60 Minutes and Social Security Disability

The key to making a convincing argument is to have a study, based on a large enough sample to make the conclusions of the study reliable. In addition the rules of the study must be sound and reproducible. One cannot simply state that because the number of people on Social Security Disability has increased in the past 6 years, that there is fraud in the system. If I, for instance, who has 25 years of experience representing claimants before the Social Security Administration, say that I can only remember a handful of claimants that I believed was attempting to defraud the system, that that then means that very few people are trying to defraud the system. My experience may or may not be average, but it cannot be used to state that there is no fraud in the system

Likewise, the Senator who was interviewed cannot state with any degree of certainty that because his research turned up what he termed fraud in a high percentage of the cases he reviewed that there is a high percentage of fraud in the system. The 60 Minutes story intimated that the Senator’s sample was small. We have no idea upon what basis the Senator’s staffers (Presumably persons with no medical training or experience with disability claims) conclude that any of the claims they reviewed were fraudulent. The Senator, and 60 Minutes for that matter, would have us believe that just because they say so, their assumptions are correct.

The 60 Minutes story on Social Security Disability is provocative. I am glad that our leaders are doing all they can to make sure that the system serves those who need assistance. However, the story itself did very little to convince me that we are in a crisis. In fact the only thing of which it convinced me, something I already know, is that big government programs need to be kept under scrutiny at all times.

Social Security and Residual Functional Capacity

Indianapolis Social Security AttorneyWhen reviewing a social security application, the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration, by and through her employees, uses a five step process to determine whether an individual is disabled. The last step in the process seeks to determine the claimants residual functional capacity and then determine whether that person can do any work. The Social Security Administration is concerned whether the applicant can still perform the job they used to perform. If the applicant can perform the physical requirements of their former work, then they will not be found disabled. Not surprisingly, applicants generally are not capable of performing their past job. This does not mean, however, that the applicant is disabled. The Social Security Administration will have to decide whether there is any other work the applicant can perform. If not, the applicant will be found to be disabled. If so, the applicant will be found not to be disabled.

A person’s residual functional capacity is what the applicant’s body can still do despite the medical disabilities an applicant can prove. The administration looks at the applicant’s medical records and decides what medical problems exist and what limitations those problems cause. Next the administration determines the applicant’s residual function. The Administration looks at how much a person can lift, both occasionally and frequently, how long they can stand, how long they can sit, can they kneel, squat, crawl, bend at the waist, climb stairs, climb ladders, climb ropes, reach over head, manipulate small objects, stay on task and other physical and psychological activities.

Once the Social Security Administration determines the applicant’s RFC, they next look at whether that allows them to do Sedentary work, light work, medium work or heavy work. Generally in order to be considered disabled, the applicant must not be able to complete the full range of sedentary work. Sedentary work is work that requires a person to lift up to 10 pounds, walk or stand for up to 2 hours in an 8 hour day, to be able to sit for up to six hours in an 8 hour day, and to be able to communicate in English.

If you are an applicant and have questions about any issue involving Social Security, please give us a call.

How Long Does it Take to be Determined Disabled and Receive Social Security Disability Benefits?

I am asked by every Hoosier asking for information about Social Security Disability Benefits how long it will take for the Disabled Hoosier to receive benefits. The answer is not a one size fits all. Each claimant has differing medical issues that will affect how long the process takes. So, let me start out with a general discussion of the process.

Indianapolis Social Security AttorneyFirst one files and application. It generally takes three to four months to process the application. If the application is denied, the applicant must appeal that decision by filing a Request for reconsideration. It takes, again, about three to four months to process this appeal. If the Request for Reconsideration is denied, the applicant must file a second appeal known as the Request for hearing Before Administrative Law Judge. It generally takes 10-14 months to process this appeal to the point of having a hearing. If the Judge denies the appeal, the applicant must file an appeal to the Appeals Council. This process takes anywhere from a couple months to 14 months to complete. If this appeal is denied, the applicant must file an appeal in the Federal District Court. This process can take 4-8 months. If this appeal is denied, the applicant can file an appeal to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.

I know this seems daunting. However, a vast majority of those who receive benefits are approved at the hearing before the Administrative Law Judge. In addition, there exists a Compassionate Allowance. This is a list of injuries, illnesses and or diseases which usually result in a finding of disability. Thus, if you have a condition which is listed on the compassionate allowance list, you claim will be expedited.

