Social Security takes a long time to process disability benefit cases. Here is how to check the status of your claim.
Initial applications for disability benefits:
Social Security has a webpage at http://ssa.gov/claimstatus/ which lets you check your status. Unfortunately, you will probably receive this message:
The following statements are informational only. They are current as of today. You will receive the official notice of any decision made on your claim by U.S. mail. As of today’s date, a decision has not been made on your application. If you need more information, you may call us toll-free at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778). SSA representatives are available Monday through Friday between 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Other than confirming that there is a claim pending, this doesn’t tell you very much. Fortunately, you can get more information by calling Social Security directly. Continue reading How to check the status of your Social Security disability case
If you are 50 years old or older, Social Security makes it easier to prove your disability case. Individuals between 18 and 49 meet a tougher standard discussed in this article.
Starting at age 50, and then again at age 55 and 60, Social Security lowers the requirements for proving disability. The rationale is that the older you are, the harder it is to work in a job that you have never done before.
- After age 50, Social Security can approve you for disability benefits even though you are able to do some type of work.
- The older you are, the more physically demanding the work can be and still allow you qualify for disability benefits.
However, this is not a free pass! Do not leave this article before you read the “gotchas” at the bottom. Continue reading Secrets to winning Social Security disability at age 50 (or above)
Do you think Social Security is working too fast processing Social Security disability claims. Someone apparently thinks so. Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Damian Paletta reports:
Social Security judges and employees in Florida, Alabama, Colorado, Georgia, Tennessee, Ohio and Arizona were among those instructed to set aside disability cases this week, with the slowdown allowing managers to boost their performance numbers for the coming fiscal year, which starts Monday.
Top officials, in a bid to meet goals to win promotions or thousands of dollars in bonuses, directed many employees to refrain from issuing decisions on cases until next week, according to judges and union officials.
How did Social Security judges respond? Continue reading Social Security told to slow down decisions?
The touchstone in disability cases is the ability to work. More specifically, the test is whether an individual can perform a Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA). One of the first tests of whether work is SGA is earnings. In 2015, earnings of $1,090 per month (before taxes) suggests the work is SGA.
However there are exceptions to this. One of these is for sheltered work as defined in 20 CRF404.1574(a)(3). Here is what you need to know: Continue reading Disabled soldiers: WTU earnings and Social Security disability (what you MUST know)
I was recently asked the following question:
I need my job to survive. I can’t quit. I have some vacation days and sick time, but it is not enough to go without pay until they tell me I qualified.
How do I still work and file for SS Disability without loosing any income?
I have previously discussed working while applying for disability benefits. However, this question presents some new issues.
Here is why: Continue reading Can I get Social Security disability without losing income?
A number of attorneys suggest that if you are denied at your Social Security disability hearing, you should do two things:
- Appeal the Administrative Law Judge’s (ALJ’s) decision to the Social Security Appeals Council, and
- File a new claim for Social Security disability benefits.
The idea was that the new claim would be evaluated by Social Security until it got to the hearing level, the the old claim was pending on appeal. There were pros and cons to this approach.
- Since cases often take in excess of 18 months at the Appeals Council, some advised to start the ball rolling on a new claim (which might get approved sooner).
- The problem was that a denial on the new claim might reinforced the correctness of the prior hearing denial which is being appealed.
- Also, if the new claim got to the hearing level, it was put on hold until the Appeals Council decided on the appeal of the prior hearing decision.
- If the Appeals Council denied the appeal, it might have a chilling effect on the new claim’s chances waiting to be heard at the hearing office.
Well, all this is a thing of the past.
With SSR 11-01p, Social Security now effectively makes you pick whether to appeal OR start a new claim. Continue reading SSR 11-1p: can’t appeal and reapply for Social Security disability
New numbers have been released by Social Security providing the how may cases Social Security judges (Administrative Law Judges -ALJs) approve and deny by hearing office (Office of Disability Adjudication and Review – ODAR). The rates cover:
- Total number of decision.
- Full approvals.
- Partially favorable approvals.
Continue reading Social Security Hearing Judge Approval Rates
September 10, 2011 saw the second SSR issued for 2011 (effective September 12, 2011). You can also view and download the entire ruling as a PDF here.
SSR 11-2p deals with Documenting and Evaluating Disability in Young Adults. Much of the ruling is a summary of how Social Security should evaluate cases for claimants with ages between 18 and 25. However, there are several interesting items:
First, the ruling makes it clear that evidence generated during childhood (before the 18th birthday) can be relevant in an adult claim. Continue reading Social Security Ruling: Documenting and Evaluating Disability in Young Adults
I was recently asked the following question:
The judge at my husband’s hearing said she was going to approve him. She said she would get his letter to him in the next 2 or 3 weeks, but NO letter yet.
Since she approved him during his hearing when will his benefits start?
Continue reading Social Security Judge Told Me She Approved My Disability Case
I was recently asked what it meant that the Administrative Law Judge did not have a Vocational Expert (VE) testify at an individual’s Social Security hearing.
What happens when the administrative law judge does not call the vocational expert to the hearing. Why would the judge do that?
Well, I can’t tell you “why” the judge didn’t have VE. Some judges use VEs all the time, others do not. A VE provides evidence (testimony) about steps 4 & 5 of the sequential evaluation process. Continue reading Is a Social Security disability hearing without a Vocational Expert a bad sign?