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Old 10-27-2009, 09:57 PM
 
8,080 posts, read 13,453,725 times
Reputation: 10322

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My husband has taught whitewater rafting,rock climbing, hiking and other
very physically challenging activities his whole life. Now at 57 he has
serious knee, shoulder and back problems and is just not physically able to do the type work he has always done. He is unable to do any job that requires him to be on his feet very much.

We are just starting to consider filing for disability.
Would we need a lawyer or is the process something we should atempt.
Are there any affects to his SS when he reaches retirement age if he does get disability?

Any advice is appreciated.
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Old 10-27-2009, 11:38 PM
 
5,090 posts, read 13,540,747 times
Reputation: 6928
Quote:
Originally Posted by kelly237 View Post
My husband has taught whitewater rafting,rock climbing, hiking and other
very physically challenging activities his whole life. Now at 57 he has
serious knee, shoulder and back problems and is just not physically able to do the type work he has always done. He is unable to do any job that requires him to be on his feet very much.

We are just starting to consider filing for disability.
Would we need a lawyer or is the process something we should atempt.
Are there any affects to his SS when he reaches retirement age if he does get disability?

Any advice is appreciated.
I am on Social Security Disability and went through the whole system and got an approval by the adminstrative law judge with an attorney.

I suggest you go to the Social Security website and read all the information Social Security Online - Disability Benefits It will give you all the information that you need.

You do not need to hire an attorney to file for disability. It is not necessary and I would not recommend it at the filing stage. There are many help agencies that can help you do the filing, both government and independent. Generally, an attorney is hired after you are denied and you are at the administrative judge level of an appeal. The government must pre-approve the attorney and the fee.

Definition of disability is that you cannot do any substantial work in the economy. The condition has to last more than one year or expected to lead to death. It is not enough just to say that you cannot do your normal job; you cannot do any job at a statutory substantial level. Your age, education and experience all go into the decision. That is all discussed on the Social Security Website.

It is very important that if you have problems that you have seen medical providers. Your problems must be documented, over time. Your personal physician cannot and will not make the determination of disability. All medical records will be requested. The decision is made by each State Board of Disability. Yes, that is right. The state makes the decision under federal guidelines. They will review the medical records and often will sent you to their own doctors for evaluation. If they deny your claim, you have a number of appeal levels at the State. You then can file an appeal with a Federal Social Security Administrative Court.

Unless you have a substantial level of illness, disease or a severe traumatic injury--it is a hard, long and difficult process to prove disability. There are some conditions or combination of disabilities, that are severe, they are on a list of impairments that will be considered automatic disabilities under the law.

I would suggest to be honest in the filing, and document every action and visit to a medical provider. Also continue to see a doctor to document your complaints, even after your initial claim. for those additional medical visits can be used in the appeals. You cannot say you have a problem, if you never went to a doctor.

You will also have to have patience. It takes a long time and there is a big backlog. Also, many people are denied in the initial claim but are approved in latter appeals. But you must be really disabled and prove it.

Social Security Disability is the same level of benefits that you would receive if you retired at the full retirement age. Once you reach your retirement age, Disability is converted to Retirement and there are no changes or effects to retirement. I received Disability when I was in my forties. The compensation was calculated on my previous earnings, so it can vary from one individual to the next, as in Social Security Retirement.

Livecontent

Last edited by livecontent; 10-27-2009 at 11:53 PM..
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Old 10-28-2009, 10:39 AM
 
Location: Bayside, NY
823 posts, read 3,373,621 times
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Most of the people I know that have filed for SSI didn't get it on their first try but after hiring a lawyer they had no problem.
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Old 10-28-2009, 10:57 AM
 
92 posts, read 458,121 times
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At age 57, your husband's age is on his side. The rules for determining whether individuals over age 55 are disabled are a little more lenient than for younger people because an older individual would have a harder time adjusting to other work that he might have the capacity to perform.

I would encourage your husband to file a disability claim. There is no need for an attorney at the initial filing stage.
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Old 10-28-2009, 11:05 AM
 
5,090 posts, read 13,540,747 times
Reputation: 6928
Quote:
Originally Posted by norm View Post
Most of the people I know that have filed for SSI didn't get it on their first try but after hiring a lawyer they had no problem.
It does not mean that hiring a lawyer is the direct cause of getting approval for benefits. That is because lawyers will screen clients and take those who more than likely will be eventually approved because most cases are worked on a contingency. They are not going to waste their time on clients that are obviously not disabled or there is an indication of fraud. In addition, most questionable cases are weeded out before they get to the final appeal where claimants will more likely have an attorney.

Disability lawyers, in my experience, will not contract with you until you exhaust all appeals up to the administrative judge level. That is where they can make their money and do the least work.

Yes, you can say, if you had an attorney to help you file your claim from the very beginning may help in the wording of submitted documents and perhaps that would help in being approved initially, or perhaps not.

