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Category Archives: SSD Eligibility

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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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One of the oddest facets of the Social Security disability application process involves the use of an outdated government publication called the Dictionary of Occupational Titles (DOT).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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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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Insurance5

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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