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Recent Blog Posts

SSD9

How an Obscure Provision of the Constitution May Affect Your Disability Case

By Stephen Barszcz |

If Social Security denies your initial claim for disability benefits–which is sadly, a common occurrence–you have the right to ask for a hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ). An ALJ is not a judge in the conventional sense, i.e., they are not part of the judiciary. Rather, ALJs are employees of the Social… Read More »

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Legal13

Panic Disorders and Social Security Disability Benefits

By Stephen Barszcz |

Individuals with mental disorders often face additional challenges when pursuing Social Security disability benefits. Social Security officials are often skeptical of the true impact such disorders have on a person’s ability to work. And even when confronted with sound medical evidence, the agency may still try and defend a decision to deny benefits. A… Read More »

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SSDI7

Why Your “Activities of Daily Living” Matter When It Comes to Applying for Disability Benefits

By Stephen Barszcz |

Disability benefits are designed to help those people unable to work due to a physical or mental impairment. When assessing a disability application, however, Social Security will ask you about your “activities of daily living” (ADLs). This broadly refers to your ability to perform (or not perform) common non-work related tasks, such as preparing… Read More »

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Legal14

Skill Level and Social Security Disability Claims

By Stephen Barszcz |

During the process of reviewing an application for disability benefits, Social Security officials must determine not only what limitations there are on the applicant’s ability to work, but also what jobs, if any, the applicant can perform despite these limitations. In making this latter determination, Social Security will often rely on the testimony of… Read More »

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Legal6

Why the “Severity” of Your Disability Matters When It Comes to Social Security Benefits

By Stephen Barszcz |

One of the critical tests for assessing a disability claim is whether or not the applicant’s cited physical or mental impairments are “severe.” From a legal standpoint, a severe impairment is one that has lasted–or is expected to last–at least 12 months and “imposes more than a minimal limitation on the claimant’s ability to… Read More »

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Legal1

How Does Social Security Decide If I Am Capable of Performing Certain Types of Work Despite My Disability?

By Stephen Barszcz |

One of the key steps in assessing an application for disability benefits requires a Social Security administrative law judge (ALJ) to assess what alternative jobs, if any, the applicant could perform in spite of their impairments. ALJs typically rely on the testimony of vocational experts (VEs) to provide such alternatives. The ALJ may also… Read More »

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Legal3

“Unskilled” Jobs and Their Importance to Social Security Disability Applications

By Stephen Barszcz |

If you are applying for Social Security disability benefits, it is not enough to show you are incapable of performing your past work or occupation. Social Security officials will examine if you are capable of performing any type of meaningful work within certain parameters. For example, if your existing work skills could be transferred… Read More »

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SSD5

Understanding the Role a Vocational Expert’s Testimony Plays in a Disability Benefits Hearing

By Stephen Barszcz |

In assessing an application for disability benefits, Social Security officials must determine the types of jobs an applicant can perform, taking into account their physical and mental impairments. To accomplish this, Social Security typically relies on the testimony of “vocational experts,” who provide estimates as to the types and quantity of jobs available in… Read More »

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SSDI_7

The Role of Medical Consultants in Social Security Disability Cases

By Stephen Barszcz |

When you apply for disability benefits, the Social Security Administration will carefully review your medical records, including the diagnosis and expert opinions of your treating physicians. But Social Security also relies on a number of medical consultants, i.e., doctors who will examine your medical history but not personally treat you. Medical consultants actually work… Read More »

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SSDI_4

Assessing Your Past Relevant Work When Applying for Disability Benefits

By Stephen Barszcz |

In order to qualify for Social Security disability benefits, agency officials must first determine whether or not you are capable of performing any type of meaningful work activity. A key factor in making this determination is an examination of your “past relevant work.” Social Security regulations define past relevant work as any “substantial gainful… Read More »

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