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Recent Blog Posts

Legal11

How Federal Courts May Differ in Applying the Same Law to Social Security Disability Cases

By Stephen Barszcz |

Although Social Security disability benefits are governed by federal law, that law is not always applied uniformly throughout the country. Individual courts may interpret certain rules and procedures differently from one another, leading to a lack of uniformity. This means that in some cases, where you file your case may determine how it is… Read More »

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Legal14

Is Social Security Allowed to Ignore the Medical Advice of Its Own Doctors?

By Stephen Barszcz |

We often talk about cases where a Social Security administrative law judge (ALJ) rejects the expert medical opinions of a disability applicant’s treating physicians. In many cases, the ALJ will instead rely on the views of state agency physicians, who review the applicant’s medical records but do not necessarily examine them personally. Federal Court… Read More »

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SSD10

Can I Reapply for Disability If My Medical Condition Has Gotten Worse?

By Stephen Barszcz |

If Social Security denies your application for disability benefits, that is not necessarily a permanent decision. Besides appealing the denial itself, you can also reapply for benefits at a later date. If your medical condition has worsened–or doctors can present a more accurate diagnosis of your impairments–Social Security may be inclined to grant your… Read More »

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DocMal

What Are the Different Types of Medical Opinions That Social Security Must Consider in a Disability Case?

By Stephen Barszcz |

In considering an application for disability benefits, Social Security officials may consider three types of medical opinions: (1) those offered by the applicant’s treating physicians; (2) those offered by doctors who examined, but did not treat, the claimant; and (3) those offered by non-examining doctors who simply reviewed the applicant’s medical history and treatment… Read More »

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SSDI_Claim2

Can Social Security Ignore My Doctor’s Opinions Just Because They Were Co-Signed by Another Healthcare Provider?

By Stephen Barszcz |

In January 2017, the Social Security Administration changed its rules governing the evaluation of medical evidence in disability cases. Previously, a Social Security administrative law judge (ALJ) had to give “controlling weight” to the expert opinions of a disability applicant’s treating physician, unless there was objective evidence that justified assigning lesser or no weight…. Read More »

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Legal2

The Importance of Assessing Your “Past Relevant Work” in a Disability Application

By Stephen Barszcz |

In assessing an application for disability benefits, a Social Security administrative law judge (ALJ) needs to consider both an applicant’s “past relevant work” (PRW) as well as what other jobs they might be able to perform, taking into account any physical or mental impairments. If an applicant can neither return to their PRW nor… Read More »

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Legal15

Will a Failure to Seek Treatment for My Mental Illness Hurt My Claim for Disability Benefits?

By Stephen Barszcz |

One factor that Social Security will consider if you apply for disability benefits is how closely you follow the treatments recommended by your doctors. In other words, if you claim that you are unable to work due to a particular medical condition, but you are not taking any medications prescribed by your doctor or… Read More »

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Legal8

Federal Appeals Court Rejects Social Security’s Incorrect Use of Vocational Statistics

By Stephen Barszcz |

One of the oddest facets of the Social Security disability application process involves the use of an outdated government publication called the Dictionary of Occupational Titles (DOT). The U.S. Department of Labor published the DOT in 1991. It was essentially a manual that classified all of the known types of labor into roughly 13,000… Read More »

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SSDI_4

What Is Social Security’s “Listing of Impairments,” and How Can It Affect Your Disability Claim?

By Stephen Barszcz |

One of the key tools that Social Security relies upon in assessing applications for disability benefits is its Listing of Impairments. As the name suggests, this is a document that lists various disabilities. More precisely, the Listing explains the medical requirements the applicant must meet in order to be classified as legally disabled. Social… Read More »

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Legal3

What Happens When Social Security Ignores All of the Available Expert Evidence in a Disability Case?

By Stephen Barszcz |

When you apply for Social Security disability benefits, a number of doctors and healthcare professionals may offer expert opinions regarding your physical and mental condition. A Social Security administrative law judge (ALJ) will consider all of these opinions, decide which are supported by the available medical evidence, and use that information to create a… Read More »

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