Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Chances of Winning a Social Security Claim

UPDATE: September 16, 2016 -- Social Security Administration Cuts Hurt Every State

The Center on Budget Policy Priorities (CBPP) published a report this week detailing the negative impact of budget cuts on the Social Security Administration (SSA). Since 2010, SSA’s operating budget has been cut by 10 percent, affecting Americans in all 50 states. Budget cuts have led to a steep decrease in the number of SSA employees, field office closures, and a record-high disability backlog.

Nationwide, 6 percent of SSA staff have been cut, but some states like West Virginia have lost over 15 percent since 2010. There have also been over 600 field and mobile office closures.

Staff cuts have led to declines in service in every state. This is most apparent in the backlog of disability hearing. Disability Determination Service (DDS) staff has shrunk 14 percent nationwide and a struggle to meet the growing demand for services. In 2011 the average wait for a decision was 360 days; this year the wait has stretched to 540 days. Prolonged delays for benefits have had a tremendous human cost, forcing some applicants to foreclose on their homes or declare bankruptcy.

“It’s clear that SSA’s diminished operating budget has hurt communities throughout the country,” said Joseph Peters, Jr., Secretary-Treasurer of the Alliance. “Millions of Americans suffer dramatically from case backlogs and falling customer service.”

The advocacy group Social Security Works, which is an Alliance partner, also reported on the effects of SSA's administrative budget cuts by state.

Updated May 13, 2015 (I just learned about this today): Google "Padro v. Astrue" -- A class action lawsuit complaining of generalized bias by five Administrative Law Judges (ALJs) in SSA’s Queens, New York hearing office. The court’s approval clears the way for new hearings to be provided to about 4,000 claimants who received unfavorable (or only partially favorable) decisions by these ALJs from January 1, 2008, through October 18, 2013. The settlement provides for the creation of a new, special unit in the Appeals Council that will automatically review all unfavorable and all appealed partial favorable decisions by the five ALJs for a 30-month monitoring period that begins on October 19, 2013. Claimants denied during this period will have their claims assigned to ALJs other than the five if their claims are remanded. More here...

http://www.empirejustice.org/assets/pdf/publications/dap-news/disability-law-news-1.pdf

http://www.socialsecurity.gov/padrosettlement/

http://www.ssa.gov/OP_Home/hallex/I-05/I-5-4-71.html


Update April 12, 2015 - It appears that all the Republican hyperbole about "easy claims" and "bogus awards" has been having a big affect. Because terminations for disability benefits cancel out "awards" in any given year, and because only 1/3 of all claims were awarded last year, there was only a net gain of 11,934 disabled workers in payment status for disability benefits in 2014 — and that's out of  over 2.5 million claims. Deaths and conversions to regular Social Security retirement benefits account for most of the terminations that occur, because disabled and older people tend to apply for these benefits (not young healthy people who are lying and cheating to get on the government dole.) It's shame that so many people, who probably deserve the benefits, are now being denied. And no — it has nothing at all to do with reducing "fraud". Two studies show there was only 0.4 percent — far less than most other government programs. -- Source: Disabled Workers and Awards in Payment Status
Year Applications (claims)  Approval Rate Awards  In Current Payment Status Terminations
2013 2,640,100 33.51% 884,894 8,942,584 767,738
2014 2,521,459 32.16% 810,973 8,954,518 793,646
YTD Change -102,641 -1.35% -73,921 11,934 25,908

* Cut Defense Spending to Save Social Security, or Raise Taxes


PAST UPDATE: This page gets a lot of views, so I've added my most recent articles on this subject, which are posted at the Economic Populist:

UPDATE: AARP FINALLY mentioned the Republican's rule change to defund disability in their newsletter today (1/29/2015) ... BUT ... they didn’t use that as their headline story in their newsletter ...AND.... they used the words “Congress” and “House”, but they never mentioned “Republicans” or “GOP”.

Also notice: Their newsletter first mentions this today, but the ARRP story they link to (buried on their website and was never on their front page) was dated Jan. 7 --- so why did AARP wait so long to mention this in their newsletter? Also notice: In the “old AARP story” that the AARP newsletter links to, there’s also just the mention of “Congress” and the “House”, but no blame was laid on the “Republicans” or the “GOP” – so how would AARP members (and especially Republican voters) know who is undermining their disability?

Other organizations, such as The Alliance for Retired Americans, Social Security Works (and others) came out about this HEADLINE STORY the very next day in their newsletters (and mentioned “REPUBLICANS” or “GOP”). Did AARP only belatedly and “casually” mention this in today’s newsletter because I emailed them last week to complain?

This makes me very suspicious of AARP – and it’s possibly because of AARP’s association with insurance companies that they REFUSE to squarely lay the blame on the GOP (or the Republicans.) Everybody should call AARP out on this --- BECAUSE --- disabled Republican voters should know the truth as to really watching their back (HINT: It's not the Republicans or AARP)


 

This is what I found about the chances of winning a SSDI claim from 4 different sources.

Source One: 35% of initial applicants were awarded. Here's the path through the process:

  • There's the initial claim (either online or at your local SSA office),
  • and two subsequent written appeals if any other claim is denied,
  • then there's a hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ),
  • then there's the Appeals Counsel if a claim is denied at the hearing level,
  • and lastly, there's federal court.

The highest winning percentage is at the hearing level, which nationally has a winning percentage of 62%, with 25% losing, and the remaining 13% dismissed for one reason or another.

Many cases that are denied at the hearing level appeal to the Appeals Council. Most cases at the Appeals Council are denied at a 74% rate. Almost a quarter of the cases are remanded or approved. A remand is when the case is sent back to the administrative law judge (in most cases the same administrative law judge) and the Remand percentage rate for 2010 was 22%.

Only 2% of the cases at the Appeals Council were completely reversed and won. The last 2% were dismissed for one reason or another.

Of the 83,000 cases appealed to the Appeals Council 12,000 cases were taken to Federal Court. At the Federal Court level also called US District Court, there is a pretty even split. 40% of the cases taken to federal court were denied. 47% of the cases taken to Federal Court were remanded and 4% were approved out right. 9% of cases were dismissed. Keep in mind these are the national average for cases decided in 2010 and although it gives you a good picture these numbers may differ from year to year and depending upon where your case is being decided and by which particular decision maker or ALJ (the hearing judge).

