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Articles Posted in Social Security

When you are seeking SSI and disability insurance benefits, you need to persuade the judge of several things. One of those things is that you have limitations and those limitations prevent you from holding a job. A recent case from nearby northern Indiana is an important reminder that, even if you are able to engage in certain basic activities around your home, you may still be too limited to work and still be entitled to benefits. Getting those critical benefits requires various forms of proof, and it pays to have an experienced Chicago Social Security disability attorney on your side, who knows how to present the evidence you need for success.

The applicant in that recent case, B.T., was a woman with multiple health issues, including diabetes, obesity, bipolar disorder, depression and anxiety. Despite these limitations she cared for her daughter with disabilities, as well as for her father. She also volunteered at her church. The administrative law judge who first heard B.T.’s case ruled against her, concluding that the evidence indicated that B.T.’s limitations would not prevent her from working.

A federal District Court judge, however, revived the case. That opinion is very instructive. As the judge explained in his opinion, just because you are capable of doing some activities, that doesn’t automatically mean that you are capable of doing work for an employer. The administrative law judge ruled against B.T., in part, because the evidence indicated that she could cook, manage her personal hygiene, clean and do laundry. However, the way B.T. was performing at home contained some critical differences from how she would be expected to perform at any workplace.

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When your application for Social Security disability benefits goes to a hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ), it’s important to recognize in advance what you’ll be up against. You very likely will face an expert witness who will give testimony that you can still work and are not entitled to benefits. Part of succeeding in a scenario like that, then, is being ready to break down the credibility of that expert witness. Doing that is one of the many areas where skilled counsel can be invaluable, so be sure you’ve retained an experienced Chicago Social Security attorney when it comes time to pursue your Social Security disability case.

There are lots of ways in which an expert witness’s opinions can be flawed, providing you with potential avenues of attack. As an example, we can look at the case of A.B., a 40-year-old man with back pain, neck pain and many other conditions that prevented him from performing the health service, construction and food service jobs he used to do. Based on those multiple medical maladies, A.B. applied for Social Security disability benefits.

At the benefits hearing, a vocational expert testified that A.B., even with his significant medical limitations, could still handle three jobs: “callout operator, semiconductor bonder, or registration clerk.” Additionally, according to the expert, A.B. could be a counter clerk if certain lifting, standing and walking restrictions were in place. In total, there were roughly 140,000 jobs available that A.B. could do, according to the vocational expert.

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When you apply for Social Security benefits based on your disability, expect the government to fight back aggressively. They will have lawyers well-versed in Social Security law. They may have medical experts with impressive resumes. However, if you come to your Social Security hearing armed with the right legal representation and the right medical experts supporting your position, then you can overcome all that, succeed and get the award of benefits you need. Before you go, though, make sure you have a skilled Chicago Social Security attorney on your side.

In a disability case, medical evidence will, of course, most likely be center-stage. One of the most powerful forms of medical evidence that you can place on your side is the testimony of treating physicians stating that you are, in fact, disabled.

The testimony of treating physicians generally carries a great deal of weight. Additionally, as a recent Social Security case from here in Chicago shows, the administrative law judge (ALJ) hearing your case must either given those doctors’ opinions weight, or give very specific reasons why she didn’t.

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If you or a loved one has a medical condition that will prevent you from working for at least 12 consecutive months, you may be eligible to receive Social Security Disability (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. If so, you must file an Application with Social Security to begin this process. If you are already a recipient of either SSDI or SSI benefits, your payments, whether by direct deposit or mail will continue. Due to the Corona Virus, all local Social Security offices have been closed to the public since March 17, 2020. This protects Social Security’s employees as well as the population served by Social Security (mostly older individuals and people with underlying medical conditions). While you are no longer able to have in-person interviews to start this process you may apply for benefits on line (Social Security’s preferred method) (ssa.gov/onlineservices/) or you may call your local office. Use Social Security’s Field Office Locator (secure.ssa.gov/ICON/main.jsp) and look under additional information. Before you call, check out Social Security’s most frequently asked questions. If you already had an appointment scheduled with your local office, an employee will attempt to contact you at your originally scheduled appointment time. If you choose to file online we realize that it might be difficult to navigate Social Security’s online system. The experienced attorneys and staff at Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca can help you navigate this and answer your questions.

