Resources and Your Social Security Disability Claim

POSTED BY Jon Corra . July 26, 2018

Many people aren’t aware of the differences between Social Security Disability (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). While there are many differences between the two programs, the most significant difference pertains to income and resources. Supplemental Security Income is a need-based program. Social Security Disability is based on your work credits. If you have a lot of resources, your SSDI claim won’t be impacted. However, since SSI is income-based, your resources could impact your claim. Many SSI applicants find the rules about resources confusing. To clarify some of the most common misconceptions about resources, we compiled a list of tips and we’re sharing some of our best advice from the past 24 years.

What is a resource?

According to the SSA, a resource is something that you own, such as cash, bank accounts, land, life insurance, personal property, vehicles, and anything else you own that could be exchanged for cash.

SSI Resource Limits

If you’re single, the Social Security Administration states that you can’t have more than $2,000 in resources. However, not all resources count against you. We’ll explain more about resources that don’t count against you later. If you’re married, the limit is raised to $3,000. This is the same regardless of whether one or both spouses are disabled.

What Resources Don’t Count for SSI?

  • The house you live in
  • One vehicle, if it is used for transportation for you or a member of your household
  • Life insurance policies you own with a face value of $1,500 or less per person
  • Burial plots or spaces for you or your immediate family
  • A burial fund of up to $1,500 each for you and your spouse’s burial expenses
  • Household goods and personal effects
  • Property you or your spouse use in a trade or business, or on your job if you work for someone else
  • If you are disabled or blind, money or property you have set aside under a Plan to Achieve Self-Support (PASS)

If you are over the resource limit, you will not be eligible for SSI. Since SSI is based on need, many people won’t have to worry about a lot of the issues with resources. However, because of how nuanced the SSA rules are pertaining to resources, it can be confusing. That’s one of the reasons why so many people seek the help of attorneys like Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law. We have the knowledge to help individuals navigate the Social Security maze. Call us today for a free consultation. Our toll-free number is 1-877-526-3457. If you’d rather talk at a different time, fill out this form so our Intake team can schedule you for a later date.

Long Term Disability and Your Social Security Disability Claim

POSTED BY Jon Corra . July 16, 2018

Working every day in Social Security can be en eye-opening experience. Some of the stats we’ve learned over the years are staggering. For instance, did you know 25% of all 20-year-olds won’t work until retirement age? In 2017, 39% of all working Americans had no money saved. So, what are you to do if you can’t work? If you become disabled at an early age and you have no savings, it may be difficult to survive financially. If you decide to pursue Social Security Disability, you’re going to be in for a long wait. Some people prepare for this by purchasing long-term disability insurance (LTD). However, individuals who have LTD may have questions about how it impacts Social Security Disability.

Let’s start with an explanation of long-term disability insurance. For most, an LTD policy will take place after a short-term disability policy ends. Most short-term policies last about 6 months. According to insure.com, long-term disability insurance pays a percentage of your salary, usually 50 to 60 percent, depending on the policy. The benefits last until you can go back to work or for the number of years stated in the policy. Some policies pay out as long as you are disabled until age 65.

Many employers offer LTD insurance policies, but you must opt into these policies. If your employer does not offer a plan, you can purchase LTD through an insurance agent. Most LTD policies require a monthly fee.

If you’ve done any research on the Social Security Disability process, you know that it takes a long time for claims to be approved. Most people have to wait years before they get approved. Long-term disability insurance can be beneficial during this time because it does not take as long for an LTD claim to process. So, LTD can help supplement your income while you’re waiting to be approved for SSDI.

Can you get both?

One of the first things we’re asked when a client has an LTD policy is “Can I get both?” The answer depends upon a few factors. Keep in mind, SSDI is not an income-based program. The SSA does not care how much money or how many assets you have when you’re pursuing SSDI. You could have 27 houses and every Ferarri ever made and still qualify for SSDI. In other words, the income you receive from an LTD policy won’t keep you from receiving benefits. The limitations are usually found in your LTD policy. Some LTD policies require you to file for SSDI within a specific time period.

