Social Security denied benefits to our client who has a 68 IQ and severe Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. We believed in our client’s right to benefits, so we appealed the case to the Appeals Council, then to District Court, and then to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals (one court below the U.S. Supreme Court!).
After three years, on September 14, 2017, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the Judge’s decision and sent it back for another hearing to be held. We are very excited about this case for our client, who is claiming disability since 2008. We are optimistic that the case will be awarded this time. We fight for the benefits our clients have earned! Feel free to contact us if you have any questions.
If you worked for the railroad for at least five years after 1995, you are eligible for Tier I disability, which is the amount you would get from Social Security Disability and an additional disability benefit, known as Tier II annuity.
To prove that you are disabled, you must show that you cannot perform any job at all. But if you have a current connection with the Railroad and have worked for at least twenty years, or are between the age of 60 and the full retirement age with at least ten years of service you may qualify instead for Occupational Disability. In general for Occupational Disability, you only must prove you cannot perform your own occupation with the railroad, as opposed to proving that you cannot perform any job at all.
If you have not worked for the Railroad for at least five years after 1995, you can still apply for Social Security Disability. If you have any questions regarding Railroad Disability, please give us a call at 1-800-728-0434.
Your hearing is your opportunity to explain to the Judge how your conditions affect you. Someone else may have the same conditions as you, but they can work. Why do your symptoms keep you from working? How do you spend your days? Do you lay down during the day to ease pain or because of fatigue? Does your medication make you tired and cause trouble concentrating? These are the things we will discuss with you to prepare for your hearing.
If you have a Social Security Disability hearing coming up and would like to discuss your case with us, please contact us at 205-879-3033 or Lifehealth@FriedmanFirmPC.com
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.