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How Do I Choose A Lawyer?

The choice of an attorney to represent you on one of the most important events in your life can be scary. Many of us don’t know what factors to consider in making the decision. Here are some suggestions.

WHY SHOULD I HIRE AN ATTORNEY?

Is it possible to obtain Social Security/SSI benefits without an attorney? Yes, it certainly is. However, this is perhaps the most important financial decision a person will make in their life. For benefits that could total hundreds of thousands of dollars over a life time, it is prudent to obtain the help a trained, experienced Social Security attorney.

COMPASSIONATE ALLOWANCES

Sometimes, you really don’t need an attorney for Social Security and SSI benefits. Social Security has a specific program called “compassionate allowances.” They identify certain diseases and medical conditions which may be automatically approved. Generally, these are certain types of cancer, brain disorders, and rare disorders affecting children. The disorders on the list are updated. The public can even submit impairments to be considered.

For a current list, see . https://www.ssa.gov/compassionateallowances/conditions.htm

CONTINUING DISABILITY REVIEW

Social Security will periodically review your case to determine if you continued to be disabled. This is called a continuing disability review (CDR). This will typically occur at least once every three years.

It is important that you respond to the letters they send. Many cases are denied during the review simply because the forms have not been returned. You must ensure you advise Social Security of all providers you have seen since you were granted benefits, or since your last review.

WHICH IMPAIRMENT IS IMPORTANT?

Our clients will often ask which of their illnesses/problems/impairments should they list for Social Security or SSI? The answer? All of them!

Social Security looks at both mental limitations and physical limitations. We need to know whether a client can perform skilled work, semiskilled work, or unskilled work. We need to know whether they are able to walk a great deal during the day, or only a little bit. We need to know whether they can use their hands and how much they can use their hands. We combine all of these limitations together to help determine whether there is work in the national economy which they can do.

DEATH WHILE A CLAIM IS PENDING

Tragically, the Social Security adjudication system is so disorganized and slow that our clients may die before a claim is made on their case. In cases of Supplemental Security Income and Social Security Disability, surviving family members may be able to receive back benefits. This may be surviving children, spouse, or parents.

To do so, they must file as a substitute party. See https://www.ssa.gov/OP_Home/hallex/I-02/I-2-1-50.html. An experienced Social Security Attorney can help with this process.

Small Fiber Neuropathy and Fibromyalgia

Small fiber neuropathy can affect multiple body systems and cause wide spread body pain. Sound familiar?

A significant number of patients who are diagnosed with fibromyalgia are found to have small fiber neuropathy—over 40% in one study.

The good news? Small fiber neuropathy may have treatment options!

What is an Administrative Law Judge?

Most people are denied two times when they apply for Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).  They can then appeal, and request a hearing before an administrative law judge, or ALJ.

These are employees of the Social Security Administration.  They are attorneys.  They have productions requirements for the decisions they must turn out.  They often make mistakes, and sometimes even mischaracterize the evidence before them.  Luckily, their decisions can be appealed. 

It is important to have an attorney who understands Social Security law to represent you at a hearing before a Social Security ALJ.  If you have a hearing on your Social Security or SSI case, contact Glen Cook at 801-261-0674 for a free case evaluation.  We do not charge you a fee unless you receive benefits.

Four Rules to Know About Marital Status and Disability Benefits

Your marital status can affect your disability benefits and any disability benefits that your children receive from the federal government. Here are four rules each Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) applicant should know about the ways that marriage, divorce, and non-marital partnership can impact their potential benefits.

  1. Common Law Marriages Count for SSI

When you apply for SSI benefits for yourself or your child, you must disclose your marital status on the date you file your claim. In some cases, you’re considered to be married according to the Social Security Administration (SSA) when you have a non-marital relationship including a domestic partnership or a civil union.

 

Qualifying for Disability Benefits With a Congenital Heart Defect

Each year, approximately 1 in 100 babies are born with a defective heart, making this the most common type of birth defect. Thanks to advances in pediatric cardiology, more of these babies than ever are surviving to adulthood. According to the most recent statistics, over one million adults currently living have a congenital heart defect.

Congenital Heart Defects

The overall health and wellbeing of these adults largely depends upon the type of defect with which they were born. Cardiologists have identified at least 18 different types of heart defects.