Published on:

The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits program has not been around as long as the Social Security Old Age and Retirement benefits program, but it has been around for more than six decades.  Despite its fairly long history and real data showing how many millions of Americans with disabilities would not be able to make ends meet without it, those who apply for disability benefits, and the system itself, are both easy targets for politicians on the campaign trail.

Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits in Boston is Not an Entitlements Program

Boston SSI casesThe trouble mainly stems from an effort to label all public assistance programs as “entitlements” and to call all those who seek these benefits lazy, and say there is no reason they can’t be working.  As discussed in a recent news article from Vox, contrary to the popular myth being pushed by politicians, those on disability generally wish they were not disabled and could go to work.  As also discussed in this article, one of the main proponents of this myth is Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky.  Mr. Paul has made inflammatory statements including that more than half of those who receive Social Security disability benefits are either “anxious” or their “back hurts.” Continue reading →

Published on:

Whenever a claimant files for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) benefits in Boston, there are various things that must be established in order for claimant to receive an award of benefits.  In the case of SSDI benefits, the first thing is claimant must establish he or she is disabled within the meaning of the statute, and the second is he or she has a long enough work history to have earned a sufficient number of quarterly credits pursuant to Social Security Administration (SSA) guidelines.

Five-Step Disability Analysis in Boston Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits Cases

SSDI Claims BostonAs discussed in Hargress v. Social Security Administration, a case from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, claimant applied for both Supplemental Security Income benefits and Social Security Disability Insurance benefits. With respect to both claims, her initial application was denied. On appeal, she was granted a hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ) where her claim was again denied. At the hearing, she was denied again by ALJ based upon a finding she was not disabled. Continue reading →

Published on:

When considering whether to pursue Social Security Disability Insurance benefits in Boston, it’s important to point out (contrary to what some say) you aren’t going to get rich on these benefits. That isn’t to say they aren’t worth pursuing; for many people, SSDI is absolutely the only thing that keeps them financially afloat when they have suffered a life-altering injury or illness and can’t work.SSDI attorney Boston

In Massachusetts, about 4.5 percent of our four million population receive SSDI benefits from the Social Security Administration. However, only about half who initially apply will be approved for it. Those who are denied will have several more opportunities to appeal, and the chances of approval increase the further you make it in the process. There is an Office of Disability and Adjudication Review (ODAR) in Massachusetts with numerous locations, including in Boston, Framington, Lowell, Chelsea and Lawrence.

The SSA reports more than 10 million people receive SSDI benefits nationally, and it’s useful to know upfront how much you would receive if you pursue this course of action and are successful. Here, we’ll explain in greater detail the ways in which the SSA determines what amount of benefits you and your family may receive. It’s based on your work history based on an averaged index of monthly earnings.  Continue reading →

Published on:

People who are too sick to work are waiting sometimes a year or more to obtain approval for SSDI benefits in Massachusetts. SSDI stands for Social Security Disability Insurance, and while it is a federal program, offices are located in each state to process requests, hearings and other issues. The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) for the Social Security Administration released a report detailing pending hearing backlogs not long ago, revealing 1.1 million pending claims on average await a decision at any given time, with an average wait time of 318 days. That’s a significant increase from the 705,000 cases that were back-logged in 2010.SSDI attorney

Of course, there are some who would use a figure like this to assert it’s the result of exploitation of the system. However, this ignores the underlying issues that have led to higher enrollment and greater backlogs. Those issues include:

  • An aging workforce, more susceptible to injuries and illnesses;
  • An increase of women in the workforce;
  • Cuts to the SSDI program, resulting in fewer personnel to usher cases through the system.

SSDI attorneys in Boston at The Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman recognize that for some, this is an inordinate amount of time to wait without income. We work diligently to help our clients’ cases move as quickly as possible through the system with meticulous preparation and exploration of resources that may be able to assist while the case is pending.  Continue reading →

Published on:

  • “Do you really think Social Security Disability Insurance is part of what people think of when they think of Social Security? I don’t think so.” – Mick Mulvaney, the Office of Management and Budget’s director, May 2017
  • “Over half the people on disability are either anxious or their back hurts. Join the club. Who doesn’t get a little anxious for work every day and their back hurts?” -Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky), January 2015
  • “It’s hard to say what came first or caused the other, the population decline or increased (SSDI) usage. Or maybe economic stagnation caused both. Regardless, there seems to be at least at the county and regional level something like a disability tipping point.” -Sen. Tom Cotton, (R-AR), November 2015SSDI attorney

These are the kinds of justifications made by politicians aiming to slash the SSDI program, painting it as a welfare program for people who are simply too lazy to work. Of course, as our SSDI lawyers in Massachusetts know well, this is a common misconception that ignores the reality of the situation. Specifically, it ignores the fact that a person has to have worked for least five of the last 10 years in order to be eligible for SSDI, and further that the average disability recipient has worked 22 years prior to getting benefits. Continue reading →

Published on:

When a claimant applies for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits in Massachusetts, the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA) will only approve an application if they are convinced claimant is eligible for SSDI benefits by having paid into the system through enough years of working and has subsequently become disabled. Disabled means unable to engage in substantial gainful activity, which is defined as one’s ability to earn more than approximately $1,120 in any given month.  SSA will look at all medical evidence and opinion statements, or testimony should there be a hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ), to determine a claimant’s residual functioning capacity.