Remember, the burden of proving disability rests with the applicant. This proof comes in the form of medical records, tests, and reports. Therefore, an applicant must be able to present evidence of the disability in the form of medical records of treatment. If you have not sought medical treatment, I suggest you do so immediately. If you do not, your chances of proving your disability are very, very small.

Social Security Disability & Compassionate Allowances in Indianapolis, IN

Do You Need Help Obtaining Social Security Disability?

In order to be eligible for Social Security Disability Benefits, the claimant must show proof of the existence of a disabling condition that is expected to last at least twelve months. Some conditions are known to be so disabling that they are considered compassionate allowance conditions (CAL).

What Are Compassionate Allowances?

Compassionate Allowances, or CALs, are way of quickly identifying disabling conditions and diseases that invariably qualify for disabled status under the Listings of Impairment. The Listing of Impairments is exactly what it sounds like., it is a list of Injuries, illnesses, or diseases, that qualify you for disability if your condition is severe enough.

Do You Need Help With Compassionate Allowance & Social Security in Indiana?

We can help you identify whether your condition qualifies as a CAL. Please give us a call or write for more information.

Social Security Disability & Medical Treatment in Indianapolis, IN

Indianapolis Social Security AttorneyCan You Get Medical Disability Benefits?

One of the most common questions I get, when talking to people about their social security claim is, “ Do I qualify for benefits?”. My first response to that question is well, why do you think you are disabled and what do your doctors say about the subject? Usually the person tells me why they think they are disabled.

Do You Have Objective Evidence To Prove Your Disability?

I then have to ask, because they usually forget to tell me what their doctor has to say, do you have any medical proof that you have a medical condition that is causing you those terrible symptoms. The callers usually asks, what kind of proof are you talking about. I respond by saying any kind of objective evidence that proves you have the problem you say you have.

What is Objective Evidence?

Objective evidence of a condition usually takes the form of some kind of test. If the problem is a spine problem, the objective evidence can be one of many tests such a CT scan, MRI, Bone scan or x-ray. If the problem is a nerve problem, and EMG is a common tests. If the problem is a breathing problem, a pulmonary function test is a common objective test. If the problem has to do with a blood disorder (Anemia, polycythemia vera, rheumatoid arthritis) a blood test is an objective test. Generally there is an objective test for most problems.

A Medical Condition MUST Be Causing the Disability

The rules and regulations put out by the Social Security Administration require that the claimant submit medical evidence of the existence and the severity of the medical condition causing the alleged disability. If the claimant has not seen a doctor and obtained the tests, I tell them they stand no chance of getting benefits. Many folks complain that they are uninsured and cannot get the medical tests performed to see if they have a medical condition that is causing disability. I encourage these folks to apply for Medicaid, The Healthy Indiana Plan, or the Wishard Advantage Program if they live in Marion County. I also encourage them to seek out free or reduced cost clinics to get that medical treatment. Sometimes, I encounter folks who have some money but are uninsured, essentially the working poor. They tell me that they would have to give up things for their children or paying their mortgage to pay for the medical tests. I tell them that although their choices are few, and not very good choices, they are still choices and if they think they are disabled, they must provide evidence of that disability.

If you are thinking you are disabled, make sure you get proper medical care and treatment. It may help you avoid disability, but if it cannot, it will be the evidence you need to make your claim.

Social Security-Is There a Problem with Filing If Your Disability May Not Be Permanent

Indianapolis Social Security AttorneyThe Short answer is no.  First, your disability does not have to be permanent to receive Social Security Disability Benefits.  The standard used by the Social Security Administration to determine one’s eligibility for Disability Benefits is whether the disabling condition is likely to last more than 12 months.  If your condition is expected to last more than 12 months, but may resolve at a later date, then I suggest that you file at your earliest possible opportunity.

What happens if you do not know whether your disabling condition is expected to last 12 months.  Say for example you are injured in a drunk driving  car accident, and have serious personal injury.  You might even need surgery.  However, the doctors are telling you that if all goes as hoped you should be up and around in 10 -12 months?  Should you wait to file?  No file right away.  The reason is because the doctors are basing their opinions on the hope that all goes as hoped for.  Unfortunately, recoveries do not always go that route.  Sometimes the recovery is delayed by infection, and other medical complications.  Sometimes the recovery just does not reach the level hoped for.   There is no penalty for filing for benefits under these circumstances.  If you do recover as hoped for you simply dismiss your claim when you return to work.  However, if you cannot return to work, your application will have already clear several administrative hurdles, making a determination by an administrative law judge sooner.

