It takes the same amount of time to prove that a veteran is entitled to an increase of 20% to 40%, as it does to prove a vet is entitled to an increase of 20% to 100%. The reason is that the elements of proof are the same. For VA disability you must prove: 1) an event or injury in the service; 2) a current medical condition; and 3) a medical nexus between numbers 1 and 2. The medical nexus must be a medical opinion from a medical professional.
So, the elements of proof are the same for a 40% case as for a 100% case. As a result, we made the decision years ago to devote our law firm to the veterans who are the sickest and/or most injured. It has been a rewarding practice and the best way to use our law firm resources.
If you are not able to work because of your VA disability, please contact us. We can advise you on both Social Security and VA disability – – two claims that are often closely intertwined. Call us at 1-800-728-0434 or email at LifeHealth@FriedmanFirmPC.com.
We have many clients who come to us and do not understand why their Social Security case has been DENIED. If you can’t work, why won’t the government give you the benefit you’ve paid for? When you can’t work, but wish you could, getting denied is disheartening, but DON’T GIVE UP!
The Social Security rules are complicated and sometimes the Social Security Administration does not act to help a disabled worker. While we believe that most employees at Social Security try to do what’s right, sometimes, due to their heavy case load, it just does not happen.
We are here to help you find your way through the Social Security maze at any level. Starting with your initial application, we can complete the Social Security forms for you and know what’s important so that your case is presented in the best light possible. We will gather the evidence to support your case.
Social Security is supposed to be construed liberally to favor the worker. Our job at Friedman Law Firm is to do our best to see that the laws are fairly applied to your case. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us at LifeHealth@FriedmanFirmPC.com or 1-800-728-0434.
We often have disabled workers who come to see us and they say: I know I am disabled and entitled to Social Security Disability – – but I keep getting denied. I don’t know what to do any more. Can you help me?
It can sometimes take years to get Social Security disability, but knowing how to present a case in its best light, and without unnecessary information, is sometimes the key to success.
So, this is what we tell our clients: We only have to get the nose of the football over the goal line to win your case. We don’t have to ram the football through the wall at the end zone.
This is what we mean by that. Imagine yourself working at the Social Security Administration reviewing claim files, which often are very long. How would you like to see the claim presented? We believe that the decision maker wants to see a summary of the case, with just enough information so that the case can be awarded easily and quickly.
This means that we don’t go into detail on every single thing that is wrong with a client. Instead, we ask Social Security to focus on the key pieces of evidence to support an award. We have been told that this approach is favored by the decision-maker. In fact, we sometimes tell clients that if they can’t win their case based on their three or four main medical conditions, they probably won’t win.
That is how we present cases so that they may be awarded. No guarantee of success, but this approach makes sense in view of the heavy case load at Social Security and what reviewers tell us. Again, think of what you would want if you were working there!
If you have any questions about your case, feel free to contact us at 1-800-728-0434 or Lifehealth@FriedmanFirmPC.com
Many suffers of bipolar disorder are relatively stable for significant periods of time, while others constantly cycle back and forth between the extremes. And, during times of stability, a person with this disease often can function well. So, how can you prove disability in these cases?
The answer is that for most people to hold down a job, they must be able to work forty hours each week, fifty weeks a year. If you have bipolar episodes just twice a year, and each episode lasts for two weeks, you would miss four weeks of work. In between episodes you may be fine, but those four weeks of sickness would usually cause you to be let go from the job.
We understand how bipolar sufferers can cycle back and forth, and at times appear to very healthy. We focus on proving how long the bad episodes last, and how often they occur. At Friedman Law Firm we are familiar with your symptoms and we know that sometimes you don’t feel well. We believe our sensitivity to these problems are key to successfully representing our clients.
If you have any questions about how bipolar disease can result in Social Security disability or Veterans Disability Compensation, please contact us 1-800-728-0434 or Lifehealth@FriedmanFirmPC.com.
It’s not as easy to prove a disability case if you don’t have medical records. Sometimes clients go to the Emergency Room for treatment, but, even that can be costly and most people only go if they are really hurting. So, ER treatment tends to be sporadic.
While medical records are certainly very important to your case, sometimes the government or the court will send you out for a consultative exam. We had a veteran as a client who was awarded benefits for PTSD based just on a consultative Compensation and Pension exam. That veteran was in such bad psychological condition that he could not deal with going to the hospital for treatment. So, he had no treatment records. But, we were able to get the VA to send him out for an exam, and it turned out to be favorable. So, he was awarded.
The same idea may also work with a Social Security disability case. They may also send you out for a consultative exam.
