A “Notice of Decision-Fully Favorable” means the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) found the claimant disabled—from the alleged onset date, their disability began through the date of the decision.
What Does Partially Favorable Decision Mean?
A “Notice of Decision—Partially Favorable” means the ALJ made a determination which differs from what the claimant was asking. This generally occurs in two situations: (1) The ALJ finds the claimant disabled, but the disability started at a different later date; or (2) The ALJ finds the claimant disabled, but they have medically improved. In the second scenario, the individual will receive benefits only for what we call a closed period of disability.
Can A Fully Favorable Decision Be Reversed?
The Appeals Council can review any decision made by an ALJ—favorable or unfavorable. While rare, the Appeals Council can find the ALJ made an error and reverse a fully favorable decision. The claimant can submit additional evidence or comment to support the ALJ’s decision. In very limited circumstances, benefits may start during the review process.
How Does The ALJ Handle Cases Where Drug Or Alcohol Abuse May Be A Factor?
ALJs always look at how a claimant’s impairments affect their functioning at work; even if the person is still using illegal drugs or alcohol. Only after the ALJ determines a claimant is disabled, do they look at the effects drug or alcohol abuse has on the individual. ALJs must determine whether the drugs and alcohol were material to the determination of disabled. ALJs look for periods of time when the claimant was not using drugs or alcohol to see how they are functioning. Social Security believes the best evidence of functioning is when the individual has a period of sobriety lasting at least 30 days. If the claimant’s symptoms subsided sufficiently, the ALJ may find that drugs and alcohol were material and conclude the claimant was not disabled.
For more information on Notice Of Decision Fully Favorable In Texas, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (214) 373-3761 today.
Lack of treatment is one of the biggest issues we face with any impairment. Mental impairments, especially, are more difficult to diagnose and can react slowly to medications. Any time you have a mental impairment, the lack of treatment will make it very difficult to prove a case of disability.
What Do Non-Disability Requirements Mean?
Non-disability requirements arise where the individual has applied for Supplemental Security Income (SSI). When an individual files for disability, Social Security asks questions about income and resources. After a judge makes a fully favorable decision in an SSI case or a concurrent case where SSI is involved, the claimant has a follow up appointment at a local office to see if they still meet the income and resources limitations for benefits.
What Are The Most Common Reasons For The Appeals Council To Remand A Case?
The most frequent reason the Appeals Council remands a case is the residual functional capacity is not supported by evidence. For example, the ALJ has either overlooked a piece of evidence which is important or makes a finding contradictory to another piece of evidence.
For more information on Impact Of Not Treating Mental Illness, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (214) 373-3761 today.
It is not required for a person to have a representative in order to file for Social Security disability benefits. However, the law is very complicated, the regulations are lengthy and complicated, and it is very helpful to have a capable attorney leading you through the process.
Can I Qualify For Disability Benefits If My Disability Isn’t Going To Be Permanent?
Social Security disability is never considered to be permanent. When you apply for social security disability benefits, you are saying that you have been disabled since a certain date. If you are approved for disability benefits, your claim can be reviewed within a year, two years, or five years to re-determine your eligibility. Disability benefits under the Social Security program do not require that you be permanently disabled and there is no guarantee that you will continue to receive them after you have been approved, because they are subject to review.
Does The Social Security Administration Consider Mental Illness To Be A Disability?
Mental illness absolutely can be disabling under the Social Security disability law. In fact, in many cases, a mental illness may contribute to an individual’s physical disability. Frequently, cases are denied when the reason the person is disabled is pain. Pain cannot be measured and can be difficult to prove. Often, there is also a psychological component. The person is depressed or has anxiety because their life has been disrupted and their future is uncertain. The depression can take on a life of its own and can exacerbate the underlying pain problem. It is very important to recognize when there is a mental impairment and to consider it along with any physical impairments.
