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Misconceptions about the Social Security process

While many people apply for Social Security Disability, there is both information and dis-information out there about how the process works and when benefits are awarded.   Whether people get information from the internet, or stories from friends and family, or even the government, some of the misconceptions only serve to frustrate, intimidate, and deter people deserving of help.

While it is true that navigating the bureaucratic maze that Social Security has constructed can be difficult at times, the benefits are there for those who qualify and it is imperative that you don’t give up. Having someone fighting for you, defending your rights, and making sure Social Security gives you a fair shake can mean the difference between success and failure while at the same time lifting the weight from your shoulders and relieving some of the stress in your life. Our firm knows how to get you through this trying process through the efforts of our experienced attorneys and skilled staff.

Here are some of the common ideas many people have when they are considering or applying for Social Security Disability benefits:

My age is the only reason preventing my approval for Social Security Disability:   False

While age does factor into analysis of a claim, it is not determinative as to whether or not you will be approved. If you are over 50, you have certain advantages in the application of the rules. Yet if you are below 50, as many of our clients can attest, your disability may entitle you to benefits.  This includes children and young adults as well.  In short, mental and physical conditions do not care how old you are, and the Social Security disability rules recognize this..

An attorney can’t help me until I am ready to go before a Judge:  False

Your claim for Social Security Disability benefits begins the moment you file your application.  There are two levels of decision-making before the evidence if presented at the hearing level.  At this time, it is imperative that Social Security obtains the specific medical records from your physicians detailing and documenting your conditions, limitations, and symptoms. All too often, Social Security doesn’t obtain all or any of these records, or the wrong type of records and arguments for disability are submitted. Without this information, those responsible for approving your application are unable to do so because they have no hard evidence about your problems.

People unable to do their previous jobs means an automatic approval:  True and False

Individuals 50 years of age and older may be approved for Social Security disability if they are unable to do their previous job.  Other factors include their level of education and work experience, and of course the nature and extent of the disability itself.  Part of our job as your attorney is to identify the rules and apply them, including whether or not this rule will apply to you. For those under 50 years old, we must prove that you can’t perform your previous job and that there is no job in the national economy that you can perform. However, Social Security does not take into account wages or what we call “over-qualification.”  This does not stop our firm from obtaining benefits for our clients but it does complicate the process. We often argue that Social Security must account for all of the factors in maintaining successful employment, some purely medically driven, but some factors more on the medical/vocational or practical side.

Social Security only considers my physical or mental condition but not both:  False

Social Security is required by law to consider all your limitations as a result of your mental and physical conditions. All too often the combination of these problems leaves a person unable to work, but Social Security has discounted or ignored many of your documented symptoms and limitations.   For example, an individual who has bi-polar conditions and degenerative disc disease is entitled to have restrictions from both of these disabilities applied in their analysis.   Our firm has helped pioneer some of the case law in this area.   It is essential to our presentation of evidence and argument that the Social Security Administration must factor in each and every aspect of your disabilities to determine your ability to hold a job.

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