Source Two: Forty-percent of claims were approved at the hearing level if a claimant went to the hearing without the benefit of social security representation, while sixty-two percent of represented claimants were awarded benefits.

Source Three: Very few Appeal Council Review appeals end in an outright approval for disability. Most appeals are denied with a few being remanded back--to the administrative law judge who made the original decision--for review. But even those disability cases that are remanded to the ALJ for review are often denied.

Age will play a role in determining decisions on disability claims but usually comes into play when a person is older, either fitting into the fifty and above age range, or the fifty-five and above age range. These are the points at which age becomes more of a consideration and age can provide a benefit for someone who has relatively more functional limitations and, correspondingly, less education and fewer job skills.

Your level of education does a play a role in the evaluation process used by both the social security disability and SSI disability programs. However, the effect of one's education level is not nearly as much as many people would assume. And there are many cases in which educational level does not even enter into the process.

These cases, of course, are those in which a claimant is approved on the basis of satisfying the requirements of a listing in the blue book (the social security disability list of impairments).

When cases are approved this way, it is because their medical records provide detailed enough information which conforms to the disability approval criteria of a specific listing, such as, for example, lupus or bipolar disorder, or degenerative disc disease.

Source Four: What are my chances of winning at the Appeals Council level? The Social Security Administration reports that on average, this is how Appeals Councils decisions end up:

  • 72% of the Requests for Review are denied
  • 22.5% of the cases are remanded to an ALJ
  • 3% of the cases result in the Appeals Council issuing a new decision,
  • and 2.5% of the cases result in a dismissal (because the request for review was not filed by the deadline).

If your case is remanded, you have a good chance of eventually getting awarded partial or full benefits. Keep in mind that more time will have passed since the original ALJ decision, during which your condition may have deteriorated, and you can submit additional evidence at the remand hearing showing how your disability has worsened over time.

In addition, even if your review is denied, you can then take your case to the federal district court level where there is a greater likelihood of getting awarded disability benefits or receiving a remand.

The Appeals Council can also independently decide to review a favorable ALJ decision and then issue a new decision that is partially or fully unfavorable.

85 comments:

  1. not entirely sure that being young is nearly as great as you make it out to be, although it's true that I've been ill my entire adult life. to be young and have one's health and to have already inherited a shitload of money? fucking excellent.
    I haven't paid into the system for 40 years; rather for one year, but I still can't help but feel that america hates me and wants me to just die already. I know my mom does, because she she told me so.

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    1. Dear anon,
      I don't want you to die! I'm pretty sure America doesn't either. They just make it next to impossible to get SSDI when you actually need it. I don't have a lot of money - I'm in my early 30s and have only worked for 12 years. My lawyer says that because I'm young, it's tougher for me to win my case. (Obviously - I received an unfavorable decision) What ALJ's don't take into account is that even when you are young, there are conditions that make you unemployable. I have MS, social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, migraines, depression.... all of which make me miss work. I've been fired because of my health, and yet I'm STILL having a hard time getting approved. Now it's onto the appeals process, where hopefully I'll have someone see the *whole picture.* Not just look at a young person who "looks healthy." What really baffles me is that the "vocational expert" at the hearing could come up with NO JOBS I was suited for. So what am I supposed to do???

      Oh well. Good luck with your case. Feel better.

      Delete
    2. You might want to call Binder&Binder for a review before the Appeals Council. They may want more evidence from a doctor. Your case could be remanded back to the original judge, and hopefully, they will rule in your favor the next time. The U.S. has an aging work force (the Boomers) so there will be many more SSD cases in the future. Congress needs to change the tax code to eliminate the "cap" on Social Security taxes and start taxing capital gains for Social Security taxes. Good luck with your case...it could take another year (or longer) after the first hearing to get another hearing. If Binder&Binder gets you another hearing, they will provide you with a lawyer.

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  2. I have a son who has spinal bifida occculta, he gets constantly bound up with stool. He has ADHD, a learning disability ans severe asthma. I am not at the federal courts level It has been over three years. The Appeals Judge states' I am familiar with children that spinal bifida occulta that they commonly lack the ability to know when they have to defecate." Then I inform her that he is unable to play sports due to his severe asthma and in the unfavorable decision letter she states that my son has the ability to do sports when I clearly stated otherwise. I have paid into the system for years working and when my child is disabled he gets denied. I wonder what kind of system we have here. It is pathetic and disgusting.If my child should not be able to collect then FICA and other such taxes should not be taken out of my checks.

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    1. Only a lawyer might be able to help you. Have them file an appeal.

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  3. I worked for the federal government for over 25 yrs. I agreed to pay into ssa in 1986. I had a bad time with an eeoc case in 2005. I was sick when I started with the government in 1982 born with defects and decided to file for ssa in 2004. I was denied so I applied for disability pension and got it. I was approved in June of 2005 and no one in management discussed it with me until the advocate for retirement sent me an email 12/2005 I left that day. I am now in court remand with ssa a sentence 4 reversal ordered 5/13. Anxiety is kicking in. Lost 3 loved ones to death and they were all denied. You think they hope we will just roll over and die

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  4. I applied may 6,2014 and was told July 12 all my information need for a decision was received. I still have not heard anything and it's past 90 days. If she got everything what could be taking so long. Is this wait a good sign?

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    1. Be prepared for a long wait. It could take up to 3 years before all is said and done. You may get refused on your first claim, and refused on the first two written appeals. Then you may get denied at your first hearing before a judge, and you may have to appeal to the Appeals Counsel. Then it may or may not be remanded back to the judge at your first hearing. Social Security will most likely schedule you to see their own doctors for evaluations. There will be a lot of paperwork. I suggest that right after you file your initial claim, you seek representation from a firm like Binder & Binder (and not just any lawyer to advertizes for disability claims, because they are not experienced enough in that vein of the law.) Patience is the only other advice I can offer. It's very difficult to follow through and win a SSDI claim (despite what the media might say). Good luck. The long wait can be very depressing.

