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Brad Thomas Disability PLLC

  • Three Signs Your Disability Case May Have Been Granted At Your Disability Hearing

    Three Signs Your Disability Case May Have Been Granted At Your Disability Hearing
    Here are three signs that your disability case may have granted at your disability hearing:

    1) First, if your judge asked a bunch of leading questions that seem to suggest that you are disabled. What is a leading question? A leading question is a question that suggests the answer, such as “You’re feeling good, right?” or “You have a hard time getting up in the morning, don’t you?” Those are leading type questions. And if the judge starts to ask a lot of them, and it seems that the judge is building a case that you are disabled, then that’s a great sign.

    2) The second way that you can know that your hearing went well is if the judge asks your lawyer to amend the Alleged Onset Date. By amending the Alleged Onset Date, the judge is basically saying, I think this person might be disabled. They are asking the lawyer to help save them time when they write the decision. If the judge just wants to deny a case, they don’t ask the attorney to amend the Alleged Onset Date, they just deny the case. If they might grant a case, they’ll ask the attorney to amend the Alleged Onset Date.

    3) And the third way that you know that your case might have gotten granted at your Social Security Disability hearing, is if the vocational expert does not list any jobs that a hypothetical person could do. If the Social Security Administration is going to deny your case on medical grounds, they have to be able to show that there are jobs available for you to do. So if in response to the judge’s hypotheticals, the vocational expert says that no jobs are available, then there’s a good chance your case was granted, at least on medical grounds.
  • How Often Should You Update The SSA On Your Medical Information

    How often should you update the Social Security Administration on the status of your medical file? 

    The answer to the question is NOT IN BETWEEN APPEALS – unless you have a good reason, like a serious new condition that you’ve been diagnosed with, or a major accident or something like that.

     Let’s talk about why that is. 

    The SSA has to go through a 4 step process with medical records. 

    Step 1, you have to tell them

    Step 2, they have to go out and order the medical records. Sometimes the SSA can get the records really quick, within a few weeks, sometimes it’ll take a few months for the medical records to come in.

    Step 3 is they have to review the medical records.

    Step 4 is they finally have to make a decision. 

    Whenever you send in new information to the SSA about, “Hey, I had a new appointment with my orthopedic doctor”, or “Hey, I had an x ray done”. It starts this whole wheel again where, “Okay, we got the information, and now we have to order it, evaluate it and make a decision.” And if you repeatedly tell the SSA about new doctor’s appointments or visits that can cause the SSA to reset that wheel every time. And particularly with the ordering of medical records, it can cause your claim to be delayed by months and months iIf the SSA is continually having to reorder new medical records for your case. 

    Whenever you appeal your denial for your disability case, the SSA is going to ask for what all medical care providers have you seen since you last applied, then it’s a GREAT TIME  to let them know about any new medical treatment that you’ve had, because they’re starting the four step process over again. 

    Now, if you have like a major, something happened, you got diagnosed with cancer, had stroke, had a heart attack, you’re involved in a major car accident, something along those lines, then YES , I would let the SSA know about those updated medical records because it makes a big deal in your case. But if it’s just a general decline in your condition, you’re not feeling as well as you were, I would save that for the next appeal, because very likely going to get denied anyways. 

    And given how long it takes for claims to get decided, adding months and months on to a claim just takes long enough as it is. You don’t need to make this process last any longer. Your primary goal is to get in front of a judge for a disability hearing. That process already takes a year and a half to two years. So you don’t want to push that any further down than you have to. And I don’t think that medical updates to the SSA are really going to increase your chances of getting your claim granted at the initial and reconsideration level because so few cases already get granted at those levels. For the Initial level, 30% of cases get granted at the initial level. For the Reconsideration level it’s 12% of cases – those aren’t grant rates that I’m going to chase after when even the national average at the hearing level is 55%.

     So generally my GOAL is to get to the hearing level as quickly as possible because it’s where your best chances are anyways.

  • Understanding Disability Hearings: In-Person, Video Conference, and Teleconference

    Let’s talk about what type of hearing to have for your Social Security Disability case.

    There’s 3 different options that you have for disability hearings, there are:

    1) In person hearings
    2) Video conference hearings
    3) Telephone conference hearings

    I have 3 BIG REASONS why IN PERSON HEARING is my least favorite kind of hearing.
    First off, clients testify poorly, or the poorest of the three at this kind of hearings, and I have a theory as to that. For most disability claimants in person hearings requires you to drive to your In person Disability hearing office. For a lot of people, that’s going to be a 30 minute to an hour drive, which for a lot of disability claimants is going to be painful for them. Most likely, it’s going to be in a downtown area. So you’re gonna have to find parking downtown, walk to the building that your disability hearings at, find the disability office located inside that building, which is oftentimes very hard. You have to get searched by a security guard, you’re going to be in unfamiliar surroundings, you probably have to get up early to go. And so this is a tremendous mental drain for people who are already not feeling well and have a lot on their plates.

    I’ve noticed that whenever people are testifying from home, they’re a lot more comfortable, they’re a lot more relaxed, and they haven’t had to go through this arduous process. That’s one of the reasons why I don’t like in person.