In most areas there is free or sliding scale medical treatment available, especially for psychological conditions such as PTSD, anxiety and depression, and bipolar disease. These records can be crucial to proving your case.
If you have any questions feel free to contact us.
In one word, you can Appeal. Whether it’s Social Security Disability or VA Disability Compensation, you have the right to appeal. But you must exercise that right within the time period required by law. If you don’t file a timely appeal, then you will lose your rights to the benefits that you seek.
Both Social Security and VA provide for a hearing before a judge if you are not satisfied with the decisions made in your case. The hearings are informal, but they follow specific legal rules that may not be apparent to anyone but your lawyer. We often have hearings where we can tell that the judge is going to award the case, and afterwards the client will ask: “What is going to happen? Did we win or lose?”
Unfortunately, hearings have gotten complicated. If you have any question about your hearing, feel free to contact us.
If you are a veteran who cannot work because of a service-connected disability, you may file for both Social Security Disability and for Veterans Disability Compensation at the same time. And you can receive both benefits at once, without reduction. (Note: if you get a needs-based benefit, such as VA pension or SSI, winning an additional benefit may affect how much you can receive overall.)
The rules are different for each benefit. For Social Security we have to prove that you can’t work because of your medical conditions, and because of your age, education and work history. For example, the Social Security law assumes that the older you get, the harder it is for you to adjust to new jobs.
The VA benefit is much harder to win because it does not consider your age. The rating percentages themselves just consider your medical condition. Usually, in these cases we try to prove that you are unemployable – – known as Individual Unemployability. This means that you can’t work a regular job because of just your service-connected conditions, and also because of your education and work history. So, age is not a consideration, and the disability must be based only on service-connected conditions, not all of your medical conditions.
Having an overall strategy here can allow one case to help the other. Otherwise, sometimes getting an award in one case may not be as helpful as possible to the other case. When we represent you on both Social Security Disability and Veterans Disability, we aim for a strategy that will maximize the usefulness of one case for the other.
If you have any questions, feel free to contact us.
If you are over the age of 50, it is much easier to prove that you are entitled to Social Security Disability and SSI. The reason is that the law assumes that you are less able to adjust to new kinds of work as you get older. Things get even more favorable at age 55 and age 60.
For example, if you are age 50 and you have worked your whole life in jobs that required you to be on your feet most of the day, it is easier to prove your case for Social Security Disability. In this case you don’t have to be unable to do all types of work. If you can do a job that is seated all day, but you don’t have skills or education that could be used for seated work, you can be found disabled under Social Security rules.
Whether you meet the requirements for Social Security Disability is different for each person. No two cases are the same. So, we must learn about your education and work background, in addition to your medical condition, to advise you in a Social Security Disability case.
If you have any questions, feel free to contact us.
To be honest, these cases are hard to prove. Years ago, the rules were changed to make it harder for parents to get SSI for their children. And, recently, there have even been proposals to stop awarding benefits to children. This would be a sad result because many children are in need of Medicaid for treatment and need help affording medication and treatment. Without these things, a disabled child has much smaller chance to become a productive member of society– not to mention the financial burden on their parents!
In view of the difficulty proving these cases, we ask parents who contact us to obtain a medical source statement from the child’s doctor to help us prove the case. Our attorneys will draft the questions for the doctor to answer. In the answers are favorable, we can then proceed with the case.
If a child is not receiving medical care for the alleged disability, we usually will not accept the case because medical records are key to proving the child’s condition. Without medical treatment, Social Security may conclude that the condition is not severe enough to entitle the child to benefits– because, if it was, the child would be getting treatment.
If you have a possible child’s case, please call us for more information, including where you may receive free or low-cost treatment for your child.
It’s a popular urban myth that you should wait to get denied before hiring an attorney for your Social Security disability case. We are not sure where this idea comes from, because retaining an attorney during the initial application process may have many benefits.
Some people think that by waiting to retain an attorney, they can see whether they get awarded at the initial level, and save paying an attorney’s fee. We understand the reasoning, except that if your application is denied, you will probably have to wait a long time for your appeal to be decided. Currently, the wait is about eighteen months! So the question is: Would you rather pay an attorney’s fee at the beginning, and have a better chance of winning, or wait a long time for your case to be resolved on appeal?
And, since attorney’s fees are based upon the amount of past benefits you are owed after a favorable decision, the attorney’s fee is usually less at the beginning of a case than after an appeal.
Most important, though, is that a qualified attorney knows how an initial application should be drafted, and what specific opinions to obtain from your doctors to help prove your case. So, this about which alternative is better. While we can’t guarantee a favorable result, we file many application for clients at the initial level and secure awards for our clients.