Social Security Disability Attorney In Los Angeles

This is NOT legal advice. This blog provides general information about Social Security Disability cases. To discuss your particular

circumstances and claim, please contact a lawyer in your area. Please feel free to contact Disability Advocates Group at (800) 935-3170

or online if you have any questions regarding your Social Security Disability claim.

DAG Blog

Stay up to date on the latest news in social security disability law.

Confused between SSDI or SSI? Here’s what’s not common in them

Confused between SSDI or SSI? Here’s what’s not common in them Confused between SSDI or SSI? Here’s what’s not common in them

The Social Security Administration (SSA) runs both the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) under the Federal programs. The disability guidelines stated by the SSA are the same for both the programs which is stated in the Blue Book. An American who qualifies the federal definition of disability stated in the Blue Book automatically becomes eligible for applying for social security to the SSA. However, the similarities between the two programs end here.

While SSI is a need-based program allotted to the disabled people who need financial assistance the most, the SSDI is more of an entitlement program which is only granted if you have enough credit of work history after of course being eligible in the disability handbook as stated above.

Eligibility Requirements

SSI eligibility requirements differ from the SSDI eligibility requirements apart from the disability.

For SSI eligibility the value of your assets should not exceed the monthly income of $2000 for singles and $3000 for couples. The things SSA counts as your assets include real estate, bonds, stock, cash and bank accounts. However, SSA would exclude a personal car and a single home as resources while considering your application.

Whereas, to qualify for SSDI you must first have worked in the jobs listed under the SSA's list of covered jobs. Secondly, you must meet the disability requirements as mentioned in the SSA's Blue Book of Impairments that is also updated regularly. Thirdly, you must not be earning above the threshold of substantial gainful activity, SGA as set by the SSA. Also, this is to say that you must not be earning above the income threshold set by the SSA. Lastly, the SSA requires your disability to last atleast one full year or 12 consecutive months meeting the above requirements to be able to apply for disability benefits.

Apart from the requirements for each, the SSA also looks into your medical records, previous history, physician's opinions and your employer's or colleague's testimonies regarding your disability and how it impacts your work ability under SGA.

Work-hour Requirements

For SSDI eligibility, you need to earn a minimum of 40 work credits in your lifetime and paid social security taxes just like insurance premiums are paid to get the benefits. In 2020, you receive one credit for each $1,410 of earnings, up to the maximum of four credits per year. Each year the amount of earnings needed for credits goes up slightly as average earnings levels increase according to the AIME index that is set by averaging the inflation rates. The credits you earn remain on your Social Security record even if you change jobs or have no earnings for a while or start a business later on.

Often times, the SSA allows self employed individuals to be able to carry out substantial gainful acitivity for upto 45 hours/month and still remain eligible to apply for disability benefits. In 2020, the monthly earnings limit is $2110 for blind and $1260 for non-blind individuals.

Also, you need to be able to have a minimum of 40 work credits in your lifetime, 20 of which should have been earned within 10 years prior to your disability.

You can qualify and win disability benefits by earning Social Security credits when you work in a job and pay Social Security taxes. The SSA uses Social Security credits on the amount of your earnings.

You may be able to receive both SSI and SSDI benefits if you have enough work hour credits accumulated in your lifetime and if you net income at the time of application is less than that stated in the SSI eligibility.

Method of Benefits (SSDI vs SSI)

You would receive cash payments for your SSDI claims if approved. But, if you are receiving both benefits your net benefit amount could not exceed the SSI amount.

How to Apply for SSDI paychecks?

As mentioned, the SSDI is a need-based program run by the Social Security Administration under Federal Rule. Each state has its own set of thresholds for the amount of disability paychecks you would receive as a disabled applicant, however, the set of rules required for eligibility of SSDI benefits remains the same.

You can apply directly by registering yourself at the Social Security Administration's Official Website or have a disability advocate represent you.

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Common mistakes after denial of SSDI application

Common mistakes after denial of SSDI application Common mistakes after denial of SSDI application

The most common question our social security disability lawyers are asked is whether I should appeal for social security after being denied SSDI. Our lawyers have the most reliable answer for you: Yes! You should appeal for SSDI after you have been denied at least one. Amongst the vast amount of applications received only 20% are approved in the first round. Our lawyers have observed from doing the paperwork and working on individual cases with social security examiners, that claimants mostly make the mistake of not appealing to the denial. Whereas probabilistically speaking, pursuing the claim through appealing your case to the SSA stands a high chance of being fairly accepted of eventually being approved in the second go. The claim will almost always be denied after appealing for reconsideration, but stands a high chance of being approved if you follow the appeal process through hearings or other methods. Here’s how to appeal to the process rightly.

Other common mistake that claimants make is

You make another claim instead of filing an appeal

Filing new disability applications over and over again is not a good idea. Probably because you may be repeating the same mistakes for the very reasons why your SSDI was denied in the first place. By contrast, those who file appeals will certainly get their case heard by a federal judge or have the appeal through other processes that will increase their chances of being accepted.

You wanted to appeal but missed the deadline

This may happen if you as a claimant are unsure of what to do next or simply did not keep up with the deadlines due to depression or anxiety after being denied social security. Or it may be that you are looking for an attorney to file your social security disability case on your behalf but were unable to find any in due time.

You decided not to appeal

This could happen due to a couple of factors, including your fears of pursuing the application after being told you weren't disabled. "If you are unable to return to work or perform substantial gainful activity, SGA due to your disability, you really are entitled to this benefit," says a disability examiner. "It's important to realize that this is not a simple application process, and appealing your case is the next important and required step."

You wasted your time trying to correct the mistakes you made in your previous application

You have to file an appeal within a year of getting your disability application rejected. However, most of the people decide to file another application instead of going for an appeal. This could be due to different reasons including a fear of having your appeal rejected which is then followed by going to an administrative law judge, ALJ or even Supreme Court. However, most people don't know that whatever is in your initial application, including the mistakes and rejection, stays with the Disability Determination Service staff at the SSA.

You didn't provide enough information on your disability application and repeated the same in your appeal process

One example is undermining your disability by not giving enough details. For instance, you might mention that you are able to take a shower on your own, while not mentioning that you got bars for support or a personal caretaker or get help from a family member.

Another case is when you fail to provide enough information about your doctor or physician. Keeping all of your medical records are essential for a successful disability application.

You didn't know you could get a disability representative at any stage of the process

While it is true that approximately 90% of the people do have a representative or a disability advocate to represent their case to the Disability Examiner, DE, most people do not know that they could also have it earlier.

In fact, getting your case represented by a professional greatly enhances your chances of getting your disability benefits granted by the SSA. A disability advocate would know the nitty gritty of the application process including the do's and dont's that could really impact the decision by the SSA.

There are the costs of your own time, the headache of the paperwork, the miles to doctors' offices and transmitting this information to your Disability Examiner. Also, then there are delays involved for each consecutive step after a disability application has been denied. It could take up to 3 years to finally having your disability application approved on your own.

If you or your loved one needs help in their disability application process, don't worry, we got you!

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Social Security to get a 1.6% boost in 2020

COLA gets a 1.6% COLA adjustment leading to increase social security benefits for disabled Americans COLA gets a 1.6% COLA adjustment leading to increase social security benefits for disabled Americans

63 million Americans are on the receiving end of Social Security as their major source of income as retirees. The vast majority of retired workers receive a monthly check depending on the level and type of their disability as determined by the SSA. This means every 1 in 6 Americans is dependent on their Social Security income benefits for basic survival.