    The second reason is, things just go wrong at in person hearings. For example, if a client has back problems, and is only able to sit down for short periods of time, and their testimony is “I can only sit for 30 minutes, 15 minute intervals in an office chair” during their disability hearing. and they’ll forget to stand up or need to stand up or say that they’re uncomfortable. And so their testimonies, they can only sit for 15 to 30 minutes, they just get scared in the moment. And then so they won’t ask to stand up whenever they need to. And the judges, they’re evaluating the credibility and it’s just “Well, okay, well, he’s telling me one thing, but visibly, he sat in that chair the whole time.” You talk to the clients after the hearing, and they’ll say they were scared, they didn’t want to interrupt the flow of the hearing, but it was inconsistent with their testimony. And so it’s a bad look. Or things like client will say, “I can’t lift my arm over my head” and they’ll show the judge how far they can lift it over their head, but they can lift it over their head, they couldn’t lift it over their head, of course, numerous times throughout a day, but in demonstrating to the judge clients shoot themselves in the foot. Or often than not, sometimes clients will forget their assistive devices, a walker or a cane, a crutch, a knee brace, back brace. If you don’t show up with those things to the Disability hearing, the judge is going to assume you don’t need them.

    All those types of issues go wrong. There’s other stuff that I’m forgetting, but it can get hectic.

    And lastly, it’s about the judges to I’ve got to guess that the judges are more relaxed and happy if they’re in their homes, conducting a Disability hearing, as opposed to having to drive to the office and throw on the old robe. And so a happy judge is a granting judge. And so we want them comfortable as well.

    Those are the three big reasons why I don’t like the in person hearings.

    For VIDEO CONFERENCE HEARING. They’re not as bad. I just as don’t really do them anymore. Just because they have the same problems with in person hearings as things going wrong with demonstrating or not standing up. Whenever you testified, you have trouble sitting for long periods of time. And then technical difficulties occur. Not all clients have video software. So it’s categorically my office tries to do everything as a phone conference hearing.

    Lastly, PHONE CONFERENCE HEARING, things just go smoothly with them. The clients testify well. Judges seem to like them just fine. haven’t noticed anything with judges just liking or discriminating against phone conference hearings. And I understand the concern that you want the judge to be able to see you and see your condition. But really a proofs in your medical records. You can’t really win your case with testimony at the hearing. I don’t think that the credibility arguments are meaningful in that the judge can still assess your credibility over the phone. They’re just looking for consistency with the medical records or they might have questions about things that weren’t clear to them based on the reading of the record. But it’s not going to be “Well oh gosh, really? This guy didn’t have the medical from the file. But did you see how he dragged his leg as he walked in the hearing?

    Disability judges just don’t operate like that.

  • Can You Work While Applying For Social Security Disability Benefits?

    Right off the bat, generally, it’s a real bad idea to work while you have disability claim pending. You’re going to need a convincing reason to tell the judge as to why you couldn’t work more and you need to apply for disability. In certain circumstances, it can be helpful to work while applying for disability. But the basic rule is:

    “as long as you’re making less than $1,470 in 2023”

    It could be off a little bit with $1 amount, so long as you’re under that what’s called substantial gainful activity, or SGA. For short, so long as you’re under SGA, the SSA says that you can still apply for disability benefits, and not just get flat out denied.

    My experience, though, is that if you’re working close to the max, anywhere close to the max, even half of the max making around $700 a month, it’s really hard to win those cases judges just want to deny them, they’re very easy to deny. For judges, it’s like, hey, they’re already working some so if they can pick up another shift, they’d be over SGA and making over $1,400 a month. So case denied. And so if you’re trying to keep it under SGA, you need to be making $300 / $400 / $500 a month is really what you should be looking for. And no work at all is way better than that.

    The other situation where work comes into play with disability is failed work attempts. So if you have a job that lasts for less than six months, while you’re applying for disability benefits, regardless of how many hours you’re working, or how much you’re making a month, less than six months failed work attempt does not affect your claim for disability benefits, or at least that’s what the SSA says. Really how it works is:

    “the shorter that your job lasts, the better off for you”

    It is because you’re proving to the SSA “Hey, I went out and got a job. And it lasted for one month and I got fired for the reasons that I’m applying for disability benefits in the first place.” It just makes sense, it can make cases seem a WHOLE LOT STONGER, especially for people under 50.

    That kind of proof can make a difference in disability cases getting granted in my opinion, not a silver bullet, but it can make cases look stronger. But of course, the closer you are to the full six months, the more skeptical your disability judge is going to be if you have a to two failed work attempts of five months each and they’re both back to back, it’s going to be like well, you know, it looks like this guy can or or gal can can really work. Even if it’s not true, you were getting write ups and you’re hanging on by a thread the whole time. That’s just kind of the narrative that takes hold. But three or four work attempts all of one month to two months while your disability claims pending, where you’re trying to work full time hours. I’m excited to present that to a judge because it kind of proves we’re there to talk about in the first place.