If you have been injured in an automobile collision, or in a construction accident, or suffer and injury or condition that is causing you to be disabled, and you have a question about filing for Social Security Disability, call a lawyer and find out your rights and obligations early.

Social Security Disability Claims- Where We are Headed

The recent AP article(s) (House investigators: Social Security lax in judging disability claims; fund nearing insolvency; and/or Judges: Social Security pushes approval of claims, Associated Press, June 24 and/or June 27[MF1] ) that your paper ran was/were extremely misleading. The articles’ central claim – that Social Security is “lax” in evaluating disability – is clearly contradicted by the facts. As an advocate for people with disabilities, I know firsthand how strict the disability criteria are. Most people who apply are denied, and only about 40% are awarded benefits-even after all stages of appeal. Many beneficiaries are terminally ill-about 1 in 5 male and 1 in 6 female beneficiaries die within 5 years of receiving benefits. Literally every day, I see people with significant disabilities who have been denied benefits.

No one knows when disability or illness will strike. That’s why Social Security Disability Insurance is an important part of our nation’s safety net. Instead of tearing down this vital program with myths and rumors, let’s focus instead on strengthening it for current and future generations.

Social Security Claims for Depression and Anxiety

Can You Claim Disability Benefits for Depression or Anxiety?

The following is an email I recently sent to a person who called me seeking information about a potential claim for Disability benefits based on depression and anxiety. As this is a common response to the many questions I receive on the topic, I thought it would be a good email to share with those seeking disability based on a psychological disability.

Dear _______:

I am sorry that you have to deal with these issues.  I am writing to ask if you are seeing a psychiatrist, psychologist and or a counselor for your issues?  If so, how long have you been regularly seeing these folks?

The reason I ask is because the Social Security Administration requires that any applicant for benefits be able to prove they are disabled.  This proof necessarily takes the form of doctors records based on an ongoing relationship of treatment.  The reason for this is two- fold.  The first is that there is a general agreement among health care professionals that treatment for psychological issues is helpful to the person dealing with those issues.  If the treatment is successful it may help the patient avoid being placed on disability. The second reason is that the Social Security Administration has mandated that records be presented to prove the disability.  If the claimant is unable to present records of treatment, because of a lack of treatment, the Administration will deny the claim.

If you are dealing with these psychological issues without treatment, I encourage you to seek out a psychiatrist, psychologist and or a counselor and begin treatment.  If you have already established a relationship with one of these types of health care providers, and the treatment is not yet sufficient to allow you to return to work, please give me a call.

If you have not yet filed your application for benefits, that must be done as soon as possible.  If you are eligible for Title II SSDI, then you can file on line, or at your local social security office.  If you are only eligible for Title XVI SSI, then you must file in person at the local office.  If you are confused about which program for which you may be eligible, please give me a call and I can help you figure that out.

I wish you the best in coping with your anxieties and depression.

Social Security Disability Application and Medical Records

Indianapolis Social Security AttorneyI just got off the phone with one of my Social Security Disability clients.  His file came up on my diary system.  I called him because his wife’s insurance through her new job was going to become effective in middle May and I wanted to make sure he had scheduled an appointment with his cardiologist for a full cardiac examination.  I wanted him to have this full work up for two reasons.  The first is for his overall health.  He has a bad ticker and because he has not been working he lost his insurance and has not been able to get back to his doctor for a few years.  The second reason is that when a person files for Social Security Disability, that person has the obligation of producing medical records which objectively establish the presence of the disabling condition as well as establishing the severity of the condition.

My client told me that he had been sent to a cardiologist by the Social Security Administration for an echo cardiogram.  He wondered if this test was sufficient to make his proof.  He wondered this because they were just getting back on their feet and the deductible for the cardiac work up could surely be used for other bills.  I told my client that I certainly understand the tight money woes caused by the economy and his being out of work.  But, I also told him that the echo cardiogram, although a good test, is not enough.  It is not enough because it just a snapshot in time and might not even be a good test for his particular medical condition.  I stand by that statement.  It is always best to have your own doctors work you up.  They are given more credibility than the Social Security Administration doctors.  They are also the doctors who know you best and have your best medical interests at heart.

