Social Security Disability Attorney In Los Angeles

This is NOT legal advice. This blog provides general information about Social Security Disability cases. To discuss your particular

circumstances and claim, please contact a lawyer in your area. Please feel free to contact Disability Advocates Group at (800) 935-3170

or online if you have any questions regarding your Social Security Disability claim.

DAG Blog

Stay up to date on the latest news in social security disability law.

Disability Benefits for children with cancer

Disability Benefits for children with cancer Disability Benefits for children with cancer

The Social Security Administration does not provide disability benefits for all types of cancer, however, if your child's disability is listed in the Social Security's Blue Book of Impairments or qualifies the SSI Disability you may be provided benefits to cover the costs of most of the disease expenses.

Hearing the news that your child has been diagnosed with cancer can be devastating enough. Unfortunately, in order for your child to be qualified under SSDI benefits he/she will have to meet all of the criteria for social security’s basic disability requirements under SSA.  You can read more on that in point 25.

Medical bills can skyrocket when your child is undergoing treatment. Bills could increase even more when you have to provide and care for additional siblings and travelling to and fro from your workplace for treatment. You could also have to leave your job to facilitate treatment in another city. SSA provides basic care through Medicaid and SSI benefits to the most deserving. SSA will evaluate the extent of the severity of the cancer by looking into the so-called “Blue book”, that is a standard guide used to evaluate claimants and decide whether they meet medical eligibility requirements for SSDI.

Medical eligibility for children with cancer

All childhood cancers are listed in the section 113 of the Blue Book. While determining the severity to qualify your child for SSDI, the SSA will look for

  • The origin of child’s cancer and the treatment time it took;

A point to remember is any brain cancer will automatically be considered for SSDI. You would just have to produce a biopsy report or a written medical record issued by child’s oncologist.

  • The advancement of the disease and whether it left any long lasting effects;

This includes any side effects that SSA will directly consider for SSDI including

  • Stomach issues
  • Ongoing weakness
  • Mental health issues after the treatment or due to the treatment
  • Neurological complications
  • Cardiovascular complications
  • The impact of post treatment side effects or if there was any relapse

The SSDI would consider the child if he/she shows visible limitations in performing daily tasks, or speech impairment or any issues such as

  • Unable to be present minded, attending to or completing tasks
  • Interacting or relating to others
  • Learning and using new information
  • Health and physical wellbeing affected
  • Unable to tend to personal needs
  • Moving about or manipulating physical objects
  • The duration, frequency and time of treatments for each type of cancer

For this it is important that your medical records show drugs given, dosage, frequency or treatment drugs, extent of treatment drugs, radiation therapy frequency and any surgery done. Children with specific types of cancers are given priority under SSDI that have a higher chance of being affected like the above mentioned cases. These include:

  • Malignant solid tumors
  • Childhood lymphoma
  • Neuroblastoma
  • Retina blastoma
  • Ependymoblastoma
  • Malignant melanoma

Considering the situation of your child thoroughly, the SSA will state on your application why your application was denied. You could not apply to the social security benefits online, so to make the best of your chance and to find out more about the functioning and domains of how SSDI benefits cover your child’s cancer treatments, you can contact our professional lawyers at Disability Advocates Group Law Firm (DAG)  who are ready to provide you all the assistance you need. Once the application is approved you could then focus on the most important matter at hand, caring for your child in disease.

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I was denied disability benefits besides having enough work credits

I was denied disability benefits besides having enough work credits I was denied disability benefits besides having enough work credits

Most people go to panic modes when they get their disability applications denied - However, most people do not realize that denied disability benefits could be appealed within the six months of denial with a 35% chance of getting your disability benefits approved at some level of appeal.

Read on to find out how!

Social Security Disability Insurance is a Social Security tax fund under which individuals with enough work credits and history qualify. Applicants who qualify under SSDI should have paid social security taxes to qualify under SSDI. However, still applications which are not developed run a high risk of denial. A denial doesn’t necessarily indicate that you are not disabled. Although the disability may be beyond your control but filing out the application carefully and making sure you are not doing anything that shows up as misleading information in your application to the SSA could be the key to your SSDI acceptance. Here’s a few things you may be doing wrong:

  • You don’t show hard medical evidence

You need to prove that your disability is severe enough through your medical records. For example, you may be seeing your doctor for severe spinal pain. But your medical records do not indicate that the pain is interfering in your work life balance. This will result in denial. Hence, you need to discuss with your physician how the disability is interfering in your work/life balance and show it in medical records.

  • Your disability is not long lasting or would be soon recovered

Presented the case above, you may still be denied the SSDI benefits. Under SSA, your medical condition needs to be severe enough to prevent you from working for one or more year, or has a potential risk of death. For example, you are filing for SSDI following a motorbike or automobile accident resulting in a bone fracture. But if that bone fracture isn’t expected to last one year or impair your work ability, you may be denied. The only exception to one year rule is blindness. However, if the fracture is severe enough to last more than one year, you need to have medical evidence to back up your application.

  • You earn more than enough income

If you are working too much to gain a high income, much more than the standard of Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) under SSA that is $1180 per month set in 2018, you will be considered as earning too much. Your disability claims cannot exceed the asset limits set by the SGA. You would risk denial if you do so. If your income exceeds the upper limit i.e., $1500 set by a complicated formula by the SSA, you would be denied completely regardless of your disability in most cases.

  • You do not cooperate

Your medical records and consultations are important for your application. But if you deny the SSA rights to collect your medical history this would come off as refusal to cooperate resulting in denial. Also, SSA may need additional information about your disability hence sending you to a doctor. And if you fail to do so, you would be denied.

  • You don’t follow prescribed treatment by your doctor

With some exceptional cases under this rule, your failure to follow prescribed treatment by your doctor would come off as refusal to get fit for work resulting in denial of your application. Some exceptions would include

  • - Intense fear of a surgery involved
  • - Movement out of the house due to you being unable to move due to disability or you living alone
  • - Sever mental illness or side effects due to treatment

Some non medical exceptions to the rule that could result in denial include:

  • - Your religious believes prohibiting you from treatment
  • - You can’t afford the treatment because you don’t have money
  • - The doctor prescribed a treatment that another doctor contradicts with
  • - Your disability is due to substance abuse

The SSA will simply deny you SSDI benefits if your disability is due to alcohol or drug abuse under DAA.

  • You have a past of being convicted of a crime

If you become disabled in prison after being convicted of a crime you would be denied. You would be able to apply or receive the benefits if accepted after released from the prison. But you would be denied if you are still in prison.

  • The SSA could not find you

Perhaps you moved houses to another city or hometown or changed your mobile/telephone numbers, if the SSA could not establish contact with you within a specific time after receiving the application, you would be denied.

  • You committed fraud

With all the cases stated above, if the government finds any of the information in your application as being manipulated to mislead the SSA into granting you SSDI, you would not simply be denied but also prosecuted to the end by the law.


With all said, if you want specific advice you can hire a qualified social security disability attorney at Disability Advocates Group Law Firm (DAG)  to help you fully understand and prepare for your appeal properly as well as filing and preparing all of your paperwork, increasing the chances of your acceptance.