A technical denial of a disability case is when the case is denied for some reason other than the severity of your condition. Social Security Disability is based on your having worked enough and paid enough into the system to qualify for social security benefits. If you file a disability application and it turns out that you do not have sufficient social security taxes paid in over a long enough period of time, then your case can be denied for technical reasons.
Supplemental Security Income disability case is basically a welfare program for people who have not worked enough to qualify for Social Security disability benefits or who have not worked recently enough to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits. A technical denial can occur if you do not meet the income and resource criteria. If you have a bank account, property that could be sold, other than where you live, or multiple vehicles, then even though you may otherwise be eligible for SSI disability, you could be denied.
What Are My Chances Of Getting Approved At The Reconsideration Level?
There are actually four different administrative levels of appeal in Social Security disability cases. When you file your application, it is sent to an agency of the state where you live, which contracts with the social security administration to review that information and make a decision. That’s the initial level of appeal. About two thirds of the people who file are denied at the initial level. Then, the next level of appeal is reconsideration. It’s important to remember that the deadline to appeal from one level to the next is 60 days and that is an absolute deadline.
The chances of being approved at the reconsideration level are even lower than the initial appeal level. After that, it changes, because if you are denied at the initial level and at the reconsideration level and you file a request for a hearing, then you get a decision from a Social Security administrative law judge. That is the only step in the process in which you have the right to appear in person in front of a judge, who has the authority to approve your claim.
Can I Get Both Workers’ Compensation And Social Security Benefits At The Same Time?
Usually, you can get Social Security and workers’ compensation at the same time. However, there is an offset provision that says the total amount of benefits you receive from Social Security and workers’ compensation, combined, cannot exceed 80% of what you were earning before you became disabled. If you are receiving workers’ compensation benefits and the monthly amount is equal to at least 80% of your pre-disability earning, then you won’t receive any social security disability benefits until the workers’ compensation benefits end or are reduced. If the monthly amount is less than 80%, you can receive Social Security disability benefits in addition to the workers’ compensation. Of course, the Social Security benefits may be reduced from the amount you would normally be entitled to until the workers’ compensation stops.
There is no harm in filing for Social Security disability benefits while you are receiving workers’ compensation, so that you have a decision in place that protects you and gives you income when your workers’ compensation benefits end.
Social security disability is uniquely different from the types of cases that most lawyers handle. The regulations are very specialized; the procedures are completely different. The Social Security Administration has its own internal court system with administrative law judges. You need to handle hundreds or thousands of these cases to really be able to provide the best service. Also, Social Security Disability cases allow me to help the underdog by helping people find their way through the federal bureaucracy.
How Can I Increase My Chances Of Receiving Disability Benefits?
First and foremost, medical evidence is what you need to increase your chances of being approved. You must be under the treatment of a doctor. The first thing they ask for is a list of the doctors or hospitals where you have received treatment. They request those records and then they make a decision. The first decision and the second decision are based strictly on the medical evidence. The medical evidence has to support your disability claim. The more you concentrate on medical evidence, the more you want to have contact with your doctor. Let your doctor know that you are applying for disability and try to get his or her support. If you don’t have a doctor on your side, then you are going to have to depend either on the Social Security Administration of their own interpretation of those records or you are going to need to go to an administrative law judge hearing.
The second most important thing is how you fill out some of the forms that you are required to complete with the disability application. There is a form that is called a function report. It asks about how you spend your time during the day, whether you are able to do housework, whether you can cook, whether you can do yard work, whether you can drive, etc. It is a long form full of questions about how you function physically and mentally, because one way of determining what your limitations are and how disabled you are is by looking at your activity level. It is important not to minimize your limitations in any way and not to list the activities that you can only manage occasionally.
Similarly, the work activity report is a form on which you list and describe all the jobs you’ve had within the past 15 years. Do not portray your job as having more authority or more knowledge than you really had. Otherwise, it may appear that you have skills that can be applied to doing a less physically demanding job and your case may be denied based upon skills that you don’t really have.
