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5 Tips to make the Social Security Process Simpler

We know that no one pursues a Social Security disability claim because they think the experience is going to be fun. In fact, it’s the furthest thing from fun. FilingWhy does Social Security Have a 5 Month Waiting Period for Social Security disability is going to be long, frustrating, and at times, it may even upset you. Sure, maybe it’s not as difficult as climbing Mt. Everest or exploring Antarctica. However, when you think about what you are actually doing when you file for social security, it can be downright scary.  Simply, if you’re filing for Social Security disability, your future is really dependent upon the outcome of your claim. Don’t fret, though, there are some ways to make things less scary and put you at ease. In the past, we called these things tips. Now, people refer to them as hacks. Regardless, here are 5 ways/tips/hacks to make your disability claim process simpler.

  1. Ask questions. It’s just like going to the doctor or learning a new subject in school. It’s important to ask questions. Asking will help you better understand the process. A lot of people hesitate to ask questions because they are afraid of sounding unintelligent. There is no need to worry about that. The person you’re speaking to at the SSA may be well versed in social security disability, but they too have been in situations that were unfamiliar to them. I consider myself to be very knowledgeable about cars. However, when I go to the mechanic, I still ask plenty of questions so that I better understand what repairs are being made to my car. Keep in mind, part of the job of the people you deal with at the SSA is answering your questions.
  2. There are so many good online resources for social security disability. Even the SSA website has good information. Researching topics within social security will help you better understand what will happen. Our firm, Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law, started practicing back in 1994. Over the past 22 years, we’ve heard a lot of the same questions from new social security clients. So, we decided to make a book to help people learn the basics of social security. It’s really helpful, and many of our clients have claimed to understand more about the process once they read the book. If you’d like a FREE copy of this book, click here to request one.
  3. Talk to people who have been through the process before. You’ll often hear us say that every case is different. That is true. However, a lot of cases have a lot of the same aspects too. Talking to someone who has been through the process before will help you in many ways. First, it will help you realize that you’re not alone. This can be a friend, a family member, or any person who has been through the process. I’ve had several family members file social security Now, they often help each other. This is especially helpful when a younger person files.
  4. Get continuous treatment. Regardless if you’ve just filed your claim, if you’ve been denied, or if it’s months after you were approved, continuous treatment will be beneficial for your case at all stages. The way any person gets approved for social security is by means of medical evidence. Some argue it’s the most important part of any case. Often, the more medical evidence you have the better it is for your Plus, better understanding your disability will help you better communicate with people at the SSA.
  5. Look into hiring an attorney. Granted, we are a little biased here, but we wouldn’t be doing this if we didn’t believe it helped people. Also, after 20 years, and thousands of satisfied clients, we must be doing something right. However, hiring an attorney isn’t just about winning or losing a claim. It’s about peace of mind. For instance, we can assist clients with filing claims, fill out paperwork, pursue appeals, representation at hearings, and much more. Plus, each of our clients is assigned case managers to help them with questions every step of the way.

While the process can be daunting, review these 5 tips to see if they will help you. Try implementing them. Start with one of the simpler tasks, like researching social security disability online, and then go from there. If you want to know what it’s like to have an attorney, call us. We’d be happy to give you a free consultation. Just click here, or call 1-877-526-3457.

When Your Wait for Social Security Disability Is Longer Than Average

Since each Social Security Disability claim is unique, the length it takes to receive a decision can mean different things. So if it seems your case has been under evaluation for an abnormally lengthy period of time, it doesn’t necessarily mean you are going to receive a denial. As we’ve written many times, there are several variables at work in the determination of a disability claim, and the process isn’t black and white.

If your case contains more variables – more tests required, more documentation needed, a condition with limitations that aren’t as obvious or quantifiable as others – this could mean a longer waiting time. For example, compared to the claim of an individual with a severe disabling condition and plenty of medical documentation to support it, the SSA may require more time to evaluate all of the factors in the case of a person with a mental health condition.

Your case could also have reached what seems like a standstill if the SSA is waiting on paperwork, such as medical records from a healthcare facility that takes a while to locate them or process the request. Since healthcare providers place the utmost priority on caring for their current patients, sometimes they aren’t as diligent about fulfilling SSA requests in a timely manner.

Furthermore, a longer wait could simply mean that your case has been assigned to a decision maker who historically takes more time, whether he or she has a higher attention to detail or a fuller caseload than average.