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How to check the status of my social security disability application

Here is how you can check your disability status online Here is how you can check your disability status online

Waiting for the judgement of your disability application can get stressful and boggy. This is because it could take anywhere between 3 to 6 months for a final verdict on your disability benefits application.

However, the Social Security Administration understands this. That is why as you wait for the ruling, you are provided with the option to check your disability status online from the SSA site.

Depending on your disability case it may take between several days to weeks for your application to get approved or denied. There are several ways you can check the status of your disability application depending on the stage it is in.

Here is how you can check your SSDI application status online

If your case is being managed by one of our lawyers you can contact our lawyers directly at Disability Advocates Group law firm (DAG) or call us at 800-935-3170 or visit us at 17525 Ventura Blvd, Suite 308, Encino, CA 91316. We strive to keep you abreast of any changes in your application status and are already ready to answer your legal questions.

Hence, you can have the disability attorney working on your face contact the Social Security Administration to determine the status of your file on your behalf.

In addition to talking to your attorney, you can directly check the status of your application by:

  • - Call your local SSA office directly at 1-800-772-1213, Monday through Friday, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • - Contacting the disability examiner that has been assigned your case and engage with him/her directly on call or visit their office to discuss the details (You can get their contact details at your local SSA Office) or
  • - Visiting your nearest SSA office through the Social Security Office Locator at

How long does it take the SSA to review my application?

The SSA makes a decision on your application on most of the Social Security Disability Claims SSDI within three or four months, with some cases taking up to six months.

However, if your case was denied and you appealed it to be heard by a local administrative  law judge (AL J) ,it can add a flurry of few months in addition to the basic time, taking it anywhere between nine months to two years.

The Social Security Administration will notify you as soon as the decision is made for your disability application. However, it is important you make sure you still have access to all the contact details you provided in your SSDI application. If you still do not hear from the SSA within 3 to 5 months, then you may have to visit your local SSA office directly or have your attorney do that on your behalf.

That said, if your case was denied and you want to appeal to the SSA’s decision, you can contact our lawyers at Disability Advocates Group law firm (DAG) directly.

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Will the change in my home address affect my SSDI benefits?

Moving Homes and the Change in your SSDI Benefits Moving Homes and the Change in your SSDI Benefits

In most cases the Social Security Administration will simply need to be informed of the change in your address within due time to continue sending your benefits check to your new address.

However, if you are going to move as far as another State or just down another home in your street, you will need to inform the SSA of your new address - this is important so your check reaches the right destination.

Social Security Disability benefits are awarded after a dynamic process of application submission and claim cross checking by the SSA under Federal Rule. In most cases, if you’re moving from state to state you would not have to reapply to the SSA as you will get continued benefits from the previous application. That is because SSDI is a program under Federal Rule as stated above and hence your eligibility is not affected by the change of your address within the country.

If you are moving regardless if you move to another state or just across the street you will have to notify the SSA of the change in your address and also of your new phone number if you have changed that too. The sooner you notify the SSA of the changed information the less consequential problems you would face having your Social Security Disability benefits forwarded to your new address.

If you are a claimant moving out of US, there will be a time limit set by the SSA before they cut out your claims. Since both SSI and SSDI are SSA programs, it depends on what program you are receiving benefits under and how long you have been receiving them. Depending on what country you are moving to, including the fact that you aren’t moving to a prohibited country, and also how long would you stay in the new country the SSA will base their decision on whether to continue or cancel your claims under Social Security Disability, SSDI. If you are receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) the SSA would not stop your benefits until after 30 days you have moved out. While if you are receiving Social Security Disability claims your benefits the SSA would only stop the benefits until after 6 months of you being moved to another country. You can reinstate the benefits after returning to the US.

You can get personalized guidance  for your case or get paperwork done by contacting our professional Social Security Disability Attorneys at Disability Advocates Group law firm (DAG).


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Getting pregnant while on Social Security Disability

Getting pregnant while on Social Security Disability Getting pregnant while on Social Security Disability

Family leaves or maternity/paternity benefits allow to take off from work and take care of yourself and your newborn without worrying about losing your job or winning bread during those days.

Childbirth and pregnancy are beautiful things nature has bestowed upon human beings and are in most cases truly rewarding experiences. In some cases, the pregnancy may result in complications that may cause temporary or permanent disabilities. The social security disability provides benefits to people with disabilities who qualify for disability in the Blue Book. Routine pregnancy may not qualify you for disability benefits.

Being pregnant may prevent you from doing some types of routine work or cause temporary disabilities lasting less than 5 months period. The SSA, however, defines disabilities through many vigorous criteria. (provide link) Unless giving birth causes a disability or if the child is born with disability, your pregnancy and childbirth may not qualify under SSDI. You may still be eligible for supplemental security income benefits, SSI.

The US has two federal laws that cater for the maternity benefits for working women.

- Family and Maternity Leave Act, FMLA

- Pregnancy Discrimination Act, PDA

Short term disability benefits

Short term disability, STD is also known as an insurance term describing any condition that may prevent you from going to work, for a short period of time if you have already used your sick leave. Some states including California, Hawaii, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island have working STD programs. An employee, will have to file a case and if you got a short term disability due to pregnancy or childbirth preventing you from going to work between 9 – 52 weeks, you may become eligible for STD benefits. You will receive a percent of your usual wages (55% to 60%) until you are able to go back to work.

The STD will not provide you continued benefits once you are able to go back to work. But the good news is, California and New Jersey have paid parental leave programs that are run through the state disability insurance office.

Many States have passed their own FMLA which allows sometimes even greater benefits to the qualified employees. A handful of States pay better than the federal gov including California, D.C., Hawaii, Washington, New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island etc..

California Short-term disability during pregnancy

California's short term disability program provides mothers with eight to ten weeks of paid leave for normal pregnancy and childbirth. The paid family leave also provides you up to six weeks of paid leave to the qualifying employees.

A few States also offer paid family maternity benefits to allow you to take care of your child and yourself without worrying about the finances.

If you need more information about paid maternity benefits, you may contact a social security attorney at DAG directly.

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Getting Health Insurance while on Disability Benefits

Getting Health Insurance while on Disability Benefits Getting Health Insurance while on Disability Benefits

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) will fundamentally change the conditions that influence Americans to apply for federal disability insurance benefits. Because disability insurance confers health insurance in addition to cash benefits, it is an attractive option for many individuals with work-limiting disabilities. At the same time, leaving employment to apply for disability insurance benefits (a requirement for application) can be risky for those who obtain health insurance through their employers, making it a relatively unattractive option for others.

By enabling access to affordable private health insurance and expanding access to subsidized public health insurance, the ACA alters the calculus of disability claiming decisions. Whether it will lead to more or fewer applications for disability benefits is not clear yet. 

The social security administration, SSA runs many programs providing benefits to those in need. These include social security disability, SSDI, supplemental security income, SSI, Medicaid and many others. SSA has provided over 60 million American’s the benefits today. Among these a vast majority were covered under social security disability. Those covered under SSDI receive monthly payments in cash to make sure that they remain financially stable despite their disabilities.