Once you’re approved for SSDI, most long-term disability policies won’t continue to pay you the full amount. Instead, the policy will offset the balance paid by the SSA. For example, if you were making $60,000 per year before you became disabled, and your policy paid you 60% of your annual income, you’d receive about $2,500 per month. If you’re approved for SSDI for an amount of $1,800 per month, your LTD policy should pay you the remaining $700 per month. Keep in mind though, this depends upon your LTD policy. Some policies may not pay anything if you’re approved for SSDI.

Know your policy.

Regardless of whether your employer offers an LTD policy or you purchase one from an agent, you should get to know it well. Don’t hesitate to ask your HR rep about specifics, or reach out to your insurance agent for clarification on the details.

If you’d like to know more about the ways in which SSDI impacts long-term disability, call us today for a free consultation. Our number is 1-877-526-3457. If you’d rather talk at a later time, fill out this form so we may call you at a better time.

What To Do If You Witness An Auto Accident

POSTED BY Jon Corra . June 19, 2018

There’s a lot of information available on what to do if you are involved in a car accident, but not much information for people who witness a car accident.What to do if you witness a car accident?

Do you even have to stop if you witness a crash? Here is some helpful information you need to know:

Do I have to help?

It depends upon where you are. Most states don’t require you to assist if you witness a car accident. A lot of people believe the opposite but, if you don’t want to help, you are not required to do so by law in most states.

Should I help in an accident?

That’s up to you. However, many people are afraid to assist because of they’re afraid they’ll be held liable if they intervene. This, too, is untrue in most states. For instance, West Virginia has a Good Samaritan Law which protects citizens who intervene in an accident.

The law states that no person, including a person licensed to practice medicine or dentistry, who in good faith renders emergency care at the scene of an accident or to a victim at the scene of a crime, without remuneration, shall be liable for any civil damages as the result of any act or omission in rendering such emergency care.

So, in West Virginia, you will be protected if you help during an accident. But, What to do if you witness a car accident?

  • Don’t put yourself in danger

It’s good to help other but you should be in safe side first so think first and react and keep yourself in a safe zone. Don’t get panic and put some steps that encounter you in danger and difficulties. so if you witness a car accident don’t put yourself in danger.

  • Pull off the road as soon as it’s safe.

Turn your hazard lights on, and make sure your vehicle is in a safe position. Try not to park too close to the accident scene in case of fire or other hazards.

  • Call 911.

If the accident is severe, the occupants of the vehicles likely won’t be able to contact emergency services. Their cars may be equipped with a service like OnStar, but it won’t hurt to call 911 to be safe. Be sure to tell the operator you’ve witnessed an accident. Explain where the accident occurred, how many cars are involved and if there are any injuries.

  • Assist the drivers and passengers.

It’s possible the vehicle passengers may need help getting out of the car, even if they aren’t injured. Assist them if you’re available to do so safely. This process may be more difficult in modern cars. Each year cars seem to have more and more airbags. Extracting someone from the car may be more difficult with side curtain airbags and airbags found in the side of the door. Also, take extra precautions around electric and hybrid cars.

 

  • Help with hazards.

If there is a fire or another hazardous condition, do your best to help control the situation, but only if it’s safe for you to intervene. Also, it’s a good idea to keep a portable fire extinguisher in your car. It can come in handy in this situation or if you’re involved in your own accident.

  • Take some photos.

After the accident, the motorists might not be able to take photos of the scene. So, if you have a phone with a camera, or a digital camera, take photos of the scene. This may help later.

  • Give a police report.

It’s possible you’ll be asked to give a police report, even if you didn’t witness the actual accident. The police will want to know what you did when you came upon the scene, and they’ll want you to recount what you did, and how you helped the individuals involved in the accident.

An accident can be scary, even if you witness a car accident. While you are not required to help, it can make a big difference to the people involved in the wreck. Knowing what to do ahead of time can save time and possibly save lives.

If you know someone who’s been in an accident, you can help them by telling them to call Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law for a free consultation. Our firm has battled government and insurance giants for over 20 years. Our toll-free number is 1-877-526-3457. We can also communicate electronically. Fill out this form so we can contact you at a convenient time.

