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Disability Insurance and ERISA Articles

Five Critical Tips to Keep in Mind when Completing Disability Forms

Perhaps one of the most confusing aspects of winning a Social Security (SSA) disability claim is completing the array of forms during the process.

A question you will inevitably ask is, “Does SSA look at my forms and can they alone win or lose my case?”

My experience is that SSA and/or judges don’t usually approve your case based on what you say on the forms. However, they often use what is said in the forms to support a denial of your claim.

This is because if SSA or a judge is going to approve your claim, they will base it on more compelling objective evidence such as medical records and/or treating physicians’ opinions regarding your inability to work.

Unfortunately, I have seen what appeared to be an innocent statement by a claimant be the evidence used by the judge to deny the claim. Continue reading

Here’s a “Golden Nugget”: Win Your Disability Case by Obtaining Your Personnel File from Work

Sometimes as a disability lawyer, one must be more creative than usual in order to win a client’s disability claim. Such a situation presented itself recently in of all places, the city of creativity, Las Vegas, Nevada.

I am blessed with a great disability practice as I have the opportunity to represent very honest, hard working people throughout the United States who are unable to work. I am fond of saying that we represent people who have good cases to begin with…our job is to make them better.

However, occasionally a client’s case does not “come together” the way we had hoped. This problem manifests itself in many different ways. It can be the treating doctor who does not want to help, or the medical records are of poor quality, are illegible, or do not assist anyone in understanding the severity of the client’s medical conditions.

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Winning Your Disability Case with the Help of Co-Workers, Family Members and Friends

In a Social Security disability claim, the credibility of the claimant is often the determining factor of whether the claim is approved or denied. For cases involving chronic pain or fatigue, such as fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome, the credibility of the claimant is usually crucial to success. The reason for this of course is due to the fact that those diagnoses involve subjective symptoms and limitations that usually cannot be objectively quantified by medical or laboratory tests.

Thus, SSA and judges will listen to the claimant’s story about why they are unable to work due to the frequency, severity and duration of their symptoms; but they will also look for corroborating evidence from other sources such as doctors or individuals who know the claimant.

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Why it is Important to Address Psychological Issues in Your Chronic Pain Disability Case

Over the past several months I have represented fibromyalgia clients at disability hearings in Chicago, Seattle and Midland, Texas. Although the three clients lived far apart geographically, their cases had several things in common.

First, all three were found disabled by the administrative law judge. Second, in my opinion, all three had solid medical documentation of their fibromyalgia (chronic pain) and resulting symptoms. Third, all three had medical histories which included treating physicians prescribing strong narcotic medications to control their chronic pain (they were also taking anti-depressants). Forth, all three had histories of suffering from psychological disorders that resulted from their longstanding chronic pain.

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