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The Social Security Disability Attorneys
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   Types of Benefits    Disability Claim Process    FAQ 
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The Social Security Disability Attorneys
Sandra Mireles-Serra

, 01453
Phone: (800) 500-1985


OVERVIEW OF SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFITS

 

The Social Security system offers two separate categories of possible benefits to someone who is disabled:  Social Security Disability Insurance (DIB) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

Disability benefits are received from the Social Security Administration by disabled workers and in some cases their dependent children.

Benefits are available regardless of your age if you are found to be disabled under the Social Security Administration guidelines.  In addition, if you are disabled your family members may qualify for benefits as your dependants.  Children under 18 and some disabled adult children may be eligible if one of their parents receives disability benefits or is deceased.

The Social Security Administration pays cash benefits to people who are prevented from working for a year or more due to a physical and/or mental impairment.  Benefits continue until a person is able to work again on a regular basis. 

One of the most important factors in being approved for disability benefits is the accumulation of medical records that support a claim.  Seeking and following medical treatment for the conditions that prevent the claimant from working is the most vital part of the process of proving eligibility for benefits. Many people think that the disability process is a medical decision but in reality it is a legal decision arising from medical information in a claimant’s medical history. The interpretation of that medical history and how it is applied to the Social Security Regulations is how a person is determined to be disabled.

Clients often call our office upset not understanding why Social Security did not approve their claim when other authorities like the Veterans Affairs, welfare (“I went to the doctor for welfare and s/he said I’m disabled”), workers compensation judges and treating doctors say their 100 % disabled.  Social Security has its criteria for determining if you are disabled and any other authority is not binding on them.  However, a decision made by another authority may be considered.

You should be familiar with the process used by the Social Security Administration to determine if you are disabled.  It is a step-by-step process involving five questions. They are:

· Are you working?  If you are and your earnings average more than $800.00 a month in 2006, $930.00 a month in 2007, $940.00 a month in 2008 you generally cannot be considered disabled.  This is considered Substantial Gainful Activity.”

What this means in layman’s terms is if you are working and supporting yourself at $900.00  or more a month your claim is denied and your health problems will not even be considered.

· Is your condition severe?  Your impairments physical or mental (or a combination of both) must “significantly limit” your abilities to perform basic work-related activities (working in any regular paying job) for at least 12 months for your claim to be considered.  Disability due to drug and alcohol addiction is not covered, but certain physical or mental conditions as a result of a prior addiction may be considered and covered under Social Security rules.

If Social Security finds you do not have a severe impairment, then a finding of not disabled is made.  If you do have a severe impairment it is on to the next stage.  

· Is your condition found in the list of disabling impairments?  The Social Security Administration maintains a list of impairments for each he major body systems that are so severe that they automatically mean you are disabled. If your condition in not on the list the SSA has to decide if it is of equal in severity to an impairment on the list.  If it is your claim is approved.  If it is not on to the next step.

The listings of impairments can be considered one of the shortcuts to a quick and favorable disability decision.  But these are very complicated rules and standards and remember that the examiners, lawyers and judges who work for Social Security do these things everyday for their living.  You can in no way match their experience, unless you hire a lawyer who has the experience and insight dealing with the Social Security regulations.

Please contact the Social Security Disability Attorneys at The Law Offices of Sandra Serra for high quality legal advice.  We are on your side!

· Does the severity of your impairments preclude you from performing your past relevant work?  If you condition is severe, but not at the same or equal severity as impairment on the list, then the SSA must determine if it interferes with your ability to do the work you did over the past 15 years.  If it does not, your claim will be denied.  If it does your claim will be considered further. 

· Can you do any other type of work?  If you cannot do the work you did over the past 15 years, the SSA looks to see if you can do any other type of work.  The SSA considers your age, education, past work experience, and transferable skills and reviews the job demands of occupations as determined by the Department of Labor.  If you cannot do any other kind of work, your claim will be approved.  If you can perform other work in the national economy, your claim will be denied.

Medical - Vocational Rules (“ The Grids”) is considered another shortcut to being approved for disability benefits.  The Social Security Administration developed a set of medical - vocational guidelines whereby a claimant age 50 or over could  be found disabled quickly if he or she fell into certain categories relating to age, work skills and education.  These grid rules apply only if you have a physical impairment.  The grid rules do not apply to claimants with only non-physical impairments like depression or pain.  The grids are based on the idea that a worker age 50 and over with a limited education and limited skills would find it difficult to find employers who will offer those simple entry level unskilled jobs to them.

You can view the Medical Vocational Rules at the official Social Security web site.  Here is are examples:

Grid rule 201.14 - Claimant is limited to sedentary work, age 50-54, high school graduate, no transferable skills from previous work - Disabled

Grid rule 202.13 - Claimant is limited to light work, age 50-45, high school graduate, unskilled work background - Not Disabled

Like the Listings, the Grid Rules are very complicated and can be very confusing.  Again, remember that the examiners, lawyers and judges who work for Social Security do these things everyday for their living.  You can in no way match their experience, unless you hire a lawyer who has the experience and insight dealing with the Social Security regulations.

Please contact the Social Security Disability Attorneys at The Law Offices of Sandra Serra for high quality legal advice.  We are on your side!

You may qualify Social Security disability benefits (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) but the process of applying for benefits or appealing an application denial can be time consuming, confusing and overwhelmingly frustrating.

Contact our Social Security Disability Advocacy Group for filing disability benefits today, for client focused services from the friendly, familial atmosphere of a intimate  practice.  Experience that get results!

Please Call : 800-500-1985 



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