So, if you have a disability and are applying for benefits, make sure you see your doctor and share with them the truth about your medical condition.

Social Security Claims and Contact with the Administration

You are confronted with a life altering illness or injury. You are anxious because you do not know how you are going to be able to support yourself and your family. You know that you cannot work. You know that you have some savings. You also know that your savings will not last more than a year. What do you do. One option is to file your claim for Social Security Disability benefits. social security claims attorneyYou contact a lawyer and the lawyer helps you file, by telling you what information the Administration is looking for, and how to provide that information to the Social Security Administration so that the Administration can obtain the medical information from your treating doctors and hospitals. The lawyer tells you up front that the Social Security Administration is back logged and it may take as long as 18-24 months to have your hearing if you are turned down on your application. Often times your anxiety is so great about the process you either do not hear this or forget it. The lawyer tells you that there is little the lawyer can do to make the administration find that you are disabled more quickly, short of providing the proper information, sometimes provide the records, and in some instances filing a requests for determination on the record. The reason for this is that the applications are reviewed in the order they are submitted, and most, if not all the people submitting applications are facing financial problems.

The Social Security Administration contracts with the Indiana Disability Determination Service (DDS) to help them process the claims. While processing the claims, the DDS will send out for your medical records, set up appointments for you to see one of their doctors, and call you asking for additional information. This is a normal part of the process and is not a cause for alarm. You might say, well why aren’t the DDS talking to my lawyer? The reason is that talking directly with you, for simple information makes the process go more quickly. Certainly you should discuss what was said between you and the DDS with your lawyer. It is important for your lawyer to know what is going on. However, it is not something to be alarmed about, as it is a normal and necessary part of the review of your application.

Social Security Disability is Earned it is not an Entitlement

Social Security Attorney IndianapolisOne of the most repeated comments I hear from people making claim for Title II Social Security Disability Benefits is that the Social Security Administration Application and Appeals process takes so long the administration must think it is the governments money. I fully understand their frustration. Title II Social Security Disability Benefits (SSDI) are earned by the American worker. Each week tax, in the form of the FICA tax, is withheld from every paycheck. For those who are self employed the money is with held through the Self Employment tax. The government does not ask the worker if they want to contribute, they simply force the contribution. Most workers do not begrudge the withholding because they know they are supporting the generation that did so much for us. However, it is frustrating when I hear pundits and talking heads on radio programs refer to SSDI as an entitlement. It is the money of the worker, earned through sweat of the brow. They earned every penny and are owed that money. It is not a gift. It is not welfare. It is their money.

I add the following with permission of the author:

CALABASAS, Calif., May 7, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — (SSDI), the safety net for disabled US workers, has come under recent scrutiny. Some critics suggest the program adds to the national deficit and is a drain on the US economy. They argue the program should be cut back or even eliminated. Industry experts however are asking for a more objective review of the national insurance program.

In fact SSDI adds nothing to the US deficit since the program is entirely funded by US payroll taxes. Another important qualification is that only those workers who have paid into the system are eligible for benefits. In addition, almost 70% of disabled applicants are denied benefits. And, even when maximum benefits are paid, the disabled worker earns barely above the Poverty Level.

“SSDI is an essential US Government system set up and administered for disabled American workers unable to work. Rather than abandoning our nation’s most vulnerable and deserved citizens, we encourage positive reforms that make SSDI stronger, and will maintain it for the coming generations.”

SSDI Benefits for Heart Issues

Does My Heart Condition Qualify for SSDI?

As I have told you before, the Social Security Administration issues a list of Injuries, Illnesses and Diseases which they consider when assessing your Disability claim.  In order to qualify under this set of guidelines, you must have one of the listed injuries, illnesses or diseases, and the symptoms caused by that illness, injury or disease must be severe enough to cause you to be disabled.  You, as the claimant have the initial burden of proving that you have one of the listed medical conditions.  You also have the burden of proving that your symptoms are severe enough to cause you to be disabled.

Indianapolis Social Security LawyerYou meet your burden of proving that you have one of the listed medical conditions, and that it is severe by providing medical documentation.  The idea is that if you are that sick, you will be seeing a doctor, and your records will confirm the diagnosis and severity.  On the other hand, if you claim to be disabled, but you have not seen a doctor, you are unlikely to meet your burden of proving that you are disabled.

