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A Disability Rating from the VA Does Not Guarantee Social Security Disability Benefits

There is little question that going to war as U.S. service member can have lifelong consequences for those who return home.  One major health condition that affects our veterans is known as post-traumatic stress disorder or “PTSD.”

SSDI Attorney Boston This is certainly not a new issue.  During WWI and WWII, they used the term “shell shock,” derived from the perception that returning soldiers were  “shaken up,” sometimes permanently, from having shells and other types of explosive ordinance blowing up all around them and watching friends suffer serious traumatic injury or death.

However, even though we have known about this issue for many decades, we have made little progress when it comes to ensuring these brave soldiers are adequately compensated when they return with these profound psychological traumas and are unable to re-enter the workforce.

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Despite what the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA) would have you believe there is nothing easy or quick about the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) application process. The wait in many areas, including Boston is approaching two years and it seems this problem is getting worse rather than better.

SSDI Claims BostonA recent news article from the Orange County Register is asking whether SSA is using this delay the to cheat disabled Americans out of well-deserved and much needed Social Security Disability Insurance benefits. Continue reading →

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When an unrepresented claimant applies for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, they often have no idea how long the process will take and how difficult it will be to qualify for disability benefits. They have no idea because the average person does not know that even with a legitimate disability that prevents them from working and a letter from a doctor supporting such a position, their application will get rejected at least twice over the course of year and then they will have to get  on a wait list for a hearing before an administrative laws judge. That could take another year or two to get.

Boston SSDI LawyerAccording to a recent news article from the Washington Post, one claimant has been waiting nearly two years for such a hearing, and this is completely expected since the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA) is dealing with a massive backlog for cases that will need to have that hearing before an ALJ. Continue reading →

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If you have become disabled, and your disability was not related to an on the job accident, filing a claim for Social Social Disability Insurance  (SSDI) is likely your best option.  However, there is a good chance your application will be initially denied since the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA) denied the majority of application of applications upon receipt, but this is only the beginning of a long and arduous process.  You can apply for Social Security disability benefits based for a physical illness, mental illness, or a combination of both.

SSDI Claims BostonAccording to a recent news article from VPR News, the number of applications for SSDI benefits due to mental illness is increasing in New England.  This is significant for several reasons. Continue reading →

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The majority of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) claimants will be required to go to a hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ) at the Social Security Administration (SSA) if they are eventually to be awarded benefits. These hearings can be very difficult, if not seemingly impossible for an unrepresented claimant, as there are rules of procedure and evidence that will come into play, and the claimant will need to have a good grasp on trial practice skills, which is not likely the case.  Ultimately, proving a Social Security Disability Insurance claim is not easy.

Boston SSDI CaseThere is no reason though that an SSDI claimant should not be represented by an experienced attorney.  The system is also set up in such a way that there are no legal fees unless and until the claimant is successful and recovers disability benefits. If the claimant is successful, and obtains retroactive benefits, the legal fees will be paid by SSA as a percentage of the benefits award, but there will be no out of pocket costs to the claimant.  If the claimant is not successful, there will be no fees owed to the SSDI attorney. Continue reading →

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When it comes to Social Security Disability Insurance claims, it all comes down to evidence. In many cases, the question of disability is somewhat subjective, so having ample and compelling evidence to prove your position is crucial. Your attorney can help you from the very beginning of this process – identifying what evidence will be necessary, how it should be collected and how it will be presented.

The Social Security Administration outlines Evidentiary Requirements for SSDI claimants. As the agency notes, medical evidence is “the cornerstone of the disability determination” for SSDI benefits. The burden of proof is on the claimant to provide ample medical evidence showing he or she has an impairment and detailing the severity of that impairment.

SSDIUnrepresented claimants find themselves at a steep disadvantage because they don’t know what to do during the trial, what evidence to present or the process of calling and examining key witnesses.  When you have an SSDI attorney who knows exactly what type of evidence is needed, you’re ahead of the game.  Continue reading →

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Filing for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is often the only option one has if they are disabled due to something other than a work-related injury. This is particularly true if the claimant lacks private long-term disability insurance.

While it may seem simple, the process tends to be tedious and drawn out. It can be months or even years before claims are approved.

SSDI Claims BostonThe typically claimant will go to their primary care physician (PCP) or other specialist when they are no longer able to work due their respective disability and get a letter stating the doctor’s opinion that they are disabled. Many doctors are familiar with the letter-writing process and will use the appropriate terms like the claimant is unable to lift items of a certain weight and the doctor may even say the claimant cannot engage in substantial gainful activity due the disability.  The doctor has no question his or her patient is genuinely disabled so they have no issue writing such a letter in many cases.  The definition of  not being able to engage in substantial gainful activity means that a claimant is unable to earn a certain amount of money each month.  This amount changes from year to year but is around $1,120. Continue reading →

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Many people are familiar with the red tape often associated with local, state and especially the federal government agencies. For instance, going to the Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) in Boston can take a long time and it can be an inconvenience. However, when we are talking about the wait for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, as administered by the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA), unrepresented claimants are literally dying before their claims are approved – and they are losing everything in the process.

Boston SSDI LawyerAccording to a recent news article published by the Washington Post, one claimant lost everything he had – and he’s far from the only one. This claimant was in his 50s, and worked for years as a long-haul truck driver and later (once he got married) as a locksmith.  Continue reading →

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When a claimant is disable and applies for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, they will typically submit an application, which will be denied.  The vast majority of all applications are denied.  At this point the claimant is required to file a request for reconsideration if claimant wishes to continue with the process.  While the Social Security Administration (SSA) would not state this is a policy, the agency probably hopes that some claimants will drop out at this stage in the process as the agency does not have enough money in the disability fund to pay benefits for all disabled claimants.

SSDI Claims BostonWhile claimants could hire an attorney at this point, many decided to try to handle the matter on their own and this is probably not the best idea.  The system is set up in such way that it is very difficult for an unrepresented claimant to succeed. Continue reading →

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Applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits is often a long process.  According to a recent news article from the Memphis Daily News, the backlog of disability benefits cases is now up to 1 million.

Boston SSDI LawyerThe waiting time across the country is now in the neighborhood of two years and people are reportedly dying as they wait for benefits.  All of those on the wait-list have had their benefits denied at least one time. Continue reading →