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  5. I filed a claim in 2009. In 2012 it was denied. Now at federal court,may of 2014 magistrate overturned alj decision,remand to appeals court. Still no word on where it is. So 5 long years,homeless now,no money,they just want me to die and go away. I have paid into ssi since 1981. Makes me so proud to be american,NOT!!!

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    1. If it was remanded, then you should still have hope. You NEED to be represented by someone who knows the system. I hope you have a lawyer (or someone from Binder&Binder). A lot of legitimate cases are turned down because of a few fraudulent cases...it's a shame a few bad apples game the system and a lot of good people have to suffer the consequences. For now, even though it's very difficult, try to keep the faith and hang in there a little longer. If your case in overturned, you'll get all those back payments and you can have a real life again.

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  6. Social media could have an effect on whether you get social security disability benefits. Administrative Law Judges sometimes Google the name of applicants, even though they're not supposed to.

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  7. Got my letter yesterday from the Appeals Council in Church Falls,case is being Remanded....Don't know if that's a good thing or not?Considering I guess I go back in front of the same Judge that gave me a partial decision @ my hearing.How long will this hearing date take?12-18 months again....So much for having Legal Rep,she hasn't even called me for over 1 yr.I knew about this before she did.The system is so flawed,yes it depends on your location as does the judge if you get your benifits or not.I live in a town where many who are drunk,addicted to drugs and plain thugs have gotten SSDI quicker than me and I've worked and paid into the "system" since I was 16,I'm now 45.....depressing,to say the least.

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    1. If you didn't bring a witness with you the last time, consider bringimg one to your remand. I was told that it helps, especially at 2nd hearings. Try to gather more evidence as well (such as a second opinion from a doctor.) Good luck...a remand is usually a good sign. Keep the faith.

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    2. I just found out that the appeals council remanded my case, too. The judge is sending me to a psychologist, but my claim is chronic pain, degenerative disk disease, failed laminectomy syndrome, bursitis, poly-cystic ovary syndrome and high blood pressure. So, I have no idea why they want me to see a psychologist.

      I'm concerned that I was denied by the ALJ the first time because my claim doesn't include the 10 years prior to filing (I was able to work until 4 years ago). Even my attorney told me that I was probably denied because the only treatment I've tried is prescription drugs - but I have tried every type of treatment imaginable! it just all happened prior to my filing. I was told that the judge won't look at records prior to that time, which I find ludicrous! I'm not sure why they are sending me to a psychologist - I see one regularly through my pain management clinic and have for 4 years to help me deal with the psychological stress of living with chronic pain (he's been a godsend!!).

      In addition, my pain clinic has a policy of not filling out disability paperwork. My doctor & psychologist have both told me they personally feel that I am entitled to SSD and my doctor did the best she could in a letter type response to the SSA, but in spite of knowing that I can no longer work a normal job, their office policy prohibits them from putting that on paper.

      I just wish I could sit down, one on one with the judge and talk to her/him about my life and my health. The VE at my first hearing said that I could work as a grocery store clerk or in a factory - are you kidding me? I can't even wash dishes at home! And my lawyer said next to nothing as this nonsense was being discussed! I just think the judge is completely missing the real story in favor of all this legal, procedural crap.

      I am only 38 years old and I am still hopeful that one day my doctors will find a way to help me function normally. Medicine continues to evolve and improve and I truly believe there will be an answer for me someday. I also have dreams of becoming a successful writer - something I can do even from bed and I'm actively working toward that goal. I won't need SSD forever, but I DO need it now....and I've paid into it since I was a teenager until four years ago. I just don't understand why this needs to be so hard!!

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    3. You said "The judge is sending me to a psychologist..." but then you later say "My doctor & psychologist have both told me they personally feel that I am entitled to SSD."

      Sometimes a judge may not feel that one disability (such as a physical one) is not severe enough to keep you from working — but with a dual-disability (that also includes a mental one), combined, they both might allow you to meet the threshold for you to qualify for SSD.

      It also depends on what kind of disability you have. You mentioned degenerative disk disease, and that would keep you from doing labor intensive work (like lifting heavy objects); but if you had a college education that allowed you to perform a desk job, that can also disqualify you.

      It's a complicated issue, that's why SSD claimants need layers who know the law. Call Binder&Binder as they have advocates and retain attorneys who specialize in Social Security law (not fly-by-nigh accident lawyers trying to jump on the SSD train and trying to make an easy buck. That's just my humble opinion ;)

      Also, as I told someone else: Try to introduce new evidence at your new hearing, like bringing a witness, so that the judge can have an "out" for changing his/her opinion on your claim after the case was remanded back to them.
      Again, all this is only MY opinion --- seek professional advice. Good luck to you.

      Visit Social Security Secrets too. http://www.disabilitysecrets.com/

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  8. I am waiting on ssa to tell me when my hearing date will be for when I have to go before an alj. I was denied at the inital process and the appeal. But I don't understand why I was denied. I have high blood pressure, degenerative disk, sciatica, and I had surgery on my back because my spine was damaged. I had to get screws and rods put in to hold my spine together. I am 37 years old and I worked for 17 years until I had to stop last year when all of this happened. I hope that I get approved this time at the hearing. Just don't understand.

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    1. After the initial claim and then the denial after the first written appeal, it can take another year before you go to a hearing before a judge. If you are denied at your first hearing, you appeal again to the Appeals Council, and that can take another year. Then they can deny your claim or remand it back to the original judge. If remanded, you go to another hearing before the same judge, and hope it's approved. If not, you have to appeal to federal court. All this (from when you first submitted your claim) to your first check can take over 3 years. Hopefully you have a lawyer at your first hearing and you're approved at that time ... and it won't take so long. Patience, lots of patience!

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    2. Dear bud, I have been trying to get information from my ss account online since I had my hearing and can't get anything not so much as an estimate on my monthly payment amount much less what the status on my case is. What am I doing wrong? Please help, thanks yvette yvettegeorge88@yahoo.com

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    3. That is normal when you have an open claim. After your case is settled one way or the other, you’ll be able to access your account again (I have no idea why they have it set up that way). I know this from personal; experience. Do you have any statement from SS from previously? Otherwise, you’ll just have to wait.