While the waiting can be difficult, especially when factors are out of your control, experienced legal representation can make sure the process runs as quickly and smoothly as possible.

The expert staff of Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law, wants to help you receive the benefits you deserve. Contact us today to schedule a free initial meeting today!

Social Security Disability: How to Help Your Doctor Help You

Having the proper medical evidence is perhaps the most important component in your Social Security Disability claim. You must be able to prove that your disabling condition significantly alters your quality of life and ability to work.

Your doctor or healthcare provider plays a crucial role in this success. While certain variables are out of your hands, there are some things you can do in this regard to give your Social Security Disability application its best chance for success.

  1. Make sure your doctor is on board. Having a healthcare provider who is willing to cooperate and provide the necessary information is the first step. Communicate this before you begin the application process—or switch to a doctor who is more willing to help.
  2. Visit your doctor on a regular basis. Keep all scheduled appointments and inform his or her office as soon as possible to reschedule if missing your appointment is inevitable.
  3. Communicate honestly and thoroughly with your doctor. Keep him or her up to date on any developments or changes in your condition. Develop a timeline of symptoms and severity from the onset of your condition and throughout its progression. Make sure that he or she understands the focus on how the condition affects your day-to-day activities and ability to work when providing information to the SSA.
  4. Follow all of your doctor’s treatment protocols. Take all prescribed medications at their proper dosage. Comply with treatment instructions, therapies and any preventative measures so the SSA has no excuse to question the validity of your claim.
  5. Ensure your doctor provides the necessary information. Make things as easy as possible for your healthcare provider, such as printing off all of the necessary forms to save time. Follow up after a few days to make sure he or she has sent the information and offer to help or answer any questions if not.

Having a good relationship with your doctor, respecting his or her time and keeping an open line of communication will greatly improve your chances of approval. But if you want to approach your Social Security Disability claim with more confidence, our team can help.

Contact us toll-free at 1.877.526.3457 or send us an e-mail to schedule your 100% free initial consultation.

If You Worked After Applying for Social Security Disability Benefits

If you have earned money for work after submitting your Social Security Disability claim, this can affect your case in a myriad of ways. But this happens quite frequently given the long waiting period for approval and is monitored by employees of the Social Security Administration (SSA) once you’ve been approved for benefits.

A representative will typically evaluate how much work you’ve completed. If this income is above the substantial gainful activity level ($1090 a month in most cases), he or she will then determine if this proves you are, in fact, able to work or if there were special circumstances that created an exception. The SSA’s decision also depends on whether you’re up for SSI or SSDI benefits.

While the SSA’s decision is based on individuals’ unique circumstances, there are some working situations that will almost always earn you an automatic denial. For example, if you began working within one year of the date your disabling condition began according to the SSA’s official determination and you are currently working, your case will automatically be denied as you haven’t met the 12-month duration required by the SSA to be eligible for benefits.

But if you’re found eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance, after the five-month waiting period, any work is covered by the trial work program and extended period of eligibility. However, if you worked after being deemed eligible for SSDI benefits but are not still working, the SSA employee might consider it necessary to reassess your disability onset date, which could result in less backpay. This decision can be appealed.

When it comes to Supplemental Security Income (SSI), if you were earning substantial income a month or more past the onset of your disabling condition/application date, you can still be eligible for benefits provided your medical condition hasn’t improved and the income you’ve earned isn’t beyond the SSI income limits.

If you’ve worked after the date you applied for SSI/SSDI or after the onset of your disabling condition, a Social Security Disability attorney can help you keep the benefits you deserve.

Call 1.877.526.3457 to set up a 100% free and confidential first meeting with the experienced team of Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law, or send us an email. Our proven expertise can help you approach every step of the application process with confidence.

New Changes in Social Security Disability Determination

According to the Wall Street Journal, six changes will soon be implemented by the Social Security Administration in their determination of what qualifies an individual for disability benefits. In this post, we’ll help you understand those and what they mean for you.

