Tag Archive for disability advocate

Keeping a Disability Diary of how you feel

Keep a Journal

Keep a Journal

Keeping a Disability Diary of how you feel is a great way to present to the Social Security Administration your daily physical limitations.  Disabled people have good days and bad days.  This is understandable by most people.  Write down the days you don’t feel well and note any disruptions to your daily tasks.  Keep this information handy.  You may want to keep track of it on your computer or mobile device, but good old fashioned pen and paper works very well.  Just make sure you keep the physical paper safe from damage.  In your disability diary You should be keeping track of your daily routines and what stops you from completing any task in a normal amount of time.  As a hypothetical example, a 51 year old woman is trying to vacuum her home.  This woman is suffering from a disabling condition.  If she can only run the vacuum cleaner for five minutes without resting, then it should be noted in her diary.  Keeping track of fatigue is important since fatigue is a common qualifying condition.  Keeping track of pain is another way to testify about your condition.  Use a number system for pain like 1 (lowest pain) to 10 (highest pain). An attorney would find this information very important to present you claim to the SSA.  If you find you are in an appeal situation then this information can be used as documentation of your disabling condition.  The more information you write down, the better your chances are of impressing an Administrative Law Judge with your credibility.  Here is an example of what to write down: 10/12/2012 – I had to rest for 10 minutes after vacuuming the floor for 5 minutes.  Pain was 4 was shooting down my arm and lasted 20 minutes.  Advil, helps but not completely.  Stomach upset with Advil. Took over 3 1/2 hours to vacuum 4 rooms.  Took a nap at noon.  Awoke at 1:30pm.  Did last nights supper dishes and took an hour with a 15 minute rest.  Rested for an hour and shooting pain in hands and throbbing for 2 hours.  Advil did not help, needed to take percocet as prescribed by doctor. 10/13/2012 – Was driven to the bank and post office in morning.  Needed assistance in getting in and out of car. Pain was a 6 for the errands. Took at nap at 11:00am for 1 hour. I was going to go to supermarket, but I was feeling pain in shoulders of about an 8. Advil did not do enough, took percocet. Went to bed early with pain at 3, around 8:30 pm. Just write down the problems you have with your functioning.  These situations can show a pattern that experts can pick up on.  When you are filing for these claims, its important to get all the information you can so that when your case is presented to someone they can see what you are going through on a daily basis.  These glimpses in your daily functioning can help a judge glue together all the facts and circumstances of your claim into a real reduction in functionality.  A disability diary is generally considered testimony in the eyes of the law.

How much do I Pay?

Social Security Disability Insurance is just that, insurance.  Just like any insurance you pay a premium and you expect to get a benefit.  Working people in the United States are obligated to pay the insurance premium when we work for an employer.  The premium you pay is 6.2% (limited).  Additionally, your employers will also kick in %6.2 (limited) on your behalf as well.  This is 12.4% of your gross income going into the federal government’s trust fund.  These are your payments into the system and it’s a lot of money.  Here are the rules for how we pay into the system. This is right from Social Security Website: Social Security & Medicare Rates
When you have wages or self-employment income covered by Social Security, you pay Social Security taxes each year up to a maximum amount set by law. For 2013, you will pay Social Security taxes on income below $113,700. You must pay Medicare taxes on all income. Also, beginning in 2013 you must pay 0.9 percent more in Medicare taxes on earned individual income of more than $200,000 ($250,000 for married couples filing jointly). The tax rates shown below do not include the 0.9 percent:
  • Employees — the Social Security tax rate is 6.2 percent on income under $113,700 through the end of 2013. The Medicare tax rate is 1.45 percent of all income;
  • Employers — the Social Security tax rate is 6.2 percent. The Medicate tax rate is 1.45 percent; and
  • Self-employed —the Social Security tax rate is 12.4 percent on income under $113,700 through the end of 2013. The Medicare tax rate is 2.9 percent.
 
This is a lot of money.  SSDI is not welfare.  You have paid for the benefits and you have the right to make a claim. It is important to understand how much you paid into Social Security in your entire lifetime or working.  It is all online and it is called a Social Security Statement.You can get a copy of your Social Security Statement at the link below. SSA Account Page In it you will find all sorts of information like your estimated benefits, your earnings record, how much you have paid in, and more.  Check it out and see another post on Date Last Insured to figure out why this report can be so important.  Getting the online statement accomplishes two things.  First, you have access to your earnings and benefit records from the Social Security Administration.  Second, your representative has one more piece of the puzzle in building up your claim.    