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  9. Dear Bud,

    My name is Dan. Thanks for considering my question. I've been in this process for more than two years. I have a TBI and spinal cord injury. Im 56 years old. My hearing was Oct 2, 2014. I've received nothing in the mail so far, but I've been checking my SSA account online weekly, and it always said you are currently not receiving benefits, and it would not show my estimated payment until today. It still says I'm not receiving benefits, but does show an estimated figure. Does this mean I've lost my case? My attorney has not received anything yet either.

    Thank you .

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    Replies
    1. That does sound like you have won your case, but don't get your hopes up just yet until you receive an actual "award" letter from SSA. It will itemize all your back payments and give you a date when to expect a direct deposit to your bank account (minus attorney fees that they withhold, which is limited to 25% of the past-due benefits you are awarded, usually up to a maximum of $6,000.) During the appeal process, you are usually locked out of your MySocialSecurity account; but since it now shows an estimated payment, I would think your claim has been approved and is now being processed. The payment center has to get an approval by the judge before your claim gets processed, so it does sound positive for you. If I'm wrong, please don't be upset with me.

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  10. Thanks Bud,

    I hope your right... I'll keep you posted. Thanks so much for input.

    Dan.

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  11. Good Day Bud,

    Hey, I just want to run this by you. Since my attorney has the (password) for the case, could that be the reason that website cant actually tell me anything without the attorneys approval? (win or lose) I,m trying to understand all this hoopla,,, it'll drive you crazy man.

    Thanks Bud,

    Dan.

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    Replies
    1. I'm not sure what you mean when you say your attorney has a password to your case. (A password for what?) And your attorney (with attorney/client privilege) should be able to tell you anything at all. And if you won your case, your attorney can tell you 1 second after they learn the outcome. There's no reason at all why your attorney should delay giving you the judge's decision.

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  12. Dear Bud,

    Thanks for getting back to me so soon. I talked to my attorney this morning and they haven't got anything yet either. I asked them today if they can tell if a decision has been made, and they said they cant. I know in the initial process that the case was assigned a case number through the SSA, and I thought I needed that to access my account. My attorney has that. What I don't understand is why the SSA would post estimated figures, and I haven't even got one letter since my hearing date Oct,2,2014 . I guess I'm just confused...Brain Injury) my thought process is not very good, I thought before they posted estimated figures I would get something in the mail.It still says you are currently not receiving benefits..

    Thanks Bud...

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    Replies
    1. The SSA's payment center (and even your local SSA office) will have that information long before you or your lawyer will (when the SSA eventually sends you both an AWARD LETTER). I understand your anxiety -- the "not knowing" can be real worrisome. If you can't wait, make an appointment at your local SSA office (or just walk in and take a #) and then ask them in person about your current status.

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  13. AARP FINALLY mentioned the GOP rule change to defund disability in their newsletter today .... BUT ...they didn’t use that as their headline story ...AND.... they used the words “Congress” and “House”, but never mentioned “Republicans” or “GOP”.

    Also notice: Their newsletter first mentions this today (Jan.29) but the ARRP story they link to (buried on their website and was never on their front page) was dated Jan. 7 --- so why did AARP wait so long to mention this in their newsletter?

    Also notice: In the “old AARP story” that the AARP newsletter links to, there’s also just the mention of “Congress” and the “House”, but no blame was laid on the “Republicans” or the “GOP” – so how would AARP members (and especially Republican voters) know who is undermining their disability?

    Other organizations, such as The Alliance for Retired Americans, Social Security Works (and others) came out about this HEADLINE STORY the very next day in their newsletters (and mentioned “REPUBLICANS” or “GOP”). Did AARP only belatedly and “casually” mention this in today’s newsletter because I emailed them last week to complain?

    This makes me very suspicious of AARP – and it’s possibly because of AARP’s association with insurance companies that they REFUSE to squarely lay the blame on the GOP (or the Republicans.)

    Somebody that’s famous should write a story about this and call AARP out --- BECAUSE --- disabled Republican voters should know the truth as to really watching their back.

    ReplyDelete
  14. UPDATE -- New Post...

    The Good Fight for Social Security

    http://bud-meyers.blogspot.com/2015/02/the-good-fight-for-social-security.html

    ReplyDelete
  15. New hearing on Disability

    On February 25, 2015 the Subcommittee on Social Security will hold a hearing on Disability (POSTED ON Feb 18, 2015)

    A list of witnesses will follow. Oral testimony at this hearing will be from invited witnesses only. However, any individual or organization may submit a written statement for consideration by the Committee and for inclusion in the printed record of the hearing.

    DETAILS FOR SUBMISSION OF WRITTEN COMMENTS:

    ATTACH your submission as a Word document, in compliance with the formatting requirements, by the close of business on Wednesday, March 11, 2015. For questions, or if you encounter technical problems, please call (202) 225-3625 or (202) 225-2610."

    Ways and Means:
    http://waysandmeans.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=398109

    (* MY QUESTION: If the hearing is on Feb 25, they will still take comments until March 11 -- and do they really read the comments?)

    I got this info from a new post here: Disability Insurance: An Essential Part of Social Security (Posted Feb 24)
    http://www.offthechartsblog.org/disability-insurance-an-essential-part-of-social-security/

    ReplyDelete
  16. I'm a 35 year old female been on ssi since i was in grade school i was cut off for a warent i was put in jail for 28 days then basic had to start over and reapply. my hearing was in Oct of last year after I was denyed twice my lawyer says she knows nothing and I trying to be patient how long will I have to wait???especially. since i have been on it most of my life....

    ReplyDelete
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    1. In the Astrue case (Docket no. 08-5801-cv, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, 2010), the Court held that the Social Security Administration should no longer rely on outstanding arrest warrants as justification for suspending SSDI or SSI.

