Monday, August 27, 2012

The Social Security Administration's Sequential Evaluation

1. Are you working?
As with all impairments, the first question is: are you working now? Because if you are working, the likelihood is you are not disabled. If you are not working, the question becomes whether your impairment is severe. If your impairment is not severe, you are not disabled.

2. Do you have a severe impairment?
To determine whether a mental impairment is severe, SSA looks at 4 criteria: (a) activities of daily living; (b) maintaining social functioning; (c) concentration, persistence and pace; and (d) episodes of decompensation. 

3. Do you meet or equal the listings?
Step 3, the listings, is a claimant’s earliest opportunity to win. There are 14 bodily systems represented in the listings, with mental impairments enumerated in section 12. 

4. Can you return to past relevant work?

If the person does not meet the listings because, for example, only one instead of two criteria are at the “marked” level, then the last two questions revolve around the extent to which that marked impairment erodes the potential job base otherwise available.

The question at step 4 is whether the impairment prevents a person from returning to past relevant work. “Relevant” means within the past 15 years.

5. Can you do any other work?

If it is determined you cannot return to your past work, the fifth and final question is whether you can do any work that exists in significant numbers in the national economy.

Ultimately, the task becomes to whittle away at the more than 12,000 occupations listed in the Dictionary of Occupational Titles until all concerned agree that there is no longer a significant number of jobs available, at which point a claimant is awarded benefits. 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

What Can I Do to Strengthen My Claim for Social Security Disability Benefits in Phoenix?

Get regular medical treatment for your condition(s).

The most important evidence in your Social Security claim is your medical evidence and that is why it is crucial to maintain consistent treatment. In Phoenix, an Administrative Law Judge will base his or her decision upon the medical evidence in your file. They will look to see if you have been getting regular treatment for the impairments that you are claiming. If your medical records are not recent or do not accurately reflect your stated medical impairments, it can have a negative effect on your claim. Make sure all of your treatment is documented and up to date.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Preparing for Your Social Security Disability Hearing in Phoenix

At your Social Security Disability Hearing in Phoenix the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ)  has already reviewed all your medical records. He knows your doctor’s perspective on your condition, now he wants to get your perspective on your condition.

The ALJ will ask you lots of questions in order to get a better idea of your condition and how it affects you. To improve your chances of getting a favorable outcome, you want to be a good witness. Below is a list of 9 things you can do when testifying that will help you be a good witness:

Monday, April 16, 2012

Can I Get Social Security Credits in Phoenix for My Military Service?

YES! In Phoenix you can earn Social Security credits for your military service in certain situations.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Medical/Vocational Grids - Phoenix

What are “Grids”?
If a person applying for disability benefits in Phoenix is found to be unable to return to their past work, then the next question is whether they can do any other work.  If the claimant CAN do other work then they will not be disabled.  If they CANNOT do any other work, then they will be found disabled under Social Security’s rules.  

To answer this question Social Security looks to the Medical-Vocational Guidelines, or “Grids” to see where a claimant falls in regard to the combination of their:

Friday, March 30, 2012

What Happens if I Go Back to Work After Being Awarded Social Security Disability Benefits in Phoenix?

The effect returning to work has on your disability benefits depends on whether you receive Social Security Disability Insurance benefits (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income benefits (SSI) in Phoenix.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Should I Hire a Disability Attorney in Phoenix?

Filing a claim for Social Security Disability benefits in Phoenix can be an intimidating process. Let’s face it; many of us are simply not well versed on the intricacies of the Social Security Administration (SSA). However, this is not a journey you have to take alone. There are many qualified and experienced disability law attorneys that our willing to offer their expertise and assist you in obtaining your benefits.