Menu

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.

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.

Continue reading
  133 Hits
133 Hits

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.

Continue reading
  206 Hits
206 Hits

How to make sure your doctor is supportive of your disability case

How to make sure your doctor is supportive of your disability case How to make sure your doctor is supportive of your disability case

When you file an application for Social Security claims you will be analyzed both medically and non-medically by your social security examiner. This also requires you to submit both medical documentation and those documents not necessarily related to your medical impairment. You will be required to fill out a Residual Capacity Form, RFC.

What is RFC and why should you care?

The RFC is an assessment document that needs to be filled by your doctor unless you qualify automatically under the Social Security’s Blue Book of impairments.  

This would be a detailed report that would clearly list out all the possible limitations that may make you unable to perform work under substantial gainful activity, SGA. Therefore, this needs to be filled out carefully and honestly.

Unfortunately, some doctor’s may refuse to help their patients or simply fail to understand the document’s importance leading to the patient’s social security claims denied. This is because your doctor or GP’s assessment matters a lot while considering your eligibility for the social security claims. For instance, if you have PTSD and frequently find yourself unable to focus on work, your doctor may simply rule out the possibility of you unable to perform work if you two have a communication gap in your medical history or medical symptoms.

There may be many other reasons behind your GP’s reluctance to assist you through RFC, such as:

  • Unclear expectations:

Most of the times, your specialist or GP won’t know the importance of filing out the RFC form carefully or may simply fail to use the right tone of language to list all of your symptoms correctly. Unlike reference letters for college essays, your doctor won’t need to write long essays or comprehensions on your disability. Yet, some doctor’s actually refuse to fill out the RFC forms due to this sole reason. Hence, this falls upon you to let your doctor know what to expect. Better, you can talk to an attorney to gather all of the documentation necessary for social security qualifications. Your attorney would happily take on the task to communicated the expectations with your doctor clearly and help them understand the legalities behind the situation.

  • Lack of time:

Sometimes, this may be genuinely the only reason why a doctor may refuse to fill out the RFC forms. Doctors’ have a tough job and very tight schedules, and they may not agree to fill out an RFC form for you due to busy schedules or tight engagements. Whatever the reason, you should try to accommodate your doctor as much as possible. You can offer to let them fill up the RFC when they get off from duty, or ask your attorney to make an appointment with your doctor after their work hours.

  • Medical opinions about your disability:

This problem occurs with claimants who changed their doctors before filing out the RFC form or requested a doctor who does not have any history of your medical conditions. The best way out of this situation is to contact the doctors who knows your medical condition in and out and who you find the most reliable. Some doctors may also simply refuse to fill out your RFC form because you think your condition is not disabling. In this case, you should try to communicate your symptoms with medical history, proofs and other doctor’s statements with your current doctor. But beware, do not try to do fraud with your RFC forms as this can land you in serious troubles legally.

  • Money:

Some doctor’s may be too busy to find out time from their busy schedules. However, most of them would take up the job as long as you can compensate them for the time it takes to fill out your RFC form.

Whatever your case, explaining and convincing an unwilling doctor to fill out the RFC form responsibly may be cumbersome for you. However, your attorney would be able to help by explaining the legalities and importance of the situation to your doctor. Also, many doctors find it reliable to work with attorneys who represent you on your behalf instead of working with you directly for matters involving legality.

To consult an attorney for your social security case, you can contact us through phone or email, or visit us at our office through an appointment.

Continue reading
  333 Hits
333 Hits

Social Security Disability: How are my benefits taxed?

Social Security Disability: How are my benefits taxed? Social Security Disability: How are my benefits taxed?

The Social Security benefits are governed under the federal rule and are mostly funded by the social security taxes collected through the Federal Insurance Contribution Act, FICA.

The benefits taxable under social security taxes may include but are not limited to monthly retirement, survivor and disability benefits. They would not be considered for benefits you receive on behalf of a dependent, such as an ex spouse collecting benefits for the minor child of the disabled person. Also the supplemental security income, SSI would not be considered for taxation. This is because SSI is granted vigorously on only need-based basis. So people who could not afford taxes are actually those who are mostly granted the SSI in the first place.

How are my benefits taxed?

The amount of benefits on which you are taxed would solely depend on the amount of income you earn. This income would only be considered if it is being earned by you through work or some assets such as mortgage. However, any other income contributed to the household by other means, such as income from another family member or income from a trust named after your children would never be considered for social security taxation.

Also, a tip to reduce the amount of taxes on your social security if you are married is to file your taxes as joint filers instead of as individuals. This means that if you are married and are a joint filer, then the percentage of social security taxation would be almost 10-15% of 50% of your benefits provided that the total annual income for both of you is less than $44,000. Couples with higher incomes such as those with annual income thresholds above $44,000 would be subject to a 30-35% on 85% of the social security benefits.

Similarly, the amount of social security taxation on individual filers would depend on their marginal incomes instead of a direct percentage of their social security benefits. For instance, if you are an individual tax filer with an annual income below $25,000 then you may simply be exempted from social security taxation. For income between $25,000 to $35,000 with an approximate monthly income between $2084 and $2833, you will be taxed almost 30-35% on 50% of your benefits. However, if you have a higher monthly income above $2834 leading to an annual income threshold above $25,000 then you may be subjected to higher taxes such as 30-35% on 85% of your social security benefits.

The tax rates for any of the income thresholds and tax statuses (single filer or joint filer) will be the same as any other federal tax rate.