Residual Functioning Capacity in Boston Social Security Disability Claims

Boston SSDI CaseA claimant’s residual functioning capacity or “RFC” as it is often called by ALJs and Boston disability attorneys, is one’s ability to work despite having one or more serious medical conditions. The way this is supposed to work is SSA reviewers look at all evidence and then look to the Dictionary of Occupational Titles (DOT).  The Dictionary of Occupational Titles contains a long list of many different jobs in the local (Boston area) or national economy, and includes a list of the requirements needed to obtain and keep one of these jobs. If the claimant cannot lift, bend, crouch, squat, stand or sit, for example, a job may not be appropriate for this claimant. If SSA determines claimant can work one of these jobs, even if it pays much less than claimant’s previous type of employment, SSA will likely deny any disability benefits via a finding of no disability. Continue reading →

Published on:

Once an application for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits has been rejected by the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA), the next thing which will happen in the appeals process is claimant must complete and submit what is known as a Request for Reconsideration. This is done by filing form SSA-561, and there is a very decent chance this written request for reconsideration will also be rejected as nearly all of them are.  At this point in the long process, claimant can request an hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ).  While it may take a year or even two for this hearing to occur, ALJ will likely hear testimony from a Vocational Expert or “VE” as they are often called by SSA.

SSDI Cases BostonA Vocational Expert is an employee of SSA who is supposed to be an expert on what jobs people are capable of working when they have various disabilities or a combination of disabling conditions. The VE becomes an expert by being trained in how to use and interpret a guide book called the Dictionary of Occupational Titles.  This book, which was written decades ago and not updated all too often contains what the drafter believed to be nearly every job in Boston and the rest of the nation (they use the terms local or national economy), and whether people with mental and physical disabilities can attain and hold those jobs, with or without accommodations.  Continue reading →

Published on:

As 2017 ended and another year began we found ourselves watching congress fight over the federal budget to the point of months without a finalized budget, a series of temporary continuing resolutions and at least one relatively short partial government shutdown and the possibility of future shutdowns to come. Many people are wondering what happens if the government is shut down and whether they will be paid Social Security disability benefits during a time when the government is far less than fully operational.

SSDI and SSI Benefits During A Government Shutdown

Boston SSDI Cases While people often use the term government shutdown, what we really have is a partial government shutdown. This means while most federal employees will be on a furlough, others will be required to work as they are considered essential employees. This may sound like good news for those employees still on the job, but since they do not get paid until after the government reopens, it’s not all great news. These essential employees work on essential functions and this includes the military and some aspects of the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA).  Continue reading →

Published on:

Applying for Supplemental Security Income, or “SSI,” seems like it should be a quick and easy process. The reality is most cases involve a long, drawn-out process during which an unrepresented claimant is at a major disadvantage. Seeking help from a dedicated SSI attorney in Boston can give you an edge and help guide you through what is often a confusing bureaucracy.

The process begins with filling out an application for Supplemental Security Income benefits with the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA).

SSI BostonThe requirements for applying for Supplemental Security Income are that you must fit into one of the following categories:

  • A disabled adult
  • A disabled child
  • A person over the age of 65

In the case of a disabled child, it will be a parent or other guardian who actually completes the application and handles the matter on the behalf of the child during the entire process.  This does not mean that they cannot not also obtain an attorney, which is a good idea and there is no reason no to do so. Continue reading →

Published on:

The Need for Strong Medical Evidence in Boston Social Security Disability Insurance Cases

Medical evidence often plays a crucial role in disability cases. Most Boston Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) applicants will not be successful when they initially apply for benefits.  This has less to do with whether claimants are  disabled and more to do with how the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA) runs the program due to political reasons and budgetary constraints.

Following the initial application is summarily rejected as is the next step in the process, which involves a written request for reconsideration, the claimant will have to do have hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ). It is in this hearing when a claimant must prove they are actually disabled within the meaning of the SSA regulations, and this is where the use of medical evidence by the claimant is of utmost importance.

The Weight of Medical Evidence During Boston SSDI ALJ Hearings

Boston SSI casesIn Wellington v. Berryhill, a case from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, claimant applied for SSDI benefits as well as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. SSI benefits are a different type disability benefits under a program also administered by SSA.  In some cases, there is little chance of obtaining SSI benefits, but claimants who are often unrepresented when they first file the application will check every box in hopes of obtaining some much needed benefits. In other cases, such as this one, they are relevant to the matter at hand.  Continue reading →