      This change in the law does not apply (and benefits may be suspended or denied) if a person has outstanding warrants for violating probation or parole — or the warrant relates to charges of escape or fleeing to avoid prosecution.

      In all other cases, if your benefits are suspended based on a warrant, you should contact a disability attorney asap about appealing that decision (and about clearing the warrant). Hope that helps.



      Eligibility for Felons
      http://www.disabilitysecrets.com/get-disability-if-felony.html

      Can I receive Social Security disability benefits if I have been convicted of a crime?
      http://www.disabilitybenefitscenter.org/faq/can-i-receive-social-security-disability-benefits-if-i-have-been-convicted-of-a-crime

      Will An Outstanding Arrest Warrant Suspend My Social Security Benefits?
      http://mydisabilitylawfirm.typepad.com/my_weblog/2009/02/will-an-outstanding-arrest-warrant-suspend-my-social-security-benefits.html

      Delete
  17. hi, filed dec 2009 oregon. after 5 long years of stalling by sending me thru a process that has no end it seems i was granted a remand by federal in january 2015 still nothing! there is supposedly some in between entity that handles the cases transfer back to ssi from fed court. whomever they are, they obviously are not doing a very good job. LMAO anyone know what this entity would be called and whose side would they lean to ssdi or fed? is fed REALLY on our side to help with ssdi judges and their pompus egos?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Try this link...

      How to Appeal Your Disability Case to Federal District Court

      http://www.disabilitysecrets.com/resources/disability/how-appeal-your-disability-case-federal-distri

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  18. HELLO BUD, I AM IN THE RECON STAGE AND MY EXAMINER REQUESTED A STATEMENT FROM MY PAIN DOCTOR VARIFYING MY CONCERNS WHICH HE DID. FBS L4/5 S1 HERNIATED DISKS SCAR TISSUE REDUCED DERMITONES ACHILLES REFLUX. MY DOCTOR ALSO STATES FAILED ALL TREATMENT,THERAPY,INJECTIONS. PRESCRIBED CANE AND HANDICAP STICKER, LAST RESORT WOULD BE NEURO STIM TRIAL. POOR FUNCTIONAL ABILITIES AND UNLIKELY TO RETURN TO WORK. EXAMINER STATES HE RECIEVED RECORDS AND NOW SENDING TO MEDICAL UNIT. WHAT IS THAT, HOW LONG DOES THAT TAKE AND IS THAT A GOOD SIGN?

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    Replies
    1. First, I'm not a doctor. Second, you should have a lawyer to answer those questions. But from what I've read, you can turn down surgery as a last resort (because it can make your condition worse), so that shouldn't affect your claim. But I would call someone like Binder&Binder for representation. But be prepared to wait about 3 years from your initial claim to the final outcome if you go through a long appeal process. As a layman on the issues, it does appear your medical condition would qualify you for SSDI -- but then again, I'm not a doctor or lawyer. Good luck to you.

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    2. THERE ARE NO SURGERY OPTIONS FOR ME DUE TO SCAR TISSUE, ONLY PAIN MGT. DO YOU KNOW WHAT A MEDICAL UNIT THAT REVIEWS THE DISABILITY EXAMINER IS ABOUT? THERE IS NOT MUCH A LAWYER CAN DO TO HELP UNTIL THE HEARING STAGE, BUT I HAVE HEARD THAT SOME STILL CHARGE A "SATISFACTION FEE"

      Delete
  19. No; disability lawyers do not charges fees... see this link:

    http://www.disabilitysecrets.com/question16.html

    Social Security disability claims examiners...see this link:

    http://www.disabilitysecrets.com/page7-21.html

    Browse the website for more info...there is a wealth of information here.

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  20. AFTER THE DISABILITY EXAMINER RECIEVES ALL MY MEDICAL RECORDS, HOW LONG UNTIL A DECISION LETTER IS MAILED?

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  21. September 3, 2015 UPDATE:

    The Social Security Administration's (SSA’s) new Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) issue paper and state fact sheets show how this vital safety net is protecting workers and their families in every community across America. (FYI: The average person receiving SSDI payments today paid into the system for 22 years before becoming disabled.)

    Office of Retirement and Disability Policy, Social Security Administration:

    http://www.socialsecurity.gov/policy/docs/issuepapers/ip2015-01.html

    DI fact sheets for each state and Congressional district:

    http://www.socialsecurity.gov/policy/docs/factsheets/cong-stats-DI/2014/index.html

    -----------------------------

    Like most Republicans, Senator Marco Rubio of Florida reiterated his support for raising the retirement age if he were to become President (Millennials would have to work until the very day they drop dead on the job.)

    http://www.rgj.com/story/news/local/mason-valley/2015/09/01/rubio-earns-local-support/71553554/

    -----------------------------

    Study: Higher Social Security Benefits Increase Cognitive Function among Beneficiaries -- Researchers at the University of Iowa found that higher Social Security benefit payments were associated with significantly higher cognitive function among beneficiaries according to a paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research this summer. According to the study, a $1,000 permanent increase in annual benefits was associated with a 1.4% improvement in overall cognition, an improvement that is considered to be clinically meaningful. These results suggest that interventions at advanced ages can slow the rate of decline in cognitive function in older Americans. Alliance Executive Director Richard Fiesta: “These results make the case for expanding Social Security even stronger. It certainly appears that the dementia from which some seniors suffer can be partially addressed by diminishing poverty in this country.”

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  22. WHAT IS A DDS MEDICAL UNIT, AND IS THERE A TIME LIMIT FOR A CLAIM TO BE DONE WITH THIS PROCESS? THE EXAMINER STATES I SHOULD HEAR SOMETHING BY THE 22 IF NOT TO CONTACT HIM

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You'll have to ask your disability lawyer...I'm not a lawyer.