As important as the Social Security seems, it is not the same as it used to be. Yet, it doesn’t mean that it is not better – in fact, each year, the Social Security Administration adjusts the AIME to regulate their income benefits with the ongoing inflation rates of the fiscal year. Although the increment amounts in the benefits may seem small for some people, it could make a difference of getting by better from that increase in their monthly Social Security check.

  1. 1. Social Security benefit at full retirement age

In 2019, at full retirement age (67 max), depending on where you were born, the maximum social security benefit topped at $2861/ month for individuals retiring at full retirement age. However, an amazing increase in Social Security benefits at full retirement age will be $3011/month starting January, 2020.

  1. 2. Substantial Gainful Activity, SGA

“Social Security Administration looks into each persons disabilities differently, which means that you do not necessarily need to have achieved full retirement age to be able to apply for the Social Security Disability Income, SSDI” says a social disability advocate in California.

You could apply for the disability benefits if you meet the minimum disability requirements as listed in the Social Security Administration’s Blue Book of Impairments. With that said, the new Cost-of-Living adjustments made by the SSA will also lead to a positive impact on the disability income benefits for disability due to limitations in meeting the substantial gainful activity, SGA.

While each individual will be examined on their own measure of substantial gainful activity and their disability/impairment, the SSA has a set of criteria to determine the disability income threshold for each of these groups. This is because each state may have its own cost of living due to which the SSA carries out the Cost-of-living adjustments to determine a national average threshold for all disability groups. Three disability groups under SGA would have the following impact:

  • - Blind

The monthly income threshold for statutory blind individuals was $2040/month which after the 1.6% income due to COLA adjustments will increase to $2110/month, starting this January. (2020)

  • - Non-blind

For non-blind individuals meeting the disability requirements, the disability threshold was $1220/month in 2019 which would be increased to $1260/month, taking in effect from January. (2020)

  • - Trial Work Period, TWP

Disabled individuals who could not perform substantial gainful activity previously may want to return to work due to various reasons, such as getting better or recovering from their disability, finding work that they could perform despite their disability or wanting to gain some additional bucks from partial time work jobs such as freelancing. Whatever the reason, the individuals on a monthly disability paycheck from SSDI would need to seek permission from the SSA to do so. With that said, the SSA does have a rule to make sure that these individuals seeking to return to work are not overburdened or without a source of income till they get stable. That is why, the SSA also continues providing a disability income benefit for the trial work period, which was $880/month in 2019 and is incremented to $910/month taking effect from January, 2020.

  • 3. Retirement Earnings and SSDI

With the SSDI benefits increments mentioned for the disabled individuals, let us now discuss how the COLA 2020 will affect the maximum taxable earnings for retiring individuals.

The retirement earnings would be taxed depending on whether the retiring individual has reached full retirement age (67 max) or is under full retirement age (63 to 66).

  • - Under full retirement age: The income limits for 2019 were $1,470/month (or $17,640/year) which have now increased to $1,520/month (or $18,240/year). Note that for every $2 earned above the income limits you would be withheld $1 in disability benefits.
  • - The year an individual reaches full retirement age : The income limits for 2019 were $3,910/month (or $46,920/year) which have now increased to $4,050/month (or $48,600/year). Note that for every $3 earned above the income limits you would be withheld $1 in disability benefits.
  • - Beginning the month an individual reaches full retirement age: Once you reach full retirement age (67) none of the above applies i.e., your income would not be subject to any taxes.

No matter the percentage of Cost-of-Living adjustment, COLA increments in 2020, you can still maximize your Social Security Income by taking advantage of the $16,728 retiree bonus that most people tend to ignore or don’t know of. We think we can aide you in maximizing your benefits so you could retire with the peace of mind and the financial leverage that you certainly deserve.

If you live in Los Angeles, Palmdale, San Bernardino, Bakersfield, Riverside, Santa Barbara and want assistance on applying for disability you can contact a disability attorney here.


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Disability Benefits for Kidney Transplant and Dialysis

Disability Benefits for Kidney Transplant and Dialysis Disability Benefits for Kidney Transplant and Dialysis

The SSA’s listings for kidney diseases include many subsections in different categories including kidney cancer, cancers of the urinary tract or reproductive tract, and chronic renal problems requiring dialysis etc. However, meeting a diagnosis is not necessarily enough to qualify you for the SSDI benefits. You will need to convince the agency that the limitations caused by your particular urinary disorder, kidney issue, or problem with reproductive organ make it impossible for you to work.

Read on to find out how you can get SSDI or SSI disability benefits for these conditions.

Medical Limitations required by the SSA to approve Disability Claims for Kidney dysfunction

  1. Undergoing dialysis or a kidney transplant or
  2. Serum creatinine levels from a three-month period :
    • Above 4 mg per deciliter
    • At a clearance level of 20 ml or lower per minute
  3. Experiencing at least one of the following complications:
    • Renal osteodystropy
    • Motor or sensory nephropathy
    • Chronic fluid overload syndrome, accompanied by diastolic hypertension, vascular congestion, or anorexia

Chronic Kidney Disease

The SSA has listed specific requirements for chronic kidney disease – for dysfunction other than transplant and dialysis, the section of reduced glomerular filtration is also included by the SSA. The requirements are listed as:

  • - Ongoing peritoneal dialysis (a method of hemodialysis that involves dialyzing solution being put into and removed from the peritoneal cavity intermittently or continuously)
  • - Ongoing hemodialysis (the removal of toxins from the blood with an artificial kidney machine)
  • - Kidney transplantation, or
  • - Reduced glomerular filtration

Reduced glomerular filtration can be shown by persistently high levels of serum creatinine (a natural product of muscle metabolism), low creatinine clearance levels, or a low estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR). To qualify by showing reduced glomerular filtration, you must also show that you suffer from one of the following:

  • - Renal bone degradation and bone pain
  • - Peripheral neuropathy (inability to filter toxic substances from the blood)
  • - Fluid overload syndrome despite taking medication, documented by diastolic hypertension, signs of vascular congestion or anasarca (massive edema or swelling), or anorexia with weight loss and BMI of 18.0 or less

Nephrotic Syndrome

  • - Consistent levels of serum albumin of 3.0 per deciliter or lower AND elevated proteinuria of 3.5 g or higher over a 24-hour period
  • - Proteinuria measurements over a 24-hour period of 10 g or higher AND a total-protein-to-creatinine ratio of 3.5 or higher
  • - Chronic Kidney Disease with Complications, which appears in Section 6.09 and requires:
  • - You have been hospitalized at least three times within 12 months, with no more than 30 days in between hospital admissions
  • - History of hospital stays started in the ER and resulted in inpatient treatment of at least 48 hours

Complications of Chronic Kidney Disease

This includes that you stayed at least thrice in a consecutive period of 12 months and the hospitalizations occurring at least 30 days apart. Each hospitalization must last at least 48 hours, including hours in a hospital emergency department immediately before the hospitalization.

Since each person and his condition is different from the other, it makes a unique case for every individual. It is important that you are able to present your case efficiently in order to reap full benefits of the Disability Claims for Kidney Diseases. Our disability advocates are at service to guide you through the process step-by-step 24/7.

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Disability Benefits for Trauma and Stress Related Disorder

Disability Benefits for Trauma and Stress Related Disorder Disability Benefits for Trauma and Stress Related Disorder

Anxiety disorders triggered by an accident or trauma are classified as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, PTSD. The SSA classifies PTSD as Trauma and Stress Related disorder under the neurological disorder listings.