How The New Medical Cards Will Impact You

POSTED BY Jon Corra . May 21, 2018

Individuals who receive Medicare are likely accustomed to paper cards, which can cause issues with information security. However, change is coming. Medicare recipients in West Virginia will be among the first individuals to receive the new cards. Here is what to expect:

Safety is paramount with the new cards. The former paper cards featured your Social Security Number. This could be troublesome for many because it left important personal information exposed. The new cards no longer feature an individual’s Social Security Number. Each new card will feature a new, unique Medicare Number. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will remove Social Security Numbers from all Medicare cards by 2019.

The new cards will not be released at the same time to all Americans. Instead, they will be released in waves. West Virginia will be a part of the first wave released, which started in April of 2018. Other states included in wave one are Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and the District of Columbia.

The new cards will be automatically sent via the United States Postal Service. Recipients won’t need to do anything to receive the new card. However, the CMS states that you should make sure your address is up to date. The CMS also states your benefits will not change with the new card. They also point out that the mailing will take time, and that your friends and neighbors may receive their cards before you do. The mail can be unpredictable, and the high volume of new cards being shipped can take a while to process.

You may wonder why the cards will remain paper. The simple reason is that, while a plastic card may be more durable, paper cards are easier for medical providers to make copies of. If you forget your card though, the provider may be able to look up your information by way of the new number.

If you’re in a Medicare Advantage Plan (like an HMO or PPO), your Medicare Advantage Plan ID card is your main card for Medicare—you should still keep and use it whenever you need care. However, you may also be asked to show your new Medicare card, so you should carry this card, too.

When you receive your new card, you should properly dispose of your old card. To see an example of the new card, click here.

If you’d like to know more about the services we offer, or if you’d like a free case evaluation, call us today. Our toll-free number is 1-877-526-3457. If you can’t talk now, fill out this form so we may call you at a better time.

RV Tires May Be The Cause Of Accidents, Deaths

POSTED BY Jon Corra . May 16, 2018

RV Tires May Be The Cause Of Accidents, Deaths
8.9 million households in the United States own RVs

Summer is just around the corner and, for millions of Americans, that means it’s time to go camping. While the traditional image of a camping trip involves a tent pitched under a starry sky, these days more and more people are opting for recreational vehicles. According to the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association, 8.9 million households in the United States own RVs. For many, RV travel is considered safe. However, recent reports show that a potentially deadly defect could be putting a lot of RV owners at risk.

It’s safe to assume many people don’t pay too much attention to tire brands. However, if you were playing a game like Family Feud, and you were asked to name a tire brand, you’d likely guess Goodyear due to their successful branding efforts for decades, including the familiar blimp that floats across the sky during sporting events every year. You may be surprised to learn this brand is the third largest tire manufacturer in the world, behind Michelin and Bridgestone. You may also be surprised to learn that Goodyear’s actions may have led to several accidental deaths.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration claims it has received allegations that defective Goodyear motorhome tires caused crashes that killed or injured 95 people over a decade. The allegations were revealed in an information-seeking letter sent to Goodyear by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Last year, the agency began investigating whether Goodyear’s G159 tires are unsafe. The probe began after a judge ordered the release of Goodyear data that had been sealed under court orders and settlement agreements. Lawsuits and safety advocates allege the tires were designed for delivery trucks and not for recreational vehicles that travel at highway speeds. The NHTSA states that the investigation covers about 40,000 tires made from 1996 to 2003.

Several news outlets are now sharing this news. However, one automotive website has been sharing information about the possibly defective tire for months. Jalopnik is a non-traditional online automotive news and culture journal. According to the website, there have been more than 40 lawsuits filed against the tire manufacturer as a result of the defective tire. They go on to state that Goodyear has admitted in court to receiving over 98 death or injury claims due to the G159 tire.

Jalopnik journalists bring up a good question in their article: why wasn’t an investigation launched sooner? They claim that nearly every lawsuit involved a settlement with plaintiffs which prevented the sharing of documents and findings with other plaintiffs, citing an excerpt from the NHTSA which states:

“…the data produced in the litigation was sealed under protective orders and confidential settlement agreements, precluding claimants from submitting evidence to the NHTSA.”