    My general advice is to not work if at all possible. While your disability claims pending. Some people need to make ends meet while while their claims pending. And I understand that that’s very likely going to cause your case to get denied. In certain circumstances. It can make a case stronger but wouldn’t exactly encourage people to go out and try to work a bunch of short one month jobs and get fired to make their case stronger. The best bet is just to not work at all.

  • Should you apply for Social Security Disability?

    Should you apply for Social Security Disability?

    The answer to that question really depends on whether or not you’re working or not working.
    If you’re not working, then YES – you should absolutely apply for Social Security disability, if you have a medical condition that’s going to prevent you from working for at least one full calendar year. There really are no downsides to applying.

    You can apply online, it’s very easy!
    There’s no upfront costs associated with applying for social security disability.
    If you want to hire a lawyer for your Social Security Disability case, your lawyer will get paid out of the back due benefits that you do if your case has won.
    If you decide that you no longer want to pursue your claim, and you want to drop it in just in the middle of the process. You wouldn’t owe your lawyer anything for doing that. So long as you’re not able to work through a medical condition.

    There really are no downsides to just getting a disability application file for yourself. If you don’t apply for Social Security disability, or you take a lot of time deciding whether or not you want to apply. There are disadvantages and drawbacks to that.

    For SSDI – which is the more favorable of the two programs for disability between SSDI and SSI, the program that pays more has deadlines associated with it, you have to qualify for it before a certain date in order to get the higher amount for disability benefits. Usually, if you have a strong work history, you’ll have five years within which to apply for and get disability benefits. However, it can take up to two years for a claim to go from the application to the hearing level. So you get denied the first time at the hearing level, you’ve already used one of your bites at the apple assuming you have the full five years if you are currently employed in considering applying for disability because your medical conditions are making it harder and harder to do your job. That is a much harder situation to be in to determine whether or not you should apply for disability. Some questions come to mind, the primary one you’re going to need to answer is:

    How are you going to support yourself?
    Usually it takes about a year and a half to two years for disability claim to go from start to finish.

    How will you support yourself while your claim is pending?

    Are your doctors going to be willing to support your Social Security Disability claim?
    You’re going to want to take a statement to your doctor and have them complete a form for you that talks about what your limitations are. They’re called a either a physical functional capacity form or a mental functional capacity form. If you don’t have a copy of these documents, you can search for them on the internet. I also have copies of them available on my website:

    Just download my guide to disability and I attach them for the back of it.

    Another question you’re going to want to answer is:

    Are you going to be able to continue affording medical care while your disability claims pending?
    Disability claims are mostly decided on the contents of your medical records. So if you’re no longer going to be able to get medical care because you quit your job to apply for disability, then that can be a problem for you if you’re no longer able to get medical treatment.

    Another thing that you should be able to consider is:

    How will continuing to work negatively or will it negatively affect your health?
    If you have to a hard job that requires a lift a lot or be on your feet a lot?
    Will this cause your physical condition to continue to deteriorate?

    Before you quit your job, you should probably talk to a lawyer regarding what’s your chances are to get disability benefits, if you have a poor chance of getting disability either due to your age or to the severity of your symptoms, you’re going to want to know that up front for you quit work so that you don’t waste two years of your life to get to the end of a process where you never really had a shot to begin with.

    You should consider prior to quitting if you’re wanting to apply for disability is if you’re on the cusp of getting fired or getting fired from a job. From a storytelling standpoint, it’s more compelling to disability judge than just quitting a job because your conditions got severe. So if you think you might get fired from your job, you might just wait for that to happen instead of quitting.

    And finally, before you quit, you should consider whether or not you’re going to be able to live off of your monthly disability benefits if your case does get granted disability paid some doesn’t pay a whole lot if you live by yourself or if you have high overhead expenses. You should certainly call the SSA find out what your monthly benefit would be and know that going into the process so you don’t get yourself in a bind after you quit your job.

  • SSA Listing 13.14 Cancer of the Lungs

    Social Security Disability listing 13.14 Cancer of the Lungs

    I am not a doctor, I am a lawyer who is trying to make these disability listings a little more accessible for disability claimants.

    Let’s look at the listings! So, if you meet the A criteria, B criteria or C criteria, you meet the medical requirements for social security disability and you should get an application started immediately.

    The A criteria, non small cell carcinoma inoperable, unresectable, recurrent or metastatic disease. If you meet any of those four, and you have non small cell carcinoma, you meet the a criteria. So let’s take a deeper dive, non small cell carcinoma, this is like 85% of lung cancer, and if it is inoperable or unresectable, these two words are often used interchangeably to say that surgery can’t be performed on the cancer. They have a shade of difference in meaning, one means it’s too risky to perform the surgery and the other is the surgery would kill you. And if you see either of these two words, in your medical record, you meet the criteria. Recurrent, meaning they perform surgery to remove the cancer and then it returned or metastatic disease to or beyond the hilar nodes. Metastatic disease means it has moved to another part of the body. The hilar nodes are where your lungs meet your trachea in your body. So if you have cancer in your lungs, that spread to another part of your lungs, that’s not up to the the hilar nodes, you do not meet this listing, which is unfortunate.

