I previously wrote about how to read Social Security’s (previously non-encrypted) cd disks and several articles on how to find information with the Social Security files.
Since Social Security has started provided encrypted Social Security exhibit CDs, many people contacting my office have not been able to access their files. The Social Security encrypted disks are keeping claimants from accessing their data.
First, you have to be running Microsoft Windows. Fortunately, some early concerns about having the encryption system only working in Windows Vista seem to be unfounded. I have been able to access the encryption system in Windows 7. However, if you are using a Mac (like I am) or Linux, you are out of luck unless you virtualize a Windows system.
Let’s go through how to get at those file! Continue reading How to view Social Security’s new encrypted CD disks
If you are looking at your Social Security exhibit file and you notice that all the exhibits are numbered with a letter in front, such as “B1A, B2A, B1B, B2B,” etc, this means that you are looking at the “B” file — a file for the second application for Social Security disability benefits.
In other words, the first time you file for benefits, Social Security creates an “A” file. Since this may be the only file you ever have, it is not referred to as the “A” file. However, if you file a second application, the second file becomes the “B” file. The third application becomes part of the “C” file, and so on.
These letters are just a way to distinguish the file and quickly tell whether a file is an earlier file or a later file.
Note: this system does not always work. I have had clients with 5 or more applications and their file had either no letter or it may have only been the “B” file. So, the absence of a letter does not mean there isn’t a prior file, but if there is a letter, then there definitely is a prior file.
So, do you want it and how do you get it?
Continue reading Finding your prior Social Security files
Now that I know the critical dates and the medical history I review the work history.
Social Security reviews cases using the 5 step sequential evaluation process. At step 4, if you are still able to do any of the jobs you performed in the last 15 years before you became disabled, you can be denied benefits. There are a couple more wrinkles to this, such as the job has to be a substantial gainful activity, but the general idea is that if you can still do a job your over the last 15 years, you can be denied.
That’s why your work history is so vitally important in a disability case. Here is how you get started. Continue reading Your Social Security exhibit file – Part 3 work history
What’s the next thing to review in the Social Security exhibit file after the medical records? Check these critical dates: Alleged Onset Date (AOD) & Date Last Insured (DLI)!
The E section usually contains for two documents that provide this information: Continue reading Reviewing your Social Security file – Part 2 Critical Dates
Let’s say you are reviewing your Social Security exhibit file before your disability hearing and you discover that some of your doctor’s (or other records) are not there. I have mentioned before that it is not unusual for the medical records in a Social Security file to be a year or more out of date.
What can you do if the records are not complete? Continue reading My Social Security file is missing records
How do you begin to review your Social Security exhibit file? Here is a quick guide to finding the really important parts.
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If you do not review anything else in the file, you need to know what medical records are there (and what records are missing).
Here is what I look for: Continue reading Reviewing your Social Security exhibit file – Part 1: Medical Records
Just before your Social Security hearing, you will be given a cd and pointed at a computer. If you ask, someone may help you load up the disk and get you to a screen that looks like this:
Ok, now what?
What is all this stuff and what do I do with it?
Continue reading What is in a Social Security file?
Want to know the #1 reason people don’t win their Social Security hearings? It’s so SIMPLE and EASILY FIXED but I see it every day!
You already know that the wait time to get a Social Security disability hearing can easily be more than a year. And, this is on top of the original four to six months you waited to get the initial Social Security disability decision. So, people wait and wait, and get more and frustrated. And then, FINALLY, the hearing date comes!
They’re nervous, and hopeful, and scared and READY to be approved. And they go in front of the judge never having gotten a representative that could fill them in on this tiny piece of information that can make the difference between winning and losing.
And they get denied.
Do you want to know why? Do you want to know the piddly little that gets in the way of the vast number of disability cases being approved?
Continue reading Why most people LOSE their Social Security disability case
My last article talked about why it is so important to review your Social Security exhibit file.
But how do I get a copy of my Social Security file?
If you already have a hearing scheduled, Social Security will tell you in the Notice of Hearing that you should arrive thirty minutes before your hearing and you will then have a chance to review your file. Continue reading Review your Social Security disability file before your hearing
Wouldn’t you like to know what Social Security really thinks about your claim? The best way to find out is to review your Social Security exhibit file.
Everything Social Security has on your claim for disability benefits is contained in the “exhibit file.” This includes the following: Continue reading What are my chances of winning Social Security disability