  • Their listings are changing. One of the primary considerations in a Social Security Disability claim is whether the applicant can perform any job duty in his or her local area. But the decision makers who determine this have been using a resource that hasn’t been updated since 1991 and doesn’t take into account the new jobs available with the changes in 21st century technology.  This “dictionary” of sorts is slated to be rewritten, but it probably will not be completed until at least 2016.
  • “The Grid” will be re-evaluated. This refers to the algorithm of factors administrative law judges use to determine whether or not to award benefits in a case, based on things like age, education and medical evidence. Again, changes in technology (i.e. higher availability of sedentary jobs) and medical research will be taken into consideration to make “the grid” more modernized and reflective of today.
  • New laws will affect evidence presented in disability claims. According to the article in the Wall Street Journal, the SSA will soon change their legislation to dictate what information can be withheld in a disability claim and what is required to be presented. The exact conditions of this legislation are still unknown at this time.
  • SSA judges’ caseloads will be regulated. Due to some administrative law judges receiving a high volume of cases, the SSA will reportedly lower the required caseload so judges can give each claim the attention it deserves. This is good news, especially for individuals with particularly complex situations.
  • A task force will be developed to prevent fraud. The SSA plans to form a task force to help identify fraudulent evidence in the Social Security Disability system. This will prevent individuals from “cheating the system”.
  • The job description for SSA judges will change. In the job description for an SSA judge, it will be clearly defined that he or she is required to have several forms of accountability. This will change the requirements for supervision, reporting and possibly additional training if any suspicious activity is observed.

With these stricter changes in effect, it’s more important than ever to have experienced legal representation on your side. The expert West Virginia Social Security Disability lawyers of Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law, can help you get the benefits you deserve.

Contact us toll-free at 1.877.526.3457 or by e-mail to schedule your free initial consultation today.

Things a Social Security Disability Judge Won’t Consider

When you apply for Social Security Disability, there are many things they take into consideration when evaluating claims. And, though many of these factors may influence your ability to work, there are certain things a judge will not consider.

If you are thinking of telling a judge that you can’t find a job, there are no openings where you live, the economy is too poor right now or the location in which you live is too small, rural or far from commercialized areas, it will hold no weight on your claim.

Likewise, the fact that you don’t believe you’re qualified to work in a position, you do not desire to work in a position, a certain job doesn’t meet your family’s lifestyle, you have a felony preventing you from securing employment or the fact that you can’t pass a physical will not help you secure Social Security Disability benefits.

Decision makers will be evaluating your case based on the facts—your physical and mental ability to perform work of any kind and the medical evidence that supports this. For more detailed information on the application process, including worksheets that will help you compile all necessary evidence, you can request a free copy of Attorney Jan Dils’ book, Getting the Social Security Benefits You Deserve, by clicking here: http://www.jandils.com/book-request-form/

COPD & Social Security Disability

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated fifteen million Americans suffer from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), “a group of diseases that cause airflow blockage and breathing-related problems.”

COPD manifests either in the form of chronic bronchitis or emphysema (and in some cases, asthma), all of which cause deterioration of the lungs and difficulty breathing. Unfortunately, the condition is not reversible, but regular medication, rehabilitation, avoidance of air pollutants and flu/pneumonia vaccines can help prevent the damage from getting worse.

If you’ve been diagnosed with COPD that renders you unable to work, you may be eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) as COPD is recognized as an official disabling condition by the SSA.

To increase your chances, it’s helpful to obtain medical records that show the degree to which the airflow in your lungs is compromised, proving your ability to exert yourself is hindered and you are unable to work. The SSA may additionally ask you to undergo a lung function test.

The West Virginia Social Security Disability Lawyers of Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law, can help you build a solid case and get you the benefits you deserve. You can call us toll-free at 1.877.526.3457 or send us an e-mail to schedule your free initial consultation today.

New Conditions in Existing Social Security Disability Cases

If you’ve been awarded Social Security Disability benefits for a particular condition and develop an additional ailment that renders you unable to work, you may wonder if this will affect the amount you receive—or if a different type of disability (for example, mental vs. physical) carries more weight.

The answer, in most cases, is no. When you apply for disability benefits with the SSA, your claim is based on the disability you had at that time. You are unable to add to this number once you’ve been receiving disability benefits.

And no particular type of disability carries more weight than another. Your evaluation is based on your original disability rating, so developing a different ailment with a higher percentage will not affect your current payments.

However, if the SSA decision makers decide to review your case and the status of your existing disability, they may take additional medical conditions into account at this time, provided they affect your activity level and ability to work

If you have questions about your claim, the expert West Virginia Social Security Disability lawyers of Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law, offer years of proven experience to guide you every step of the way. You can schedule a 100% free initial consultation by calling toll-free 1.877.526.3457 or e-mailing us to discuss your case.