If your specific disability is not included in the Social Security Administration’s Blue Book Listing of Impairments, one of the ways that you may be eligible for Social Security disability benefits it to prove that your disability is medically equivalent to one of the listings in the Blue Book.
How to Prove Medical Equivalence
According to Social Security regulations, your disability must be at least equal in severity and duration to a disability that is included in the Blue Book. You may prove that your condition is medically equivalent by proving that:
- You have an impairment that is included in the Blue Book but you do not exhibit all of the findings described in that listing or one of your findings is not as severe as that described in the Blue Book. You may still be found eligible for Social Security disability in this case if the severity of the rest of your symptoms makes your condition equivalent in overall severity to how the condition is described in the listing.
- You have an impairment that is not included in the Blue Book but is substantially similar to an impairment that is included in the Blue Book. If the findings of your impairment are of at least equal medical significance to the listing in the Blue Book, you will be eligible for Social Security disability.
- You have multiple impairments and no single impairment meets a Blue Book listing on its own. If the findings of all of your impairments together are of at least equal medical significance to a Blue Book listing, you will be found eligible for Social Security disability.
The determination of medical equivalence will be made by considering all of the evidence in your case record and the opinions of medical and psychological consultants. Your education and work experience are irrelevant to the determination of medical equivalence.
Eligibility Based on Medical Equivalence Can Be Complicated
You must set out a strong argument with the right evidence in order to get your application approved. Our board certified lawyers can advise you of your rights and help you get the benefits you deserve. To learn more, please contact us directly via this website or by phone to set up a meeting.
Generally, you will be able to keep your Social Security disability payments in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case. However, Social Security disability benefit payments may be relevant to two aspects of your Chapter 7 bankruptcy case and it is important to get answers to these questions so that you can understand your rights and keep the benefits to which are legally entitled.
Do Social Security Disability Payments Impact Your Eligibility for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?
You may only file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case if you pass a means test to prove that you do not have sufficient income to pay your creditors. Generally, Social Security disability benefits are not considered to be income for purposes of the Chapter 7 means test and, therefore, should not impact your eligibility for Chapter 7 bankruptcy relief.
Will Your Social Security Disability Payments Be Used to Pay Your Creditors?
In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case, all of your non-exempt assets are part of your bankruptcy estate. The bankruptcy trustee will take all of your non-exempt assets and distribute them among your creditors to satisfy your debts. Federal law exempts Social Security disability benefits from your bankruptcy estate in most cases. Therefore, your Social Security disability benefits are likely to be safe from your creditors during a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case.
Protect Your Rights by Making Sure Everyone Knows What’s Going On
It is important to inform your bankruptcy attorney about your Social Security disability benefits and your Social Security disability lawyer about your bankruptcy. If your legal team has full knowledge about your other legal proceedings, they can make sure that all of your rights are protected.
If you would like to learn more about your rights to Social Security disability benefits, we encourage you to read our free book, Social Security Disability: What You Need to Know, and to contact us via this website or by phone to schedule your initial consultation with a board certified Social Security disability attorney.
The Social Security Administration understands that a joint condition can significantly impact your ability to function and, therefore, your ability to work. Accordingly, loss of function due to a musculoskeletal condition, such as a joint condition, is one of the first things that is defined in the Blue Book Listing of Impairments.
What Loss of Function Means to the Social Security Administration
Loss of function associated with a joint condition, or any other musculoskeletal condition, is defined as follows in Section 1.00B of the Blue Book:
The inability to ambulate effectively on a sustained basis for any reason, including pain associated with the underlying musculoskeletal impairment, or the inability to perform fine and gross movements effectively on a sustained basis for any reason, including pain associated with the underlying musculoskeletal impairment.
Your inability to ambulate effectively or to perform fine and gross motor tasks effectively must have already lasted or be expected to last for at least 12 months.