Social Security Disability and Heart Issues

Today, I am dealing with a client who has cardiac (heart) issues.  The client’s complains of symptoms including chest pain, fatigue, shortness of breath, and syncope (a kind of dizziness).  The patient is seeing a doctor, because the symptoms are severe enough to make it impossible for the patient to do any of his former activities, including work.  The other day, the patient had a heart test which found that the heart was not working very well.  In fact, the percentage of blood the left side of his heart was pumping out was about 5%.  Normal ejection from the left ventricle is 50% or more.  So you can see the patient is very sick.  We are pursuing the claim under Listing 4.02 Chronic Heart Failure.  The specific listing is 4.02A! in that his left ventricular ejection fraction is below 30%.  The claimant was turned down initially.  I think this was because the records were not sufficient to prove the level of the ejection fraction.  I am confident that we now have the proper records to the Social Security Administration and that the claim will soon be approved.

Need Help Claiming Social Security & Disability?

I can help you too.  I know the rules, I know the procedures, and I know my way around a hearing room.  After 25 years representing claimants before the Social Security Administration, I am ready to help you.

How to Win a Social Security Disability Claim in Indianapolis, IN

We have been representing claimants before the Social Security Administration for over 25 years with great success. Although we do not guarantee success, we are well aware of what it takes to prove your case to the administration. The first priority for us is you. This means that I, John P. Young, your attorney will meet with you when completing your application, in preparing for the hearing and at the hearing. I will personally take your calls and answer your questions.

We feel it is necessary to get to know you in order to make the best case for your benefits from the Social Security Administration. While I am speaking with you, I will carefully explore with you your medical condition and the names and addresses. The reason for this may seem obvious, but what may not be obvious is the procedure the Social Security Administration uses in analyzing the claim. First the claimant is responsible for providing objective medical evidence which demonstrates the existence of the a disability or disabilities. Next, the symptoms expressed by the claimant must be consistent with the disease process or injury causing the disability. When you go through your claims process you will receive from the Social Security Administration questionnaires which seek information about your condition and everyday living experiences. The Social Security Administration will compare the records to these questionnaires and make determinations about your credibility. The more the symptoms correspond with the known or expected symptoms of the disease causing the disability, the more credibility the claimant is given and the greater the prospect of winning the claim.

If you are filing a claim and feel overwhelmed by the process give me a call. I can help.

Social Security Disability on Your Parents Earnings History

Yes, a child who is disabled may file their claim for benefits based on their parents earnings history in certain circumstances.  I know you are asking yourself, “why would my child benefit from filing on my earnings history, as opposed to his own.  The answer lies in the difference between Title II Disability (SSDI) and Title XVI Supplemental Security Income (SSI).  SSDI pays more per month.  SSDI entitles the recipient to Medicare.  SSDI has fewer restrictions.  SSI is essentially welfare and therefore has many restrictions including set offs for support received from other sources.  SSI pays less per month.  As an SSI recipient, who has not worked, it is likely that you will not be eligible for Medicare.  So, now you know that if you can, you want to apply under your parents earnings history to be eligible for SSDI.  What now?

Indianapolis Social Security Attorney First, the rules which cover eligibility for a child on the parent’s earnings history are found in 20 CFR parts 400-499.  More specifically the rules are found at 20 CFR Section 404.350.  Generally to be eligible under these provisions you must be the child of a covered individual who has either died or is currently receiving SSDI or retirement benefits.  You must be either under 18, or you are 18 or older and your disability began before you turned 22 or you are 18 or older and qualify as a full time student under section404.367.  Of course you also have to apply under the parents social security number.  Other rules do apply, but a complete description in the blog would take several pages.

If you think you qualify, but are not sure and have questions, please feel free to contact us.

Skills to Look for In A Social Security Lawyer

Yesterday, I spoke with a woman who received an unfavorable decision from the Administrative law judge on her Social Security Claim.  She called her lawyer and was shocked to find out that this lawyer would not pursue her claim in the next step in the appeals process.  A little background might be in order here.  The steps in a social security claim are 1. Application, 2. Request for Reconsideration, 3. Request for hearing Before Administrative Law Judge, 4. Appeal to the Appeals Council, 5. Appeal to Federal District Court, 6 Appeal to Federal Court Of Appeals, 7.  Appeal to Supreme Court of United States.   The lawyer did not refuse to file the appeal before the Appeals Council based on the merits of the client’s case.  He refused because that is not a part of his practice. In other words he either does not know how to file such an appeal or is too lazy to properly represent his client.  In either event, he should have told the client that he was only willing to go half way in representing her at the start.