Experiencing trauma doesn’t necessarily end up magnified as PTSD for all; However, for some, this could worsen and last a long time and sometimes the symptoms become so severe that they affect a person’s daily cognitive and adaptive functioning.

PTSD is also sometimes referred to as ‘battle fatigue’, ‘shell shock’ and ‘post traumatic stress syndrome’. However, PTSD does not only affect war survivors or those who have served in combat, it can also result from childhood abuse, rape, violence, or even a traumatic natural catastrophes, such as a hurricanes, tsunamis etc.

PTSD can be a basis of a successful disability claim, but you would need to prove to the SSA that your disorder is indeed disabling. In determining whether your disorder is disabling, the disability examiner, DE will look into your medical records, including hospital records and notes from the doctors, therapists and counselors. The SSA could also ask for your doctor, caretaker, or healthcare provider to fill out details in the Residual Capacity Form, RFC, to address the work-related limitations that arise from the disorder.

Medical Documentation for Filing for Disability for PTSD

Although those with PTSD commonly experience periods of anxiety, nightmares, panic attacks and flashbacks that seriously hinder their day to day life, it is important that you have documented all the symptoms and events in your medical records. The SSA will require all of the medical documents:

  • - An exposure to actual or threatened death, serious injury, or violence;
  • - A subsequent involuntary re-experiencing of the traumatic event (for example, intrusive memories, dreams, or flashbacks);
  • - An avoidance of external reminders of the event;
  • - Disturbances in mood and behavior; and
  • - Increases in arousal and reactivity (for example, exaggerated startle response, sleep disturbance).

Along with the medical records, the SSA will also look into the hospital records or your doctor’s notes/opinions to determine the following:

  • - Extreme or marked limitation in understanding, remembering, or applying information
  • - Extreme or marked limitation in interacting with others
  • - Extreme or marked limitation in concentrating, persisting, or maintaining pace
  • - Extreme or marked limitation in adapting or managing oneself

Meeting the above symptoms for PTSD will not be enough to win disability claims. You must be able to show evidence to the SSA that you meet either of the following conditions along with those mentioned above.

This is to determine that your mental disorder or ‘PTSD’ is serious and persistent and you have documented all of your medical visits, treatments and symptoms for at least 2 years following your diagnosis, and there is evidence of one or both:

1 - Medical treatment, mental health therapy, psychosocial support(s), or a highly structured setting(s) that is ongoing and that diminishes the symptoms and signs of your mental disorder

2 - Marginal adjustment, that is, you have minimal capacity to adapt to changes in your environment or to demands that are not already part of your daily life

In addition to meeting the above criteria to qualify for disability for PTSD, testimonies from third-party individuals such as your boss, coworker, house helper or caretaker may also increase your chances of winning.

You can consult our disability advocates for more personalized guidance.

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Social Security Disability for ADHD

Social Security Disability for ADHD Social Security Disability for ADHD

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is a chronic neuropsychiatric condition characterized with an inability to focus attention and complete action. It occurs in both children and adults and is accompanied by restlessness and impulsive behavior.

ADHD symptoms may range from mild to severe, hence impacting a person’s ability to perform substantial gainful activity, SGA at work. Examples of disorders the SSA analyzes based on or related to ADHD include social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, agoraphobia and obsessive compulsive disorder.

There are three kinds or levels of ADHD: the inattentive type, the hyperactive-impulsive type, and a combined type. Types of classification of the disorders are mainly done through categorizing the severity of the symptoms - it simply indicates the prevalence of similar symptoms (more of a tendency toward the inability to pay attention, more of a tendency to restless behavior and mental activity, or a combination of both).

If you or a loved one with ADHD meets the triggers as listed by the SSA’s impairments under neurological conditions for ADHD or other disorders, you may qualify for SSDI.

Limitations of ADHD to qualify for SSDI

The SSA updated its listing for anxiety disorders under neurological disorders to include other disorders such as OCD. The symptoms for both anxiety and OCD listed by SSA include:

  • - Excessive anxiety
  • - Worrying a lot
  • - Apprehension and fear
  • - Avoidance of feelings, thoughts, activities, objects, places or people
  • - Being restless
  • - Difficulty concentrating or remaining focused
  • - Hyper vigilance
  • - Muscle tension
  • - Irregular sleep patterns
  • - Fatigue or being tired all the time
  • - Panic or anxiety attacks
  • - Obsessions and compulsions
  • - Constant thoughts and fears about safety
  • - Frequent physical complaints

While many of the symptoms can often be confused with extreme fatigue or anxiety due to excessive work or other conditions, people with ADHD would have lasting symptoms sometimes since childhood. Since there is no specific test or diagnosis for ADHD, your doctor would often jot down symptoms and severity of the affects it has caused you over the period of time along with ruling out possibilities of any other neurological disease that could be causing the symptoms.

Be sure to provide all documents including any MRI or CT scans and any treatment you followed, its effects (if any) and the frequency and severity of your symptoms.

It is important that you document all of the medical evidence including hospitalization, drug prescriptions and your doctor’s reports in addition to your colleague or boss’s reports if possible, to show as evidence to the SSA examiner that your condition does indeed affect your day to day functioning severely. Also be sure to include addresses, phone numbers or other contact details to all persons who could testify to your symptoms affecting your adaptive or cognitive functioning.

Applying for SSDI for ADHD for Children or Adults

A simple diagnosis for ADHD is not enough to win disability benefits. You must meet the specific limitation levels as listed by the SSA for both Para A and Para B below:

Para A

  • - Marked or severe hyperactivity
  • - Marked or severe inattention
  • - Marked or severe impulsiveness

Para B

You must be able to show medical evidence that you undergo the following symptoms:

  • - Marked or severe impairment in age-appropriate cognitive/communication function; and/or
  • - Marked or severe impairment in age-appropriate social functioning; and/or
  • - Marked or severe impairment in age-appropriate personal functioning.

If you or a loved one with ADHD meets the above requirements then you may apply for disability benefits for ADHD directly from the SSA website, or meet our disability advocates to guide you with step-by-step procedure to increase your chances of winning disability for ADHD.

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Disability benefits for Chronic Migraines

Disability benefits for Chronic Migraines Disability benefits for Chronic Migraines

The SSA does not have a specific Blue Book listing for migraines, however, that doesn’t mean you can’t qualify for disability benefits based on chronic migraines. You would be required to show evidence that the migraine is serious enough to hinder your ability for cognitive functioning or your ability to perform substantial gainful activity, SGA.

Most headaches would not qualify for disability benefits. However, if you are among those people who suffer from lengthy episodes of chronic migraines lasting days or even weeks, hindering your cognitive functioning abilities, then you may qualify for disability benefits right away.

Sometimes your impairment for chronic migraines may be related to other underlying or linked causes such as a traumatic brain injury, child abuse, accidents, schizophrenia, ADHD, OCD, bipolar disorder etc. In this case, the SSA will determine your benefits based on diagnosis of the symptoms that best fit the impairment in the Blue Book listing.

What is a Migraine?

A migraine is a recurrent headache often accompanied with an aura of 15 – 20 minutes including seeing light flashes, blurred or colored vision associated with nausea, vomiting, dizziness and sensitivity to light, sound, air, or smell. Most commonly, the one sided headaches come in pulsating form, remain on and off and can last anywhere between brief episodes of hours to long episodes from 3 days to weeks.