      Delete
  23. Hello Bud, my name is Gena and I received a package of papers from Springfield mo odar to review my case to determine if they can make a fully favorable decision on the record. What does this mean and what can I expect ? I talked with my attorneys office and I am still confused. As she only explained how to fill out the paperwork and when to do so.the letter was addressed to my attorneys in care of myself, I have been unemployed for a year, I was fired due to being put on a cane for the work injury I am now disabled from. I have no means of support, nor do I have any means of paying for meds or even seeing a doctor. Is this on the record review a good thing?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Gena,

      First, I’m not sure what “mo odar” is --- but you can open a account at Social Security here:

      http://www.ssa.gov/myaccount/

      Then file an online disability application here:

      https://secure.ssa.gov/iClaim/dib

      If your lawyer isn’t helpful, dump them. They just want the 25% commission (up to $6,000) of the back settlement due you. Most of these lawyers are lazy and expect YOU to do most of the work.

      NOTE: Ask them if they will represent you if you are first denied in your first of two WRITTEN appeals (if your are denied on your first claim) — or at a hearing before a judge on the next appeal — but just as important, at an appeal to the Social Security’s Appeal Council — or to federal court, (if it ever goers that far).

      If not, see if Binder&Binder will take your case, then dump your attorney!

      http://www.binderandbinder.com/

      ALSO: This is a great website for more info.... http://www.disabilitysecrets.com/

      *** Good luck...that’s all I can say. I’m not an attorney, but only know what I do from personal experience. For example: If you go first with Binder&Binder, they will represent you through to the Appeals Council --- an my last lawyer (who lost my first hearing) wouldn't.

      Delete
  24. New Budget Deal DOES cut Social Security

    The "file and Suspend" rule for Social Security ends in the new budget deal ... and that might be bad news for divorced women heading toward retirement.

    Slate: People weren’t just using the "file and suspend" strategy out of greed. They were using it to boost what are often less than adequate income replacement levels in retirement. It came about as part of legislation designed to encourage people in their 60s to remain part of the paid workforce by eliminating caps on what seniors could earn and still claim Social Security. The "file and suspend" strategy allows one member of a married couple to file for his or her Social Security benefits on reaching the full retirement age but then suspend them. This allowed the lower-earning partner—usually the wife—to take her spousal benefits when she turned 66, while the other member of the marital team—usually the husband—continued to work. When the file-and-suspend spouse turned 70, he would once again claim his benefits, this time for good. At that point, the other partner forgoes Social Security’s spousal benefit in favor of her now-larger personal monthly stipend.

    http://www.slate.com/articles/double_x/doublex/2015/10/budget_deal_closed_social_security_loophole_known_as_file_and_suspend.html

    TIME: The "file and suspend" strategy calls for the higher-earning spouse to file for Social Security benefits at his or her full retirement age, but then suspend that filing while the benefit grows, until as late as 70. The lower-earning spouse can then claim spousal benefits at his or her own full retirement age, and later shift to their own full benefit, if it is larger. (A spousal benefit is half of the primary earner’s benefit.) The Center for Retirement Research has estimated that file-and-suspend adds $9.5 billion in annual benefit costs to the program. The White House targeted it for elimination in the budget plan issued last year, calling it an “aggressive” move used by high-income households to “manipulate” benefits. The budget deal approved by the House this week would clamp down on the practice for anyone who turns age 62 after calendar year 2015.

    http://time.com/money/4092844/social-security-file-and-suspend-end/

    ANGRY BEAR: "File and suspend" allows someone to get Social Security benefits prior to retiring, while not having to accept the lower benefits one gets if one retires at 62 or 66. One can get the higher benefits later. This will now not be allowed, so one must accept the lower benefits if one starts getting benefits early. This has only been possible for married couples with this involving one getting spousal benefits and then their own through some semi-complicated maneuvers that have been allowed since 2001." [*The article says something about Paul Ryan too.]

    http://angrybearblog.com/2015/10/vsps-get-their-way-with-budget-deal-social-security-benefits-are-cut.html

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    ReplyDelete
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    1. Hard to say...when did you first file? Did you have to file a written appeal? Did you have to go to a hearing? Don't you have a lawyer or someone from Binder&Binder handling your case? You really should.

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  27. If you filed in Feb (8 months ago), that's pretty quick. I know people who waited over 3 years. Good luck (and yes, it's usually around the 3rd of the month).

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. I heard the SSA is under-staffed. I hope you get the desired results. Good luck.

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  28. The Washington Post (owned by Amazon's founder and CEO Jeff Bezos) reported that disabled workers were overpaid $11 billion during the past nine years to people who returned to work and made too much money. That's the "fraud" reported by the GOP and the Heritage Foundation.

    The WaPo article never bothered to tell readers that the overpayments only equaled 1.0 percent of total benefits paid during that time, and that most of the money was repaid (making it much less than 1 percent) — meaning, there's far less fraud in the disability program than there is in the defense industry or the private sector.

    Numbers have to be put into perspective. Just like when Fox News Bill O'Reilly says "disability claims doubled" — when actual "awards" had decreased. (And besides, EVERYTHING eventually doubles at some point in time. The Earth is 100% older than it was 2.3 billion years ago.)

    * See the WaPo link and my comments in the post below by Dean Baker from the Center for Economic Policy and Research Institute:

    http://www.cepr.net/blogs/beat-the-press/washington-post-reports-social-security-overpaid-disability-benefits-by-one-percent-over-last-nine-years

    ReplyDelete
  29. NPR: The outgoing Democratic governor of Kentucky doesn't agree with his Senator (Rand Paul). He used an executive order to expand Medicaid and create a state-run exchange under Obamacare. Half a million people, around a quarter of the state’s population, got coverage as a result. In Kentucky, 43 percent of the uninsured ere eligible for Medicaid. A Republican candidate in a special election for governor said, if elected, he would roll back Medicaid expansion.

    http://wfpl.org/kentucky-43-percent-uninsured-eligible-medicaid-report-says/

    Being such a poor State, it's no wonder Rand Paul hates "welfare" so much while he's pulling down $174,000 as a U.S. Senator. Maybe congressional salaries should also be means-tested for cost-of-living expenses in States such as his. The per capita income for Rand Paul's hometown is $19,302 a year – where about 19.4% of families and 27.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 30.9% of those under age 18.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bowling_Green,_Kentucky#Demographics

    ReplyDelete
  30. Republican Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton (born May 13, 1977) has been serving in the Senate since January 3, 2015. He recently spoke at the conservative think tank Heritage Foundation about Social Security disability. In his 8 minute speech he tells us about proposed legislation he introduced because the country is on it’s way a "Disability Tipping Point".