Indiana Social Security LawyerYou might say that she could always get a second lawyer to finish the appeal, and you might be right.  However, there are many issues which attach to the case that make it more difficult for the client because of the lawyers refusal to fully represent her. First, when the Administrative Law Judge issues an opinion, the client has 65 days from the date on that letter to file their appeal with the Appeals Council.  This means that the client has to spend several days, probably weeks, trying to find a second lawyer.  That lawyer has to review the decision of the ALJ and the file and make a decision whether there are good reasons for an appeal.  This delay is nerve racking for the client.  They have pinned their hopes on receiving the benefits they believe they are due, and being turned down is bad enough without learning at the last moment that the representative they trusted is not going to help them any further.  Second, in many instances the first lawyer has not done all that should have been done to help the client.  In other words, he has made a mess of the case.  It is difficult to follow a lawyer who has made a mess of the case in the first place.  It is difficult because the burden of proof is different at the Appeals Council, and it is difficult to please somebody who has already been poorly represented in the first place.

To avoid these potential problems, ask your lawyer, up front, “Are you willing to represent me all the way through this process?”  If they say anything other than an unequivocal yes, find a lawyer who will.

Social Security Disability Requires Medical Documentation

Indianapolis Social Security AttorneysYou have a disease or injury or illness.  You realize you can no longer work.  You know you have to file for Social Security Disability, but you are not sure of the first step.  Most people assume that the first step is to actually file for the Social Security Disability benefits.  This is a pretty good assumption.  However it is not completely accurate.  The first step is to see your doctor and have your disease , injury or illness documented.  The doctor will perform tests which will hopefully help the doctor reach a diagnosis and begin treatment.  This treatment might help you get over your condition.  If it does not help you get over your condition, all this work with your doctor will provide the foundation to support your Social Security Disability claim.

You  see, the Social Security Administration requires that the applicant provide documentation of their medical disability before they will grant benefits.  If you are unable or unwilling to provide documentation of your disabling condition, your chances of success on your application are much less than the claimant that has the medical tests and examinations that objectively document the disabling condition.  For psychological disabilities it is necessary that you have a longitudinal course of treatment to support your claim.  This means that you must establish a medical relationship with a psychiatrist, psychologist and or a counselor for several sessions to document your diagnosis, and to document the effect of treatment on the condition.

I am glad to talk with you about these requirements and help you with your application.  Please write or call so that we can discuss the issues important to you.

Brain Injury and Social Security Disability

Indianapolis Personal Injuey AttorneyIf you or a loved one has suffered a Brain injury, the law provides two potential remedies for the injury.  The first remedy depends on whether the injury was the result of a negligent act of another person.  Examples of negligent actions which might cause a brain injury a auto mobile collisions, motor cycle crashes, drunk driving accidents, semi tractor-trailer collisions, slips and falls, and many more.  We have been representing Hoosiers coping with brain injury for more than 25 years.  John Young is an Emeritus member of the Board of Directors of the Brain Injury Association of Indiana.  He served as chair of the board of Directors for two years, saving the organization from collapse after fiscal problems became intense.  Mr. Young has a family member who has been living with Brain Injury for 30 years.  He has represented many, many Hoosiers coping with Brain Injury to recover the money necessary to put their lives back in order and deal with the long terms effects of brain injury.

The second legal remedy for Hoosiers dealing with brain injury is Social Security Disability.  Every brain injury has different impacts on the person dealing with the injury.  Some folks are fortunate enough to either return to their former job.  Some folks, although unable to return to their former jobs are fortunate enough to return to another full time employment.  There are, unfortunately, those Hoosiers that , try as they might, cannot get back to any type of gainful employment.  For these folks Social Security Disability is a viable option. As you know, the brain is the central feature of the central nervous system.  Thus, if we represent a person coping with brain injury before the Social Security Administration, we turn first to the listing of Impairment dealing with neurological impairments.  The neurological impairment listing, found in 20 CFR Pt 404, Subpart P. App.1 has a specific listing for brain injury.  The Social Security Administration refers to the listing as Sec 11.18 Cerebral trauma.  The listing deals with the impact of the brain injury on the persons overall ability to function, including a review of the ability to perform the activities of daily living, social function, maintaining persistence, concentration and pace, and Episodes of decompensation. As part of our efforts to serve those coping with brain injury, we have studied these rules and regulations carefully and have had great success in using them to help our clients receive the benefits they deserve.

