Articles Posted in Boston SSDI

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Getting approved for Social Security in Boston is no easy process. It is also not a quick process.  The first thing any prospective claimant must do is to file an initial application with the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA). Once this application has been submitted, it will likely be rejected without any real regard for whether claimant can work and whether claimant is genuinely disabled. Following this initial denial, claimants must file an appeal of their initial denial with SSA.  This appeal will almost certainly be denied as well.  We know this because any reversal at this stage would be a complete shock since the system is set up in such a way where no medical professionals are involved in making an appeal determination. At this point, claimants can apply for a hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ) and wait at least one hearing for that hearing to occur.  Congress has just passed a major spending bill with funds to address the backlog of claims and cut the wait down to something more reasonable.

New Omnibus Spending Bill Allocates More Money for Fixing Maligned SSDI and SSI

SSDI attorney BostonAccording to a recent news article from the Washington Post, the hotly-debated omnibus spending bill, which was approved by congress and signed by the president, contains funding allocations to cut the backlog of federal disability claims substantially.  This is the same bill which President Donald J. Trump, signed, but then said he would never sign such a bill again. Continue reading →

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Even the best Boston SSDI attorneys know an extended wait time for a disability determination hearing can be inevitable. In Boston, the average is 10 months, according to the latest data from the Social Security Administration. That’s actually one of the shortest lengths in the country, but that doesn’t make it any less painful for those who are disabled and can’t work but are still trying to make ends meet. SSDI attorney

Now, the newest budget proposal released by the Trump administration indicates these wait times may stretch even longer as staff positions will be slashed and individuals will be tasked with greater caseloads than ever. Denial of initial applications for Social Security Disability Insurance are commonplace, but we may see them in even higher numbers if this budget is passed. People complaining about the rate of assistance through SSDI now may soon be reminiscing on these as “the good old days.”

The fiscal 2019 Social Security Administration Budget would significantly reduce staffing, which in turn is going to mean longer waits in agency offices and on the phone for those trying to navigate the often complex world of disability benefits.  Continue reading →

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Establishing a medical disability with the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA) is a lot harder for most than it should be.  This is mainly due to SSA lacking the budget to cover benefits to all valid claimants.  Congress continually forces SSA to operate on the verge of a fiscal cliff. SSA in turn denies many valid claims in a thinly-veiled attempt to get claimants to give up.  The situation has gotten so bad, it’s almost unheard of for an initial application to be approved. The exceptions are those who present evidence of one of a few terminal illnesses on the fast-track list. Even then, initial approvals are not a given.

Boston SSDI LawyerThe SSA also denies credible applications by issuing a very narrow definition of what it means to be disabled and finding anyone able to engage in substantial gainful activity not disabled.  Cost-conscious lawmakers have established “substantial gainful activity” to mean the ability to make a little more than $1100 in a any given month. This figure is not precise and it does fluctuate to reflect current economic realities. However, it is generally  far from what a disabled claimant in Boston needs to support his or her family. Continue reading →

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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 →

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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 →

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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 →

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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 →

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  • “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 →

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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 →

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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 →