Saturday, March 10, 2007

How to find out what my disability benefits will be.

I am frequently asked how much Social Security Disability benefits will I get if I am found disabled. The best and easiest way to find out is to look at the green paper you get from Social Security every year that outlines your work history. You will find on this paper how much you would get on disability, at retirement and earlier retirement. You will also find how much your children would get if you went on disability. You can also see your date last insured or DLI. This is the date you must show you were disabled before to be eligible for SSDI benefits. If you worked after the date of the letter the numbers may change. If you did not get this green letter you can request a copy from SSA. Supplemental Security Income claims are different. To see how these benefits are calculated go to my web site page called SSI.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

The Social Security Disability Hearing

One of the most intimidating aspects of a Social Security Disability Claim is the hearing before an Administrative Law Judge or ALJ. I hope I can help you relax by explaining what to expect at the hearing. The ALJ will direct and decide on the case. There will also be a reporter present who records all that is said at the hearing but will not be involved other than that. If you chose you can have a lawyer or other representative with you. In some cases there will be a Vocational Expert (VE) and/or Medical Expert (ME). The VE is there to give opinions on work related matters. The ME is there to give opinions on medical matters. I do recommend if you have a hearing to get a social security disability lawyer to assist you. A lawyer or representative who has handled many hearings can go over the types of questions you can expect and present your case. If there is going to be a VE or ME at your hearing it is even more recommended you have a lawyer because it can be difficult to cross examine these experts. The procedure will go something like the following. The ALJ will make some opening remarks about the procedure and law. After he is done either the ALJ or lawyer will begin the questioning. To see the types of questions asked and more see my web page on the Social Security Disability Hearing. Most hearings are held in small rooms and not big court rooms and the procedure is fairly informal. The best advice I can give is to try not to be nervous but don't worry if you get upset or cry this is common.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

How does age affect Social Security Disability?

Many of you have heard that the older you are the better chance you have of winning Social Security Disability Benefits. This is for the most part true especially if you are over 50 years old. The theory is that older individuals are less likely to be able to make vocational adjustments. This does not apply to those who meet a listing. It comes into play if you don't meet a listed impairment. To understand how age can affect your claim you should have an understanding of the GRID Rules. To know when the GRID Rules come into play you need to know how Social Security determines if you are disabled. Even if you are over 50 years old if you performed a sedentary job in the past 15 years your claim can be as difficult to win as someone who is younger. This is because before you get to the GRID Rules you have to show you can't perform prior work. It is much harder to show you can't do a sedentary job than say a light or medium job. To understand the concept of how age affects your disability claim you should first study my page on how SSA determines if you are disabled and then look at the page on the GRID Rules.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

What is most important to get Social Security Disability?

There is allot of things to learn to have a successful SSDI or SSI claim. If you are handling the claim without a lawyer you need to know the Social Security Disability Process. You also need to know how Social Security determines if you are disabled. I included links to my website which explains both of these. Whether you have a lawyer or not the most important thing you can do to help win your claim is to make sure you get all of your relevant medical records in. Even if you submit all your treating sources records and hospital records you are not done. You should also have Residual Functional Capacity forms or RFC forms from your treating doctors. These forms will show the limitations you have from your medical conditions. It is ultimately these limitations from your medical conditions and not the medical conditions themselves that will help get you found disabled. Even if your medical condition meets a listed impairment it is extremely important that your doctor says so.