24 month waiting period for Medicare

Won the case, but waiting on Medicare

If you win your claim for Social Security disability insurance (SSDI), you are also eligible to receive Medicare benefits. But, you don’t get Medicaid right away, with some exceptions, you have to be “in pay status” for 24 months before you become eligible for Medicaid.

That means you have to be receiving 24 months of Social Security disability insurance to get Medicare.

Another two years? I just waited two years to get my case approved.

Fortunately, Social Security considers your back benefits when they count the 24 months. So, if Social Security 24 months of back Social Security disability insurance, you are already “in pay status” for 24 months, and you can get Medicare now.

Aren’t there any exceptions to the 24 month Medicare waiting period?

Only two. If you have one of the following conditions, the waiting period does not apply and you can get Medicare immediately:

  1. End stage renal disease.
  2. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, or Lour Gehrig’s disease).

Service dog programs for autistic children

We have written about service dogs for children with autism and mentioned two groups which provide training: 4PawsforAbility and Guiding Eyes.  The response has been amazing! A lot of people want to learn more about these programs.

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsfree video player

Many people have asked who is eligible for a service dog? Continue reading Service dog programs for autistic children

What is an Unsuccessful Work Attempt?

Sad man siting on a bench

I previously wrote about the various exceptions which may allow you to keep your Social Security disability benefits even if you return to work. The most common of these is an Unsuccessful Work Attempt (UWA).

If you work for 6 months or less at a substantial gainful activity (SGA) level, your work may qualify as an Unsuccessful Work Attempt and not affect your application for benefits (or your current Social Security disability benefits if you have already won your case).

Another benefit of the Unsuccessful Work Attempt exception is that it applies for both Social Security Disability Insurance (20 CFR 404.1574) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) (20 CFR 416.974) cases. This is a major difference between Unsuccessful Work Attempts and Trial Work Periods. Continue reading What is an Unsuccessful Work Attempt?

VA begins testing on Dean Kamen’s prosthetic Luke arm

Newspaper headline Extra Extra

Alright! Dean Kamen’s prosthetic “Luke” arm is one step closer to helping amputess, especially injured veterans:

Last week, VA announced the start of a three-year clinical trial that represents the first large-scale testing of the arm, a critical step before it can be made widely available. The first patient was fitted with an arm in April.

The device was developed by Deka Research and Development, the New Hampshire company whose founder, Dean Kamen, invented the Segway and various medical devices. 

The robotic arm, nicknamed the “Luke arm” after the artificial arm worn by Luke Skywalker in the “Star Wars” films, allows those who have lost a limb up to their shoulder joint to perform movements while reaching over their head, a previously impossible maneuver for people with a prosthetic arm.

via VA Tests New Arm That Could Benefit Amputees – washingtonpost.com.  

Check out the video demonstrating the arm in my earlier post.

Tips for seizure and epilepsy Social Security disability cases



Attorney Anthony Reeves writes about what to do and not to do when applying for Social Security disability benefits for a seizure disorder (whether due to epilepsy or pseudo-seizures).

Most people think that epilepsy is so traumatic that an individual should be approved fairly easily.  Due to its unpredictability, the symptoms can affect you in a variety of different ways.   Despite the severity of this condition, it is difficult to demonstrate that the condition can prevent from performing work on a full time basis.

Anthony provides a list of 5 things you should do to improve your chances of winning:

  1. Track how often you have seizures.
  2. Take your medications. 
  3. Track your after-effects.
  4. Track your restrictions.
  5. Don’t minimize or exaggerate your symptoms.

These are great tips and I encourage everyone to read Anthony’s article on this topic.

via The LegalBEAT Part 2 – Social Security Tips for disability cases, Part II: Epilepsy.

How do I prove my disability case when I look fine?

can you win your disability case if you look ok?

This is one of the most difficult issues in a Social Security disability case.  You might look “normal,” but you know that there is no way that you can work. 

If you tell someone that you are applying for Social Security, they may raise their eyebrows in surprise, or even tell you, “you don’t look disabled.”

When you applied for Social Security, the technician may even have given you a hard time because you seemed fine.   Continue reading How do I prove my disability case when I look fine?

Second National Hearing Center opens with more on the way


newspaperSocial Security has opened a National Hearing Center (NHC) in Albuquerque New Mexico. This is Social Security’s second NHC — a hearing office which only handles video hearings. 

Albuquerque initially will hear disability cases for Kansas City and Portland, Oregon — two of the most backlogged offices in the US. Social Security’s first NHC, located in Falls Church, Virginia, opened in December 2007 and has contributed to improve processing times in Atlanta, Georgia, Cleveland, Ohio and Flint, Michigan.

Read Social Security’s press release here.

The April 2009 NOSSCR Social Security Forum  notes that two additional NHC offices are planned for Chicago, Illinois in 2009 and in the Baltimore Maryland, in early 2010.

You have to be disabled for 12 months – the Durational Requirement

1 year calendar

Have you ever seen this in a Social Security denial?

While your condition may prevent you from working at the present, we do not feel that your condition will remain disabling for 12 months.

[Claim denied]

First, Social Security says that you are disabled. Then, they deny the claim. What is going on? Continue reading You have to be disabled for 12 months – the Durational Requirement

Maximum attorney fees in Social Security disability cases

maximum attorney feesWhat is the most a lawyer can charge in a Social Security case?

We have talked about the typical fee agreement when you are applying for Social Security disability benefits before. But I am often asked what is maximum someone can charge?

Social Security regulations set a cap for attorneys fees.  Originally, the fee cap was $4,000, then $5,300, and as of June 2009, the cap is $6,000.

Unless the representative is charging fees under a fee petition, the most the lawyer can charge is 6,000. Or, if you are reading this before June 2009, $5,300. 

For more information, check out all the articles dealing with attorney’s / lawyer’s fees.

What is a fee petition?

What is a fee petition in a Social Security disability benefits case?

A “fee petition” is a way your lawyer asks Social Security for fees for his services.

I though attorneys were paid a percentage of what I get?

Percentage-based contingency fee agreements are the most common way attorneys get paid in Slocial Security cases. However there are two ways an attorney might get paid.

Fee agreements based on a percentage of back benefits:

If you win, the attorney gets 25% of your back benefits up to a $6,000 cap (this is an increase from the $5,300 cap in effect before June 2009). The 25% or $6,000  is a standard fee agreement that Social Security will almost always approve if the case is won and results in back benefits.

Fee agreements based on a fee petition:

This is the wild west of fee agreements. Your attorney has to itemize his time and ask Social Security to be paid a certain amount. Social Security will approve whatever it sees fit, which may be more or less than $6,000.

When are fee petitions used?

Typically, fee petitions are required when the attorney works on an overpayment case. However, they are also necessary you hired two attorneys and the first attorney has not withdrawn or has not waived fees. This often comes up when a person has moved and had to hire a new attorney.

Fee petitions are also used if a person disagrees with Social Security approving the standard 25% fee agreement.  If that happens, the attorney must petition Social Security to have his or her fees approved.

Read more about attorney’s fees and fee petitions.