The term “ambulate effectively” refers to your ability to walk. Generally, this means that you can’t walk on your own without an assistive device that uses both of your hands (such as a walker rather than a cane). You can “ambulate effectively” if you can maintain a reasonable walking pace over a sufficient distance to carry on with the activities of daily living.
Similarly, the inability to perform fine and gross motor movements must interfere with your activities of daily living in order to be considered disabling. Such activities could include things like pushing, pulling, feeding yourself, and taking care of your personal hygiene.
If you believe your joint condition has resulted in a loss of function, it is important to prove that in your Social Security disability application so that you can be found eligible for benefits. Documentation that might be important to your application includes your medical records and a detailed account of how the loss of function impacts your activities of daily living.
What Loss of Function Means to You
A loss of function may mean that you are eligible for Social Security disability benefits. If you experience loss of function, as described above, and you have the documentation to prove it, you should contact a board certified Social Security disability lawyer as soon as possible so that you can get the benefits you deserve. Please contact us today via this website or by phone to learn more.
This is a really important question, because if you do not have the right documentation to support your Social Security disability application, your application for benefits will likely be denied. Many musculoskeletal conditions improve over time and are not life threatening or completely and permanently disabling. Accordingly, if you are going to qualify for Social Security disability benefits, you are going to have to prove that your condition qualifies you for such benefits.
Here’s the Documentation You Need
Section 1.00H of the Listing of Impairments the Social Security Administration describes the documentation that you will need to prove that your musculoskeletal disorder makes you eligible for Social Security disability benefits. That documentation includes:
- Your medical records over a period of time. This will help establish how long you have suffered from your condition and whether your condition may be considered to be permanent.
- Documentation of the medical treatment that has been prescribed, that you have used, and your response(s) to such treatment. Any side effects to treatment should be noted and may be relevant to your application.
- Current medical evidence. The lack of longitudinal medical records and documentation of previous treatment will not necessarily prevent you from being found eligible for benefits if you can provide current medical evidence of your disability. This may be particularly helpful in establishing eligibility based on your condition being equal in severity to another listing in the Listing of Impairments or in establishing eligibility based on your inability to work because of your residual functional capacity.
However, you don’t need to worry if you don’t have every type of documentation described above.
Not Everyone Needs Every Piece of Documentation
An experienced Social Security disability lawyer can help you determine what is important to submit with your Social Security disability application and what information is not necessary to a finding of eligibility. To get started, contact us today via this website or by phone to schedule your first, no-obligation meeting with a board certified lawyer who is committed to helping you get the benefits that you’ve earned and that you deserve.
No. Some legal actions, such as personal injury cases, have statutes of limitation which require you to file your case by a certain date or lose the right to pursue legal action. The same is not true, however, for Social Security disability benefits. You may apply for Social Security disability benefits whenever you are ready to do so.
But There Are Benefits to Applying Sooner Rather Than Later
There are two important reasons to file for Social Security disability as soon as you think that you might be eligible for benefits. Specifically:
- The sooner you apply for benefits, the sooner you can recover benefits. You can’t get your benefits until you apply for them and your application is approved. The sooner this happens, the sooner the money will begin appearing in your bank account each month. This may help ease the financial burden of being disabled.
- You won’t have to think about when to apply for benefits any more. Sometimes, it is just better to get the process over with rather than to drag it out. You won’t have to think about whether today is the right day to take action, because you will have already done what you need to do to protect your benefits.
Despite these advantages, however, you may still be anxious about going through the Social Security disability application process.
Applying for Social Security Disability Doesn’t Have to be Stressful
Once you learn more about how the Social Security disability application process works and about how a board certified lawyer can help you get the benefits you deserve, you may feel less anxious about getting started with your own claim.
Accordingly, we encourage you to read our FREE book, Social Security Disability: What You Need to Know, and to contact us directly via this website or by phone to schedule your personal and confidential meeting with a board certified Social Security disability lawyer. Your lawyer will handle the details of your application while you concentrate on your health and living your life. Contact us today to learn more.