    That’s Part A, or you can meet Part B, which is just if you see the word small cell cell carcinoma as your diagnosis and your medical records, then you meet the criteria as simple as that, or can meet C

    Criteria C which is carcinoma of the superior sulcus (including Pancoast tumors) it’s usually going to be Pancoast tumors that affect the superior sulcus. Other types of cancer can affect this area, but it’s usually going to be Pancoast. The superior sulcus is an important part of the body that’s listing worthy. It’s where the top of the lungs meet your chest wall. And it’s important because lots of nerves and blood vessels run through this area. Whenever cancer affects it, or cancer treatments are being used in that area, and it greatly affects other body systems this therefore disabling. Carcinoma of the superior sulcus with multimodal anti cancer therapy means that your doctor is using more than one treatment therapy like surgery, radiation, immunotherapy, chemotherapy. Doctors using more than one to treat this would meet the disability listing and that listing is going to run from the start date of the first multimodal therapy. So if your doctor says this person is going to need radiation therapy, and chemotherapy, it would be from whichever of those two starts first, if your doctor talked about you needing multimodal therapy, and none of those therapies have started yet, the SSA is going to reserve judgment on whether or not you are disabled. Then later it says consider under a disability until at least 18 months from the date of diagnosis, meaning you’re going to get disability benefits for at least 18 months. After that they are going to reevaluate and see if you are still disabled under their rules.

  • SSA – 3369 Work History Report Walkthrough

    In this walkthrough, we’ll guide you through each section of the SSA 3369 – Work History Report, provide tips to help you complete it effectively and provide an example on how I would complete this form if I were applying for disability. Whenever I go through this guide, I give different advice for people who are below 50 and for people who are over 50, let’s just start that out!

    If you are below 45 years old to be absolutely safe, and you’re applying for social security disability, it really does not matter how you fill this form out, regardless of how you fill it out, you’re going to have to show the Social Security Administration that there are no jobs that you can complete in order for you to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits, this form just really doesn’t matter for you.

    If you are 45 and up, particularly if you’re over 50, it really starts to matter. Once you’re over 50, it becomes a lot easier to get disability benefits, and you no longer have to show that you can’t perform every job, you just have to show that you can’t perform jobs at the light level, meaning that you don’t have to show that you can’t perform sedentary jobs, and you would still be able to get Social Security Disability benefits. And here’s the catch- so long as you cannot perform your past work.

    And so it becomes really important to fill this form out in a way that’s going to be favorable for your Social Security Disability claim. Because whether or not you get disability benefits could depend largely on whether or not from your past work and the SSA gets that information from you using this form.

    The first section of the form asks for basic personal information such as your name, Social Security number, and your daytime telephone number. If you want to reach me about your Social Security Disability case, I can be reached at 972-863-2367

    Next section talks about the Job History

    List the Job title, we’ll say – warehouse worker. Type of business – construction. Dates worked – 2005 through 2010. This job would barely be relevant because it’s 2023 as of writing and please note that the only jobs you need to include here are the jobs that you’ve had in the last 15 years. So really only be important from 2008 onward. Also, this is going to be a heavy job.

    We”ll include a second job – barista. Type of business – coffee shop, work there from 2011 through 2015. You’re on your feet all day for this job, but you’re gonna have to do the heavy lifting of the warehouse worker job.

    And then lastly, we’re going to be a – secretary, type of business – insurance. And we work this job from 2016 through 2020 – when we hypothetically stopped working. And this will give you an idea of how to favorably fill out a warehouse worker job, barista job or a light job, and then the sedentary job with Secretary.

    The first job or warehouse worker earns $15/hour, 8hours/day, 5days/week.

    Describe this job. Whenever you’re filling out your job information you need to be as detailed as you can possibly be so we’re gonna say:

    Lifted and carried materials around the warehouse. Sorted and stored materials in their location. Drove forklift to transport materials. Drafted, received and copied data from packing slips. Made sure warehouse floor was clear of debris.

    Seriously every time for all jobs, you want to include as much detail as possible in these three lines. If you take longer than three lines, attach an additional page. Essentially, your case comes down to whether or not you can perform your past work if you can’t do part of what a job entailed that might prevent you from being able to return to that past job which might win or lose is your case. So this part’s really important.

    Did you use machines tools or equipment? Yes.

    Technical knowledge or skills? Yes.

    Did you complete any reports? Yes.

    I’m saying this for this job because it fits our hypothetical job that we’re talking about. But preferably you want the answers to these questions to be no. The more physically demanding a job is, the better it is for you. The more skilled the job is, the worse it is for you as a general principle.

