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Recent Blog Posts

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One of the oddest facets of the Social Security disability application process involves the use of an outdated government publication called the Dictionary of Occupational Titles (DOT).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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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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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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How an Improper “Residual Functional Capacity” Assessment May Affect Your Disability Claim

By Stephen Barszcz |

Social Security follows a five-step process when assessing a claim for disability benefits. The final two steps involve analyzing what jobs, if any, the claimant could perform given their physical and mental limitations. In step four, a Social Security administrative law judge (ALJ) will determine the claimant’s “residual functional capacity” (RFC); that is, what… Read More »

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How Social Security Is Supposed to Assess a “Severe Impairment” When Reviewing a Disability Application

By Stephen Barszcz |

There are five steps that Social Security goes through when assessing an application for disability insurance benefits. The first step is to determine the applicant’s financial eligibility–that is, whether or not they are working and earning income above a certain minimum threshold. Assuming the applicant is not earning too much income, Social Security then… Read More »

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How Does the “Episodic Nature” of Bipolar Disorder Affect a Claim for Disability Benefits?

By Stephen Barszcz |

Bipolar disorder is a serious, lifelong mental impairment that causes frequent bouts of depression. By its very nature, bipolar disorder is unpredictable. A person can feel fine for an extended period of time in between manic episodes. This unpredictability can often make it challenging, however, for individuals with bipolar disorder to obtain Social Security… Read More »

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What Happens When Social Security Ignores “Overwhelming Evidence” That a Person Is Disabled?

By Stephen Barszcz |

It is not uncommon for federal judges to overturn a finding that a person is not entitled to Social Security disability benefits. What is unusual is for the court to actually award such benefits. Instead, the common practice is to return–or “remand”–the case to Social Security for a new hearing. But there are exceptions…. Read More »

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LegalLaw

Federal Magistrate Orders Third Disability Hearing for Florida Woman with Fibromyalgia

By Stephen Barszcz |

We have discussed the problems faced by individuals with fibromyalgia in obtaining disability benefits. The problem is so bad that even when a judge issues explicit instructions to Social Security with respect to assessing fibromyalgia, the agency still refuses to follow the law. Unfortunately, in many cases the only remedy for the victim is… Read More »

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How Does Social Security Determine When You No Longer Qualify for Disability Benefits?

By Stephen Barszcz |

It is possible in a disability case for Social Security to find you that you were disabled for a certain period in the past but are now capable of working. As with all matters related to disability claims, however, Social Security must follow the available medical evidence. Agency officials cannot simply declare you are… Read More »

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How the Need for Family Support Can Affect Your Disability Application

By Stephen Barszcz |

Although we often think of disability in terms of physical limitations, mental impairments can be just as debilitating. Many people who suffer from severe depression and anxiety are simply unable to function in a typical working environment. That does not mean they are completely incapable of performing basic tasks of daily living. But oftentimes,… Read More »

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