonly available job.

Contact San Diego Disability Law Group

Many candidates find the application process confusing. If you are disabled and would like to apply for benefits, consult with San Diego Social Security disability lawyers at the San Diego Disability Law Group by calling 619-338-9000, or contact us here.

The Social Security Disability Attorneys at the San Diego Disability Law Group recently represented a 47 year old woman with Breast Cancer. When she first contacted our office her claim for disability benefits had already been denied by the  Social Security Administration and the time limit to file a Request For Reconsideration had already passed.

San Diego Social Security Disability Attorneys Comment on Obesity and SSDI/SSI Benefits

The attorneys at San Diego Disability Law Group recently  had a case involving a young claimant who was five  feet six inches tall and weighed over 350 pounds. She had a BMI over 50. In addition, she had  been diagnosed with scoliosis (a sideways curvature of  the spine associated with pain but  not neurological impairment),lumbar spondylosis (stiffening or fixation of the vertebrae) and hypo joint mobility. She had a high school diploma but no work experience. She took daily pain medication but still woke up  several times per night due to the pain. This caused her to be groggy and not mentally focused during the  day.

One of the issues in the claim involved what effect her obesity was having on her underlying orthopaedic  conditions. In order to properly present her claim we had to research to  what extent obesity  is  considered by the Social Security  Administration. According to the Social Security Administration, obesity is a complex, chronic disease characterized by excessive  accumulation of body fat caused by a combination of factors i.e. genetic, environmental and  behavioral. Obesity is a risk factor that  increases an individual’s chances of developing impairments in  most body systems.

The National Institutes of Health established medical criteria for  the diagnosis of obesity. These guidelines classify overweight and  obesity in adults according to Body Mass Index (BMI). BMI is the  ratio of an individual’s weight in kilograms to the square of his or height in meters.  For adults, both men and women, the guidelines describe a BMI of 25-29.9 as overweight and a  BMI of 30.0 or above as obesity. The guidelines further recognize three levels of obesity. Level I includes BMIs of 30.0 – 34.9. Level II includes BMIs of 35.0 – 39.9. Level III, termed extreme obesity includes BMIs greater than 40.

Prior to October 25, 1999, there was an actual SSA listing  for obesity (9.09). The  listing was deleted because the Social Security  Administration believed that the criteria in the listing were not  appropriate indicators of listing-level severity in that they did not represent  a degree of functional limitation that would prevent an individual from engaging in  any gainful activity.

Although the listing was  deleted, the Social Security  Administration still recognizes obesity as a medically determinable impairment. On September 12, 2002 they  issued a Policy Interpretation Ruling (SSR 02-1p) regarding the  evaluation of obesity.

In the  ruling SSA reminds adjudicators that “obesity  is a medically  determinable impairment and that adjudicators should consider its effects when evaluating disability”. The  ruling also reminds adjudicators that the combined effects of obesity  with other impairments can be greater than the effects of each of the  impairments considered separately. They also instructed adjudicators to consider the  effects of obesity when assessing an individual’s residual functional capacity.

The ruling provides that the Social Security Administration will find that “obesity  is a severe impairment when, alone or in combination with another medically determinable physical or mental impairment(s), it significantly limits an individual’s physical or mental ability to do  basic work activities.” They  will also consider the  effects of any symptoms  (i.e. pain or fatigue)that could limit  functioning.

In our case we believe that we were able to show that the claimant’s obesity combined with her underlying orthopaedic conditions significantly limited her physical and mental ability to do  basic work activities.

SDDLG Specializes in Obesity and SSDI/SSI Benefits

The San Diego Social Security Disability Attorneys with  the San Diego Disability  Law Group will help you present the strongest claim possible for Social Security Disability  based  on obesity  and other limiting conditions.

If you or a friend or family member has a Social Security Disability claim or question, contact the Social Security Disability Attorneys at the  San Diego  Disability Law  Group for a free consultation at 619-338-900.

Under the Social Security Act, a claimant is considered “disabled” if (1) she is unable to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less that twelve months…