What can be one of the most difficult questions we can be asked is whether one should apply for unemployment benefits, both in the context of when one has already applied for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits or when one is considering an application for SSDI benefits.  The answer is very fact specific and we’ll attempt to provide you with some guidance that will hopefully allow you to answer such a questions.   Continue reading

There are a number of different scenarios in which one will find Administrative Law Judges (ALJ’s) in Social Security disability claims consult with medical experts.  Understanding why such experts may be consulted and how their opinions may impact your case is important and can help relieve some of the stress involved with attending a hearing before an ALJ.  Continue reading

In part I of our blog on Interstitial Cystitis (IC) we discussed the manner by which the Social Security Administration (SSA) will undergo a determination as to whether one is experiencing what is deemed to be a “medically determinable impairment” (or “MDI”) of IC.  In part II of this series, we will address how SSA reviews whether an MDI of IC, once determined to be severe, will qualify one for Social Security disability benefits under SSA’s sequential evaluation process.   Continue reading

When suffering from what can be the very debilitating effects of Interstitial Cystitis (IC), and when considering the need to apply for Social Security disability benefits, it’s very important to understand what the Social Security Administration (SSA) will require an individual to prove in order to qualify for benefits.  Understanding the process by which SSA will evaluate your claim can help make for a much smoother application process.   As we always recommend, however, it remains advisable to seek the assistance of  a Social Security disability lawyer who is familiar with Social Security’s rules and regulations and this guidance should not be viewed a substitute for the legal advice and assistance an attorney can provide with this process.   Continue reading

In Part I, we discussed the role of the SSI program and how loans and gifts are treated differently by the Social Security Administration (SSA).  In Part II, we will discuss how one can financially assist a disabled claimant applying for or receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) in a manner which will cause the least amount of reduction to their potential or ongoing SSI check so as to maximize the amount of financial assistance they are receiving.   Continue reading

When applying for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) it is important to understand the difference between what is considered a loan and what is considered a gift: the two are treated vastly different by the Social Security Administration.  Likewise, when understanding the treatment of loans it is important to understand the difference between a cash loan and what is referred to by  SSA  as an “in kind” loan.   Continue reading

In the first part of our blog series on Vocational Experts and their role in the Administrative Hearing process we explained the legal issues that arise in a Social Security disability claim and the manner in which an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) will go through their sequential evaluation process and, if appropriate and necessary as part of that, utilize the services of a Vocational Expert (VE) at hearing.  In Part II of this series, we’ll discuss the process by which a VE will prepare for and testify at the actual hearing.  Continue reading

Should it become necessary to proceed to a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), Social Security disability claimants will typically see from their notice of hearing that a Vocational Expert has been called to testify at hearing.  Understanding the role of the Vocational Expert (VE) at hearing goes hand in hand with understanding the hearing process generally and the process that the ALJ will go through in coming to a decision in their case.  Continue reading

Over the course of more than twenty-six (26) years of assisting those applying for Social Security disability throughout Maine, Massachusetts and New Hampshire, we have come across a number of recurring problems for those who contact our office claiming disability benefits for the condition “Fibromyalgia.”   With that in mind, here is the most common themes that seem to arrive and how they might be resolved.  Continue reading

It might not seem as though it’s an important distinction to make, but when it comes time to pursuing a Social Security disability claim or appeal, the difference between one’s ability to sit for a length of time versus recline or lie down can turn a case on a dime: result in an unfavorable decision in what would otherwise be deemed a favorable decision.   These are the types of subtle distinctions that experienced Social Security disability lawyers should go over with their clients during the course of filling out the application materials so as to ensure that the Social Security Administration (SSA) has a clear sense of their functional abilities.   Continue reading