The marked disorders for cognitive functioning related to chronic migraines may include, but not be limited to

  • - Disturbances in memory
  • - Attention deficiency
  • - Inability to stay focused
  • - Inhibiting responses
  • - Poverty of though and speech
  • - Disturbances of mood
  • - Loss of appetite
  • - Loss of sleep or too much sleep
  • - Dizziness
  • - Nauseau

To increases your chances of winning the disability benefits, it is best that you visit your doctor regularly and document all of your symptoms related to the episodes of migraine and are able to prove to the SSA examiner that your migraine does indeed, hinder your ability to perform substantial work.

Importance of proving your migraines are disabling

Along with your medical documentation, the SSA would put great emphasis on going through your doctor’s opinions and notes on how your disability turns you disabling. The Disability Examiner will determine the severity and frequency of your disability based on the following:

  • Doctor’s Opinions: Reports and medical notes/views/remarks/opinions by the doctor who primarily treats your condition, such as a neurologist, psychoanalyst, pain management specialist, or headache specialist
  • Medical Records: Specific documentation of your daily symptoms and migraines, so as to measure the frequency of occurrence, duration, location, and intensity of your migraines as well as their effects on your daily living activities, and
  • Prescription Records: Documentation of medications taken and treatments tried, whether successful or unsuccessful, and any side effects you experienced from them.

We suggest, to help your chances of winning disability, keep a migraine diary where you note all the disabling symptoms and conditions during your migraine episodes. Also, make sure to remind your doctor to write notes for each visit, so you may have a better case to present to the ALJ at the hearings appeal if your initial disability application is denied.

You may also consult our disability lawyers for more detailed guidance.

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Disability Benefits for People with Cancer

Disability Benefits for People with Cancer Disability Benefits for People with Cancer

Seeing a loved one or yourself suffering might be challenging in itself, however, that if combined with the financial burden can make it even difficult to cope with the burden of cancer as a disease.

As Martin Luther King once said, ‘Where a man stands in comfort and convenience doesn’t matter, what matters is where he stands at times of challenge and controversy’. The SSA is aware of the emotional turmoil and financial burden that comes with cancer, therefore they have included the longest listing of impairments under a separate section for cancer that deals with almost all kinds of cancer(s).

Qualifying for disability benefits for some aggressive types of cancers can be easier than others depending on the severity, treatment and duration of the disease. Some other factors the SSA includes are:

  • - Origin of the cancer.
  • - Extent of involvement.
  • - Duration, frequency, and response to anticancer therapy.
  • - Effects of any post-therapeutic residuals.

Depending on the type and stage of the cancer, you may also be required to present evidence of these medical records:

For operative procedures, including a biopsy or a needle aspiration:

  • - Operative note and
  • - Pathology report

If the primary site cannot be identified, then you may be required to present medical evidence for metastasis reports of the main site.

Also, in some situations, you may be required to present your doctor’s notes or your medical reports about recurrence, persistence or progression of the cancer, the response to therapy, and any significant residuals.

You may be approved for disability benefits if you meet any of the criteria for these types of cancers:

  • - You have undergone anticancer therapy

This means you had surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, hormones, immunotherapy or other stem cell transplantation to treat your cancer. You may be required to reproduce medical evidence showing that the treatment(s) affected your functioning in substantial gainful activity, SGA.

  • - Metastases

Your cancer has spread to other cells by blood, lymph or other body fluids.

  • - Multimodal therapy

This indicates a combination of two or more types of therapy to treat the cancer such as radiation and surgery to treat the affected tissues. Other examples include chemotherapy followed by surgery, chemotherapy and concurrent radiation etc

  • - Progressive

This means that the cancer became more extensive after you initiated treatment; that is, there is evidence that the cancer started growing after you had completed at least half of the prescribed treatment

  • - Recurrent or relapse

This means the cancer that was in complete remission or evicted totally has returned.

The types of cancers included in SSA’s listing of impairments:

  1. Soft tissue cancers of the head and neck
  2. Skin cancer
  3. Soft tissue sarcoma
  4. Lymphoma
  5. Leukemia
  6. Multiple myeloma
  7. Cancer of the salivary glands
  8. Cancer of the thyroid gland
  9. Breast cancer
  10. Skeletal system sarcoma
  11. Maxilla orbit or temporal fossa
  12. Cancer of the nervous system
  13. Lung cancer
  14. Pleura or mediastinum
  15. Esophagus or stomach cancer
  16. Cancer of small intestine
  17. Cancer of large intestine
  18. Liver or gallbladder cancer
  19. Pancreatic cancer
  20. Kidney, adrenal glands or uterus carcinoma
  21. Urinary bladder carcinoma
  22. Cancers of the female genital tract (carcinoma or sarcoma)
  23. Prostate gland carcinoma
  24. Testicle cancer
  25. Penis cancer
  26. *primary site unknown
  27. Cancer treated by bone marrow or stem cell transplantation
  28. Malignant melanoma

If you have a severe cancer not listed in the listing or if you do not meet the severity guidelines, you may still qualify for disability benefits for cancer depending on how the cancer is affecting other bodily organs included in the listings. For example, malignant cancer of liver may be affecting your immune system severely, which in turn may turn you eligible for disability benefits.

For more details and personalized guidance please contact our disability advocates in California.

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Qualifying for disability benefits due to cancer

Qualifying for disability benefits due to cancer Qualifying for disability benefits due to cancer

A number of cancer survivors undergo an unfortunate loss of weakened body systems which may quite often cause temporary or permanent problems in adaptive functioning. At times, these complications or relapsing side effects may not come for years after having successfully treated your cancer. In this case, it is important to keep all medical evidence documented for at least last 2 years to be able to qualify for disability benefits on lasting effects or side effects of cancer.

When you are able to reproduce long term disabling effects of your anti cancer treatments, it may be easier to qualify for SSDI benefits. The SSA would consider your case using three types of criteria:

  • The type of cancer and its location.
  • The extent of involvement when the cancer was first demonstrated.
  • Your symptoms.

Other criteria would be the duration of your impairment arising from cancer.

Duration of impairment to be disabling

This means how long after the treatment would your impairment be counted as a disabling condition arising from the cancer. This includes three basic criterion for measurement by the SSA:

  1. In some types of cancers, disabling effects arising within 12 months of the anti cancer treatment would be accepted as disabling impairments resulting from the cancer, hence eligible to qualify for disability benefits. For impairments arising after 12 months of anticancer treatment, you would be required to justify that through medical reports and your doctor’s notes.
  2. When the listing does not specify the relapse time of the disabling condition, then any impairment arising within 3 years of the start of complete remission of the cancer may be counted as eligible to qualify for benefits.
  3. If you have a recurrent or relapse of the cancer, you would automatically qualify to be eligible for SSDI benefits.

Radiation and chemotherapy has also been associated with problems such as heart problems, liver problems, lung diseases, bone weakness, cataracts, reproductive disorders, hypothyroidism, intestinal problems, cognitive dysfunction and eye problems, to name a few. If you can show evidence that you developed any of these impairments as a result of your anti cancer treatment, then the SSA would evaluate the impairment on its own as one of the impairments in the listing, without connecting necessarily to cancer as an impairment.

No more disabling due to cancer!

When you have successfully evicted your cancer and any types of metastases, tumors or lymph nodes associated with it and have not developed any of the problems arising from cancer within three years of remission, then any problem arising after that period will no more be considered disabling due to that specific cancer.

On another note, this means that if you are granted disability benefits due to that specific cancer, then the disability award will stand for a minimum of three years, even if the cancer seems to have been successfully treated before the end of three years of the disability award.

You may contact our disability lawyers for more personalized guidance for winning disability benefits for cancer.