    In this job, how many hours total each day did you walk stand, sit, climb, stoop, kneel, crouch, crawl, handle, reach, right? So you’re walking, standing and sitting need to add up to 8hours. Walk for 5hours, standing for 2hours, sitting for 1hour – and this adds up to 8hours a day. And the rest of these don’t need to add up to , let’s say we did reaching for 30minutses, handling small objects for 4hours, the rest of these matter less. It’s really about the walking, standing and sitting. Any of these could make a difference for any one particular case. But both cases are going to depend on the walking, sitting and standing. Reaching & handling objects big or small is kind of second place. Manipulative limitations are very strong in disability cases. The higher the handling, reaching and writing, the better. The higher the walking and standing, the better the lower the sitting, the better.

    And of course, always be honest, whenever you completing these forms, you can’t have like a job title warehouse worker where you’re sitting for 6hours in the day, it’s gonna affect your credibility, but just understanding the general guideposts of what’s favorable is important in completing these forms.

    Lifting and carrying, explain what you lifted, carried How far you carried it? How often did this lifted heavy machine parts for at least half today? Let’s say, Lifted heavy machine parts for half a day.

    Lifting and carrying is important whenever you’re over 50. If your doctor or you have a problem with your back, you can no longer lift or carry heavy weights that you used to in your old job. That can be anything that wins your case for you. So think deep and think about the heaviest thing that you ever lifted in your job and talk about it here and talk about everything you ever have to lift, but most importantly, is the frequency that you had to lift and the heaviest weight you ever lifted, because those are the things that are outer limits that you can show that okay, well, I can’t lift that frequently anymore. So I should be considered disabled, I can’t do that past job. Or I can’t lift that heavy of a weight anymore. So I therefore can’t do that past job and should be disabled check the heaviest weight lifted.

    Heaviest weight lifted,100 pounds here. This is a warehouse job. This is very heavy work for us. But you most frequently lifted 50 pounds or more for the heavier weight. Of course, the better for you. Regardless of job type.

    Did you supervise other people in this job? You want the answer that question to be No, of course we’re not going to lie. We did supervise people in this job and we will do supervise fewer the better. How much time you spent supervising people, the less the better. We’ll say two hours. Did you hire and fire? you want no for this question but we’ll say yes here. Are your lead worker you want the answer to be no. I mean, it’s just it’s just better for you but the truth is the most important thing.

    Barista. Rate of pay $15 an hour, 8hours a day, 5days a week.

    Describe this job. Made coffee drinks. Used an espresso machine. Serve pastries to customers. Worked a cash register. Receive boxes of goods to be served and sold. Washed dishes in back. Mopped floor at store close. Took out trash. Put clean dishes in the areas to be used..

    I’m just trying to show you just got to fill up all the space with as much stuff as possible focusing primarily on this so much I had to lift and so much I had to reach that kind of stuff.

    Did you use machines? Yes, the Espresso machine. Technical knowledge or skills? I’m gonna say not technical knowledge. Did you do any writing? No.

    We had to walk for maybe 1hour, walked & stand all day. We didn’t do any sitting. We didn’t do any climbing. Half an hour of stooping, half an hour for kneeling, crouching and crawling. Grasping objects for two hours a day, reaching nearly all day. And we’re handling small objects all day.

    Lifting and carrying. Lifted heavy boxes in the back of store that contain food to be sold to customers. Emptied trash. Moved mop bucket.

    The heaviest weight lifted. I’m going to say 50 pounds. Most frequently, less than 10.

    Did you supervise other people. No. Skip to the last question if the answer’s no. Were you lead worker, No. We’ve emphasized that we did a lot of heavy lifting.

    Job title 3. This is if you remember our secretary job, working in insurance.

    Rate of pay, we’re doing $15 an hour again, eight hours a day, five days a week

    For the secretary job. Writing letters. Transcribing. dictations. Filing documents. Receive phone calls from clients. Make phone calls inside office and to other businesses. Update clients regarding status of claims. Draft and reply to emails on behalf of bsiness owner.

    Machines, tools or equipment, no. Technical knowledge or skills, Yes. Performed writing, complete reports. Yes.

    And this is going to be a sedentary job because it requires you to sit for most of the day. Handle big objects maybe occasionally, reached nearly all day, write, type or handle small objects, nearly all day.

    Lifting and carrying. Boxes of paper.

    Lifting up to 50 pounds, but usually lifting less than that, and not supervising or being a lead worker. And so that’s how I would complete the form.

    One thing that you should know about are composite jobs. Composite jobs are jobs that have the basic elements of two or more jobs that have been combined into one job so that it doesn’t have a counterpart in what’s called the Dictionary of Occupational Titles, which is the big list of jobs that the SSA uses to categorize jobs that disability claimants have the composite job rules important because if you are over 50, and your case comes down to whether or not you can perform your past work, if you can show that your job is a composite job. That is it’s two jobs in one, and that you can’t do one of those two jobs anymore that were combined in your past job. You don’t have to show that you can’t perform that other job that you could still do.

