Applying for Social Security Disability can be a lengthy and sometimes frustrating process. I get questions every day about how applicants can make the process go faster, what the eligibility requirements are, and what some of the frequently used terms mean, such as the grid rules.
There are a few ways a disability applicant can argue they qualify for benefits. An applicant may argue that they meet a medical impairment listing, are unable to engage in substantial gainful activity (earning over a certain amount set by the Social Security Administration), or that they are disabled because they meet a Medical Vocational “grid rule”.
The Social Security Administration uses a grid of rules to answer when an individual is disabled or not disabled. This takes into account an individual’s age, education level, transferable or non-transferable skills, and your residual functional capacity (RFC).
The older an individual is, the easier it becomes to be approved for disability benefits. Under the grid rules, education is evaluated based on the following:
1) Whether an individual is illiterate or unable to communicate in English.
2) If they have limited education or less than 12th grade.
3) A high school education or more.
4) Education that required specific training or specialization.
The grid rules classify your past relevant work as either unskilled, semi-skilled, or skilled and also take into account whether or not you have transferable skills. This considers if the skills used in your past work can be transferred to a different job. Lastly, your RFC level categorizes whether your abilities limit you to perform sedentary, light, medium, or heavy work.
An experienced attorney who understands how the grid rules are analyzed can determine if they could work to your advantage in your claim or not. Contact Oxner + Permar today for a free consultation to speak with an attorney who can answer your questions about your Social Security Disability claim.
Waiting to get a hearing for your Social Security Disability benefits can be frustrating. The current wait time to get a Social Security Disability hearing scheduled in any of the four North Carolina offices is at least 18 months. This is a lengthy amount of time to wait for disability benefits when you’re unable to work.
During this time an attorney will continue to build the case based on medical evidence for a claimant. The best steps to take during this time are to continue treating with doctors and work toward getting supportive records and statements from your physicians.
The good news is there are some things you can do that may help get a hearing scheduled faster. One step is a “Congressional Inquiry”. One way to possibly expedite the process is to contact the office of your local congressman or senator. This inquiry would involve a congressional staff member to call or write the Social Security office on your behalf. Although there are no guaranteed results, it can’t hurt your case, and it could possibly get your hearing scheduled in six months rather than a year or two.
Working with an experienced attorney from the beginning can help strengthen your case. If you have any questions about your Social Security Disability case and how you can expedite your hearing give Oxner + Permar a call for a free consultation.
Do you need an attorney to file for Social Security Disability? No. But can an attorney be very beneficial in your outcome? Yes! The National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives announced that the Government Accountability Office (GAO) examined the rate of Social Security Disability claim approval at hearings. The study revealed that those who had legal representation were given benefits nearly 3 times higher than those without a representative.
Filing for Social Security Disability can be done on your own but requires you to jump through many hoops. Working with an experienced attorney who is familiar with the process and understands all of the steps can have a positive impact at your hearing. Claims that are filed without the help of an attorney are initially denied most of the time.
Working with an experienced attorney ensures everything is done right and increases your chances of receiving benefits. Don’t risk having your claim denied because of a mistake filing your claim.
Oxner + Permar has vast experience in representing claimants in their Social Security Disability cases. Contact us today for a free consultation.
If you are considering applying for Social Security Disability, you may have many questions. One question most people have is, when will I need an attorney? My answer to that question is: immediately.
- An attorney can review your age, education, past work, and impairments to determine if you are a good candidate to apply for Social Security Disability benefits. The sooner you know if you’re a good candidate, the better able you are to prepare for your future.
- If you wait to apply for Social Security Disability benefits it could affect the date you begin receiving benefits. If you wait two years to apply and are denied, then you will have to wait another two years to get a hearing. The sooner you apply, the sooner you will have a hearing if you’re denied.
- If you’re denied, an attorney can begin the appeal process immediately or discuss other options for benefits if you’re not a good candidate for Social Security Disability benefits.
A few other common indicators for whether you need an attorney:
Your doctor says you are going to be out of work for a while
Your doctor says you cannot work
You’ve been diagnosed with a severe condition/impairment
Your doctor says you cannot go back to the job you were doing
You’ve had a major surgery that will affect the rest of your life, such as a spinal cord stimulator, stroke, heart attack, etc.
It is also important to tell your doctor that you’re applying for Social Security Disability benefits. It is essential to inform your doctor of all of your impairments — both mental and physical — if your doctor doesn’t know about it, it will not be in your medical records. Social Security reads your medical records to determine how your impairments affect your work, so it’s important that nothing is left out. Most doctors know what key language to write in your medical records to help Social Security find you disabled.
If you are applying for Social Security Disability, give us a call for a free consultation. With more than $275 million in awards and settlements, Oxner + Permar has the experience, knowledge, and commitment to protect your rights.
A question clients often ask is how to prove their skills are non-transferable. A skill is defined as the knowledge of a task that requires judgment and is attained through job performance. The Social Security Administration (SSA) classifies the different skill levels of jobs as unskilled, semi-skilled, and skilled. These classifications are generally determined by how long it takes to learn the work and what that particular job requires.
Once the Social Security Administration determines the skill level of your past work they will use that to provide you with other jobs you might be able to do that meet the same (or lower) level of skill. This is what they mean by transferable.
Some examples of transferable skills are supervising or managing others, teaching, filing, clerical work, researching, technical work, and training. When determining whether a person has transferable skills, it will depend on if their impairments or disabilities affect the ability to perform those skills. If it does, then their skills will not be transferable. However, if it does not affect an individual’s ability to perform, then the skills can be considered transferable.
Proving at your hearing that your skills are non-transferable may be essential, especially if you need to challenge the vocational expert’s opinion. An attorney who understands transferability of skills under the Social Security Administration rulings and regulations can help with the cross-examination process during the hearing.
Don’t risk having your claim rejected. Work with an experienced attorney who will make sure it’s done right. Give Oxner + Permar a call for a free consultation.