You may have other health insurance programs and thankfully they do not affect your SSDI. If you qualify for social security, you may keep SSDI benefits while also applying or getting benefits under other health insurance programs under SSA, that is programs like Medicaid. This means that you can pay your hospital bills, routine checkups, medical tests and physician fees through your health insurance programs without having to surrender your SSDI which covers your disability.

While your health insurance does not affect your SSDI, if you qualify for other non governmental institutions that cover a percentage or whole of your disabilities then you stand a risk of losing your SSDI benefits as you will already become financially stable through other programs. To see whether you qualify for social security you can read here.

SSDI requires a 29-month period from the onset of the disability to the determination of eligibility, where "onset" is the time of starting of your disability defined by your SSA examiner as the intersection of two events: occurrence of a qualifying health condition and cessation of meaningful work. This means that workers who have a health condition that limits their ability to work face a difficult dilemma (often referred to as "employment lock"): They can either attempt to keep working in spite of their impairment to maintain health insurance from their employer or they can stop working to apply for SSDI and risk an extended period of time without insurance.

Conducting research for social security and applying for SSDI can be tiresome when you are already undergoing depression and anxiety because of your disability.

Our social security attorneys have vast experience of the SSDI filing that can help you avoid the mistakes that you may otherwise make. If you are considering for applying to the SSDI benefits, you may contact our social security attorney at Disability Advocates Group law firm (DAG).

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8 things you must have/do before applying for Disability Benefits

Documents you must have when filing for disability Documents you must have when filing for disability

A successful disability application is which has been fulfilled properly and has minimum probability of being denied. It requires a vast knowledge of the do’s and don'ts's concerning your SSDI since only minor carelessness could be the reason of your disability application being denied.

The most difficult thing in your SSDI application is to prove your disability is severe enough to last a minimum 12 months, or unfortunately, result in death. When you are disabled, this may be a overwhelming task since you may already be under depression or anxiety because of your incapacity to perform work or your disability taking its tolls on your life.

Nonetheless, if you think that your disability is severe enough and prevents you from going to work or perform in substantial gainful activity, SGA, then you should apply for your disability benefits as soon as possible.

One common misconception people have is that they have to wait for at least 5 months since their disability to be able to file an application. That is not true. You should apply as soon as your disability and its severity are diagnosed because the time it takes for your application to be processed by the social security administration (5 months) will be counted as the time required for the waiting period of your disability (5 months). However, if you indeed qualify for disability benefits, you will most likely receive Disability Backpay for most of your medical bills during the time your case was being decided.

Here is the tip: You should immediately file for disability if your doctor is sure that your disability is expected to last longer than 12 months, impairs your ability to perform substantial gainful activity and is listed in the Social Security Administration’s Blue Book of impairments.

Here are the documents you should have before filing your claim:

  1. Your Social Security Insurance number;
  2. If you were born outside the United States or its territories, the name of your birth country at the time of your birth (it may have a different name now), Permanent Resident Card number (if you are not a U.S. citizen);
  3. If you were in the military service, the type of duty and branch, and also your service period;
  4. Your W-2 Form from last year or, if you were self-employed, your federal income tax return (IRS 1040 and Schedules C and SE); Medical records of your sickness, injuries, and conditions, containing dates of treatment, and patient ID numbers; and the names, addresses, and phone numbers of the medical providers who treated you;
  5. Names and dates of medical tests you have had and who requested the tests;
  6. Names of medicines you are taking and who prescribed them;
  7. Medical records that you already have; and
  8. A list of up to five jobs and dates you worked during the last 15 years under SGA

You can go to your nearest social security administration office, or contact them through telephone 1–800-772-213, or apply online directly on the SSA’s website

To improve probabilities of your initial claim to be accepted you need to make sure to collect and keep all of your medical records to be presented with your ssdi claim. For specific guidance on your situation, requirements and disability you can consult our social security attorneys to guide you through the process smoothly and minimize the possibilities of denial.

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Disability Benefits due to Reduced Functional Capacity caused by Back Problems

Disability due to back pain Disability due to back pain

If your back impairment or disorder, as mentioned by your doctor/physician in your medical records affects your Reduced Functional Capacity, RFC and Substantial Gainful Activity, SGA, then you might qualify for disability benefits.

Claims due to back pain caused by disc damages or nerve problems are very common to the Social Security Administration, SSA. The SSA realizes that almost 50% of the people between age 40 t0 50 and 70% of people between age 50 to 65 suffer either kind of back problems mostly due to age factor. However, not all back problems are listed under the eligible muskoskeletal problems in the Blue Book of impairments by the SSA. However, it expects most of the people to reach full retirement age to qualify for disability. So, it can get tough qualifying for disability based on not-so-serious back problems.

How to win disability claims for back disorders?

To make sure that you stand a higher chance of winning disability claims for your back pain, you need to show evidence to your disability examiner, DE that your back pain is indeed hindering your ability to move and work properly. The SSA will need to be ensured that your back pain is indeed not moderate and is actually debilitating and severe. Based on your condition, you may have to proved that you are unable to sit or stand for longer amounts of time, or carry out normal bodily movements like bending or scooping without hurting excessively. Also, for all conditions reparable in the back disorders listed by the SSA in the Blue Book, you may also have to prove either that your condition lasted for more than 12 months of consecutive period or that it is expected to last more than a year.

Qualifying for Disability due to Back Pain

If you meet the above conditions, the only criteria you need to fulfill now to avail the disability benefits is that your condition is listed in the SSA’s list of muskoskeletal impairments. It contains the following back problems listed in the document:

  1. Major dysfunction of a joint due to any cause
  2. Reconstructive surgery of a basic weight bearing joint
  3. Disorders of the spine such as nerve root compression, arachnoiditis, osteoporosis etc
  4. Amputation due to any cause
  5. Fracture of the femur, tibia, pelvis, or one or more of the tarsal bones such as herniated disc
  6. Fracture of an upper extremity of the back
  7. Soft tissue injury such as burns, ruptured muscles
  8. Vertebral fracture
  9. Degenerative disc disease


Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) for Back Problems

Your disability examiner, DE with the help of a qualified medical professional will examine your doctor’s reports of your disability due to back pain and see whether it fit the criteria of the SSA. Mostly the doctor’s restrictions listed for back pain disability include prohibition to lifting heavy objects, sitting or standing for too long, keeping bad posture or perform heavy exercise). The DE will give you a rating based on the severity of your condition based on your doctor’s restrictions mentioned in your medical report. These include four levels: sedentary, light work, medium work, heavy work.

You may read more on RFC here.

If your DE assigns you an RFC for light or medium work and have always done heavy work, you could be automatically approved for benefits in some cases (especially if you're older than 55 years of age). In many cases, however, you will be denied benefits if you have an RFC of medium or light work.

The RFC reports combined with the DE’s ratings varies for each person. However, you might consider the help of a social security attorney to make sure you know how to approach your doctor and DE for full assistance. For instance, if your doctor assigns you heavy restrictions on your back pain, your disability attorney may know the right questions to ask your doctor to assign you a low residual functional capacity.

