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Archive for May, 2011

Social Security Reforms May Make Qualifying More Difficult

Wednesday, May 25th, 2011

Social Security disability benefits have been the target of Congressmen and media outlets after reports of judges like Judge Daugherty in West Virginia who appeared to be merely rubber-stamping applications. With government funds running dry and people requesting more and more aid, the system is growing increasingly tenuous. Needed reforms are likely just around the corner. A Tulsa Social Security disability attorney can provide guidance on interpreting the changes.

Reformers often target the precise definitions of disabilities that qualify for Social Security disability insurance. Definitions vary from location to location depending on the federal appeals court that an applicant falls under. Each appeals court decides matters its own way, resulting in one disability qualifying for benefits in one location versus that same disability not qualifying somewhere else. Also making benefits qualification difficult is the fact that how the SSA classifies a disorder may differ from how the medical community does

One area that applicants often require the assistance of a Tulsa Social Security disability lawyer with is mood and affective disorders. Such disorders may not manifest themselves as plainly as other disabilities, and include afflictions like manic-depression or bipolar disorder, various types of depression or mood disorders, and anxiety disorders. Because these conditions are not visible on x-rays or lab work, successfully submitting a claim for Social Security benefits based on them can be an uphill battle.

Senator Hatch To Launch Investigation In Social Security Disability Claim Approvals

Tuesday, May 24th, 2011

According to the Washington Wire, the ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee said he plans to investigate high award rates by some Social Security administrative law judges. Senator Orrin Hatch said he was concerned by recent published reports of some administrative law judges having high percentage approvals for Social Security Disability Insurance claims.

Hatch said that an already broke Social Security disability program is being further threatened by a system that appears to be overly generous in giving out benefits to those who may not deserve them. Hatch’s statement continued to say that he plans to launch an investigation into the matter to determine the scope and cause of these high approvals.

Social Security Disability Insurance, one of the program’s disability programs, had 10.2 million beneficiaries at the end of 2010 and paid out $124 billion in benefits. A recent report showed that a Huntington-based administrative law judge David B. Daugherty had a nearly 100 percent approval of disability claims heard in front of his bench. The national approval average is closer to 60%, though there are several other administrative law judges with an approval in more than 90% of their decisions.

Other lawmakers such as Nick J. Rahall of West Virginia and Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia said that they are closely monitoring the situation in Huntington.

Administrative Law Judge Under Investigation For Approving Claims

Monday, May 23rd, 2011

According to the Wall Street Journal, one West Virginia disability claim judge appears to have trouble saying no to Social Security Disability Insurance applicants. Americans seeking Social Security disability benefits will often need to appeal their initial denial to one of 1,500 judges who help administer the program. David B. Daugherty appears to be an administrative law judge who wants to help out disability claimants.

Judge Daugherty has been accused of rubber stamp approving disability claims and is now subject of a federal investigation for approving too many disability claims. About 75 percent of the cases presented for disability claims are typically approved in the Social Security disability system. Judge Daugherty has had nearly 100 percent approval, considered a record which is now raising red flags.

The disability judge went to work as usual on Thursday even though he was told federal investigators were in the office, he had yet to meet with them. The 75-year-old has been an administrative law judge for the Social Security Office for 21 years.

Since 2005-2008, Judge Daugherty has heard nearly 5000 disability claims cases and has approved nearly all of them. This year, Judge Daugherty processed more cases than all but three judges nationwide, and his approval rate remains nearly 100 percent.

What If Your Social Security Disability Claim Is Denied?

Wednesday, May 18th, 2011

According to EmpowHER, it is important to appeal rather than give up if your Social Security Disability Insurance claim is denied. If you are approved for SSDI, chances are that you will be eligible for back pay and possibly retroactive payments also, depending on several factors including when you applied and what your established date of onset. Keep in mind that retroactive benefits may be applicable, your medical evidence must support the fact that you were disabled that for that time period.

Also, if your application is denied, look into hiring a Tulsa Social Security disability lawyer. Many initial claimants receive a denial at the initial stage of applying for social security disability benefits. Getting a representative will help you get to the bottom of the denial reason and fix any mistakes made in the application process.

Start keeping a journal of all of your detailed activities or inability to perform a certain activity that you were able to do before becoming disabled. A journal of your thoughts is a good way to show how a disability has impacted your life or caused you to be unable to enjoy little things in life. Do you have symptoms from your disability? Write those down as well to show how symptoms such as chronic pain, dizziness or frequent bathroom use is impacting your life each day.

In order to qualify, the Social Security Administration will look for a list of impairments, conditions considered so severe that they automatically mean you are disabled as defined by law. A detailed medical history and records of hospital stays or doctors’ visits can help to show impairment and improve your chances of winning a Social Security Disability Insurance appeal.