    For example, let’s say you are a school bus monitor monitors conduct of children on school bus to maintain discipline and safety is the basic description of it. The L means this is a light job, which requires standing for six hours, sitting for two hours in an eight hour work day, lifting no more than 20 pounds at a time and only 10 pounds frequently. If you’re a school bus monitor and want to show that you can no longer perform this job, you could combine it with a child care attendant, which is a job that attends to personal needs of handicapped children while in school to receive specialized academic and physical training wheels, handicapped children to classes, it goes on and on. But importantly, this is a medium job, which requires lifting up to 50 pounds, and lifting up to 25 pounds frequently at a job if you are working on a school bus. But there are children with wheelchairs on that school bus that you have to help then you could win your disability case if you can show that this job that you did in the past was a combination of two jobs and that you can no longer perform one of them and therefore you don’t have to show that you can no longer perform the job as a school bus monitor which if you’re over 50 is just super duper important I would contact an attorney if you have questions about whether or not you might be able to apply the composite jobs rule to win your case. .

    If you’re interested in applying for disability or looking for information I have a free guide to applying for disability on my website:

    Scroll about halfway down the page, enter your email, get a copy of the guide sent to you at least got some good stuff in there. I spent a lot of time on it and I hope it’s some benefit to you.

  • Differences Between SSI and SSDI

    Today we’re gonna be talking about the differences between SSI and SSDI.


    SSI is eligibility is based on financial need, you have to have very limited or no resources in order to qualify for SSI and for every dollar of additional benefits or resources that you have, that decreases the amount of benefits that you receive until you would get $0 in SSI, because you’re above the resource limit.

    For SSDI, It is an insurance program you pay into by working, the more of a work history you have, the more benefits that you receive, and the longer in the future, you’ll be able to qualify for SSDI based on your work history. So if you’ve worked basically, for the last 10 years held a consistent job working 40 hours a week, you’ll usually have about five years after you stop working in order to qualify for disability benefits.

    The next difference we’re going to talk about is “What the monthly benefit would be under SSI and SSDI.”

    For SSI, the average monthly benefit is about a little over $600, close to 700.

    For SSDI. There’s a wide range that you could get paid for most people are going to get about 1300 a month and SSDI benefits. If you had very large earning history, then you can get up to $3,000 a month in monthly SSDI benefits .

    When your benefits begin and therefore your back pay begins, is different for SSI and SSDI.

    For SSI, your benefits begin from usually it’s the earliest it’s going to be as your date of application whenever you first apply for benefits. If the SSA says that you’re disabled after you’ve applied for disability would run from that date.

    For SSDI your benefits are going to run from your six full month after you were first found to be disabled, which can be prior to your date of application, you’re not tied down to that. Although you’re limited in the back pay that you can get. You can only get back pay for one year prior to your date of application. So if you’re considering applying for SSDI don’t delay in getting your application file because I can cost you money.

    Last but not least is “How healthcare is impacted by whether or not you get SSDI or SSI”

    For SSI you’re automatically qualified for Medicaid whenever you get disability benefits.

    For SSDI you are entitled to get Medicare after 24 months the date that you’re first determined to be disabled.

    Why did that make you wait 24 months? I do not know

    If you’re looking for more information about applying for disability I created a free guide it’s available on my website

    Go visit my website. Go scroll about halfway down the page and your your information and download a copy of my guide.

  • Medical Source Statement Walkthrough For Social Security Disability

    Let’s talk about medical source statements.

    A medical source statement is a statement from your treating doctor regarding whatever your physical or mental limitations are that prevents you from working.

    Oftentimes in medical records, they’ll indicate that there’s severe problems but it’s not clear if you would be off task at work through these problems, you’re going to miss work due to these problems, you’re going to be able to complete work tasks or whether or not you’re going to be able to last for a full eight hour workday is not discussed in medical records. And what these medical source statement forms can do is provide the SSA with information regarding not just what your medical diagnoses are, but statements from your doctors regarding what your actual physical and mental limitations are, the SSA doesn’t necessarily have to adopt the opinions of your doctors in deciding whether or not you’re disabled. But generally speaking, these types of statements from your doctor can be the strongest evidence that you can have in your Social Security Disability claim file.

    Now, getting your doctor to complete these forms can be tricky. What you want to avoid is getting a statement from a doctor that’s going to hurt your case. Ideally, you would go with your doctor and say I’m applying for Social Security Disability. Do you think that’s a good idea? Do you think that’s right for me? If they’re supportive of that, then hit it with a follow up question. Would you be willing to complete a statement to help my Social Security Disability claim.

    Do not to try to just submit the statement to your doctor’s office for their staff to handle it. Oftentimes, those forms will get completed by a nurse which the SSA will then disregard or if your doctor is completing the forms in haste and not paying enough attention to it. Maybe the form gets filled out incorrectly or unhelpfully.

    Ideally what you want to do is make an appointment to see your doctor in person. And then whenever you’re having your one on one consultation with your doctor have that paperwork with you have the conversation to them about completing it with you at that time, that way, you’re able to make sure your actual doctor completes the form and you’re able to impress upon that your doctor how important it is the form get completed and completed correctly.

    If your doctor refuses to complete the paperwork or expresses that he thinks it’s a bad idea. Don’t push it any further. What you want to avoid is creating bad evidence for your Social Security Disability case that could negatively affect your claim.

    There are two major types of medical source statements.