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SSA Disability benefits | Back disorders caused by nerve root compressions

Disability benefits due to nerve root compression Disability benefits due to nerve root compression

In order to get approved for disability benefits for back pain, you’ll have to show the Social Security Administration, SSA that your pain is beyond the moderate back pain that many people experience and that you have trouble standing, walking, or sitting or long periods of time or perform work under substantial gainful activity, SGA.

Compression of the root nerve in the back is one of the few physical disorders of back pain that are counted as disability in the Blue Book of Impairments. Hence, if a compressed root causes chronic or severe pain, that makes you unable to perform SGA, you might qualify for the Social Security Disability benefits and Medicare.

Back injuries can be caused either by natural causes such as aging, poor posture, heavy work, excessive strain on the back or by accidents such as fractures, spine damages due to accidents, nerve root compressions, bacterial infection of the spine, sciatica pain etc. Other conditions could also include diseases like osteoarthritis or osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis etc.

Many applicants filing for disability based on back injury list osteoarthritis or osteoporosis as their main causes of chronic back pain rather than a traumatic incident or a severe back injury. This is because a back injury due to natural processes is more common than accidental injuries. That is why the SSA takes into account back injuries caused by the natural processes.

Eligibility for Disability based on Compression of Nerve Root

The medical criteria for proving that your back pain is indeed due to nerve root compression involves a basic leg raising test that should be positive (lying down or sitting) in order to be labeled as nerve root compression by the doctors. The test is performed by your physician or doctor in the clinic. To get approved for disability benefits based on a spinal disorder, you must indeed be able to prove that your spinal nerve root is compressed and that the compression is causing the pain to radiate, limiting your range of motion or angle of movements in proper direction, dulling your reflexes or sensations and your muscles to be atrophied or weakening of the muscles.

Although you are not technically required to have an MRI scan done to show the root nerve damage/compression, doing so might help your case. Let’s be absolutely clear: this is not an easy disability listing to prove or get approved for getting disability benefits – However, even if you do not have an impingement of an MRI to show your nerve root compression, your doctor or physician might still be able to prove to the authorities that you do indeed have a genuine disability due to the nerve root compression.

Here is how to ensure that your doctor is supportive of your disability claim

If your back pain has prevented you from working under SGA for more than twelve months or if your doctor/physician is sure that your disability will last longer than 12 months, then you should indeed file your claim for disability due to nerve root compression immediately.

If your back pain causes significant deficiencies in your bodily movements such as stooping or picking up things, sitting up properly, unable to sit up or stand for long periods of time, unable to walk without crutches or a wheelchair, unable to bend etc, then make sure that all these conditions are properly recorded with medical evidence or your doctor’s statements in your medical records. These might be beneficial in helping you win your disability claims benefits due to nerve root compression.

Lastly, if you or a loved one with a muskoskeletal impairment such as back pain due to nerve root compression needs help with disability claims, you might contact a disability attorney to help and prepare you for proper disability application.

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How do I get my Disability Backpay? (Disability Past Due Benefits)

Disability Backpay Disability past due benefits


Disability benefits take a long time to be granted depending on your disability case and whether it is granted at first attempt or you go through a reconsideration or appeals process. Hence, the full procedure can take anywhere between six months to two years, to finally get your disability claims granted.

What is Disability Backpay?

Disability backpay is when almost all claimants get their past due benefits if and once they are approved by the Social Security Administration to receive disability benefits. During the claims process, you will have to pay for your disability such as medical bills, doctor’s fees, prescriptions, wheelchair and many such bills from your own expenses. However, once you get your disability claims approved, you will be reimbursed the amount spend on your disability during the process – hence, the disability backpay.

To learn about your SSDI medical eligibility, click here.

When will you be granted Disability Backpay?

How far back will you receive your disability backpay will depend on several factors, such as:

Application Date

The first factor that determines when your disability will start depends on the time you filed for your disability i.e., your disability application date. Normally a disability applicant receives disability backpay dating to the start of their disability filing application however, in some case the disability benefits are paid even prior to the application date, from the time the disability actually started, known as retroactive period. The retroactive period benefits only apply to the disability claimants.

Alternatively, if you have a ‘protective filing date’, you can get your disability benefits backpay starting from that date as if it were the application date.

Date of Disability Recorded in your Medical Records

The second most important factor regarding your disability benefits is the start date of when your disability started.

A disability claimant who has been approved for benefits will be given an EOD, or "established" onset date. The established onset date is set by your DDS disability examiner, or an administrative law judge, ALJ (if your case has gone to hearing), and is considered to be the date for when your disability actually began. The EOD will be based entirely on your medical records and work history. In other words, how far back your disability is recorded to be started is to be decided according to the evidence available from your doctor's reports, lab test results, and disability application.

For SSDI claimants, whether or not benefits will be payable back to the beginning of the 12-month retroactive period time will depend on the onset date that is established, either by a disability examiner or by an administrative law judge. But there is another important factor in determining the SSDI starting date, i.e., a waiting period.

Five-Month Waiting Period

Additionally, the SSDI applicants who have been approved and given an established date of onset will have five months of benefits removed from the beginning of their disability. In other words, the "date of entitlement" doesn't start until five months after the EOD.

If your disability claims examiner or the administrative law judge determines that the onset date is 17 months prior to the application date, or more, the claimant should be entitled to the entire 12 months of retroactive benefits prior to the date of the SSDI application.

Lump Sum Payment

Regardless of the amount or period of disability backpay, the SSDI amount of disability backpay is always paid as a lump sum.

If you or a loved one has filed for disability and has to claim a disability backpay, you can consult a disability attorney here.

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What is Social Security Disability Insurance and Medical Eligibility?

What is Social Security Disability Insurance and Medical Eligibility? What is Social Security Disability Insurance and Medical Eligibility?

The federal government managed Social Security Disability Insurance (DI) program pays monthly benefits in the form of cash or paycheck to eligible people in the US workforce who are unable to go to work because of a critical disease or a chronic illness that is expected to last longer than a year or cause death within the year. It is a piece of the Social Security program that additionally pays retirement benefits to by far most of more established Americans. Benefits depend on the clinically ill worker's past work credits and are paid to the disabled worker and to his or her needy survivors. To be qualified, an incapacitated worker is more likely required than not worked in occupations secured by Social Security.

How Much Is the Disability Benefit?

The disability benefit is linked through a formula to a worker's earnings before he or she became disabled. The benefits are calculated through the AIME formula.

The  SSDI amount paid to SSDI recipients vary between $800 and $1800. The average monthly SSDI income in 2019 is $1234 for blind and $1980 for non-blind.

Who Pays for Disability Insurance Benefits?

