Archive for the ‘Ohio Social Security Attorney’ Category
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Severe Impairment in Social Security Disability Cases – Parker-Grose v. Astrue
One of a handful of factors that the SSA and reviewing judges consider in determining whether a claimant is eligible for Social Security disability benefits is whether the claimant’s impairment(s) is sufficiently severe. In Parker-Grose v. Astrue, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals explains some of the evidence that can be used to meet this requirement.
Plaintiff Mary Jane Parker-Grose filed a claim for Social Security disability benefits, asserting that she’s unable to work due to depression. The Social Security Administration (SSA) initially denied the claim and, following an administrative hearing, an SSA Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) found that Plaintiff was not disabled for purposes of obtaining disability benefits. Specifically, the judge determined that Plaintiff’s depression is not sufficiently severe.
In order to find a claimant eligible for Social Security benefits, the SSA or a reviewing judge must find that the claimant suffers from one or more severe impairments. An impairment is severe if it “significantly limits the claimant’s ability to do basic work activities.” The SSA advises claimants “[i]f you do not have any impairment or combination of impairments which significantly limits your physical or mental ability to do basic work activities, we will find that you do not have a severe impairment and are, therefore, not disabled.” An ALJ considering the severity of a claimant’s impairment must make this decision based on substantial evidence.
In this case, the Second Circuit – which sits in New York City and whose jurisdiction covers New York state, Connecticut and Vermont – reversed the ALJ’s decision and remanded the case for further proceedings, ruling that the ALJ’s finding that Plaintiff’s depression is “nonsevere” was not supported by substantial evidence. In so doing, the court noted that the severity requirement is a “de minimis” one aimed at weeding out claims in which a claimant suffers from only minimal impairment.
According to the court, two treating psychologists – Dr. Joseph M. Patalano and Dr. Richard Root II – examined Plaintiff and determined that she suffers from depression. Furthermore, Dr. Root estimated Plaintiff’s “Global Assessment of Functioning” (GAF) score – an assessment of a patient’s overall level of functioning – to be in the range of persons experiencing “moderate symptoms” including “moderate difficulty in school, work, [and] social functioning.” These opinions, the court ruled, proved that Plaintiff’s depression was sufficiently severe.
Ohio Social Security Disability Claims Face High Denial Rate
Applying for and winning a Social Security Disability claim can be a long, and arduous process. Unfortunately, in Ohio over 70% of applicants are denied at the initial stage.
Many clients feel that they have done something wrong, but this is usually not the case. The best way to describe the situation, is that the claims reviewers are generally
Overwhelmed and Understaffed
The claims reviewers have so many claims, and So much information to review, that they may not be able to really understand the situation that the applicant is faced with.
The good news is that eventually over 70 % of claims do get approved at the hearing level.
If you have been denied, or just need to speak with an attorney, please contact us for a no fee consultation. We never charge a fee unless we can get your claim approved.
Toll free: (800)930-9882
I’ve Been Denied – Do I Need a Social Security Disability Attorney
Many people in this country can not earn a living due to physical disabilities not under their control. Over 75 years ago the Social Security system was created to help these people. Unfortunately, over time, the system has in many ways broken down, and people truly in need are being denied at an alarming rate. Statistics show that over 75% of applicants are initially turned down. If you are one of these people, you need to know what to do next. If you only take away one piece of advice form the article, please remember never give up!
Reconsideration – Step 1
When an individual applies for Social Security Disability, they will usually receive a decision on their application in 90 – 180 days. Unfortunately, an extremely high percentage of applicants are turned down due to no fault of their own. If your initial application is denied, you will receive a written notice of denial explaining the reasons for the denial, and advising your of your right to file for reconsideration. Since you only have 60 days to file for your reconsideration it is very important that you file the paperwork in a timely manner. Do not delay. If you do not file for a reconsideration within the 60 day limit you have lost this right to appeal. You will have to go back to step one and file a new application.
