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Social Security Disability Archives

Social Security and Bankruptcy

No matter the economic climate, making ends meet is always difficult when an individual loses a job or stops working, but for individuals with disabilities it can be even more of a struggle. With the costs of medication, doctor visits and health insurance, many disabled individuals find themselves sinking into a world of debt while waiting for Social Security disability.

Social Security Administrative Law Judges must be careful with credibility determinations

In March 2010, the 7th Circuit remanded two Social Security disability cases to Administrative Law Judges in Illinois, finding that they had not reasonably supported denying benefits to claimants. Parker v. Astrue, Nos. 09-2270, 09-2722 (7th Cir. 2010). The Judge denied benefits to both claimants despite stating that their medcially determinable impairments could have reasonably produced the symptoms alleged but that the witnesses were not "entirely credible."

Children's Social Security Benefits offset by Long-Term Disability

Lately the question of whether a long-term disability carrier can offset Social Security payments to a dependent has been a popular one. Most claimant's are aware that their LTD plans offset Social Security benefits awarded to the disabled individual, but most plans also offset the SSD benefits paid to the dependents or spouse of the disabled individual as well, if those benefits result from the individual's disability. As always it is important to read your plan documents carefully.

Vocational Hypotheticals during a Social Security hearing must only account for limitationsaccepted as c redible

The claimant filed an application for Social Security benefits alleging numerous physical and mental impairments including depression and anxiety disorders. During a remanded hearing to reconsider her disability claim, the Administrative Law Judge posed a hypothetical to the vocational expert for a person who was limited to "brief and superficial contact with others in the work place" and no high production goals. Seamon v. Astrue , Slip Copy 2010 WL 323515 (C.A.7 (Wis.)). The ALJ's decision was only partially favorable as he found the claimant disabled because of her age.

Exploring work options with the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation

Applicants for Social Security are frequently asked if they can perform any job in the economy. The most common answer is "I don't know"; another common answer "Maybe". Unfortunately these answers, while honest, can be detrimental to a claim for benefits.

Social Security vs. Alzheimer's: The race against time

As discussed in previous posts and as many claimants are aware, the application process for Social Security disability benefits is not a quick one. In fact, if a case proceeds all the way to a hearing, the average processing time in Milwaukee is more than 600 days.

SSDI: Subsidy or Wages

Social Security, as with most government programs, has many exceptions to its rules. In regards to earnings, one of those exceptions is whether money earned at a job is a subsidy or wages. Subsidies are support or assistance provided by your employer that result in your wages exceeding the actual value of the services you perform. For example, a claimant who works for his father's company laying carpets and receives close supervision of all his work or whose behavior is tolerated beyond that of any non-disabled employee may not be performing substantial gainful activity. The wages earned by that claimant then would be deemed a subsidy and not be counted against your SSI payments or eligibility for SSDI. If SSA determines that you receive a subsidy as opposed to substantial gainful activity, they will look to your employer to set your "real" wage or actual value of actual work performed. If your employer will not or cannot set your "real" wage, the SSA will do it for them.

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