Jalopnik also found that Goodyear believed the tires to be safe for RV use, stating they (Goodyear) believed the tread separation was the result of user error. Goodyear believed it could be the result of underinflating the tire and/or overloading the vehicle.

The NHTSA investigation is ongoing.

Product liability claims or personal injury are common, you can get assistance from Personal injury lawyer. If you’d like to know more about this type of claim, give us a call today. Our number is 1-877-526-3457. Or, fill out this form so we can contact you at a better time.

 

5 Awful Social Security Myths

POSTED BY Jon Corra . May 04, 2018

Since 1994, we’ve helped thousands of people get the social security disability benefits as Social Security disability benefits lawyers they deserve.  Throughout the years, we’ve also heard a lot of questions from clients that originate from Social Security Myths.

There is a lot of information available online about Social Security disability. However, some of it isn’t quite true. This blog covers some of these Social Security Myths and explains why they are not accurate.

 Myth 1:

  • You will get rich on Social Security disability.

This is not true, it’s a Social Security Myths . Your Social Security disability benefit amount is based on the amount of income5 Awful Social Security Myths on which you have paid Social Security taxes over your lifetime.

 

So, the higher your income was throughout the years you worked, the more you will receive per month.

Most Social Security disability recipients receive between $700 and $1700 per month, and the average for 2018 is $1,197. For 2018, the SSI maximum benefit amount is $750 per month, and the SSD maximum benefits amount is $2,788 per month.

Social Security Myths 2:

  • You shouldn’t pursue Social Security disability and VA disability at the same time.

Many Veterans wait to pursue Social Security until their VA disability claim is decided, or vice versa, worrying that one claim will hinder the other. This is not true another  Social Security Myths.

While both are disability claims, they are handled by two different administrations. The Social Security Administration handles Social Security claims, while the Department of Veterans Affairs processes VA disability claims. There is no evidence to show that pursuing both types of claims at the same time will hurt either case.

Both VA disability and Social Security disability take a long time. So, if a VA claim takes 4 years to get approved, and a Social Security claim takes 3-4 years, you could be waiting nearly a decade for an approval on both if you wait to file for one until the other is finished.

Also, many of the medical records you need for Social Security can be used by the VA, and vise versa. Law firms like ours that handle both types of claims can submit records to both the VA and Social Security.

Myth 3:

  • Young people can’t get Social Security disability.

For the most part, it is more difficult for a younger person to get approved than a person who is nearing retirement. Just because it’s more difficult, however, doesn’t mean that it’s impossible for a younger person to get approved for Social Security disability.

The important thing to keep in mind is that the SSA wants to know if you are disabled and if that disability keeps you from working. Some disabilities will stop a person from working regardless of age.

Myth 4:

  • An attorney can’t help you get your benefits.

This is simply not true. There are a lot of things an attorney can do to help you with your claim. An attorney can help you file paperwork, pursue appeals, and also represent you in court. Many attorneys request and review medical records as well.

However, the best thing an attorney can do for someone pursuing Social Security disability is help guide them through the process. Social Security is confusing. It helps to have someone work with you who has been through the process before.

While we’re on the subject of myths, a lot of people believe an attorney can help get you approved faster. That’s not true either. Claimants who have hired an attorney follow the same processes and time frames as those who do not have an attorney.

Myth 5:

  • Disability benefits only exist for those who have worked.

This is only true if you’re pursuing a claim for Social Security disability. This program is based on your work history. However, another program exists for those who are disabled and have no work history.

It’s called Supplemental Security Income, or SSI for short. The SSA pays monthly benefits to people with limited income and resources who are disabled, blind, or age 65 or older. Blind or disabled children may also get SSI.

Social Security is a tough process. But finding the right attorney doesn’t have to be. Call us today for a free consultation. Our toll-free number is 1-877-526-3457. If you can’t talk now, fill out this form so we can contact you at a better time.

What Is My Personal Injury Claim Worth?

POSTED BY Jon Corra . May 02, 2018

When someone meets with our Personal Injury lawyers, they often want to know what is my personal injury claim worth?  While many law firms like to advertise big settlements and share how they were able to get specific clients a certain amount of money, that’s not something our firm advertises.

The main reason is that we don’t want to give anyone false hope about their case and what is my personal injury claim worth. It’s not fair to tell someone they’ll get a $100,000 settlement when we haven’t evaluated their case. The amount you will receive depends upon a lot of different factors, including:

 

  • Medical Expenses: Medical expenses that result from your injuries will play an important part in your settlement. If you have an extended hospital stay or must have multiple surgeries, this will likely result in a higher settlement. It’s also important to document any type of physical therapy that may result from the injuries.

 

What Is My Personal Injury Claim Worth?
The amount you will receive in a Personal Injury depends upon a lot of different factors

If your injury is serious enough, you may require future medical attention, too. Your settlement should reflect any future medical expenses that may occur.

 

  • Property Damage: In most cases, property damage usually refers to something like a car that was damaged in an accident. If the car was a total loss or suffered substantial damage, the settlement should reflect the amount of damage that occurred.

 

  • Lost wages: If you’re injured in a car accident, there is a good chance you’ll miss work because of injury. If you’re off work for an extended period of time, your settlement should reflect lost wages.

 

  • Pain and suffering: This is one of the categories that can be hard to quantify. The Pain and suffering refer to any emotional stress and pain that result from an accident. Pain and suffering may be minor, but in some cases, it can include depression, anger, and even PTSD. For instance, let’s say you’re an avid jogger, but someone hits your car. The resulting injury may make it difficult for you to do something you enjoy by continuing to jog. That is also an example of pain and suffering.

 

  • Punitive damages: Punitive damages can be difficult to understand if you don’t have a background in law. Essentially, punitive damages are meant to punish the offender. For instance, if a driver willingly drives recklessly, the court may assign punitive damages. To learn more about punitive damages, read our previous blog here.

There are a lot of factors that go into a settlement. The categories above reflect just a small part of what you may receive compensation for.

 

Any law firm can advertise large settlements, but we like to evaluate each case on an individual basis. It’s important to keep your expectations realistic, and it’s important to know that an insurance company isn’t likely to be on your side.

 

If you’d like to know more about what is my personal injury claim worth or  what we can do to help, call today for a free consultation. Our toll-free number is 1-877-526-3457. If you can’t talk now, fill out this form so that we can call you at a better time.

What Happens If You’re Injured On A Cruise?

POSTED BY Jon Corra . April 11, 2018

Here in West Virginia, we’ve had a tough winter. Mother Nature showed no mercy when she hit the Mid-Ohio Valley. It’s safe to say we’re all looking forward to spring, and that it’s time to start planning those early year vacations. For many people, this means taking a cruise this spring.

Cruises can be a lot of fun, but they aren’t without incident. Many news stories over the past 5 years have detailed a lot of the more dramatic accidents that have occurred on cruise ships. While those large-scale disasters are rare, it’s important to know what you should do if you’re injured on a cruise this year.

The Statute of Limitations is much different for a personal injury on a cruise.

Some people may worry that they can’t pursue legal action against a cruise line because of the disclaimer they sign when they purchase a ticket. However, a legal disclaimer isn’t going to prevent all legal action.

There is a difference between getting seasick on a cruise ship and receiving a physical injury due to negligence. Proving negligence is an important part of many personal injury claims, and the same is true when you’re injured on a cruise ship.

It’s important to keep the statute of limitations in mind when you’re injured on a cruise. Don’t put off filing a claim too long because it could hinder your case down the road.

There are some roadblocks while you are on a cruise because there is a good chance that you are far from home. Further, unless the injury is serious enough to require evacuation by helicopter, you’ll likely have to wait a while until the ship returns to port before you can do much.

However, the statute of limitations for most personal injury cases is two years. In cases against a cruise liner, you may only have one year to pursue a claim. The best advice is to pursue action as soon as possible. Additional advice:

Seek treatment. Most ships have some sort of medical staff on hand to treat passengers. It’s important to be treated as soon as possible. Treating on the ship is important, but so is treating once you’ve returned to land. If your port is far from your hometown, you may want to treat with a local facility and also follow up with your primary care physician.