Once you have received your notice of denial you have three options:
- Retaining a Social Security Attorney to handle your appeal
- Appeal on your own
- Give up
Retaining a Qualified Attorney
If you have been denied, consulting a qualified attorney is probably the best step to take. Most attorneys will not charge you for an initial consultation. They will meet with you to learn the specifics of your situation, and explain your options. If you decided to retain him or her, they can handle the whole appeal process. This includes working with your doctors, the SSA, process all paperwork, and represent you at any hearings. An experienced lawyer will know what information to provide to the Administration in order to get your claim allowed. He or she will then work with your medical providers to get that information into the hands of the people who are deciding your claim. Additionally, most attorneys do not receive a fee until your claim is allowed. When they are paid, their fees are capped by law at 25% of your back award or $6,000 whichever is less. These fees come directly from the SSA out of your back award. As you can see, there is very little downside to consulting and retaining an attorney to handle your appeal.
Appealing on Your Own
The appeals process is complicated, and filled with land mines. Do you really feel that you can deal with all of the forms, medical information, and still take care of yourself? The only advantage to handling a claim yourself is to save yourself a few dollars, and that is only if your claim is allowed.
Never, ever give up. As long as you have a right to appeal, you have a chance to win your claim. There is absolutely no benefit to giving up.
The Social Security Disability Application – Where Do I Start?
Due to the delay Ohio applicants are currently faced with regarding their claims, it makes sense to file an application as soon as possible. We have found that filing your claim online at: www.SSA.gov/applyfordisability, has proven to be the fastest method, although applying in person if you can get an appointment quickly is also effective. Although attorneys can not make an initial application for our clients, we can handle every step of the appeal process if you are denied.
Which Program Do I Apply to? – SSD or SSI
When applying, you will first need to determine if you are eligible for Social Security Disability, SSD, or Supplemental Security Income, SSI. To be eligible for SSD, you need to have paid enough taxes into the system. The chart on this page: http://www.ssa.gov/pubs/10029.html#part2 will give you a guide. If you do not meet these eligibility requirements, then you will need to apply for SSI.
Provide as much information as possible. You should list all of your disabilities, medical treatment history, including expected future treatment, as well all medications which you take. Additionally, you should explain how your disabilities and medication impact your work and every day life activities.
Do I Need An Ohio Social Security Attorney?
Although you do not need an attorney to file an application, of for any part of the appeal process, it would definitely be to your benefit to seek the advice of one at any time during the process. Most attorney’s will not charge for your initial consultation, and will only collect a fee if your claim is allowed. Additionally, their fess are capped at 25% of your back award, with a maximum fee of $6,000. One other thing to note, is that the applicant does not actually pay these fees. The attorney is paid directly by the Social Security Administration out of the applicants back award. For example, if your total back award was $20,000. You would receive $15,000 and the attorney would be paid $5,000.
Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security Income – The Difference Between SSD and SSI
The Social Security system has been called the safety net for disabled and elderly Americans. The system was created to protect people can no longer work, whether due to age, or disability. There are primarily two programs which protect people who have not reached retirement age, but who are unable to work due to their physical disabilities. These two programs are know as: Social Security Disability insurance, and Supplemental Security income programs.
Social Security Disability
The Social Security Disability program, or SSD is an insurance program which will provide benefits to qualified individuals in the event that they can not work due to physical disabilities. Almost everyone who is employed in the US, has paid “insurance premiums” into this program, through by way of taxes collected from their income over their working life. In order to qualify for this program, an individual needs to have paid a certain number of “quarters” into the system over their working career. If have paid forty quarters into the system, and have worked at least 5 of the last 10 years you will most likely be eligible to at least apply for these benefits. If you have not paid enough quarters into the system, you will probably need to apply for the second program available to disabled workers: Supplemental Security Income.
Supplemental Security Income
The Supplemental Security Income program, OR SSI, also administered by the Social Security Administration, provides benefits for individuals who are not able to work due to physical disabilities, but have not paid into the Social Security system for a variety of reasons. For example, a stay at home Mom, although she has worked very hard, probably has not received a paycheck and therefore not paid into the system. If she becomes unable to work for physical reasons, she may be entitled to Supplemental Security Income benefits.
SSI benefits, sometimes referred to as Federal “welfare”, are based upon the needs of the disabled individual and his or her family. Therefore in order to qualify, the applicant and their family’s total income must fall below a certain level. This is adjusted each year by the Social Security Administration.