Workers and employers pay for the SSDI program with part of their Social Security taxes. Workers and employers each pay a Social Security tax that is 6.2 percent of workers' earnings up to a cap of $132,900 in 2019. The cap is adjusted each year to keep pace with average wages. Of the 6.2 percent, 5.015 percent goes to pay for Social Security retirement and survivor benefits and 1.185 percent pays for disability insurance. The combined tax paid by workers and employers for disability insurance is 2.37 percent of wages, while the combined tax for retirement and survivor benefits is 10.03 percent, for a total of 12.4 percent.

Attributes of Disabled-Worker Beneficiaries

Disabled-worker beneficiaries are at risk of being poor or near poor. About 30 percent of disabled workers, compared to 15 percent of all working-age adults, have incomes below 125 percent of the poverty threshold. Moreover, 82 percent of SSDI beneficiaries rely on Social Security for more than half their income, and 37 percent of disabled worker beneficiaries rely on these benefits for all of their income.

SSDI recipients are also more likely to be older, with the average age of beneficiaries at 54 in 2019. Three out of four (74 percent) are over 50 years old and a third (34 percent) are over 60 years old.

When comparing with other adults, disabled workers are more likely to be black, and to have a lower level of educational attainment; almost half have a high school diploma or less.

What are the common disabilities of SSDI recipients?

  • musculoskeletal problems, such as back injuries
  • cardiovascular conditions, such as heart failure or coronary artery disease
  • senses and speech issues, such as vision and hearing loss
  • respiratory illnesses, such as COPD or asthma
  • neurological disorders, such as multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, Parkinson's disease, and epilepsy
  • mental disorders, such as depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, autism, or retardation
  • immune system disorders, such as HIV/AIDS, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis
  • various syndromes, such as Sjogren's Syndrome and Marfan Syndrome
  • skin disorders, such as dermatitis
  • digestive tract problems, such as liver disease or IBD
  • kidney disease and genitourinary problems, and
  • cancer
  • hematological disorders, such as hemolytic anemias and disorders of bone marrow failure

With all said there is no blinking the fact that the SSDI pays around 8.5 million Americans in disability benefits each year. However, still the US’s spending on disability benefits is relatively modest as compared to a 1.3% of Germany, 2.5% of Sweden and 2.8% of Netherlands, the US spends only 1.4%.

If you need more details or help in filing your social security disability, you may contact us.

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5 types of American citizens who are not eligible for Social Security

5 types of American citizens who are not eligible for Social Security 5 types of American citizens who are not eligible for Social Security

Very few US citizens are denied their Social Security benefits if they fit the minimum required criteria. However, there are always exceptions to the most lenient of policies if the citizens do not meet those criteria. These include:

Criteria #1: There is a minimum requirement to collect Social Security disability benefits: besides meeting the medical requirements, he Social Security Administration requires "enough work" as earning 40 Social Security credits. More specifically, in 2019, an individual receives one credit for each $1,360 in income, and they can earn a maximum of four credits per year. So, 40 credits are roughly equal 10 years of work.

If you earn the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, you’ll need 179.3 hours of work to receive one credit toward Social Security. By working just 15 hours a week at this wage, you’ll earn the maximum credits per year. That means even those who work part-time so they can attend school or care for a child—or those who work part-time because they cannot find full-time work—can amass Social Security credits without too much trouble.

Earned credits never expire, so anyone who has left the workforce with close to 40 credits might consider going back and doing the minimum additional work they need to qualify. You can check the number of credits you have so far on the Social Security website.

Criteria #2: Certain Legal Immigrants

Legal immigrants who have earned 40 Social Security work credits in the United States are eligible to receive full U.S. Social Security benefits. Immigrants who do not have enough U.S. credits but who come from one of the 26 countries with whom the United States has social security agreements or totalization agreements, can qualify to receive pro-rated benefits. These benefits are based on their work credits earned abroad combined with their U.S. work credits, an arrangement that is particularly helpful for older immigrants who are not likely to accumulate 10 years of work in the United States before retiring. Workers who have not earned at least six U.S. credits, however, cannot receive payments under totalization agreements.

Criteria #3: Certain Government Employees

Federal government employees hired before 1984 may be grandfathered into the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS), which provides retirement, disability, and survivor benefits. These workers do not have Social Security taxes deducted from their paychecks and so are not eligible to receive Social Security benefits. They may still qualify if they have earned benefits through another job or a spouse; however, in these cases, CSRS pension payments may reduce Social Security payouts.

However, government workers who are covered by the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) (which replaced CSRS) are eligible for Social Security benefits. 

Most state and local employees have Social Security protection under a government law called a Section 218 agreement. However, some of these workers, including those who work for a public school system, college or university, will not receive Social Security benefits if they do not pay Social Security taxes. But they generally receive pension benefits from their employers.


Criteria #4: Self-Employed Tax Evaders

Self-employed workers are lawfully required to report and pay self-employment tax on their earnings to cover both their own and the employer’s portion of Social Security contributions. The tax is calculated and paid each year when these workers file their federal tax returns. Those who fail to file their tax returns  and do not pay their Social Security taxes, unlike employees whose employers withhold and remit their Social Security taxes from each paycheck, are often exempted from receiving the Social Security benefits, especially SSDI when and if needed.

If you have no record of paying into the system, you are not going to receive payouts. However, if you have not reported income and successfully evaded taxes for a lifetime, you have no right to Social Security benefits. Your illegally retained untaxed earnings will have to fund your needs/disability after retirement.

Criteria #5: Certain Immigrants Over 65

Retired people who immigrate to the United States will not have the 40 U.S. work credits they need to qualify for Social Security benefits. One way to rectify this problem is to earn six work credits in the United States and receive pro-rated U.S. benefits combined with prorated benefits from your former country under a totalization agreement. This solution makes sense for workers who also do not have enough benefits in their home country to qualify for that country’s equivalent of Social Security payments. 

Older immigrants who do not qualify for U.S. Social Security and whose countries’ laws allow them to receive benefit payments while residing in the United States can claim their social security or pensioner’s benefits while living abroad.

In short, almost all retirees who have successfully earned enough work credits in the US workforce are eligible to receive their Social Security benefits and Social Security Disability benefits provided that they have reached full retirement age (not required for SSDI). However, some people who do not meet the above criteria may also receive the benefits from luck and presenting their case correctly.

If you need help with filing your social security disability or social security benefits, you may contact us.

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Social Security Policy Basics: 5 Facts about Social Security

5 facts about social security 5 facts about social security

Social Security Disability Income provides the resource of income which thousands of workers in the US use to plan their lives after retirement.

Since 84 years, when President Roosevelt started the program, the SSDI has been remarkable in providing source of income in a need-based manner.

Fact #1 : Social Security is not just a retirement program

It provides disability benefits to everyone who has disability credits and fits the criteria. About 62 million people, or more than 1 in every 6 U.S. residents, collect Social Security Income benefits each year. While older Americans make up about 4 in 5 beneficiaries, another one-fifth of beneficiaries received Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or were young survivors of deceased workers.

