News Displaying All Posts Tagged "Social Security Disability/SSI"

Question: I Can't Work, Why Can't I Get Disability Benefits??

By Jessica M. Friedman of Friedman Law Firm, P.C.

Thursday, October 26, 2023

Guest Post by our paralegal Sheri:

Many people who call us for help getting Social Security disability have chronic, debilitating, medical conditions (Lupus, MS, Cancer, Heart Failure). Often, their doctor has told them that they cannot work, but SSA says they don’t qualify for benefits—why is that?

Well, you can qualify for disability in a few ways:

  1. Have worked and paid Social Security taxes from your paycheck substantially for at least the last 5 out of 10 years prior to your alleged disability onset date. (If you don’t have enough work history, you don’t meet the qualifications established by SSA.)

  1. If you don’t have enough work credits, and your income is below limits established yearly by SSA, then you may qualify for SSI. The amount of SSI paid to you is based on ALL other household income (including your spouse and others who reside in your home). This is like the food stamp program. You must meet a household and dependent threshold to even be considered eligible for this income-based program.

  1. If you are a disabled widow/er, between age 50-60, apply within 7 years of your spouse’s death, and are considered disabled based on SSA’s terms, then you may qualify.

In each situation, you have to play by SSA's rules. If you do not meet any of these basic qualifications, then unfortunately you are more than likely not eligible for these benefits—you might not have worked enough to qualify (see #1 above) and have too much income/resources, (like a spouse who works, see #2 above). Or, you may have missed the window for applying after your spouse’s death (see #3).

When someone calls us asking for help, these are some of questions we will ask so that we have a full understanding of that person’s eligibility. If you don’t meet these eligibility requirements, your medical information won’t be considered by the Social Security Administration.

Being told that you do not qualify, in No Way Invalidates the fact that you are disabled. These are just the rules that must be applied when considering taking on your case. These are not OUR rules – we wish we could help everyone who needs our assistance. These are rules established by the Social Security Administration. They are not personal, nor meant to discredit your condition in any way. They are just the rules.


Appealing Social Security Denial: Your SSDI Hearing

By Jessica M. Friedman of Friedman Law Firm, P.C.

Monday, December 5, 2022

Your Social Security Hearing

A Social Security hearing occurs after your application and reconsideration for benefits are denied. Hearings can range from fifteen minutes to an hour and include you, your representative, the judge, a vocational expert, and sometimes a medical expert and witnesses. Since you are discussing a personal matter with a Judge, it is easy to be intimidated if you do not have an attorney present.

"Why Do I Need an SSDI Hearing?" 

The purpose behind SSDI hearings is for a judge to evaluate your medical records, search for inconsistencies, and gather facts from you about your condition. Hearings also provide an opportunity for the Judge to hear how your conditions affect you, as medical conditions affect people differently. The best way to advocate for your case during an SSDI hearing is to explain the facts leading up to your application and tell the truth with supportive legal help to guide you during the hearing.

"Subjective medical evidence and SSDI"

Many disabilities are subjective in nature. If a judge does not have objective medical evidence to go on, or if the medical evidence does not clarify degrees of severity or impact on functioning, they need to hear how these conditions affect you. An example is chronic pain. Even if the judge knows that you suffer from moderate to severe arthritis, that knowledge does not specify your own day-to-day experience and how the arthritis impacts your life.

Psychological cases present another subjective medical situation. For disorders such as PTSD, depression, anxiety, or bipolar, there is no X-ray or CT scan to rely on for evidence. The best way to prove your condition is through examination and treatment by a professional psychologist or psychiatrist. Their training allows them to confirm the severity of your medical condition.

"Objective medical evidence and SSDI"

After a hearing the Judge will often ask, “Counsel, is there any objective evidence of disability?” The judge is asking whether there is a medical chart, such as an MRI or an X-ray or a doctor's evaluation. Objective medical evidence may be needed for the Judge to declare that you meet the rules for disability.

When this occurs, it is vital to have an attorney present to point the Judge to the evidence that proves your case. As lawyers, we can help prevent misunderstandings that may appear contradictory to your claim.

If you are applying for SSDI, or have an SSDI hearing in the future, reach out to us at 800-728-0434


Working While Applying for Disability

By Jessica M. Friedman of Friedman Law Firm, P.C.