    He says: "Population continues to fall, and a downward spiral kicks in, driving once thriving communities into further decline. Not only that, but once this kind of spiral begins, communities could begin to suffer other social of plagues as well, such as heroin or meth addiction and associated crime."

    Cotton revealed that he planned to introduce legislation that would single out non-permanent disability recipients and set a timeline for them to return to work. Disabled people who are not ready to return to work would be forced to reapply for disability benefits.

    * NOTE: The disabled — especially if they’re older and currently unemployed — are discriminated against. Very few job creators hire a long-term unemployed disabled person – and doubly especially if they didn’t go to college.

    Article:
    http://www.rawstory.com/2015/11/sen-tom-cotton-social-security-benefits-cause-people-to-spiral-downward-into-heroin-addiction/

    His speech at YouTube:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wmutNk-SceI

    ReplyDelete
  31. Comment by Watchdog,
    The SSA is determined to obfuscate the data on its Judges. It seems impossible to find out how many cases were remanded or overturned to a particular Administrative Law Judge. Or how many cases are sent back to that Judge by the Appeals council. Or what is the percentage of cases approved by the ALJ after it is remanded to them by the Appeals Council or the Federal Court. Or how many cases are approved by a different ALJ after the case is switched to them because the first ALJ keeps denying it.

    These type of stats would enable more class action suits to be launched against Judges who refuse to grant disability.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Have been denied at hearing level of ssdi. can I file a brand new disability application while simultaneously filing a request for an appeals council review of the judge's decision

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Call Binder and Binder for a free consultation. They could represent you in your appeal to counsel and/or advise you as to the next step you can take.

      Delete
  33. Bud is Binder&Binder really that good. I've noticed the heavy recomendations. Thanks you are an amazing resource!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Allen. To me, it just appears that Binder&Binder has been at this a lot longer than other legal firms and specializes in this type of law, and has more resources to draw from. From what I've witnessed, it seems that other law firms have taken note of the success of Binder&Binder and are just jumping on the disability band wagon. I went with a local law firm who, after losing my case, wouldn't even take it to the Appeals Counsel. The lawyer at my hearing let the judge walk all over him. Binder&Binder, who didn't represent me in my initial claim, took my case and provided me with a much better lawyer, who was a lot more combative and persuasive. I suppose it might be like looking for a good auto mechanic -- it's hit or miss. But my own personal experience with Binder&Binder was much better than what I received from a local law firm. Good luck with your case, and be patient. It can take a heart-breaking 3 years to resolve, while sitting on pins and needle worrying every day.

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  34. Do you know the remand rate as of June 2016? Is it different than the 22.5%? Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sorry, I haven't been keeping up lately. I've been more focused on Bernie Sanders campaign. He wants to raise the $118,500 cap to $250,000 to shore up the trust fund and expand benefits. But without him as President, and with the current Congress, that won't happen. Hillary Clinton, just as in 2008 when she ran against Obama, is against raising the cap. She thinks $250,000 a year is "middle-class", when $250,000 a year is in the top 1% of wage earners.
      https://www.ssa.gov/cgi-bin/netcomp.cgi?year=2013

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  35. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    Replies
    1. Dealing with a SSDI case is always a nightmare, I know Theresa. But I only occasionally blog on the subject, I'm not qualified to give any kind of advice. I've heard a lot of good things about Binder&Binder. I would write a short and concise letter to the Binder brothers and follow it up with a phone call to them. I wish I could be of more help.

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  36. I filed for SSDI on 3-15-13. I just went to ALJ. hearing 7-29-16, Judge is sending me to a psychiatrist. I'm been hiv+ for over 9 years, have back problems, bipolar, anxiety and depression. I'm 44 yrs old. My car is repossed and I'm behind on my mortgage. What do you think my odds for approval are?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The judge is sending you to a psychiatrist? If it's one appointed by the SAA, maybe you should get a 2nd opinion from your own doctor. I have no way of knowing what your chances are. Sorry.

      Delete
  37. Hello Bud,
    I'm at the appeal council level now ( Aug 2016 ) since June 2014 that I stated the application process I wasn't able to see my benefit estimate on line due to me applying. NOW it shows my estimate benefits if I was to retire at age 67 ( BTW I'M 50 ) am I to assume that I was denial by the Appeal Council. I saw the change the week of Thanksgiving but haven't receive any letter. So confused. Thanks for any input you can give.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. During the appeal process your benefit amounts aren't available, but now that it is for you, I can only assume a decision was made --- but I can't say if it was in your favor or not. It can take 3 to 6 months for a letter, so just be patient a little while longer and hope for the best. I know people who got a direct deposit (back payments after being approved) a month before they even got their letter! So hang tight and hope for the best. Good luck!

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  38. Thank you Bud,
    I'm hoping for the best but seeing that my benefit estimates are now available just leads me to believe that I have been denied. I'm already in the process of selling my home can't wait any longer if I don't sell I will lose everything I worked so hard for. :(

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. THINK POSITIVE!!! If you appealed to the Appeals Counsel, they don't always over-ride a judge's decision, but remands your case back to the judge, where you have another hearing, and then she/he approves or denies it. Do you have a lawyer or someone from Binder&Binder? I read (at the link below) that once you are approved, your benefit amount will be updated to your monthly benefit.

      http://ssdfacts.com/forum/index.php?action=printpage;topic=14454.0

      Also, do a search of this site: LOTS OF INFO! http://www.disabilitysecrets.com/

      Delete
    2. Thank you so much for the info. I will think Positive. Have a wonderful HOLIDAY.

      Delete
  39. Hello again
    Forgot to mention that Yes I do have a lawyer. As of today I haven't received a call or letter so I'm thinking POSITIVE.
    Thanks again.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You could get a direct deposit even before you or your lawyer get the official letter saying you're approved. Watch your bank balance. Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays and Happy New Year to you!