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Disability Benefits for children with cancer

Disability Benefits for children with cancer Disability Benefits for children with cancer

The Social Security Administration does not provide disability benefits for all types of cancer, however, if your child's disability is listed in the Social Security's Blue Book of Impairments or qualifies the SSI Disability you may be provided benefits to cover the costs of most of the disease expenses.

Hearing the news that your child has been diagnosed with cancer can be devastating enough. Unfortunately, in order for your child to be qualified under SSDI benefits he/she will have to meet all of the criteria for social security’s basic disability requirements under SSA.  You can read more on that in point 25.

Medical bills can skyrocket when your child is undergoing treatment. Bills could increase even more when you have to provide and care for additional siblings and travelling to and fro from your workplace for treatment. You could also have to leave your job to facilitate treatment in another city. SSA provides basic care through Medicaid and SSI benefits to the most deserving. SSA will evaluate the extent of the severity of the cancer by looking into the so-called “Blue book”, that is a standard guide used to evaluate claimants and decide whether they meet medical eligibility requirements for SSDI.

Medical eligibility for children with cancer

All childhood cancers are listed in the section 113 of the Blue Book. While determining the severity to qualify your child for SSDI, the SSA will look for

  • The origin of child’s cancer and the treatment time it took;

A point to remember is any brain cancer will automatically be considered for SSDI. You would just have to produce a biopsy report or a written medical record issued by child’s oncologist.

  • The advancement of the disease and whether it left any long lasting effects;

This includes any side effects that SSA will directly consider for SSDI including

  • Stomach issues
  • Ongoing weakness
  • Mental health issues after the treatment or due to the treatment
  • Neurological complications
  • Cardiovascular complications
  • The impact of post treatment side effects or if there was any relapse

The SSDI would consider the child if he/she shows visible limitations in performing daily tasks, or speech impairment or any issues such as

  • Unable to be present minded, attending to or completing tasks
  • Interacting or relating to others
  • Learning and using new information
  • Health and physical wellbeing affected
  • Unable to tend to personal needs
  • Moving about or manipulating physical objects
  • The duration, frequency and time of treatments for each type of cancer

For this it is important that your medical records show drugs given, dosage, frequency or treatment drugs, extent of treatment drugs, radiation therapy frequency and any surgery done. Children with specific types of cancers are given priority under SSDI that have a higher chance of being affected like the above mentioned cases. These include:

  • Malignant solid tumors
  • Childhood lymphoma
  • Neuroblastoma
  • Retina blastoma
  • Ependymoblastoma
  • Malignant melanoma

Considering the situation of your child thoroughly, the SSA will state on your application why your application was denied. You could not apply to the social security benefits online, so to make the best of your chance and to find out more about the functioning and domains of how SSDI benefits cover your child’s cancer treatments, you can contact our professional lawyers at Disability Advocates Group Law Firm (DAG)  who are ready to provide you all the assistance you need. Once the application is approved you could then focus on the most important matter at hand, caring for your child in disease.

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I was denied disability benefits besides having enough work credits

I was denied disability benefits besides having enough work credits I was denied disability benefits besides having enough work credits

Most people go to panic modes when they get their disability applications denied - However, most people do not realize that denied disability benefits could be appealed within the six months of denial with a 35% chance of getting your disability benefits approved at some level of appeal.

Read on to find out how!

Social Security Disability Insurance is a Social Security tax fund under which individuals with enough work credits and history qualify. Applicants who qualify under SSDI should have paid social security taxes to qualify under SSDI. However, still applications which are not developed run a high risk of denial. A denial doesn’t necessarily indicate that you are not disabled. Although the disability may be beyond your control but filing out the application carefully and making sure you are not doing anything that shows up as misleading information in your application to the SSA could be the key to your SSDI acceptance. Here’s a few things you may be doing wrong:

  • You don’t show hard medical evidence

You need to prove that your disability is severe enough through your medical records. For example, you may be seeing your doctor for severe spinal pain. But your medical records do not indicate that the pain is interfering in your work life balance. This will result in denial. Hence, you need to discuss with your physician how the disability is interfering in your work/life balance and show it in medical records.

  • Your disability is not long lasting or would be soon recovered

Presented the case above, you may still be denied the SSDI benefits. Under SSA, your medical condition needs to be severe enough to prevent you from working for one or more year, or has a potential risk of death. For example, you are filing for SSDI following a motorbike or automobile accident resulting in a bone fracture. But if that bone fracture isn’t expected to last one year or impair your work ability, you may be denied. The only exception to one year rule is blindness. However, if the fracture is severe enough to last more than one year, you need to have medical evidence to back up your application.

  • You earn more than enough income

If you are working too much to gain a high income, much more than the standard of Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) under SSA that is $1180 per month set in 2018, you will be considered as earning too much. Your disability claims cannot exceed the asset limits set by the SGA. You would risk denial if you do so. If your income exceeds the upper limit i.e., $1500 set by a complicated formula by the SSA, you would be denied completely regardless of your disability in most cases.

  • You do not cooperate

Your medical records and consultations are important for your application. But if you deny the SSA rights to collect your medical history this would come off as refusal to cooperate resulting in denial. Also, SSA may need additional information about your disability hence sending you to a doctor. And if you fail to do so, you would be denied.

  • You don’t follow prescribed treatment by your doctor

With some exceptional cases under this rule, your failure to follow prescribed treatment by your doctor would come off as refusal to get fit for work resulting in denial of your application. Some exceptions would include

  • - Intense fear of a surgery involved
  • - Movement out of the house due to you being unable to move due to disability or you living alone
  • - Sever mental illness or side effects due to treatment

Some non medical exceptions to the rule that could result in denial include:

  • - Your religious believes prohibiting you from treatment
  • - You can’t afford the treatment because you don’t have money
  • - The doctor prescribed a treatment that another doctor contradicts with
  • - Your disability is due to substance abuse

The SSA will simply deny you SSDI benefits if your disability is due to alcohol or drug abuse under DAA.

  • You have a past of being convicted of a crime

If you become disabled in prison after being convicted of a crime you would be denied. You would be able to apply or receive the benefits if accepted after released from the prison. But you would be denied if you are still in prison.

  • The SSA could not find you

Perhaps you moved houses to another city or hometown or changed your mobile/telephone numbers, if the SSA could not establish contact with you within a specific time after receiving the application, you would be denied.

  • You committed fraud

With all the cases stated above, if the government finds any of the information in your application as being manipulated to mislead the SSA into granting you SSDI, you would not simply be denied but also prosecuted to the end by the law.


With all said, if you want specific advice you can hire a qualified social security disability attorney at Disability Advocates Group Law Firm (DAG)  to help you fully understand and prepare for your appeal properly as well as filing and preparing all of your paperwork, increasing the chances of your acceptance.

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How to check the status of my social security disability application

Here is how you can check your disability status online Here is how you can check your disability status online

Waiting for the judgement of your disability application can get stressful and boggy. This is because it could take anywhere between 3 to 6 months for a final verdict on your disability benefits application.

However, the Social Security Administration understands this. That is why as you wait for the ruling, you are provided with the option to check your disability status online from the SSA site.

Depending on your disability case it may take between several days to weeks for your application to get approved or denied. There are several ways you can check the status of your disability application depending on the stage it is in.

Here is how you can check your SSDI application status online

If your case is being managed by one of our lawyers you can contact our lawyers directly at Disability Advocates Group law firm (DAG) or call us at 800-935-3170 or visit us at 17525 Ventura Blvd, Suite 308, Encino, CA 91316. We strive to keep you abreast of any changes in your application status and are already ready to answer your legal questions.