Higher taxes on lump sums

You may receive a lump sum or backpay payments in instances where you were disabled but not yet approved to receiving benefits. In this case, if you do qualify for social security eventually, you may be facilitated for the months you were not provided the socials security benefits. These benefits will be paid in a single lump sum. Therefore, the larger sum would be subject to a larger taxation. However, the tax rates on the lump sum would be the federal tax rates that applied to other people during the year or months your benefits were not yet granted (due to the reason stated above).

State taxations on social security insurance benefits

Almost every state has its own laws governing social security taxes. While some states may never subject social security disability insurance benefits to taxation. You may consult a social security attorney to find out your state’s taxation policies for social security benefits.

Continue reading
  342 Hits
342 Hits

What are the non-medical requirements for SSDI

What are the non-medical requirements for SSDI What are the non-medical requirements for SSDI

To qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance, SSDI you would need to meet the eligibility for both medical and non-medical qualifications for SSDI. The most common reason for denial is not being able to meet the medical qualifications but an inability to meet the non-medical criteria. This happens simply because not many people are aware of it.

While you might be chronically ill and meet all the medical requirements, you may still be denied SSDI claims because you do not have enough work credits or haven’t paid the FICA taxes.

How does your work history affect SSDI qualification?

Ever wondered where does your hard earned money go when you receive deducted net salaries? You must have noticed that often the amount you receive in your monthly paycheck may always be lesser than the amount initially stated on your work contract from the employer. This is because many companies pay the social security taxes on their employees. In short, all individuals who work have FICA taxes deducted from their paychecks automatically.

Since the SSDI is an insurance program it is funded by the Federal Insurance Contribution Act, FICA taxes collected from people who work and redistributed to those in need. If you pay FICA taxes, you basically pay into the Social Security Disability Insurance program. To be able to claim your social security you need to have worked and paid enough taxes into the system to retain coverage along with meeting the medical requirements.

How does your income impact your eligibility for SSDI?

The good news is, the SSDI does not consider the number of assets you may have or how much other family members contribute to the household, while analyzing your case for eligibility. The assets and income from other sources are only considered for the supplemental security income, SSI.

On the other hand, the SSA does take into account how much money you earn through your job. You can’t earn an income equal to or more than the income stated in the ‘substantial gainful activity’, or otherwise your claims would be straight away denied.

The specific dollar amount stated as substantial gainful activity in 2019 is $1220 for non-blind claimants  and $2040 for blind claimants. If your income is above the stated threshold, you will not be labeled as disabled by the SSA.

Talk to a social security attorney

An experienced social security attorney will be able to analyze whether you will qualify for social security on your medical and non-medical terms or not. While you can always re-appeal your claims if you think you are denied unjustly on medical basis, you can never re-appeal if you do not qualify under the non-medical requirements.

A disability lawyer can not only determine your eligibility but also guide you on how you can become eligible in certain situations. Hence, it is highly recommended that you consult with a social security attorney while submitting your application.

Continue reading
  405 Hits
405 Hits

Social Security Disability: How to earn work credits?

Social Security Disability: How to earn work credits? Social Security Disability: How to earn work credits?

Work credits are your gateway to social security. You earn work credits when you earn sufficient income to translate into a work credit each year, with a limitation of only 4 work credits each year. The amount you earn and the social taxes you pay, enables you to qualify for social security claims when needed.

The number of credits you need to qualify may not always be 40. It also depends on your age and the age in which you become disabled.

How do you earn one work credit?

The Social Security Administration, SSA calculates your work credits based on your income wages and the amount of social security taxes you pay each year. Your wage actually translates into work credits until you have reached a maximum of 40 credits needed at your retirement age (62 or above).

The amount required to earn one work credit is $1360 in 2019, an increase of $40 from year 2018 which was $1320. This means that in 2019, an earning amount of $1360 would translate into one work credit with a maximum of 4 work credits that could be earned each year. Hence to earn a total of 4 work credits in a year, you would need to earn at least $5440 in 2019.

Special rules

Although the rules stated above may stay the same for working people, it may have some relaxation for younger people, survivors of a spouse who had less work credits, veterans, children or people who don’t have retirement benefits.

SSDI eligibility for people between 31 to 42

People born after the year 1929, and between the age 31 to 42 may only need up to 23 work credits as long as half of those credits were earned within the last half of their working years followed up by the disability. For instance, if you are 38 and earned $15000 in the last 10 years, then $7500 need to have been earned within the last 5 years after which you became disabled.

Self-employed

Although not all jobs may qualify for social security benefits, self-employed people may always earn work credits translated through the same process as long they are earning within the federal rules. Also, you can only earn up to 4 work credits each year no matter how much you earn above that amount (as stated above).

Veterans

Military people or veterans would also qualify for work credits the same way as civilians do – although some may even earn extra credits depending on their situation and the SSA’s decision.

 

Other

For people with unconventional occupations or jobs that aren’t listed in the social security disability occupational lists, you would need to contact a Social Security Examiner from the SSA or a social security attorney to provide you legal guidance. Also, it is imperative to note that even if these jobs are unconventional, it doesn’t eliminate you fully from qualifying for social security. There are always exceptions and these jobs may include but are not limited to:

  • Farmers;
  • Poultry workers;
  • Truck drivers;
  • Domestic work;
  • Working for a church;
  • Working for an organization or a non-governmental organization, NGO that doesn’t pay social security taxes;

Whatever your case, you may contact our social security attorney for more queries.

Continue reading
  355 Hits
355 Hits

Call Us Toll Free Today

800-935-3170


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.

Read More

Site Map

Locations Served


Sign up for our Newsletter!

Enter your Email Address: