What do I need to win?
SS bases their decision entirely on your medical records and the medical opinions of medical providers, both yours and those who actually examine or treat you, and those SS hires to just read your medical records.
My doctor told me I can’t do my job anymore and to apply. Is that enough to win?
NO! SS wants your providers to explain why you can’t work, such as how long you can sit, stand and walk, and how much you can lift, not just the conclusion that you can’t work. Depending on your age, it isn’t enough that you can’t do what you used to do, you must prove that there is no job in the national economy that you can do. I’ll help you get your medical provider’s opinions.
I have more than one medical problem and both physical and mental health symptoms. Do I have to choose just one?
No. You need to tell SS about all your symptoms that limit your ability to do a job, not just the job you used to do.
How do I apply, and do I apply for Disability or SSI?
I’ll help you complete an application online. To qualify for Disability you must have worked and earning a sufficient amount of money in 5 of the 10 years prior to the onset of your disability. SSI is a welfare program for disabled children, or disabled adults who have not worked long enough or recently enough to qualify for Disability. The medical test is the same for both programs.
How long will it take for a determination to be issued?
It usually takes only a few months for a first decision to be issued. During Covid it has been taking much longer for cases to be assigned to an Examiner at the Disability Determination Service (DDS).
Will I have to fill out any additional forms?
Yes. After your application is filed you will most likely need to complete a Function Report and a Work History. I can help you complete these forms and I will fax them directly to the Disability Determination Service (DDS) where your case is being decided.
Do I need to get medical records or reports?
No. You don’t have to get any medical records or reports yourself.
Will SSA ask me to see one of their doctors?
Sometimes SSA will ask you to see a private doctor who is paid by SSA for what they call a “Consultative Examination” (CE). This is usually requested if you have insufficient medical records or opinions. If you get a notice to go to a CE I can explain what happens at such an appointment. Make sure you go to this appointment. If there is a problem with the date I can help rearrange it.
What happens if I get a denial notice?
If you are denied you must Request Reconsideration. I can help you complete the necessary forms. If you are denied at this, the next step is to request a Hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). I help file the forms for this appeal, request updated medical evidence, prepare you for the hearing and go with you to the hearing.
What if I’m denied at the Hearing?
The next step is an appeal to the Appeals Council. If there is good cause for such an appeal, then I can help you with this too.
What do you charge?
My fee is set by SSA. It is typically 25% of your retroactive benefits and any retroactive benefits your spouse and children receive with a cap of $6000, or whatever amount is set by SSA. Under some circumstances it can be 25% without a cap but that is something that would be discussed and agreed to beforehand.
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