Category Archives: Social Security Disability

Sep 7th, 2018

If You Have Peripheral Artery Disease, Do You Qualify for SSDI Benefits?

Fred London Law 0 Comments Social Security Disability

Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) can cause enormous discomfort as well as dangerously low blood pressure in the foot. Because these symptoms occur after walking, it may qualify you for SSDI benefits. The plaque building up in the body makes it difficult for blood to flow to the extremities but has also been known to cause bigger problems in the kidneys, brain, and stomach. Consider the following facts about how you’ll be evaluated.

Peripheral Artery Disease

What Does It Take?

Patients need to prove they meet the criteria for PAD for automatic qualification. The official rules state you need to have fatigue or pain after walking or standing, as well as low blood pressure. You’ll need to meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • Resting blood pressure ratio in your ankles and arms less than .5.
  • Resting blood pressure ratio in your toes less than 30 mm Hg (a common way to measure pressure).
  • Blood pressure needs to decrease by at least half after movement, and take at least 10 minutes to return to pre-exercise levels.

How Does Social Security Disability decide?

SSDI officials scrutinize your medical records to see if you meet the criteria and follow certain guidelines when evaluating the tests. For example, the doctor will likely take two blood pressure readings in the foot, and SSDI will use the higher measurement to make their ruling. They’ll look at X-rays, blood vessel movement, and tracings recordings (if available). Patients are highly encouraged to include everything in their medical history to make it easier for decision-makers to make their rulings.

Peripheral arterial disease may also require additional testing if your ratio is between .5 and .8. Social Security Disability will pay for the tests unless patients have a preexisting condition that explains their variations. This may include walking on a treadmill at an incline, which means you’ll need pre-approval from the doctor to perform these tests.

Aug 6th, 2018

Can I apply for Social Security disability while collecting unemployment benefits?

Fred London Law 0 Comments Social Security Disability

When someone collects unemployment benefits, they have been laid from a job that pays them a portion of their regular earnings until they are called back to their job. Individuals collecting unemployment must assert they are capable of working at most jobs and capable of accepting an employment offer equal to or exceeding the wage they earned at their previous job. Alternately, recipients of Social Security disability are receiving benefits because they cannot work due to a physical or mental disability. This means you may not collect SSI or SSDI while collecting unemployment benefits unless you are in the process of filing a disability claim while receiving unemployment benefits.

unemployment and disability

What Happens If Unemployment and SSDI are Collected Simultaneously?

People collecting unemployment benefits must contact their unemployment office if they begin applying for any kind of Social Security disability. In addition, if they receive SSDI or SSI benefits while also collecting unemployment benefits, they may be forced to repay unemployment benefits received since they started receiving disability benefits. In some cases, notifying the unemployment office about filing for disability may result in having your unemployment terminated. This is because you are claiming you cannot work due to a physical or mental disability. To legally receive unemployment benefits, you must be healthy enough to work.

Should I Apply for Both Unemployment and Disability Benefits?

Although you can apply for both programs, applicants should never hide the fact they have applied for unemployment benefits and SSDI or SSI. Doing so may cause them to one day face administrative law judges regarding how much they need to repay the Social Security Administration.

If you are confused about whether you can rightfully apply for disability benefits while receiving unemployment, contact Fred London law today to schedule an appointment with an experienced disability lawyer.

Jul 25th, 2018

What Is Substantial Gainful Activity (Work) to Social Security?

Fred London Law 0 Comments Social Security Disability

The Social Security Administration has several basic requirements put in place that applicants must reach before they can be considered for disability benefits. One of the most important facts that an applicant must prove is the fact that their medical conditions(s) are severe enough to prevent them from completing more than an insignificant amount of work in a period of at least 12 months. To determine this information, the Social Security Administration or SSA usually uses a substantial gainful activity (SGA) level to define what qualifies as too much work. For 2018, the current SGA level for wage earners is set at $1,180 or more each month or $1,970 for individuals who are blind.

social security

How Does the SSA Define Substantial Gainful Activity?

While many applicants tend to focus on the numbers, SGA is much more than that. For example, if an applicant dabbles in side jobs like volunteer work, operating a small business or even something related to criminal activity, this could be considered under the true definition that the SSA uses. To get a clear understanding of the requirements put upon work activity, applicants and their advocates should look at the meaning of substantial and gainful.