Hence, you can have the disability attorney working on your face contact the Social Security Administration to determine the status of your file on your behalf.

In addition to talking to your attorney, you can directly check the status of your application by:

  • - Call your local SSA office directly at 1-800-772-1213, Monday through Friday, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • - Contacting the disability examiner that has been assigned your case and engage with him/her directly on call or visit their office to discuss the details (You can get their contact details at your local SSA Office) or
  • - Visiting your nearest SSA office through the Social Security Office Locator at

How long does it take the SSA to review my application?

The SSA makes a decision on your application on most of the Social Security Disability Claims SSDI within three or four months, with some cases taking up to six months.

However, if your case was denied and you appealed it to be heard by a local administrative  law judge (AL J) ,it can add a flurry of few months in addition to the basic time, taking it anywhere between nine months to two years.

The Social Security Administration will notify you as soon as the decision is made for your disability application. However, it is important you make sure you still have access to all the contact details you provided in your SSDI application. If you still do not hear from the SSA within 3 to 5 months, then you may have to visit your local SSA office directly or have your attorney do that on your behalf.

That said, if your case was denied and you want to appeal to the SSA’s decision, you can contact our lawyers at Disability Advocates Group law firm (DAG) directly.

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Will the change in my home address affect my SSDI benefits?

Moving Homes and the Change in your SSDI Benefits Moving Homes and the Change in your SSDI Benefits

In most cases the Social Security Administration will simply need to be informed of the change in your address within due time to continue sending your benefits check to your new address.

However, if you are going to move as far as another State or just down another home in your street, you will need to inform the SSA of your new address - this is important so your check reaches the right destination.

Social Security Disability benefits are awarded after a dynamic process of application submission and claim cross checking by the SSA under Federal Rule. In most cases, if you’re moving from state to state you would not have to reapply to the SSA as you will get continued benefits from the previous application. That is because SSDI is a program under Federal Rule as stated above and hence your eligibility is not affected by the change of your address within the country.

If you are moving regardless if you move to another state or just across the street you will have to notify the SSA of the change in your address and also of your new phone number if you have changed that too. The sooner you notify the SSA of the changed information the less consequential problems you would face having your Social Security Disability benefits forwarded to your new address.

If you are a claimant moving out of US, there will be a time limit set by the SSA before they cut out your claims. Since both SSI and SSDI are SSA programs, it depends on what program you are receiving benefits under and how long you have been receiving them. Depending on what country you are moving to, including the fact that you aren’t moving to a prohibited country, and also how long would you stay in the new country the SSA will base their decision on whether to continue or cancel your claims under Social Security Disability, SSDI. If you are receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) the SSA would not stop your benefits until after 30 days you have moved out. While if you are receiving Social Security Disability claims your benefits the SSA would only stop the benefits until after 6 months of you being moved to another country. You can reinstate the benefits after returning to the US.

You can get personalized guidance  for your case or get paperwork done by contacting our professional Social Security Disability Attorneys at Disability Advocates Group law firm (DAG).


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Getting pregnant while on Social Security Disability

Getting pregnant while on Social Security Disability Getting pregnant while on Social Security Disability

Family leaves or maternity/paternity benefits allow to take off from work and take care of yourself and your newborn without worrying about losing your job or winning bread during those days.

Childbirth and pregnancy are beautiful things nature has bestowed upon human beings and are in most cases truly rewarding experiences. In some cases, the pregnancy may result in complications that may cause temporary or permanent disabilities. The social security disability provides benefits to people with disabilities who qualify for disability in the Blue Book. Routine pregnancy may not qualify you for disability benefits.

Being pregnant may prevent you from doing some types of routine work or cause temporary disabilities lasting less than 5 months period. The SSA, however, defines disabilities through many vigorous criteria. (provide link) Unless giving birth causes a disability or if the child is born with disability, your pregnancy and childbirth may not qualify under SSDI. You may still be eligible for supplemental security income benefits, SSI.

The US has two federal laws that cater for the maternity benefits for working women.

- Family and Maternity Leave Act, FMLA

- Pregnancy Discrimination Act, PDA

Short term disability benefits

Short term disability, STD is also known as an insurance term describing any condition that may prevent you from going to work, for a short period of time if you have already used your sick leave. Some states including California, Hawaii, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island have working STD programs. An employee, will have to file a case and if you got a short term disability due to pregnancy or childbirth preventing you from going to work between 9 – 52 weeks, you may become eligible for STD benefits. You will receive a percent of your usual wages (55% to 60%) until you are able to go back to work.

The STD will not provide you continued benefits once you are able to go back to work. But the good news is, California and New Jersey have paid parental leave programs that are run through the state disability insurance office.

Many States have passed their own FMLA which allows sometimes even greater benefits to the qualified employees. A handful of States pay better than the federal gov including California, D.C., Hawaii, Washington, New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island etc..

California Short-term disability during pregnancy

California's short term disability program provides mothers with eight to ten weeks of paid leave for normal pregnancy and childbirth. The paid family leave also provides you up to six weeks of paid leave to the qualifying employees.

A few States also offer paid family maternity benefits to allow you to take care of your child and yourself without worrying about the finances.

If you need more information about paid maternity benefits, you may contact a social security attorney at DAG directly.

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Getting Health Insurance while on Disability Benefits

Getting Health Insurance while on Disability Benefits Getting Health Insurance while on Disability Benefits

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) will fundamentally change the conditions that influence Americans to apply for federal disability insurance benefits. Because disability insurance confers health insurance in addition to cash benefits, it is an attractive option for many individuals with work-limiting disabilities. At the same time, leaving employment to apply for disability insurance benefits (a requirement for application) can be risky for those who obtain health insurance through their employers, making it a relatively unattractive option for others.

By enabling access to affordable private health insurance and expanding access to subsidized public health insurance, the ACA alters the calculus of disability claiming decisions. Whether it will lead to more or fewer applications for disability benefits is not clear yet. 

The social security administration, SSA runs many programs providing benefits to those in need. These include social security disability, SSDI, supplemental security income, SSI, Medicaid and many others. SSA has provided over 60 million American’s the benefits today. Among these a vast majority were covered under social security disability. Those covered under SSDI receive monthly payments in cash to make sure that they remain financially stable despite their disabilities.

You may have other health insurance programs and thankfully they do not affect your SSDI. If you qualify for social security, you may keep SSDI benefits while also applying or getting benefits under other health insurance programs under SSA, that is programs like Medicaid. This means that you can pay your hospital bills, routine checkups, medical tests and physician fees through your health insurance programs without having to surrender your SSDI which covers your disability.

While your health insurance does not affect your SSDI, if you qualify for other non governmental institutions that cover a percentage or whole of your disabilities then you stand a risk of losing your SSDI benefits as you will already become financially stable through other programs. To see whether you qualify for social security you can read here.

SSDI requires a 29-month period from the onset of the disability to the determination of eligibility, where "onset" is the time of starting of your disability defined by your SSA examiner as the intersection of two events: occurrence of a qualifying health condition and cessation of meaningful work. This means that workers who have a health condition that limits their ability to work face a difficult dilemma (often referred to as "employment lock"): They can either attempt to keep working in spite of their impairment to maintain health insurance from their employer or they can stop working to apply for SSDI and risk an extended period of time without insurance.

Conducting research for social security and applying for SSDI can be tiresome when you are already undergoing depression and anxiety because of your disability.