In addition to Social Security’s retirement benefits, workers earn life insurance and SSDI protection by making Social Security payroll tax contributions:

  • About 95 percent of people aged 20-49 who worked in jobs covered by Social Security in 2019 have earned life insurance protection through Social Security.
  • For a young worker with average earnings, a spouse, and two children, that’s equivalent to a life insurance policy with a face value of over $725,000 in 2019, according to Social Security’s actuary.
  • About 89 percent of people in age group between 21-64, having sufficient disability benefits are insured through Social Security in case of severe disability.

The risk of disability or premature death is greater than many realize. Some 6 percent of recent entrants to the labor force will die before reaching the full retirement age, and many more will become disabled.

Fact #2 : Social Security benefits increase with inflation

Social Security benefits are based on the earnings on which you pay Social Security payroll taxes. The higher your earnings (up to a maximum taxable amount, currently $132,900), the higher your benefit.

Social Security benefits are progressive: they only take into account the higher proportions of a worker’s earnings for all 35 years he performed any kind of work to earn. For example, benefits for a low earner (with 45 percent of the average wage) retiring at age 66 in 2019 replace about half of his or her prior earnings. But benefits for a high earner (with 160 percent of the average wage) replace about one-third of prior earnings, though they are larger in dollar terms than those for the low-wage worker.

Also, many private annuities and businesses do not account for increase in market prices or inflation. Social security, on the other hand accounts for inflation by adjusting the amounts with respect to COLA. This helps to ensure that the people do not fall into poverty.


Fact #3 : Provides a foundation for retirement protection

According to Social Security Administration estimates, almost 97% of the elderly will receive Social Security benefits at some point in their lives. This is possible because almost all workers in the US are subject to Social security taxes on their payrolls either independently or through an employer.

Social Security provides a foundation of retirement protection for people at all earnings levels. It encourages private pensions and personal saving because it isn’t means-tested — in other words, it doesn’t reduce or deny benefits to people whose income or assets exceed a certain level.

Fact #4 : Most elderly rely on Social Security for most part of their income

Without Social Security benefits, about 4 in 10 Americans aged 65 and older would have incomes below the poverty line, all else being equal, according to official estimates based on a recent Population Survey. Social Security benefits lift more than 15 million elderly Americans out of poverty, the study showed.

A recent study that matches Census estimates to administrative data suggests that the official estimates overstate elderly reliance on Social Security. That study finds that in 2012, 3 in 10 elderly Americans would be poor without Social Security, and that the program lifted more than 10 million elderly Americans out of poverty.

No matter how it is measured, however, it’s clear that Social Security brings millions of elderly Americans out of poverty and dramatically reduces the elderly poverty rate.

Fact #5 : Social Security is especially beneficial for women

Social Security is especially important for women, because women are often paid less than their male counterparts, spend more time out of workforce due to maternity and other reasons, have a longer life expectancy, accumulate less savings, and receive smaller pensions. Women represent more than half of Social Security beneficiaries in their 60s and 7 in 10 beneficiaries in their 90s. In addition, women make up 96 percent of Social Security survivor beneficiaries.

Women benefit disproportionately from the program’s inflation-protected benefits (because tend to have a longer life expectancy), its progressive formula for computing benefits (because they tend to have lower earnings), and its benefits for disabled spouses and disabled survivors

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What to do when your disability claims are denied because your doctor didn’t support your claims

Doctor didn't support my disability claims Doctor didn't support my disability claims

Having your doctor’s support is very critical to your disability claims. If your doctor refuses to cooperate, then your case might become very hard to win. However, there are ways to improve your disability case even if your doctor doesn’t support.

Be Ready to Explain

If you get to the hearing level and still do not have a supportive statement from your doctor, the administrative law judge (ALJ), who will be hearing your case, will need to be portrayed the real and honest picture of your whole case. In order to do this, you should be ready to explain this to the judge. It might be best to tackle this point earlier in your hearing. An experienced disability attorney would know best how to present your case to the ALJ.

Evidence is Key

Brute and clear medical evidence may sometimes be sufficient to convince your judge otherwise, even if your doctor doesn’t support your case. Though it may be time consuming, it would be best if you spend some time and effort to gather all the medical evidence earlier so you don’t miss out on presenting anything the ALJ might need in the hearing. Here is an example of which medical evidence you may collect:

  • Names and contact information of all the medical providers you have seen about your disabling condition;
  • Photocopies of any diagnostic tests such as EKGs, blood work, sleep studies, CT scans, MRIs, x-rays, and EEGs;
  • Dates of any hospitalizations or emergency room visits related to your medical condition;
  • Pharmacy printouts that contain a complete list of medications;
  • A list of any side effects of medications, and
  • A list of any alternative treatments you have sought to treat your condition;

Relevant evidence

Before you seek on to collect evidence of your medical history, make sure you include only the medical evidence relevant to your medical condition. Although it is useful to be vigilant, the SSA or your ALJ might only be interested in seeing evidence for the disability you are putting claims of.

Do not chalk out negative records

Sometimes your medical records may include information that may be damaging to your reputation, such as history of substance abuse or injury during a fight. Although you may be tempted to exclude pieces of information such as these, do not do so. The ALJs are trained to look into these loopholes and if found out the exclusion or hiding of the facts may have a bad effect on your claims.

3rd Party Witnesses

Though your medical provider’s opinions matter the most to the SSA, the ALJ might be interested in hearing out opinions of any third party witnesses to your disability as first-hand accounts. These may include any caregivers, volunteers, social workers, your children, hospital nurses, your boss, etc.

Caregivers: Some disabilities require partial or full-term caregiving of the affected patients. If your disability requires you to depend on a caregiver for cooking, cleaning, bathing, giving medicines etc then you may ask your caregiver to write a letter stating so to the ALJ.

Employers: People spend a lot of time at their workplace. If your former employer or boss was a witness to your disability and saw how it affected your work or life then you may ask them as well to write a letter for you. You would need to ask them to be as specific and honest about your condition as they can be, as it can affect the ALJs decision in or against your favor.

Get a Disability Attorney's Help

Getting approved for disability can be hard if you do not have a supportive doctor. An experienced disability attorney will have dealt with myriad cases where claimants did not have a supporting doctor and will have techniques and strategies that can help overcome this obstacle.

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Social Security Disability for Huntington’s disease

Social Security Disability for Huntington’s disease Social Security Disability for Huntington’s disease

People with Huntington’s disease undergo a fatal genetic disorder – this leads to a progressive breakdown of nerve cells in the brain. Although people may develop the disease during early 30s and 40s, the symptoms usually appear in late 50s for most people.

Huntington’s is not only a degenerative disease, it also leads to multiple types of neurological disorders such as impairments in functional movements, cognitive abilities and psychiatric disorders.

When can you get disability benefits for Huntington’s disease?

The symptoms for each person with Huntington’s may vary, thereby affecting their chances to qualify for social security disability. The cognitive symptoms may include an inability to perform daily activities such as toileting or bathing, or symptoms of dementia. Whereas the physical symptoms may include loss of muscle control leading to difficulty breathing, swallowing food or drinking water.

Each person’s symptoms will have varying degrees of severity, hence they would need to qualify the same way under the disability insurance, SSDI requirements as any other disability in the Blue Book.

Meeting an impairment listing

Huntington’s disease can be assessed either under the neurodegenerative diseases or, if the disabling symptoms are all cognitive or mental in nature, under the mental listing for neurocognitive diseases. You must be able to prove to the disability examiner or the ALJ that you meet the disability criteria for any of these symptoms for each of the conditions listed below:

Neurodegenerative symptoms

  • Inability to control movements of at least two limbs (an arm or a leg, two arms or two legs);
  • Critical thinking problems such as difficulty understanding, remembering or applying information;
  • Social problems such as interacting with others;
  • Concentration problems such as focusing on work or with finishing tasks with speed and persistence;
  • Setting realistic goals such as managing oneself;

Neurocognitive symptoms

  • Difficulty paying attention to work, tasks or listening to others for long-term;
  • Short term memory loss such as learning and memory deficits;
  • Difficulty in judgment and planning for tasks, such as inability to turn the car at the signal on time;
  • Bad hand-eye coordination;
  • Poor social judgment and inability to use proper social behavior;

Reduced Incapacity to Work, RFC

If you don’t meet the above criteria for disability, but have an inability to perform substantial gainful activity to earn for yourself or are unable to learn new things for a job – the Social Security may award you benefits based on your Reduced Incapacity to Work, RFC.

Your psychiatrist may have to fill the RFC forms for you, listing all the ways the Huntington’s disease limits your capacity to work and perform regular tasks.

Also, since the Huntington’s disease is a result of a disorder in genes, it can result into further degenerative, serious diseases. Therefore, the SSA may refer your disability case further under the ‘compassionate allowance’ to provide you additional benefits.

If you or your loved one has been diagnosed with Huntington’s, you may consult a disability attorney for legal help and paperwork for your disability benefits.


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Social Security: Disability benefits for neurological disorders

Social Security: Disability benefits for neurological disorders Social Security: Disability benefits for neurological disorders

Every 1 in 7 people suffer from some kind of neurological disorders, according to the UN. The World Health Organization, WHO stated that almost 100 million Americans, a 1 out of 3 ration of the US population – suffer from some kind of neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy and spinal cord injury.

Quite surprisingly, 60% of the people suffering from neurological disorders are over age 55. This means that older people are more prone to mental health problems. Moreover, neurological problems are not only limited to the brain. They can occur anywhere in the nervous system, including cerebral area (affecting memory and thinking), spinal cord (affecting movement), or peripheral nervous system (affecting thinking and muscular control of different body parts).

Unfortunately, receiving disability benefits is not as simple as getting benefits for other kinds of disability. The SSA has listed 16 disorders under neurological impairments in the Blue Book of impairments. The Blue Book lists every kind of neurological impairment and specific conditions that affect your mental health. Even if your neurological impairment is not listed in the Blue Book, it does not mean that you would be denied benefits for your conditions. Your symptoms and whether you have paid your social security taxes would be important when deciding your qualification for disability.

Some of the more common neurological problems listed by the SSA include:

  • migraine headaches,
  • multiple sclerosis (MS),
  • brain tumors (benign and malignant),
  • epilepsy,
  • persistent motor function disorganization,
  • traumatic brain injury,
  • ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease),
  • Parkinson’s disease,
  • cerebral palsy, and
  • spinal cord/nerve lesions

Most neurological disorders are treatable with medicines and are cured easily if the prescriptions are taken as directed by the physician. However, some neurological disorders are degenerative and get worse with time such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease, while some may not be treatable in the first place, such as Down’s syndrome.

How do I know if my neurological disorder would qualify for SSDI?

The SSA would rule on your disability claims for the neurological disorder the same way as any other disabilities. You would need to fill out both medical and non-medical requirements to qualify.


Non-medical requirements

You would need help from your doctor to file an RFC form for you listing all the ways that your symptoms and conditions affect you. Your psychiatrist would be able to fill out the paperwork that would show your disability examiner or administrative law judge about how your mental impairment limits you from performing substantial work.

Medical requirements

Remember it is important that you include all kinds of medical proofs, documentation and your doctor’s statements to support your case. This includes:

  • Medical history,
  • Examination findings,
  • Relevant laboratory tests,
  • Results of imaging,
  • Imaging refers to medical imaging techniques,
  • X-ray, computerized tomography (CT),
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and
  • Electroencephalography (EEG)
  • Prescription lists and medication

Lastly, it is imperative that your medical evidence and physician/psychiatrist’s statements match the prevailing condition and its symptoms. This is because you may be examined by a doctor recommended by the SSA if they think you are manipulating any evidence. If caught jeopardizing your medical impairment, you could face terrible consequences with a possibility of being disqualified forever from social security.

You may consult a disability attorney for more guidance on social security for neurological conditions.

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Social Security: What happens if I move to a different state?

Social Security: What happens if I move to a different state? Social Security: What happens if I move to a different state?

With the world rapidly becoming a global village, more people now move to different states or change countries in hopes of starting new adventures, interesting careers or find a new love. With these new horizons, your life changes in new ways that you never imagined.

Thankfully, with ‘totalization agreements’ all over major countries including the US, UK, Canada and Europe, you can now move freely to explore new horizons without having to compromise important aspects of your life, like social security or your child’s education.

Many people ask our disability attorneys if moving to a different state would affect their social security benefits.

Will Moving Affect Your Social Security Benefits

No, moving to a different state within the U.S. won’t affect your benefits as long as you have a valid social security card. You would only need to inform the Social Security Administration’s local office about the change in your address, with details about your new address.

This is important so that you don’t miss out on important official correspondence from the office and your disability benefits checks. If you have set your benefits payments to direct deposits, you are good to go as long as the authorities are informed about your change of address. You can make the official change in address and telephone number through your social security login online here.

Would you need to re-apply if you change states?

As long as you move within the U.S. you will not have to re-apply for social security benefits. The SSDI is an insurance program run by the federal government, therefore your approval for SSDI benefits will stay the same no matter where you move in the U.S.

How would my benefits change if I move to a different country?

Although your benefits would not be affected by any move within the U.S. your benefits amount may vary if you move to a different country. Countries that have signed a ‘totalization agreement’ with the U.S. government may have their own rules and requirements for the social security. The income limit thresholds may vary and similarly the amount of benefits for disabled, veterans, survivor benefits and dependent benefits may vary for each country.

Fortunately, you won’t have to earn work credits from scratch if you move to a country with ‘totalization agreements’. This means that any work credits you earned while working anywhere in the world (in countries with totalization agreements) would be utilized for your social security.

Remember you could only avail benefits from one country at a time. For instance, if you are a U.S. citizen with dual citizenship status, working in the Europe, then you will be granted social security benefits on European laws as long as you live in the Europe. You will be able to transfer your benefits to the U.S if you decide to move in there.

If you are thinking of moving or are concerned about benefits changes due to moving states (or country), you may contact a social security attorney for more guidance.

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Social Security Disability and marriage

Social Security Disability and marriage Social Security Disability and marriage

If you are already married or getting remarried with children from your ex, each circumstance will have its own consequences on your Social Security Disability Income. The consequences may not always be negative as you will see below.

How marriage affects your SSDI

Since Social Security Disability Insurance is earned by paying social security taxes on your paycheck, you or your spouse may be entitled to social security benefits on his/her record. Also, your benefits might be reduced or downright cancelled if, you were getting benefits on someone else’s record and got remarried to another person. Similarly, there may be other ways how a marriage may affect your benefits:

  • Your own work record: If you were granted benefits on your own record, or if you are still receiving benefits on your own record (meaning you were entitled to your own benefits as a disabled individual), then getting married to another person, or remarrying with children from old spouse(s) will not affect your benefits. Whether your future spouse works, receives disability benefits on his/her own record, or has no income or disability benefits, would not affect your benefits in any way.


  • Deceased spouse's work record: If you were receiving widow/widower benefits as the survivors of a Social Security disability recipient, you will lose your widow/widower benefits by getting married, if you get married before age 60 (or age 50 if you are disabled). Also, if you were receiving disability benefits of your own, you would only be able to receive survivor benefits on your deceased spouse’s record if the amount of your spouse’s disability benefits was larger than your own disability benefits.


  • Ex-spouse's work record: If you are receiving Social Security benefits under your ex-spouse’s work record, then getting married to another person will cause you to lose eligibility for benefits.


  • Deceased ex-spouse's work record: If you are receiving surviving divorced spouse benefits, you'll lose these benefits if you get remarried before age 60. If you are a divorced spouse receiving benefits due to a disability on your deceased ex-spouse's work record, you'll lose these benefits if you get remarried before age 50. If you were receiving benefits of a deceased ex-spouse for taking care of their minor children, then you may continue receiving your benefits until the children get to adult age (18 years, or 19 years if in high school).


  • Parent's work record: If you were receiving benefits under your parent’s record, then you may continue to receive benefits as long as you are under 18 years of age. In cases where you are an adult disabled child, then you may continue benefits for lifetime if your disability striked before you turned 22 and remain disabled. In some circumstances, however, a disabled adult child may be able to marry another disabled adult child without either person losing benefits.


You may contact a disability attorney for more detailed guidance.

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Faces and facts of social security disability and work

Faces and facts of social security disability and work Faces and facts of social security disability and work

Work rules for people receiving social security disability and supplemental security income vary from person to person.

The SSA has set out a set of general guidelines, the most important of which is, you can’t work under ‘substantial gainful activity’ while receiving benefits. If you decide to go to work, you can work through ‘trial work period’ under which you would be able to continue your benefits while earning an amount within the income limits set by the Social Security Administration, SSA.

The earning limits for an individual working under trial work period vary each year. The limit stated for 2019 is $880 per month for an individual. This means that any individual working and receiving social security benefits could not earn more than this amount of income. Your benefits will be discontinued immediately if your income increases beyond this amount.

What to report about your work to the Social Security Administration

If you are receiving disability benefits and decide to go to work, you are responsible for informing the SSA of starting any work under trial work period, and any of the changes that may follow. These changes include:

  • Time when you started or stopped working;
  • How much income you are earning;
  • If you started paying for your medical expenses from your income through work;
  • Your work details such as duties, hours, responsibilities, promotion or pay changes;

You can report changes in your work by phone, mail, or in person. You can find your local office on our website at You may use mySocial Security to report your monthly wages online at.

What if your symptoms get worse

You will be able to keep all of your benefits as long your income does not cross the income limits set by the SSA under trial work period. The trial work period is of 12 months initially, however, if you lose your job during this period or your symptoms get worse again, preventing you to continue your work then you can ask the SSA to reinstate your benefits. You will be able to reinstate the benefits if this happens within the 36 month extended period of eligibility.

On the other hand, if you lose your job or your disability strikes again after the 36 month extended period of eligibility, then you may have to file for disability again.



Reinstatement period

Lastly, if your benefits were reduced or stopped during the trial work period or extended period of eligibility, you can always ask the SSA to re-continue your full benefits if you became disabled again. You won’t have to file a new application as long as you make the request to restart your benefits within 5 years of getting your benefits stopped.

Remember that even if you are working within the income limits during trial work period, the administrative law judge or a disability examiner may still see to your work as an ability to perform substantial gainful activity. It is important that you talk to an attorney to represent you in the best possible way if you want to do some work and continue your benefits.

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How to lay out your past work to win social security claims

How to lay out your past work to win social security claims How to lay out your past work to win social security claims

Your social security disability claims will be denied if the disability examiner thinks that you could find out other probable jobs that fit loosely into your expertise of any past work you have performed.

Fortunately, even if the administrative law judge, ALJ or your disability examiner thinks that you are able to find work related to prior work experiences, your disability attorney can counter those evidences through your medical examination reports and other significant documents.

Beware that these tips are only when you think the disability examiner or the ALJ has misunderstood your past ability as ability to perform similar work today or if they do not fully understand how your medical impairment may be preventing you from performing any kind of work let alone sedentary work.

Describing your prior work experiences

It is imperative that you describe your prior work experiences in as much detail as possible. Your disability examiner or ALJ should be able to fully understand what type of responsibilities you had, what you did and what you did not do, etc.


Here is a list of how you could list out your past work experiences in detail:


  • How long it took you to learn the tasks under your job description;
  • How long you worked in that particular position;
  • Your job title(s) as listed on your job contract with the employer;
  • Work hours of the job per week;
  • The physical requirements of the job (as listed in the employer contract);
  • How your tasks were similar to or different that tasks for people at similar position(s) as you;
  • Whether you had to take specialized training(s) during your past work experiences and what you learnt during those training(s);
  • Whether you were in charge of other junior employees and what were your responsibilities;
  • Whether you operated special equipments, for instance, a nurse operating MRI machines;
  • Whether your job involved public dealings;
  • Whether you were required to sit, stand, walk or carry weights for specific hours and its details;
  • Whether you had other allowances from your employer, such as day meals, accommodation, travel allowance, medical coverage, etc;

Although it is imperative that you do not downplay your abilities and responsibilities you had in your job requirements, it is also equally important that you don’t overstate them. The disability examiner and your administrative law judge, ALJ will be handling hundreds of cases yearly, so they will know when you are trying to manipulate the system through false claims. If they determine that you are not being honest in your testimonies, they will straight away deny your disability claims.

Lastly, it is also important that you don’t allow skills or prior work experience that does not hold significant value. Even if you allow those work experiences in your record, your ALJ will discredit that information while analyzing your case. Hence, it is important that you don’t overstate your responsibilities in jobs where:

  • The job didn’t lasted enough for you to learn how to perform the work completely;
  • The job didn’t come under ‘substantial gainful activity’;
  • How long the job lasted;

You can hire an attorney to represent you on your disability hearing. Your disability lawyer will know exactly what type of information is necessary for the ALJ or your disability examiner and how to answer those questions correctly.

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About Us

Disability Advocates Group is a law firm dedicated to serving individuals who have become disabled and are seeking to obtain the benefits they need and deserve. At Disability Advocates Group, we specialize in representing disabled clients in their claims for Social Security Disability Benefits.

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