    There are physical medical source statements and mental medical source statements. For the physical side of things. The form is going to focus on how much you’re able to sit and stand in a work day, how much you’re able to walk in a work day, how much you’re able to use your hands in a work day, how much you’re able to lift and carry, and then also the amount of time that you would be off task and how many workdays you would miss in a month. So if your limitations are related to those issues, use a physical medical source statement.

    There’s also a mental medical source statement which focuses on your ability to be around crowds of people because on tasks that are in front of you deal with workplace stress, a complex of tasks that you can complete, you know ranging from very complex, only simple tasks. If your impairments are focused with those types of issues, then use a mental medical source statement to ask your doctor to complete for you.

    The SSA doesn’t accept statements from just anybody. It really has to be a medical doctor I’ll put a note appear on the screen about what types of doctors the SSA does approve.

    The SSA only considers statements from the following kinds of doctors: physicians (medical or osteopathic doctor), psychologists, optometrists, podiatrist, speech-language pathologists, audiologists, licensed advanced practice registered nurse, and licensed physician assistants

    If you want to get a copy of these magical forms that can help your Social Security Disability case I have them available for free for download on my website Visit my website scroll about halfway down the page click a button that says “Gimme Gimme Gimme” you’ll be prompted to enter your email address once you do a copy of the form it will be emailed to you at the back of my social security disability guide.

    Thank you so much for your time. If you have questions, leave them in the comment section below.

  • Increase your Odds of Winning

    So the best way to make your Social Security Disability case stronger is to get a statement from your doctor regarding what your limitations are, and the words that the Social Security Disability Administration uses to describe cases, essentially, there are two forms, there’s a lot of forms, the two main ones are a physical residual functional capacity form. And what we have in front of us a mental Residual Functional Capacity Assessment form. And anyhow, you use this document, you give it to your doctor, you ask your doctor to fill it out on your behalf, you say I’m applying for disability, it would mean a lot to me if you could complete this form. And then hopefully, your doctor fills it out. And if they fill it out in a favorable way, this is the strongest evidence that you can have in your Social Security Disability file, because medical records don’t really put the rubber to the road. And so far as a true limitations are, are you going to be able to work with this new medical condition or this condition that’s gotten worse over time. So that’s what the until residual and physical and digital functional capacity assessment form do for you.

    And in this video, I wanted to kind of walk through what these forms are like right here provider’s name, telephone, patient’s information, you know, detriment began diagnosis.

    Dou believe the patient’s bleep be a malingerer. The answer to that question needs to be NO

    Has the patient’s impairment lasted are expected to last at least 12 months? The answer to that question needs to be YES

    Questions about GAF your global assessment of functioning? It’s not something that the SSA really uses anymore. So that’s not an important as important part of the form.

    Is there evidence of current drug or alcohol use? The answer to that question is hopefully NO for you.

    If so, with the impairment exists in the absence of drug or alcohol use? What the answer is that to be YES, if you have drug or alcohol use in your background, then SSA thinks that that’s the reason why you can’t get a job, not your medical conditions, then they’ll deny you. And if they see that in your medical records at all, usually, they’re just going to deny you unless your conditions just catastrophic.

    Is patient compliant with treatment? That answer should be YES.

    And here’s the meat and potatoes of the form. Based on your assessment, can the person do whatever the activity is? Mild, Moderate, marked, Extreme, not reasonable. Or of course, none.

    Understanding and memory is the the ability to remember locations and work like procedures, judges really aren’t going to pay attention to none mild or moderate, marked and extreme get the job done, which are seriously limited or no. Ability to function for whatever the descriptor is the ability to remember locations and work like procedures, Marked and Extreme is what you’re looking for. The ability to remember very short and simple instructions, Marked and Extreme with both if the judge believes that lead to a finding of disability. The ability to understand remember detailed instructions, this is important. If you are over 50, and you’re trying to show you can’t do your past work, and your past work required detailed instructions. If you’re no longer able to do this type of tasks, then that can be used to relate your limit late your past work, which is really important if you’re over 50 and applying for Social Security Disability.

    Sustained concentration, persistence, the ability to carry out very short and simple instructions, Marked or Extreme will get it done.

    Detailed instructions, again, this is another question for eliminating jobs. If you’re over 50 Marked and Extremely the ones that you’re looking for. The ability to maintain attention and concentration for extended periods is a really important one. Marked or Extremely is what you’re looking for here. And then of course, the ability to perform activities from the schedule, maintain regular attendance, and be punctual with customary tolerances. Are you looking for a marked or extreme notation? And you know, on down the list, I don’t want this to be a 40 minute video of me telling you that you want marked and extreme from your medical care provider but YOU DO, YOU DO want marked and extreme from your medical care provider.