      Delete
  40. Hello again Bud,
    Well I finally see my decision on line but i'm a bit confuse on this.
    (A Decision Has Been Made On Your Hearing Request

    Your claim for Disability benefits has been denied. A notice has been sent to you with a detailed explanation of the decision.

    If you disagree with the decision, you may request an appeal within 60 days of the date on the "Notice of Decision" you receive. A written request of appeal is required. )
    Can I appeal an appeal the level on this was Hearing. so i'm a bit confuse. I already call lawyer and faxed over a copy of this. Still NO LETTER. :(.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We're you denied a decision by a judge at a hearing, or by the Appeals Council? If denied by the Appeals Council, you have to appeal to federal court. If you were denied by the hearing judge, you have to file an appeal with the Appeals Counsel. If your lawyer won't appeal to the Appeals Council, call and write Binder& Bender. Hope that helps. Most claims are denied the first and second time...they want you to give up I guess.

      Delete
  41. I had a hearing with a Judge on Feb 7th 2016 I received the letter in July (Denied) So My lawyer send for an Appeal on Aug 1st. Now I see this on my Social Security Acct. The reason I'm confused is because It states that the Level is Hearing, and I didn't have any Hearing with appeal council and its also stating that I have 60 days to appeal decision. which was done on Aug 1. I already send the info to my LAWYER as of today no letter or call.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I would call Social Security (and Binder&Binder). I found many lawyers have NO CLUE how to properly handle disability cases. If you were denied after the first hearing, you should be able to appeal to the Appeals Council. If they haven't already, your lawyer is not doing their job. Keep gathering medical records and if you have a friend or family member than can go, have them sit with you at the next hearing as a witness (judges will give your case more consideration if your witlessness are credible). Good luck to you.

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  42. My Lawyer did appeal Aug 1st I know because I get a copy of ever document my lawyer sends to S.S. Still no letter in the mail.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm guessing that if your lawyer appealed your case to the Appeals Council 4 months ago, it could be another month or two before you hear anything. You can also call the SSA directly yourself, and they might have more info for you...and tell you if your case was remanded back to the judge that first denied your case.

      Delete
  43. Hi Bud
    Hope all is well, My lawyer is calling the appeal council and will let me know what is going on. Also the Lawyer informed me that he doesn't think that the denial on line has to do with the appeal he feels that it is just the hearing that I had already attended. I have continue to send them medical records as I get them. I go to appointments like 3 times a week, oncology, Rheumatology, Physical therapy, Asthma, Therapist and so on. I will keep you posted. I'm so tired...:(

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Patience and faith: From the time you first file your initial claim, to the first written denial and 1st appeal, to the denial after your 1st hearing, to the 2nd appeal to the Appeals Counsel, to a remand for a 2nd hearing (and subsequent approval) to your approval letter (and/or) your first direct deposit upon approval, it can take a little over 3 years. Bill O'Reilly (on Fox News) thinks it's easy, and that anybody can file a bogus claim and get approved and live on the "government dole". It ain't easy at all -- and most people are not approved. Good luck!

      Delete
  44. Hi Bud,
    I have to say that MANY get SSI and never worked in their life AND don't really have anything wrong with them. I worked for 27 years and had to leave job due to BREAST CANCER. I haven't been the same since Many medical issues. Also those with Medicaid get more services then those that have regular insurance. MY dad is a RETIRED CITY worker and has medicare he now has the beginning stages of Dementia. But he doesn't qualified for anything. so damn sad.

    ReplyDelete
  45. SSI is supposed to have the same strict criteria for qualifying as does regular SS disability, so I'm not sure about them not really have anything wrong with them. There has been a few anecdotal incidents of fraud.

    From a post I did earlier (may be slightly dated):

    "The first attack on Social Security this year was with the false accusation that there was rampant fraud in the disability program, when two different reports show only 0.4% fraud in the program — far less than any other government program — and probably far less than employee theft in the private sector — and much less that's found in the defense industry."

    http://www.economicpopulist.org/content/accounting-gimmicks-social-security-5696

    From another earlier article I wrote (may be slightly dated):

    "SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance) is an earned benefit that is funded by Social Security taxes paid for by workers with FICA taxes. Benefits are paid to people with physical and mental impairments that are severe enough to prevent them from working. These benefits are based on a person's work record, the same as regular retirement benefits. People in this program, because they were already part of the work force, tend to affect the labor-participation rate, more so than someone in the SSI program.

    SSI (Supplemental Security Income) pays an unearned benefit to low-income people who are 65 or older and/or to adults who are disabled (based on the same definition used by SSDI). This program is only for people who have very limited income and assets. SSI is financed by general revenues that the Treasury Department collects to run the U.S. government. SSI benefits have never been tied to a person's work record. SSI pays an eligible individual an average of $527.22 a month. (The maximum amount is $710)"

    http://www.economicpopulist.org/content/last-word-social-security-disability


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    1. Bud, Quit building up Binder and Binder. They are nothing but trouble. They don't contact when you leave a message. They do not let you know how the case is going. Medical places hate them. Even Judges cringe when they know it is Binder and Binder. From learning first hand on binder and binder no Integrity. If you are with binder and binder leave now as it is a curse on any resume We waited 5 years for any results and nothing. Binder and Binder are awful!!!!

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    2. I've heard mixed reviews about Binder-and-Binder. From personal experience, I lost my original case with my first lawyer, but Binder-and-Binder took my case to the Appeals Counsel and won me a remand from a 2nd hearing before the judge, who then ruled in my favor. It took me 3 years from the day I first filed a claim to my first check. They win a lot of cases. Unlike others who practice several areas of laws, Binder-and-Binder specializes ONLY in disability cases. I'm in Las Vegas and they had a lawyer from California fly out to represent me. So in my case, Binder-and-Binder got the job done. As for the long wait time, Social Security is understaffed with a lot of back logs, and it took over a year before they scheduled my first hearing.

      Good luck to everyone who needs to file a claim. Bill O'Reilly on Fox News says people are quitting their jobs by the millions to file a "bogus" claim to sit on their asses to collect a check. Me, I'd rather be working and earning twice the income rather than living in poverty.
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