Our social security attorneys have vast experience of the SSDI filing that can help you avoid the mistakes that you may otherwise make. If you are considering for applying to the SSDI benefits, you may contact our social security attorney at Disability Advocates Group law firm (DAG).

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8 things you must have/do before applying for Disability Benefits

Documents you must have when filing for disability Documents you must have when filing for disability

A successful disability application is which has been fulfilled properly and has minimum probability of being denied. It requires a vast knowledge of the do’s and don'ts's concerning your SSDI since only minor carelessness could be the reason of your disability application being denied.

The most difficult thing in your SSDI application is to prove your disability is severe enough to last a minimum 12 months, or unfortunately, result in death. When you are disabled, this may be a overwhelming task since you may already be under depression or anxiety because of your incapacity to perform work or your disability taking its tolls on your life.

Nonetheless, if you think that your disability is severe enough and prevents you from going to work or perform in substantial gainful activity, SGA, then you should apply for your disability benefits as soon as possible.

One common misconception people have is that they have to wait for at least 5 months since their disability to be able to file an application. That is not true. You should apply as soon as your disability and its severity are diagnosed because the time it takes for your application to be processed by the social security administration (5 months) will be counted as the time required for the waiting period of your disability (5 months). However, if you indeed qualify for disability benefits, you will most likely receive Disability Backpay for most of your medical bills during the time your case was being decided.

Here is the tip: You should immediately file for disability if your doctor is sure that your disability is expected to last longer than 12 months, impairs your ability to perform substantial gainful activity and is listed in the Social Security Administration’s Blue Book of impairments.

Here are the documents you should have before filing your claim:

  1. Your Social Security Insurance number;
  2. If you were born outside the United States or its territories, the name of your birth country at the time of your birth (it may have a different name now), Permanent Resident Card number (if you are not a U.S. citizen);
  3. If you were in the military service, the type of duty and branch, and also your service period;
  4. Your W-2 Form from last year or, if you were self-employed, your federal income tax return (IRS 1040 and Schedules C and SE); Medical records of your sickness, injuries, and conditions, containing dates of treatment, and patient ID numbers; and the names, addresses, and phone numbers of the medical providers who treated you;
  5. Names and dates of medical tests you have had and who requested the tests;
  6. Names of medicines you are taking and who prescribed them;
  7. Medical records that you already have; and
  8. A list of up to five jobs and dates you worked during the last 15 years under SGA

You can go to your nearest social security administration office, or contact them through telephone 1–800-772-213, or apply online directly on the SSA’s website

To improve probabilities of your initial claim to be accepted you need to make sure to collect and keep all of your medical records to be presented with your ssdi claim. For specific guidance on your situation, requirements and disability you can consult our social security attorneys to guide you through the process smoothly and minimize the possibilities of denial.

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Disability Benefits due to Reduced Functional Capacity caused by Back Problems

Disability due to back pain Disability due to back pain

If your back impairment or disorder, as mentioned by your doctor/physician in your medical records affects your Reduced Functional Capacity, RFC and Substantial Gainful Activity, SGA, then you might qualify for disability benefits.

Claims due to back pain caused by disc damages or nerve problems are very common to the Social Security Administration, SSA. The SSA realizes that almost 50% of the people between age 40 t0 50 and 70% of people between age 50 to 65 suffer either kind of back problems mostly due to age factor. However, not all back problems are listed under the eligible muskoskeletal problems in the Blue Book of impairments by the SSA. However, it expects most of the people to reach full retirement age to qualify for disability. So, it can get tough qualifying for disability based on not-so-serious back problems.

How to win disability claims for back disorders?

To make sure that you stand a higher chance of winning disability claims for your back pain, you need to show evidence to your disability examiner, DE that your back pain is indeed hindering your ability to move and work properly. The SSA will need to be ensured that your back pain is indeed not moderate and is actually debilitating and severe. Based on your condition, you may have to proved that you are unable to sit or stand for longer amounts of time, or carry out normal bodily movements like bending or scooping without hurting excessively. Also, for all conditions reparable in the back disorders listed by the SSA in the Blue Book, you may also have to prove either that your condition lasted for more than 12 months of consecutive period or that it is expected to last more than a year.

Qualifying for Disability due to Back Pain

If you meet the above conditions, the only criteria you need to fulfill now to avail the disability benefits is that your condition is listed in the SSA’s list of muskoskeletal impairments. It contains the following back problems listed in the document:

  1. Major dysfunction of a joint due to any cause
  2. Reconstructive surgery of a basic weight bearing joint
  3. Disorders of the spine such as nerve root compression, arachnoiditis, osteoporosis etc
  4. Amputation due to any cause
  5. Fracture of the femur, tibia, pelvis, or one or more of the tarsal bones such as herniated disc
  6. Fracture of an upper extremity of the back
  7. Soft tissue injury such as burns, ruptured muscles
  8. Vertebral fracture
  9. Degenerative disc disease


Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) for Back Problems

Your disability examiner, DE with the help of a qualified medical professional will examine your doctor’s reports of your disability due to back pain and see whether it fit the criteria of the SSA. Mostly the doctor’s restrictions listed for back pain disability include prohibition to lifting heavy objects, sitting or standing for too long, keeping bad posture or perform heavy exercise). The DE will give you a rating based on the severity of your condition based on your doctor’s restrictions mentioned in your medical report. These include four levels: sedentary, light work, medium work, heavy work.

You may read more on RFC here.

If your DE assigns you an RFC for light or medium work and have always done heavy work, you could be automatically approved for benefits in some cases (especially if you're older than 55 years of age). In many cases, however, you will be denied benefits if you have an RFC of medium or light work.

The RFC reports combined with the DE’s ratings varies for each person. However, you might consider the help of a social security attorney to make sure you know how to approach your doctor and DE for full assistance. For instance, if your doctor assigns you heavy restrictions on your back pain, your disability attorney may know the right questions to ask your doctor to assign you a low residual functional capacity.

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SSA Disability benefits | Back disorders caused by nerve root compressions

Disability benefits due to nerve root compression Disability benefits due to nerve root compression

In order to get approved for disability benefits for back pain, you’ll have to show the Social Security Administration, SSA that your pain is beyond the moderate back pain that many people experience and that you have trouble standing, walking, or sitting or long periods of time or perform work under substantial gainful activity, SGA.

Compression of the root nerve in the back is one of the few physical disorders of back pain that are counted as disability in the Blue Book of Impairments. Hence, if a compressed root causes chronic or severe pain, that makes you unable to perform SGA, you might qualify for the Social Security Disability benefits and Medicare.

Back injuries can be caused either by natural causes such as aging, poor posture, heavy work, excessive strain on the back or by accidents such as fractures, spine damages due to accidents, nerve root compressions, bacterial infection of the spine, sciatica pain etc. Other conditions could also include diseases like osteoarthritis or osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis etc.

Many applicants filing for disability based on back injury list osteoarthritis or osteoporosis as their main causes of chronic back pain rather than a traumatic incident or a severe back injury. This is because a back injury due to natural processes is more common than accidental injuries. That is why the SSA takes into account back injuries caused by the natural processes.

Eligibility for Disability based on Compression of Nerve Root

The medical criteria for proving that your back pain is indeed due to nerve root compression involves a basic leg raising test that should be positive (lying down or sitting) in order to be labeled as nerve root compression by the doctors. The test is performed by your physician or doctor in the clinic. To get approved for disability benefits based on a spinal disorder, you must indeed be able to prove that your spinal nerve root is compressed and that the compression is causing the pain to radiate, limiting your range of motion or angle of movements in proper direction, dulling your reflexes or sensations and your muscles to be atrophied or weakening of the muscles.