Substantial

Any time an applicant completes work that requires significant physical or mental activities, it is considered to be substantial. This means that even part-time work falls under this category, as well as situations where an applicant may not make the same amount of money they once did before becoming disabled.

Gainful

Gainful work activity is defined by any work that an applicant gets paid to do. However, it is important to keep in mind that in certain cases, even if a person does not get paid, their case reviewer could still determine that they work being completed is gainful activity. This is especially true if the work is related to an activity where people would normally be compensated financially.

Get Help Completing Your Application for Benefits

Unsure if you meet the current work guidelines put in place by Social Security? Working with an experienced advocate or attorney may help your claim.

Jul 16th, 2018

How Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Can Protect Your Job?

Fred London Law 0 Comments Social Security Disability

The American with Disabilities Act (established 1990) protects workers from being fired due to discrimination against their disability. ADA laws also outlaw discrimination against those with physical or mental disabilities in local and state government positions, transportation, telecommunications and public accommodations. Disabled individuals fired from a job may file a lawsuit arguing wrongful termination, or termination because of their disability, if they think they have evidence to prove their case.

Americans with Disability Act

What Kind of Employers are Covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act?

 

It is illegal for the following employers to engage in discrimination against disabled people:

  • Local and state governments
  • Private employers
  • Labor organizations
  • Employment agencies
  • Labor management committees

In addition to firing an employee based on their disability, disability discrimination also happens when covered employers treat disabled employees negatively or less favorably than non-disabled employees. This type of discrimination usually involves employees with histories of disabilities (cancer in remission, for example) or if an employer thinks an employee has a mental or physical problem that won’t be resolved, even when the employee does not suffer from such a disability.

What is Disability Leave and How Can the ADA Protect Employees from Discrimination?

 

Disability leave refers to temporarily taking time off from a job for a variety of health reasons. Depending on an employer’s policies regarding sick or disability leave, employees may be paid or unpaid during their time away from work. The Family and Medical Leave Act allows certain employees suffering serious medical issues to take time off without incurring penalties. Health conditions covered by the FMLA include severe injuries, illnesses or other mental/physical impairments that prevent the employee from performing work tasks.

If an employee is fired while on disability leave, they may be able to file a lawsuit citing ADA regulations and protections. Wrongful termination is a viable, legal reason for disabled individuals to hire a disability attorney who will evaluate their case and possibly file a lawsuit against their employer. The attorneys at Fred London Law have years of experience filing claims against employers who have engaged in discriminatory actions against disabled people. Call today to schedule an appointment with a lawyer who may be able to help you fight a wrongful termination due to your disability.

May 28th, 2018

Is Age a Factor in Social Security Disability Claims?

Fred London Law 0 Comments Social Security Disability

The Social Security Administration does regard age as a factor in deciding whether to approve or disapprove a disability claim. The SSA Bluebook contains a list of medical conditions that automatically qualifies applicants seeking Social Security disability benefits. However, applicants will need to meet specific criteria assigned to their medical problem, such as length of time they have been under a doctor’s care, if treatment has improved their condition and if they are unable to work because of their health issue.

Disability Age

Why Is It Harder for People Under 50 to Get Approved for Social Security Disability?

 

People under 50 years old applying for disability who do not meet all requirements for a medical condition listed in the Blue Book are frequently turned down because the SSA realizes it is easier for younger individuals to adjust to different or new forms of employment. Although there is no fixed disability age, the SSA imposes less strict guidelines for applicants over 50 years of age.

What are Social Security Disability Vocational Guidelines?

 

Medical-vocational grid rules established by the SSA are designed to favor people between 50 and 55 filing a disability claim. If you are over 50, can only perform sedentary work and do not possess skills that can be transferred to other types of employment, you will likely be approved. The SSA does not expect those over 50 to spend a lot of time undergoing retraining (vocational adjustment) to learn how to do sedentary work when they are considered to be approaching an “advanced” age.

How is Age a Factor When Children File a Disability Claim?

 

Parents filing a disability claim for a child under 18 years old will have the claim evaluated by SSA officials who will determine whether the impairment results in severe and marked functional limitations. The SSA has a different list of medical impairments applicable to children only which does not involve the medical-vocational grid rules.