What it takes to get through to these people

Social Security Denied

Social Security Denied

  Sometimes the SSDI road seems too long to travel.  You might be worn down from all the unknowns.  Getting what is owed to you from your Social Security insurance benefits can seem overwhelming.  These emotions must be handled along with dealing with stresses of your own health.  I am here to help.  For instance,  last night I was on Facebook and I was messaged by someone who knew about a young man that was severely injured in a motorcycle accident about a year ago.  I spent about an hour just answering questions about the SSDI process. Its seems that this young man was not going back to work anytime soon and he has already been denied by the Social Security Administration.  I explained that there is a 60 day window to file an appeal from the date on the denial letter.  It was unclear whether the intent to appeal was actually filed within the 60 day window.  The person with whom I was messaging did not know when or even if an appeal was filed. I explained further, that over 65% of all initial claims for Social Security Disability Insurance are denied as a matter of routine.  The expectation by the SSA is that even though you are turned down on the initial application, it is expected that an appeal can prevail once it is reviewed by an Administrative Law Judge.  In my opinion the “appeal” is when the real work gets done. You see, the SSDI process has a very high bar to be awarded benefits on an initial claim.  This step is designed to allow the SSA to award benefits to the clearly disabled person and “forward” the case to an Administrative Law Judge. This first step requires a claimant to fit into guidelines that make the decision by SSA claim processors to make a “no brainer” decision about a case.  The denial does not mean your case is doomed.  The appeal is where the claimant can have his/her case reviewed by an Administrative Law Judge at a hearing office.  The hearing office is relatively close to the claimant.  Each case is different and has many facets that needs to be explained.  Doctor reports must be gathered and reviewed by the ALJ.  The federal government has created laundry list of possible disabling categories and each class of disability has over 75 conditions that must be met in able to be approved as a disabled person.  This is why you can benefit from an Attorney/Non-Attorney SSDI representative.  These professionals have had hours and hours of training on how properly present your case.  An attorney will understand your medical condition in legal terms.  A good attorney will know when a claim is medically unclear.  Many times Doctors need to write down specific disabling conditions such as inability to twist at the torso, or cant lift more than 15 lbs.  The attorney will often ask the doctor to discuss these limitations so it can go into the record.  This is why you may not want to go it alone on your dealings with the SSA.  You need smart people on your side when presenting a case because there are many smart people on their side looking to find fault with your claim.  If your initial claim has been denied, I can get an appeal filed almost immediately.  I hope this young man that was injured and unable to work will get some professional help for his claim. 355498bd-cad3-45c4-aba4-68c80525bc5b  

Get Help with SSDI today!

Paula working on her farm

Paula working on her farm

Hi, I am Paula,  I am a Disability Advocate for people that need to make a claim for Social Security Disability.  I am passionate about helping people get the benefits they deserve.  I work with you or someone you know that is a disabled worker.  Did you know that over 65% of all initial claims for Social Security Benefits are denied? Many times people try to apply for benefits themselves and find that their claim is denied for reasons that can’t be understood by many Americans.  Its really sad that the US government makes us all pay into a system that is supposed to help us if we ever become unable to work due to a disability and then deny that we are truly disabled when we need to make a claim.  If you collect a paycheck in this country, you are paying for SSDI.  In fact its the law and you cannot avoid it if you are a regular worker.  No one has explained your benefits or how they would work should you ever need to make a claim.  Some employees of the SSA will even tell you that you don’t need outside help but it is your right to be represented.  The law of our land states that you can be represented by any Attorney or Non-Attorney Professional for any SSDI claim.  In fact, federal law has created a way for disabled workers to get professional representation without paying for it upfront.  You see the Attorney/non-Attorney representatives don’t get paid unless you win your case.  This is called a contingency arrangement.  Did you know that on average the disabled worker can receive up to $150,000 in benefits and only has to pay $6,000 in fees to an Attorney/Non-Attorney Representative?  This deal is written into federal law.  By contacting me through the form to right is how you will be taking control of your future.  What I do when you fill out the form is I contact you.  Together, we start the application process and the process of contacting a claimant representative in your area to help your case.  Please take a minute to fill out the form and let me help you with your disability claim.  I will personally call or email you about your case and I will find you help in your area.  I have several hundred attorneys/non-attorneys that I can contact on your behalf and you will be on your way to getting your deserved benefits.  Benefits are a right that you paid for.  Even if you have been denied I can help you find someone who can get your claim won on appeal.  If you can no longer work because of a disability you need to look into this.  The money you are awarded can really make a difference.  But not only money.  You may be eligible for Medicare as well so your health care costs could be paid for.  Most times, there is a back benefit that is awarded as well as a monthly check for as long as you are disabled and out of work.  Its time for you to take control of your finances and get the benefits that you have already paid for.  if you have been denied your claim you have 60 days from the denial date to file an appeal.  Don’t let the government keep turning you down.  Get help today.

My trip to NOSSCR 2013 – Washington DC

NOSSCR Training Seminar

NOSSCR Training Seminar

NOSSCR 2013 I have just arrived back the from the National Organization of Social Security Claimants Representatives (NOSSCR) conference in Washington DC. The meeting is a semi-annual gathering of Attorney and Non-Attorney representatives who provide services to Disabled workers to make claims to get their Social Security Disability Insurance benefits. The conference is put on by NOSSCR to educate attorney and non-attorney representatives how to successfully make claims for client who deserve disability benefits from the Social Security Administration. The level of detail and strategy was quite involved. Each person received around 12 hours of formal training and discussion on topics ranging from Traumatic Brain injury and orthopedics to ethics and compassionate marketing of services. We heard from SSA officials, Congress People, and veteran attorneys that have been in the trenches with their clients. I came away from all of this understanding that most of these people are in it for the sense of helping deserving people to get what is rightfully theirs. Its a shame that the SSDI system makes a deserving person have to hire an attorney to present its case. The SSDI system is designed to deny people on their initial claim only to award them benefits on appeals. The government feels that they are doing the right thing with this system. Claimants who hire attorneys have a higher success rate than those that do not hire attorneys.
Hard at work.  NOSSCR Training 2013

Hard at work. NOSSCR Training 2013

The reasoning behind the attorney success is that the attorney and non-attorney representative knows how to present the facts and circumstances of a persons disabilities in they way that allows the SSA bureaucrats to approve a claim. The system should be easier, but its not. The attorneys and non-attorneys that I meet are passionate people that want to get people the benefits they deserve. In order to win an award, you will need to prove your disability to a government official who may never even look you in the eye. I do know that these professionals at this conference want to look you in the eye and shake your hand and make you feel like you can get what you paid for. The people at the conference don’t get paid to represent you unless you win your claim. How many other services can you get that guarantee results or its free? Think about it.