    Most of these, I don’t think your medical care provider or your doctor will necessarily mark them all down as mark your extreme but you know, essentially you’re looking for a marked or extreme assessments in one of these areas that are going to prevent you from being able to perform any work and not just skilled work. The ability to set realistic goals or make plans independently of others. It’s not as important the ability to travel the unfamiliar places not as important. The ability to tolerate normal levels of stress, very important. To be able to work so you’re looking for a Marked or Extreme limitation there. Would your patients impairment substantially interfere with his or her ability to work on a regular and sustained basis? at least 20% of the time you would love a yes. How often would your patient need to miss work each month because of his or her mental impairment or for treatment of the mental impairment. Sometimes one day a month will be sufficient to get disability depending on the judge that you’re in front of two days a month if the judge agrees

    With your doctor’s assessment should always be enough. I’ve never seen it not be enough to get disability. You believe that your patient can work on a regular and sustained basis in light of his or her impairment. Your doctor can do a solid and write some sentences about just why, why have they completed the form in the way that they have? That would be great. And you leave the patient can manage his or her own fan funds. If your doctor says no, the SSA is probably going to say that you can’t manage your own funds, you’ll have to have someone assigned to do that for you if you do get granted disability benefits, and they sign there.

    Physical functional capacity report which is a little more varied none mild, moderate, extreme cycle from that mental functional capacity. Here we have first question with regards to your contact with the patient. Please describe the frequency and purpose. How long have you seen this patient this isn’t a particularly important blank. The judge is going to know that from your medical records please describe the patient’s symptoms. Hopefully the day was solid and fill in horrible horrible back pain or knee pain or just whatever is going on with you physically. Please state all clinical findings it’s not as important that’s again going to be in your medical records. What is your diagnosis of the patient’s symptoms and test results and they can put something there it’s not as important exertional limitations this is where it really matters. Occasionally lift and or carry including upward pulling nearly everybody is going to want it to be less than 10 pounds. Once you get over 50 If you can only lift 20 pounds that might help you win a disability case if you over 55 is depending frequently lift ory carry which is more of the day. He’s two really aren’t the the big ones. The less you can carry of course the better it is for your case, standing or walking. If you are over 50 This is the big one for you. Most people are disabled if they’re over 50 and they can’t walk for less than two hours and eight hour work day and you can’t do your past work. One or two here would be disabling for you assuming the judge goes with the doctor’s recommendations one or two here and you can’t do your past work looks like a win for number four here sitting. If you are under 50 you were looking at one or two here being what you want your doctor to fill out if you can’t perform even sedentary work due to your limitations. You can’t sit for six hours in an eight hour workday is going to be disabling for you under the SSH rules three and four are really important parts of the physical functional capacity form part five bush and or pol not as important I mean it’s going to be important in some cases these aren’t the meat and potatoes of the form a same here postural limitations these are mainly going to benefit people over 50 and showing that they can’t do their past work manipulative limitations super important. If you can’t handle or finger never or perhaps even only occasionally, combined with other impairments disabling mean nearly every job requires you to use your hands extreme limitations and using your hands can be disabling for you have their limitations in an average month. How frequently would you expect your patient to experience absences from work once a month? Well, when sometimes if the judge leaves your doctor twice a month or three times or more will generally always win so long as the judge adopts your doctor’s opinion. What percentage of a workday would you expect the patient to be off task in a work setting 5% won’t get it done. 10% will get it done. Sometimes 15 or 20% will generally always be disabling for you. The judge adopts your doctor’s opinion, is your patient and malingerer which is you know a fancy word for Faker. You want your doctor to put no there. And so that’s the form.

    If you’re applying for disability, you definitely need to get your doctors to complete these forms for you. If you want a copy of them, just go to my website, There’ll be a spot where you can put in your email and get a copy of my free guide to Social Security disability I encourage you to do so these forms are attached to the back of that free guide. Use them for your case and hope they benefit you and I HOPE YOU WIN!

  • Why Your Disability Case is Taking so Long?

    Why is your Social Security Disability case taking so long to process?

    Let us talk about what’s going on with the SSA, and why the time to process Social Security disability cases has jumped by about six months to a year longer to go from start to finish.

    The first thing that happened is the SSA is facing budgetary restraints. They’re not able to hire all the staff, they need to process all the claims that they have. And it has really slowed down the process. It’s been a gradual problem, really over the last decade that really hasn’t been addressed.

    All those problems became far worse after the second problem of COVID.

    Once COVID happened, all of the Social Security offices shut down. You know, there were no in-person appointments available at local Social Security disability offices, all the hearing offices shut down and change to online hearings instead of in-person hearings. The Social Security offices have since opened up, you can go to your local office now and there are in-person hearings available, but this cause just a massive backlog in the processing of claims. And there were all sorts of technological difficulties with the over-the-phone hearings, as opposed to the in-person ones that cause just delays and hearings to have to be rescheduled. And SSA hasn’t dug themselves out of that hole. And since they’re still dealing with the staffing crisis, it’s very hard for them to play catch up just because they don’t have the manpower to do so which is very unfortunate. A lot of social security disability cases from all over the country have been lingering for far longer than they have in the past. And for people that need those benefits. It’s incredibly painful. I have to have conversations with my clients frequently more often than I’d like to go over. You know, there’s not a lot that can be done to speed cases up and this is just kind of the state of things whenever you apply for Social Security disability in the present age.

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