Don’t forget to report the incident. This may be more difficult depending on the severity of the injury, but reporting the accident will help with your case. Failing to report the injury will likely work against you. A report will help prove where the injury occurred. If you don’t report it, the cruise line may argue that your injury occurred elsewhere.

Seek witnesses. Most people don’t go on cruises alone. However, if you do, or if your family is not around, you may want to try to find witnesses. You’ll want to get their contact information in case you need their testimony later.

Don’t settle. The cruise line may want to offer you a quick gift or a free cruise to keep you from pursuing legal action, but a severe injury is likely worth more than a free cruise. It may be tempting to accept the first offer, but it almost certainly won’t make up for years of pain and suffering.

Does it matter if the cruise line is owned by a foreign company? For the most part, this shouldn’t be an issue. However, every case is different, and it depends upon which country is the home base for the cruise company. Regardless, don’t let the foreign ownership keep you from pursuing a claim.

Cruises are a lot of fun, but they can be hazardous. Knowing what to do if you’re injured can prove beneficial. If you’ve been injured on a cruise, contact our Personal Injury Lawyer  ,call us today for a free consultation at our toll-free number is 1-877-526-3457. If you can’t talk now, fill out this form so that a member of our team can call you at a better time.

A Comprehensive List of Insurance Terms

POSTED BY Jon Corra . April 04, 2018

Unless you happen to work in the industry, auto insurance can be complicated. With so many options, it’s good to have a basic understanding of the different types of coverage available.

For instance, if you have a car worth $65,000, and someone with liability coverage of only $50,000 totals your car , what happens? Do you have enough underinsured motorist coverage to cover the rest of the damages? And does your insurance include medical payments coverage? .

These are important questions to ask but, if you’re not even sure what these policies mean, it may be difficult to have a conversation with your insurer about them you can consult with Car Accident Lawyers , if you want to stay safe side for insurance. Our guide below explains the most common types of coverage.

 

Bodily Injury Liability

Having the proper coverage for your vehichle can make a big difference.

If another person is injured because of your carelessness or the carelessness of someone driving your car, this coverage typically requires your insurance company to pay the claim.

You can consult Personal injury lawyer and learn about the possibility to file cases and know how you can claim compensation.

The company’s obligation is limited, however, to the amount of coverage you purchased.

In West Virginia for example, the minimum of $20,000 per person and $40,000 per accident must be purchased and your company will pay no more than $20,000 to each injured person and no more than $40,000 total for any one accident.

You could be held personally responsible for any damages above the amount of your insurance coverage.  You may see shorthand references to liability insurance limits as 20/40, etc.

We always recommend that our clients purchase additional coverage. It’s surprisingly inexpensive to increase your liability coverage above the minimum required by law.

Property-Damage Liability

This is similar to bodily injury liability except that it covers damage to another person’s property rather than physical injuries.  The company’s obligation to pay is also limited to the amount of coverage you buy.

The minimum property damage coverage in West Virginia is $10,000.  So, shorthand references to liability and property damage coverage combined may be written as 20/40/10.  Again, we recommend that our clients increase their property damage coverage above the minimum required by law.

Comprehensive

This category of protection generally requires your insurance company to pay for damage to your car caused by something other than an auto accident (for example fire, theft, or vandalism).

The company’s obligation to you will be limited by the amount of any “deductible” you may have purchased.  A $100 deductible means that you pay the first $100, then the company pays the rest.

Collision

This type of coverage means that your insurance company pays for damage to your car caused by an auto accident.  Deductibles also are common with this coverage.

Medical Payments Coverage

Your insurance company will pay the reasonable medical expenses of anyone in your car who is injured in an accident.  Under this coverage, it does not matter who was at fault in the collision.

You and most members of your household need not be in a car for this coverage to apply.  For example, you would also be covered if struck by a car while you were a pedestrian.  As with liability insurance, the company’s obligation is limited to the amount of coverage you buy.