Although you are not technically required to have an MRI scan done to show the root nerve damage/compression, doing so might help your case. Let’s be absolutely clear: this is not an easy disability listing to prove or get approved for getting disability benefits – However, even if you do not have an impingement of an MRI to show your nerve root compression, your doctor or physician might still be able to prove to the authorities that you do indeed have a genuine disability due to the nerve root compression.

Here is how to ensure that your doctor is supportive of your disability claim

If your back pain has prevented you from working under SGA for more than twelve months or if your doctor/physician is sure that your disability will last longer than 12 months, then you should indeed file your claim for disability due to nerve root compression immediately.

If your back pain causes significant deficiencies in your bodily movements such as stooping or picking up things, sitting up properly, unable to sit up or stand for long periods of time, unable to walk without crutches or a wheelchair, unable to bend etc, then make sure that all these conditions are properly recorded with medical evidence or your doctor’s statements in your medical records. These might be beneficial in helping you win your disability claims benefits due to nerve root compression.

Lastly, if you or a loved one with a muskoskeletal impairment such as back pain due to nerve root compression needs help with disability claims, you might contact a disability attorney to help and prepare you for proper disability application.

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How do I get my Disability Backpay? (Disability Past Due Benefits)

Disability Backpay Disability past due benefits


Disability benefits take a long time to be granted depending on your disability case and whether it is granted at first attempt or you go through a reconsideration or appeals process. Hence, the full procedure can take anywhere between six months to two years, to finally get your disability claims granted.

What is Disability Backpay?

Disability backpay is when almost all claimants get their past due benefits if and once they are approved by the Social Security Administration to receive disability benefits. During the claims process, you will have to pay for your disability such as medical bills, doctor’s fees, prescriptions, wheelchair and many such bills from your own expenses. However, once you get your disability claims approved, you will be reimbursed the amount spend on your disability during the process – hence, the disability backpay.

To learn about your SSDI medical eligibility, click here.

When will you be granted Disability Backpay?

How far back will you receive your disability backpay will depend on several factors, such as:

Application Date

The first factor that determines when your disability will start depends on the time you filed for your disability i.e., your disability application date. Normally a disability applicant receives disability backpay dating to the start of their disability filing application however, in some case the disability benefits are paid even prior to the application date, from the time the disability actually started, known as retroactive period. The retroactive period benefits only apply to the disability claimants.

Alternatively, if you have a ‘protective filing date’, you can get your disability benefits backpay starting from that date as if it were the application date.

Date of Disability Recorded in your Medical Records

The second most important factor regarding your disability benefits is the start date of when your disability started.

A disability claimant who has been approved for benefits will be given an EOD, or "established" onset date. The established onset date is set by your DDS disability examiner, or an administrative law judge, ALJ (if your case has gone to hearing), and is considered to be the date for when your disability actually began. The EOD will be based entirely on your medical records and work history. In other words, how far back your disability is recorded to be started is to be decided according to the evidence available from your doctor's reports, lab test results, and disability application.

For SSDI claimants, whether or not benefits will be payable back to the beginning of the 12-month retroactive period time will depend on the onset date that is established, either by a disability examiner or by an administrative law judge. But there is another important factor in determining the SSDI starting date, i.e., a waiting period.

Five-Month Waiting Period

Additionally, the SSDI applicants who have been approved and given an established date of onset will have five months of benefits removed from the beginning of their disability. In other words, the "date of entitlement" doesn't start until five months after the EOD.

If your disability claims examiner or the administrative law judge determines that the onset date is 17 months prior to the application date, or more, the claimant should be entitled to the entire 12 months of retroactive benefits prior to the date of the SSDI application.

Lump Sum Payment

Regardless of the amount or period of disability backpay, the SSDI amount of disability backpay is always paid as a lump sum.

If you or a loved one has filed for disability and has to claim a disability backpay, you can consult a disability attorney here.

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What is Social Security Disability Insurance and Medical Eligibility?

What is Social Security Disability Insurance and Medical Eligibility? What is Social Security Disability Insurance and Medical Eligibility?

The federal government managed Social Security Disability Insurance (DI) program pays monthly benefits in the form of cash or paycheck to eligible people in the US workforce who are unable to go to work because of a critical disease or a chronic illness that is expected to last longer than a year or cause death within the year. It is a piece of the Social Security program that additionally pays retirement benefits to by far most of more established Americans. Benefits depend on the clinically ill worker's past work credits and are paid to the disabled worker and to his or her needy survivors. To be qualified, an incapacitated worker is more likely required than not worked in occupations secured by Social Security.

How Much Is the Disability Benefit?

The disability benefit is linked through a formula to a worker's earnings before he or she became disabled. The benefits are calculated through the AIME formula.

The  SSDI amount paid to SSDI recipients vary between $800 and $1800. The average monthly SSDI income in 2019 is $1234 for blind and $1980 for non-blind.

Who Pays for Disability Insurance Benefits?

Workers and employers pay for the SSDI program with part of their Social Security taxes. Workers and employers each pay a Social Security tax that is 6.2 percent of workers' earnings up to a cap of $132,900 in 2019. The cap is adjusted each year to keep pace with average wages. Of the 6.2 percent, 5.015 percent goes to pay for Social Security retirement and survivor benefits and 1.185 percent pays for disability insurance. The combined tax paid by workers and employers for disability insurance is 2.37 percent of wages, while the combined tax for retirement and survivor benefits is 10.03 percent, for a total of 12.4 percent.

Attributes of Disabled-Worker Beneficiaries

Disabled-worker beneficiaries are at risk of being poor or near poor. About 30 percent of disabled workers, compared to 15 percent of all working-age adults, have incomes below 125 percent of the poverty threshold. Moreover, 82 percent of SSDI beneficiaries rely on Social Security for more than half their income, and 37 percent of disabled worker beneficiaries rely on these benefits for all of their income.

SSDI recipients are also more likely to be older, with the average age of beneficiaries at 54 in 2019. Three out of four (74 percent) are over 50 years old and a third (34 percent) are over 60 years old.

When comparing with other adults, disabled workers are more likely to be black, and to have a lower level of educational attainment; almost half have a high school diploma or less.

What are the common disabilities of SSDI recipients?

  • musculoskeletal problems, such as back injuries
  • cardiovascular conditions, such as heart failure or coronary artery disease
  • senses and speech issues, such as vision and hearing loss
  • respiratory illnesses, such as COPD or asthma
  • neurological disorders, such as multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, Parkinson's disease, and epilepsy
  • mental disorders, such as depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, autism, or retardation
  • immune system disorders, such as HIV/AIDS, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis
  • various syndromes, such as Sjogren's Syndrome and Marfan Syndrome
  • skin disorders, such as dermatitis
  • digestive tract problems, such as liver disease or IBD
  • kidney disease and genitourinary problems, and
  • cancer
  • hematological disorders, such as hemolytic anemias and disorders of bone marrow failure

With all said there is no blinking the fact that the SSDI pays around 8.5 million Americans in disability benefits each year. However, still the US’s spending on disability benefits is relatively modest as compared to a 1.3% of Germany, 2.5% of Sweden and 2.8% of Netherlands, the US spends only 1.4%.

If you need more details or help in filing your social security disability, you may contact us.

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Disability Advocates Group is a law firm dedicated to serving individuals who have become disabled and are seeking to obtain the benefits they need and deserve. At Disability Advocates Group, we specialize in representing disabled clients in their claims for Social Security Disability Benefits.

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