If you have already filed an Application for Benefits, Social Security will still issue a written decision and mail it to you. If you are denied you may appeal this decision online. There are certain deadlines for doing so that are indicated in the decision. If you do not file your appeal timely, you will have to start the process over again.

Not only have the Field Offices been closed but DDS (Disability Determination Services) is working on only a limited basis and Social Security has suspended all in-person hearings. Administrative Law Judges are now conducting hearings by telephone. Any previously scheduled hearing will now be conducted by telephone for the foreseeable future. Claimants may agree to have telephonic hearings or they may choose to wait until they can have an in-person hearing. Social Security will contact you to find out which you prefer. Telephone hearings are not mandatory. If you ask that your hearing be postponed you will be sent a notice advising you of the new date, time and location of your hearing. While finally having a (phone) hearing after waiting for so long might seem like a good thing, there may be reasons on a case by case basis to delay such hearings. For instance, it is difficult to judge a Claimant’s credibility over the phone. Also, will a judge likely be as empathetic if he/she cannot actually observe the Claimant throughout the hearing? These are difficult decisions to make. The attorneys at Katz, Friedman can aide you in deciding which option might be best in your situation.

Chicago issued an emergency travel order which began at 12:01 a.m. Monday and will remain in effect until further notice.[i]  This means that anyone who has contact with one of fifteen states (listed in the travel order) and enters into Chicago will need to quarantine for 14 days.  This applies to those individuals visiting Chicago or returning to Chicago from visiting those states.

States included in the order are: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Nevada, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Utah.

The rationale for this emergency travel order is that these States are seeing significant increases in COVID-19 cases and infection rates.  Some of these states are reporting record numbers.  What this means for Chicago-area workers that revolve around or relate to those types of industries that deal with interstate travel is that they now might have a higher probability of contracting COVID-19 then they were weeks or months ago.

Seeking to obtain Supplemental Security Income and Disability Insurance benefits can be challenging. There may be lots of evidence and documents needed to obtain a successful result. To give yourself a strong chance of success, you need an experienced Illinois Social Security attorney to make certain that your case has everything that it needs to get you the favorable result that you deserve.

One man who took his case all the way to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals to achieve a successful result was Alejandro. Alejandro’s work-related medical problems began in 2006 when he fell off a scaffold while taping drywall. The man sought medical attention for his back injury, but the doctors found no fracture. When the pain did not go away, the man sought more treatment, and doctors discovered an injury to the spinal nerve root. The worker sought the care of a clinical psychologist for his constant pain. That doctor concluded that Alejandro displayed depressed mood, irritability, difficulty concentrating, and memory problems.

Based on the significance of his back injury, Alejandro filed a claim for Supplemental Security Income and Disability Insurance. The ALJ reviewed the evidence and concluded that Alejandro was not disabled. The ALJ decided that the worker suffered from “severe impairments—lumbar disc disease, myofascial pain syndrome, left knee pain, obesity, and depression,” but these problems did not limit Alejandro to such an extent that he could not work. Alejandro could do light work with some restrictions, according to the judge. One of the pieces of evidence upon which the judge relied was a 2007 report from a psychologist, to which the judge gave “great weight.”

A lot of people have a difficult time understanding the difference between Medicare and Medicaid. Both programs begin with the letter “M.” They’re both health insurance programs run by the government. People often ask questions about what Medicare and Medicaid are, what services they cover, and who administers the programs.

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When you live in the land of opportunity and yours passes you by, a life that began with lofty dreams and unlimited potential can result in devastating humiliation.

I know because it happened to me……

Click here to read the full article via the Washington Post

In a 2015 audit, the Social Security Administration (SSA) discovered overpayment of benefits totaling more than $16 billion, leading to Congressional calls for a crack down on fraud and overpayment. Many law abiding recipients now find themselves searching for help from a Social Security Disability lawyer in Chicago.

 

 

 

The SSA investigates four major causes of overpayment.

Unreported Income

Washington insiders suggest that Social Security Disability benefit cuts are likely on the way. Social Security has always been a hot debate topic and cuts to the program are often discussed. In recent months, the future for those receiving benefits has been in question. The results from the annual review of the Social Security program are in and the disability programs appear to be in the most danger.

What is Social Security Disability Insurance?

The Social Security Disability program is one of the largest of the Federal programs designed to provide assistance to people with documented disabilities. Social Security Disability Insurance provides financial benefits to disabled individuals, along with certain family members, if enough work has been completed, and enough Social Security tax paid, to qualify.

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