Medical payments coverage is available in West Virginia and is available regardless of who is found to be at fault in an accident. This coverage is not mandatory.

Underinsured Motorist

If a driver injures you or your car’s occupants, and his or her liability insurance is insufficient to cover the full value of your claims for physical injuries, this coverage will pay your claims for physical injuries.

It serves as a substitute for the bodily injury liability insurance that the other driver did not have.  This coverage also is limited to the amount of insurance you buy.

As with personal injury protection coverage, payment is not limited to automobile occupants.

Uninsured Motorist

If a driver injures you or your car’s occupants, and has no liability insurance to cover your claims for physical injuries, this coverage will take care of your claims.

Again, your company’s obligation is limited to the amount of coverage you purchase.  Like personal injury protection and underinsured motorist coverage, it is not limited to automobile occupants.

Insurance can be confusing, and claims can be tough. You probably wouldn’t want to fight an insurance company on your own.

If you’ve been injured in a car accident, give us a call today for a free consultation. Our toll-free number is 1-877-526-3457. If you can’t talk now, fill out this form and we will contact you at a better time.

How Does the RFC form Impact Your Disability Claim?

POSTED BY Jon Corra . December 11, 2017

Anyone who has even considered applying for Social Security Disability will tell you that there are a lot of acronyms. An individual pursuing Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income will quickly learn that DDS is an abbreviation for Disability Determination Section. They also quickly find out that ALJ means Administrative Law Judge, and DE is short for Disability Examiner. Even Social Security Administration is typically abbreviated to SSA. But one acronym that many Social Security applicants may not be aware of is RFC.

RFC is short for residual functional capacity. Now that you know what the letters stand for, you’ll likely want to know what it means. Here is how the SSA explains RFC:

“Residual functional capacity assessment. Your impairment(s), and any related symptoms, such as pain, may cause physical and mental limitations that affect what you can do in a work setting. Your residual functional capacity is the most you can still do despite your limitations. We will assess your residual functional capacity based on all the relevant evidence in your case record.”

Essentially, SSA is determining what limitations you may have due to your conditions. For instance, back pain may limit your ability to stand for longer than 4 hours out of an 8 hour day or social anxiety may limit your ability to work with the general public.  SSA will be looking to see if there are still jobs within the national economy that you can do despite the limitations defined within your RFC.

If you have multiple disabilities, SSA will consider the combined limitations established for all of them to determine your ability to work. For instance, your back pain may limit you to only performing sedentary type jobs but your mental health diagnosis also limits your ability to concentrate for longer than 30 minutes at a time.  The physical & mental limitations combined would further reduce the jobs you could perform than only one limitation by itself. That’s why it’s important to list ALL of your disabilities when you apply for benefits. Or, if you’re working with an attorney, you’ll want to make sure they’re aware of all of your disabilities, as well as the ways in which they limit you.

[youtube url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YOK7KTjXhVs” width=”500″ height=”380″]Now that you understand the basics of RFC, you may be curious as to who determines your RFC. Actually, it’s a combination of people. Disability Determination Services is a state agency, and is the first level of determining disability benefits. DDS has individuals called Disability Examiners who work with a medical consultant to determine your RFC. These individuals consider limitations your doctor has assigned you, such as the inability to stand more than 10 minutes or lift more than 10 pounds. This is why it is extremely important to have your doctor document the limitations along with your symptoms within your medical records.

The RFC is first used to determine if you can do the type of work that you’ve done for the past 15 years. If you’ve done sedentary work for the past 15 years and your RFC states that you can do light work, which is above sedentary work, they will likely suggest that you return to your previous type of work. If the Disability Examiner determines you can’t do your prior job, they will then determine whether, given your RFC, your age, your education, and your skills, you should be able to learn another job.

This can be a difficult process to understand and navigate. That’s why so many people turn to the team at Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law to help them get the benefits they deserve. If you’d like to know more about the services we offer, or if you’d like a free consultation, give us a call today. Our toll-free number is 1-877-526-3457. If you can’t talk to us now, fill out this form so that we may call you at a better time.