SSDI and SSI Disability Programs

There are 2 different types of disability programs for those who are disabled SSDI and SSI

SSDI has two requirements.  1. You are disabled for at least 12 months or more. 2.  That prior to your disability you worked and paid into the FICA tax system or the self employment tax system.  Think of this contribution as the premium for the disability insurance.  In order to qualify the applicant must have worked 20 out of the last 40 quarters prior to disability.  A quarter is a quarter of the year.  The applicant does not have to work each day of the quarter, but the employment must be substantial. If you are concerned about the number of credits you have, you can obtain a copy o your work history from the Social Security Administration.  I also suggest that you put pencil to paper and record your dates of employment for the last 15 years. You may not have perfect recollection, but do your best.  When you have this complete, I can look at it and help assess whether you really do or do not have enough work credits to qualify.

SSI is for people who have not worked and contributed to the FICA tax system.  SSI has a number of restrictions and exemptions not attached to SSDI.  It also pays less.  If you are married and your spouse is earning more than say $35K a year, you probably will be disqualified for SSI.

If you are 58 and a widow (or widower), you can draw off your spouse’s earnings history.  If you were married for more than 10 years, are divorced and are 62 or older, you may get benefits based on the ex spouse’s earnings history.  Given all these  options, I encourage you to contact me to talk over the issues.

Social Security Disability and Age 62

I have had many, many 62 year old disabled clients ask me why they should file for Social Security Disability when they can just file for early retirement.  The simple answer is because they will be entitled to a greater amount of money through Title II Disability than they would if they just filed for early retirement.  The longer answer is that this person should file for both, and here is the reason why.

Indianapolis Social Security Attorney

Sixty two year old Americans are entitled to apply for and receive Social Security Retirement benefits.  The catch, of course, is that if they elect to take early retirement, their monthly benefits will be less than what they would receive if they wait until their retirement of either 65 or 67.  If that same person, however, becomes disabled in between the ages of 62 and 65, their Social Security Disability benefits are not reduced because they begin their benefits in between those ages.  So, the smart move is, if you find yourself unable to work because of a disability and you are between the ages of 62 and 65, is to file for both early retirement and Social Security disability, at the same time.  This is the smart move because your retirement benefits will start immediately, to provide income while you are waiting for your disability application to be evaluated.  Yes, you will receive less income than if you waited for full retirement, but most people need that money to live on.  Now, you have the early retirement income, and you are waiting for the Social Security Administration to review your application.  The application is ultimately approved.  You start to receive your full monthly benefits.  You do not receive early retirement benefits any longer because you Are receiving Social Security Disability and you cannot receive both at the same time.  However, for those months that you were receiving the lower early retirement benefit you will receive a one-time lump sum benefit made up of the difference between your reduced early retirement benefits and your Disability benefits for those months you were disabled, but your application was pending.

There are a few other factors that play into exactly how much money you will receive.  If you would like to discuss this with me, please feel free to call and I will be happy to advise you on the options that best serve your needs.


Social Security Disability and closed period of Disability

In order to qualify for Social Security Disability Income (SSDI), among other things, you must prove that you have a disabling condition that is expected to last more than a year. What about those folks who have a disability that has lasted more than a year, but the disability is not permanent, and they either will be able to work at sometime in the future or have already returned to work, can these folks get disability payments?  The answer is yes.  If you have a disability that is expected to, or does, last more than a year then you can obtain benefits for the months that you are disabled, even if you return to work.  This is referred to as a closed period of disability.  Bear in mind that the first 5 months of any disability period is eliminated.  This means that if you, for example, become disabled on January one, the first benefit you will receive will begin on June 1.  You will then be eligible to receive benefits for each month the disability continued after the five month elimination period, up to the time you return to work.  If you have any other questions about Social Security Disability Income, or SSDI also known as Title II Disability, please give us a call.

NOTICE: No face-to-face meeting needed. You can remain safely in your home from case signup to settlement.