Thursday, November 17, 2022

Can I Work While Applying for Disability?

The answer is yes, but it’s tricky and may not be your best option.

"Are you truly unable to work?" This question is inevitable when applying for Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security Income. In 2022, there is an earnings threshold of $1350/month. That means if you can work and earn this much each month, you do not qualify for Social Security Disability benefits. In the long run, you will benefit more from continuing to work if you are able to meet or exceed the earnings threshold.

Can I work at all?

Filing Your Disability Claim: Common Questions

By Jessica M. Friedman of Friedman Law Firm, P.C.

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Many people ask whether we’ll file initial applications for them, and whether it’s important to have our help. Most disability lawyers do not file initial applications; at Friedman Law Firm, we do. We believe that if we can help you get Social Security benefits earlier, then we should. Also, if an appeal is needed, we can be sure that we have established a strong foundation for your claim since we have worked on it from the beginning.

Here are some questions to help you understand the initial Social Security Disability application process. 

Q: What do you think is the biggest problem with getting the right information to file an initial application?

A: The biggest step is getting enough medical evidence to prove disability. We need documentation to prove the conditions. Sometimes it’s a challenge to get all the information together, and it’s hard to remember where you've been treated. But gathering this information is crucial because ultimately that’s how you’re going to win the claim. 

Long COVID and Disability

By Jessica M. Friedman of Friedman Law Firm, P.C.

Thursday, April 28, 2022

The pandemic seems to be winding down, but for some, there remains a long road ahead

   The topic of long COVID and disability insurance has become increasingly relevant in the world of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). In the United States, COVID has infected more than 80,000,000 people, claiming nearly 1,000,000 lives. In the year of vaccines and decreased restrictions, these numbers have slowed dramatically. For some, however, the damage is already done, and answers on what to expect are still in development.

Reflections on Covid Office Gymnastics

By Chris Robinson of Friedman Law Firm, P.C.

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

They say fondness grows with distance. At this point the distance is not nearly great enough, and I would be loath to consider harboring fondness for Covid. Nonetheless my appreciation for the benefits to our office grows as the days of Covid begin to recede in the rear-view mirror. In the next few posts, I’d like to share a few reflections on what we have gained during the sudden exodus, the work-from-home, and the back-to-office transitions. This first post will focus on the exodus transition.

For all practical purposes the pandemic came upon us like a thief in the night. There could never have been sufficient warning. With no time to build our defenses it left us scrambling to employ what resources we had on hand. Three key resources come to mind: old technology, new technology, and the people using both.

First, just three months before Covid hit, we replaced all our aging desktop computers with sleek new PCs. Happily, we had not yet disposed of the decommissioned PCs. In short order we were able to configure this old technology for our staff members to take home and work remotely. And thanks to our IT vendor, we had also just deployed a VPN system which enabled remote server connection for the whole office.

Second, we were just beginning to explore a new service on the market called Zoom – also less than three months before Covid came. While not without connection frustrations, it is hard to imagine a pandemic work-from-home environment without Zoom. I am thankful that Zoom was in the right place at the right time. In addition, we had only recently installed a new telephone system which enables personal cell phones to connect as if they are sitting on a desk in the office.

Third and by far the most important resource through the twelve months preceding the pandemic we had enjoyed a nearly complete turnover of Firm personnel. By “enjoyed” I don’t mean to suggest it was a pleasant process. Turnover never is. What I do mean is that when it was all said and done, we had the most stable, talented, and professional group of employees I’ve known in the eight years I’ve been here. And THAT is very enjoyable!

The steadfast willingness of this team to serve our clients to the best of our ability is what kept us thriving through a whole new operational paradigm. Amidst the anxieties with which everyone was trying to cope, our attorneys, paralegals, and support staff assured our clients that Friedman Law Firm is solid and dependable. The equation comprising our motto, what we say = what we do, did not falter for a moment as we underwent the rapid exodus from office to home.

The Covid-delayed Olympics are now in full swing. We underwent our own gymnastics when Covid first hit. All we really knew at that point was that we needed more space between us. But thanks to these resources – old and new technology and the people making up the Friedman team – we can look back upon that first transition as a clear Win.