For most claimants do not realize that every written statement, every contact by phone or in person can be part of the disability evaluation. So, if you are claiming a difficulty in cognition, then filing a form poorly is an additional indication of your impairment. If you get help and advice to feel out the claim, then so do indicate that fact. For, if you can understand the claim form, then you do not have a cognitive impairment, as an example of a possible conclusion from the claim examiner.

I was surprised in my administrative hearing that information was presented about my demeanor, behavior and physical capabilities, from a contact with me when I went to the social security office.

Livecontent
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Old 10-28-2009, 11:39 AM
 
Location: southwest TN
8,224 posts, read 14,918,804 times
Reputation: 14983
I filed for disability 12 years ago. It was denied. I appealed AND filed a new claim. It was denied. I appealed AND filed a new claim. The first appeal came up for hearing and I hired a lawyer. It was denied. I filed an appeal, fired the lawyer, AND initiated a new claim. New claim was denied.

Every time you file a new claim, it starts a new "Date of disability". So if earlier cases are eventually denied, a later one MIGHT survive and you get benefits as of the new date. So, as I was advised early on; at every denial you file a new claim. My claim was based on hearing loss with additional physical limitations which alone would not be disabling. The hearing loss is/was.

So, the last appeal resulted in a memorandum from the SSA's own lawyer which basically proved my case AND remanded to the initial ALJ for re-hearing and stating that the ALJ had dismissed proven evidence, discounted some, and weighted heavily that which was not supported. He ruled in my favor. Time from beginning to end, 6 years. Attorney's fees were withheld - safety net payments were paid back. The total payable to me was divided in half with the first half to be paid in a lump sum minus the payments/reimbursements and the balance to be paid in the future - I just got it. The total payable is calculated from the date of initial filing. This is why it's so important to refile with every denial.

One of the reasons the ALJ denied was my education and prior work history showed a variety of jobs. He was overturned on the finding that every job required good hearing and the ability to interact with the public. Then, the SSA lawyer also did an assessment of jobs available to me with my prior work history, education, and training with limited hearing and said they were non-existent. Somewhere, available online perhaps, is a SSA book with all the disabilities listed. A good lawyer will use the language in that book to help you file or for the appeal. IF you can get access to it, you can use the SSA language to help you do your own filing and save some money. If I had it to do over, I would have called one of those Soc Sec lawyer firms and not the former clerk to the ALJ that I used.

One point is, apply. It won't hurt. Another point: find a GOOD lawyer. Thank heavens for me, the SSA's own lawyer's memorandum is what saved me. My lawyer was an idiot and I would have lost if not for the SSA's lawyer. Get references for the lawyer you choose.
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Old 10-28-2009, 11:44 AM
 
Location: southwest TN
8,224 posts, read 14,918,804 times
Reputation: 14983
Oh, and what LiveContent said is true: there is a report filed by the person who does your initial interview. He submitted a report from each time I filed.

You are given opportunity to review your file when you first appear before the ALJ. Don't overlook the smallest detail in any report that's in there. A police officer who filed an official report on my behalf put down the wrong year and the ALJ initially dismissed it for that reason (he was overruled). I hadn't picked up on that when reviewing the file.
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Old 10-28-2009, 01:36 PM
 
Location: Knoxville, TN
2,172 posts, read 6,884,536 times
Reputation: 1525
Being unable to continue his line of work won't qualify him for disability. You're only considered disabled if you can't do ANY job. It doesn't matter if it's a job you hate or have no training for. If he can sit to work and talk on the phone, etc. he'll probably be denied.
He needs to go to state vocational rehab folks and see what they have to say and what programs they offer.
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Old 10-28-2009, 02:51 PM
 
8,080 posts, read 13,453,725 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by knoxgarden View Post
Being unable to continue his line of work won't qualify him for disability. You're only considered disabled if you can't do ANY job.
I thought the official site states that you must show that you are unable to do the normal job you have been doing and are trained to do or a
related job you would also be qualified to do.
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Old 10-28-2009, 03:48 PM
 
5,090 posts, read 13,540,747 times
Reputation: 6928
Quote:
Originally Posted by kelly237 View Post
I thought the official site states that you must show that you are unable to do the normal job you have been doing and are trained to do or a
related job you would also be qualified to do.
No, you are incorrect. It states:

"Disability under Social Security for an adult is based on your inability to work because of a medical condition. To be considered disabled:

* You must be unable to do work you did before and we decide that you cannot adjust to other work because of a medical condition.
* Your disability must last or be expected to last for at least one year or to result in death"

Essentially, it means if you can do any substantial work, you are not disabled. Obviously, as you get older, they types of jobs you can do become more limited and that is why age is taken into consideration.

It also does not mean because you are suffering from age related problems and degenerative conditions that you are automatically disabled because you no longer can do your current job, as good as when you where young. That would mean that a football player because he cannot longer play after age 40, is considered disabled. How about ballet dancers, are they disabled after they reach their prime??? No, if they can do other jobs. If you have problems standing, then you can do a job sitting down--answering a phone, doing assembly work in a workshop, office work etc. It is then that educational background is taken in consideration because you may not be able to adapt to some jobs; you may not have the ability to learn simple tasks etc.

Livecontent
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