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.

Why You Should See a Specialist If You Are Applying for Social Security Disability

Getting the Social Security Administration to approve your claim for disability benefits can be very difficult. In fact, more than half of people who submit a benefits claim will initially have their application denied. 

You can maximize your chances of getting your Social Security disability application approved by submitting substantial medical proof of your disabling condition and your symptoms.  The Social Security Administration (SSA) has clear guidelines regarding the type of medical proof accepted and detailing how the agency determines how much weight to give to a medical opinion. A Los Angeles Social Security disability attorney can explain the guidelines to you so you can put together as strong an application as possible. 

Why See a Specialist When Apply for Social Security Disability Benefits

Section 404.1527 of the Code of Federal Regulations addresses the rule the SSA uses when evaluating opinions from medical professionals to determine if your benefits claim should be approved. 

The SSA makes clear that it gives more weight to evidence submitted by a provider who treats you on a regular basis.  The SSA also states in 404.1527(c)(5) that it gives “more weight to the opinion of a specialist about medical issues related to his or her area of specialty than to the opinion of a source who is not a specialist. “  

The length of the treatment relationship the doctor has with you, and the frequency with which you see the medical professional are also factored in by the SSA when considering how much consideration to give a medical opinion about your condition. 

Because you want the SSA to take the medical evidence you submit seriously, you should try to see a specialist as soon as possible when you believe you have a condition that could qualify you for benefits. This way, you can establish a treatment relationship and have a long and documented history with a medical care provider the SSA should trust.  

A Los Angeles Social Security disability lawyer will help you to determine how to best assemble the strong evidence you need to get a disability benefits claim approved. Call today to speak with an attorney to get started.

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What to Expect For Your Continuing Disability Review?

b2ap3_thumbnail_medical-cross-4-971654-m.jpgThe Social Security Administration periodically conducts a continuing disability review for people who are receiving Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits. The purpose of the review is to ensure that the individual who is receiving benefits remains severely disabled enough to still qualify.  You generally will need to simply submit medical records to show that you have not improved enough for your benefits to stop.  However, if the SSA believes that you may no longer qualify or if the agency is not sure about your continued eligibility, then you may need to undergo testing or a consultive medical exam. 

A Social Security disability attorney can help you to complete all necessary forms, provide your medical records, and take the steps you need to show the SSA that you should still be eligible for disability income. Your attorney can also help you to understand what to expect if the Social Security Administration requests testing or a medical exam. You must comply with the SSA’s requirements for continuing disability review, otherwise you are in danger of losing your Social Security benefits and not having the income you need. Your attorney will provide assistance throughout the process. 

What to Expect for a Continuing Disability Review

When your review begins, the Social Security Administration will send you a Disability Update Report (SSA Form 455).  The purpose of this report is to determine if there has been a change in circumstances or an update in your condition that should trigger a medical review. For example, if you indicate on the forms that your health has improved; that your doctor has cleared you to work; that you have not seen a doctor in a long time; or that you are earning above the SGA levels, you will likely be subject to further review. 

When you complete the forms, the SSA can request your medical records in order to compare your records to the answers that you provided both on your new forms and on your old case file. If the new records show improvement from the old ones or if there is a discrepancy in the information provided by you and your doctor, the SSA will follow up. 

If there are no red flags on your forms, that may be the end of the continuing disability review process. If there is an issue that the SSA believes needs further explanation, the agency will ask you to provide more details or to undergo an examination.  An attorney can help with any followup after your initial forms have been submitted. Call a Los Angeles disability lawyer about the review process for help ensuring you do not make a mistake that jeopardizes your income. 

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Can I Get SSD Benefits for an Illness?

Many things can cause disability.  An injury like a motor vehicle accident or a workplace accident can be possible causes of permanent and disabling injury.  If you sustain an accident, you may receive workers' compensation coverage if the accident happened on the job or you may be entitled to make a personal injury claim if someone was responsible for harming you. b2ap3_thumbnail_headache-705116-m.jpg

An illness can also cause you to become permanently disabled and can affect your ability to work or do routine life activities. Unlike with an accident, a severe illness is usually no one's fault and just happens because of heredity or bad luck or any number of other factors. When an illness causes you to be unable to hold a job and earn a living, you may have only one option for getting the money you need to live on: Social Security Disability (SSD). 

Can You Get SSD Benefits for Illness?

Social Security Disability benefits are designed to provide necessary income for anyone who is severely disabled, regardless of whether an illness or an accident was the cause of the disabling condition.  This means that as long as your illness qualifies and the Social Security Administration determines that your condition makes work impossible, you should be taken care of. 

The Social Security Administration (SSA) does have strict limits about the types of illnesses that can make it possible for you to qualify for benefits. Severe illnesses, like metastatic cancers, are considered compassionate allowance conditions, which means you can get your claim for benefits approved quickly. Other types of illnesses are not necessarily always going to cause a severe medical problem that qualifies you for SSD. 

The Social Security Administration has a list of qualifying conditions in the Blue Book. If your illness is listed, then you will need to check and determine if you are showing all of the symptoms that the Blue Book requires people with that medical problem to have. If you are showing the symptoms and your illness has lasted for a period of at least 12 months (or is expected to last that long), you should be able to get SSD benefits for your medical issues. 

It is up to you to prove that your illness is bad enough to qualify you for benefits. A Social Security Disability lawyer will provide you with assistance in obtaining your medical records, showing how severe your illness is, and fighting for the benefits that you need. Call an attorney as soon as possible when you are diagnosed with a disabling condition as it can take time to submit an application and get your benefits claim approved. 

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The Importance of Documentation

In previous posts, I have mentioned the importance of documentation in submitting a claim for SSD benefits. While documentation is important for SSD claims for physical disabilities, it is even more vital for claims based on mental disabilities like depression. For physical disabilities, most documentation needs to come from the notes of a treating physician, imaging studies, and labs. For SSD claims based on mental disability due to conditions such as depression, however, the medical record is only part of the documentation necessary. While results of psychological testing and the impression of a medical professional are important, information from non-medical sources are also critical to a successful claim. For example, information from the claimant himself, family members, friends, and coworkers can substantially supplement the record and verify the findings of the medical record. Equally important is to present this evidence from various sources over as long a period of time as possible. Such longitudinal evidence will better establish the severity and extent of your functional impairment. Much of this information needs to be properly and effectively presented in the initial application. Many of my clients have come to me after being rejected for an SSD claim despite actually meeting a medical listing for depression solely because they did not include all the appropriate evidence in their applications. As I mentioned before, including all the appropriate evidence from the beginning can mean the difference between receiving SSD benefits and dealing with a frustrating rejection from the SSA. If you are not sure what to include in your application, seek the assistance of a knowledgeable, experienced attorney in your area.

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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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