Regardless of age, getting approved for disability time-consuming and complicated. To streamline and expedite the process, contact a disability lawyer today at Fred London Law.

Apr 20th, 2018

How to Apply for Social Security Benefits If You Have Severe Asthma?

Fred London Law 0 Comments Social Security Disability

Living with a respiratory condition such as asthma can be extremely difficult. In addition to preventing you from living your life the way that wish, chronic asthma can make it hard for you to maintain gainful employment. If you find that you are unable to support yourself due to the symptoms of asthma, then you may be able to receive Social Security benefits.

Severe Asthma Disability

Although you will need to meet specific qualifications, it is possible to receive benefits for asthma. Here are a few ways you can apply for SSI disability for asthma, including getting help from an experienced disability attorney.

Asthma Qualifications

The problem with applying for disability benefits for asthma is that this condition isn’t the same for everyone. Some people only have occasional flare-ups, while others have asthma that is so severe that the require prolonged medical intervention. If your asthma is minor, you probably won’t be able to receive benefits. However, for severe cases, being approved for benefits is entirely possible.

There are two circumstances where Social Security provides disability benefits for asthma. The first way is to provide proof that you have received a diagnosis of chronic asthmatic bronchitis. The Social Security Administration will need to see breathing tests that show your lungs are obstructed and that you require oxygen.

The second option is to show that your asthma results in frequent hospital trips. If you must visit the hospital at least six times a year, even when following a treatment plan, you may qualify for benefits.

Fight a Denial

If you’re SSI disability for asthma claim has been denied, you should get help from The Law Offices of Fred London, P.C. Our team has experience fighting denied claims, and is ready to assist you.

Apr 18th, 2018

Does Epilepsy Qualify for Disability Benefits?

Fred London Law 0 Comments Social Security Disability

Epilepsy can be a very serious condition. If you suffer from epilepsy, it’s possible that you will experience several symptoms, including seizures and extreme fatigue. For people with the most severe forms of epilepsy, it can be nearly impossible to work a normal job, putting them in long term financial difficult.

Epilepsy

Fortunately, in some cases, it may be possible to get disability benefits for epilepsy, particularly if you’re applying with the help of The Law Office of Fred London, P.C. Learn more about epilepsy disability, and find out how our team can help you fight for your benefits.

Getting Disability for Epilepsy

In the Social Security Blue Book, you can find a list of disabilities that will qualify you for benefits, including certain types of epilepsy. When you apply for epilepsy disability, the Social Security Administration will check your condition against the Blue Book to see if your condition is severe enough to warrant benefits.

You can apply for disability benefits for epilepsy for both convulsive and non-convulsive seizures. However, you will need to demonstrate your epilepsy is severe and that it cannot be controlled through the use of medication. Unfortunately, even if your condition is severe enough to prevent you from working, it’s possible your claim will be denied, and if this happens, you need help from an experienced attorney such as Fred London.

Fight for Your Claim

When a condition like epilepsy keeps you from working, applying for disability benefits can be a good way to support yourself. If you’re having trouble getting your claim approved, you need assistance from The Law Office of Fred London P.C.

We know how to navigate the complicated Social Security system and would be glad to give you advice and guidance.

Mar 16th, 2018

Disability Benefits for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Fred London Law 0 Comments Social Security Disability

If you have tingling, numbness or weakness in your hand, thumb or fingers, you may have carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS). The disorder is also characterized by difficulty moving fingers and gripping objects, and is accompanied by pain in your fingers, hand, wrist or arm.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Pressure from repetitive motion injury creates swelling in the median nerve in the wrist. The swelling constricts the nerves, tendons and ligaments, leading to the symptoms described above. Repetitive motion injuries (also called repetitive stress injury or RSI) like typing cause carpal tunnel syndrome, and so does arthritis.

To obtain disability benefits for carpal tunnel syndrome or any disorder, patients must meet the criteria in the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) book of impairment listings known as the Blue Book. Keep in mind that disability is determined by your inability to work due to your injury. Unfortunately, the SSA does not typically rule in favor of awarding disability benefits for carpal tunnel syndrome. They typically find that the disability is not severe enough to warrant disability payments, so they don’t have specific impairment listings for this disorder.

Other Ways To Obtain Benefits

However, there are three other ways you might qualify for disability benefits for carpal tunnel syndrome. First, if you can show that you equal or meet an impairment listing in another area, SSA might consider you for disability benefits for carpal tunnel syndrome. For example, you can apply under an impairment listing for soft tissue damage or nerve damage like peripheral neuropathy. The SSA requirements are still difficult to meet, but it is worth a try. Some people have obtained benefits this way, for severe nerve damage or for ligament damage that has caused them to lose function in the wrists and hands.

The second way you can apply for disability benefits for carpal tunnel syndrome is if your CTS is a secondary symptom of another disease such as arthritis. There are several diseases that include carpal tunnel as a symptom, including arthritis, diabetes and kidney failure, as well as lupus and scleroderma. You would apply for disability under the primary listing and list your carpal tunnel as a related condition.

The third is called a Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) assessment whereby you can show you’re your CTS creates limitations severe enough to leave you unable to work. SSA will assess your ability to perform your job and the level of physical exertion you are able to muster. Then, they’ll classify you in a range of jobs (sedentary work, light work, heavy work, etc.) and determine your ability to perform jobs in that category.

Medical Evidence

Regardless of how you file, you will need medical evidence. First, you’ll need a clear diagnosis of carpal tunnel syndrome, which can sometimes be difficult to obtain. The SSA will want to see evidence that one or more of the following diagnostic tests has been completed:

· Electromyography to measure electrical activity

· Imaging, like ultrasounds and MRIs

· A thumb weakness test

· A pressure provocation test (wrist and hand)

· A Phalen’s test

· A tourniquet test of cuff pressure applied to the wrist

· Tinel’s sign test of the median nerve

· Nerve conduction study to measure nerve transmission through the wrist and hand

The SSA will also want to see that you’ve tried CTS treatments like wearing a splint or taking medication. In our experience, we’ve found that hiring a lawyer to obtain disability benefits is particularly useful in cases like carpal tunnel syndrome where the SSA does not list impairments and instead you have to qualify for the benefits in other ways.

Mar 13th, 2018

Disability Benefits for Coronary Heart Disease

Fred London Law 0 Comments Social Security Disability

The Social Security Administration (SSA) does allow disability benefits for coronary heart disease, as well as for several types of common heart problems and diseases. Keep in mind that the focus of SSA disability is a work-based focus, meaning they look at whether your ability to work is impacted by your heart disease.

Disability Benefits for Coronary Heart Disease

With coronary heart disease, also called coronary artery disease (CAD), your heart has reduced capacity; the heart muscle is not getting enough oxygen to work effectively, so pumping is compromised.

SSA does need medical evidence of your CAD. Common tests include EKGs, cardiac imaging tests and exercise stress tests. All of these tests measure your heart’s condition to pump. The SSA also wants to see physician notes about any restrictions your doctor has you on, such as limiting exertion, exercise or heavy lifting. These test results are very important to the SSA in making their determination, so include everything possible for as long of a history as you possibly can. For example, evidence of an EKG will show lack of oxygen to the heart muscle, and results of a treadmill exercise tolerance test (ETT) (stress test) will show how much exertion you can do before having chest pain or shortness of breath. The SSA has very specific guidelines for disability, including the number of ischemic attacks you’ve had in the last year, values for the ejection fraction in your heart, and a specific level of result for the stress test.

All of this evidence will be factored in to determine your work ability. Basically, SSA will determine if there are any jobs you can do. They’ll evaluate your current work, your age and your education into this equation.

The SSA maintains a listing of disabilities called the Blue Book, and there are several heart conditions that qualify:

· Coronary heart disease (ischemia) caused by reduced blood flow to the heart muscle

· Chronic congestive heart failure involving compromised pumping action

· Arrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythm)

· Aneurysms in the aorta

· Venous insufficiency in which the leg veins cannot pump enough blood back up to the heart

· Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) caused by obstruction of large arteries in the legs

Coronary heart disease is usually evaluated in its own category, but CAD can lead to other issues like congestive heart failure, so your case might be evaluated under that category. However, most people are evaluated under the ischemic heart disease category, particularly if you’ve had a heart attack. Note that SSA no longer has a disability category for high blood pressure (hypertension). Instead, if you have hypertension, SSA will evaluate you under the category that caused the high blood pressure.

CAD makes it difficult for many adults to work. If you don’t automatically qualify for disability benefits for coronary heart disease under the SSA Blue Book listing, you could qualify under a residual functional capacity (RFC) category. The SSA will rate you on the type of work they think you can do, considering all your medical evidence. These categories range from sedentary to heavy work. If your doctor has imposed strict limitations on your exertion, you might only qualify for sedentary work. If there are no jobs in your company that you can do, then you may qualify for disability benefits this way. People over age 55 with little education have the best chances at qualifying for the medical vocational allowance under the RFC ruling.

You can file for disability online at ssa.gov, or you can go to your nearest SSA center. Filing can be complicated and many people are initially denied for lack of compelling medical evidence. That’s why many people choose to hire a law firm like ours. We can help you find the right category for filing, and make sure the SSA has all the evidence they need to make their determination regarding your disability benefits for coronary heart disease.

Mar 8th, 2018

How to get social security disability for degenerative disc disease

Fred London Law 0 Comments Social Security Disability

Degenerative disc disease (DDD) is characterized by deterioration of the discs between vertebrae, which causes significant pain and can even lead to loss of mobility. Tears in the outer disc can occur, with scar tissue forming in an attempt to heal the injury. Repetitions in the tears and scarring lead to degeneration over time. DDD can occur in the neck (cervical spine), lumbar (lower back) or thoracic (mid-spine) regions.

degenerative joint disease

DDD is also called spondylosis or degenerative joint disease, and is often just part of the normal aging process as discs wear down and become damaged. When the cushioning effect is gone, pain and inflammation occurs at the site of the degenerated disc.

DDD can become very severe. A person can have so much pain and inflammation that he or she becomes unable to perform any meaningful work. DDD patients have trouble sitting, standing, lifting and bending, making many jobs difficult. When an individual has been unable to perform work or is expected to be unable to perform work for 12 months or more, that person may be eligible for disability.

Disability benefits are a monthly amount of earnings determined by the Social Security Administration (SSA). The SSA maintains a list of qualifying conditions called the Blue Book. Unfortunately, DDD is not listed as a disability. SSA has determined that most back pain associated with DDD is intermittent, so patients who do qualify have to have severe issues like assistance walking with a walker or other aid, or nerve problems caused by the DDD, like numbness and tingling, pain radiating down the legs, muscle weakness, or loss of reflexes.

If a patient can prove that DDD has led to nerve problems or even to other more serious back problems, the SSA does recognize these as a disability claim for degenerative disc disease. Bone spurs that cause spinal nerve root compression are covered, and so are herniated discs. Degenerative joint disease leading to spinal stenosis and arachnoiditis are also covered.

However, there is an alternative way to file a disability claim for degenerative disc disease under SSA’s medical-vocational allowance. If a person can show reduced functional capacity to work, you might be able to qualify.

To go this route, the SSA requires detailed doctor’s notes on functional limitations and restrictions. SSA needs objective medical evidence about the severity of the condition, how long the patient has had it, responses to treatments, and functional limitations. Remember you must have had the disability for at least 12 months, or show compelling evidence that a newer injury is expected to last for 12 months. You will need to produce clinical records like MRI, CT, or x-rays that have been done, blood work, and other records. The SSA will not accept medical evidence from chiropractors—only licensed physicians or specialists like orthopedists, neurologists, and other doctors. Medical evidence from any approved source (including a hospital or clinic) is acceptable.

If you don’t have sufficient evidence of ongoing medical treatment, SSA will require you to see a medical doctor hired by SSA to perform an independent medical exam. These exams are very minimal and definitely not as comprehensive as if you had your own physician’s records. The examiner gathers just enough information to make a decision. This may not be in your best interest because generally they do not approve disability benefits.

SSA will also rate you on your ability to do work (light work, medium work, etc.) For example, if you can only lift 25 pounds, SSA will rate you for light work only.

Age, education level, and past work experience are all factored in, and SSA prefers that you be retrained for another job that is within your ability. People over age 50, since they’re closer to retirement age, are more likely to be approved for disability.