The Social Security Disability System is not fair and it is not logical.

There are many rules and regulations that determine who will and who won’t receive their disability benefits and working hard and paying into the SS system for many years is no guarantee that those benefits will be there for you when you really need them

Misconception Number 1: My doctor has taken me out of work, and says that I am disabled, so I should automatically be able to receive disability benefits.

The truth is that SS will certainly consider your own doctor’s opinions, but they do NOT have to agree with them. Social Security (SS) has their own in-house doctors, called medical examiners, who have never seen you and never treated you and who will give opinions about how sick or disabled you are and what you can and cannot do… They will say how long you should be able to sit, or stand or walk in a day, and whether you can perform simple or skilled or semi-skilled work. SS will probably send you to a doctor that they pick and they pay to examine you, called a Consultative Examiner. SS will then consider that doctor’s opinion right along with your own doctor’s records and opinions. Many times, SS will decide you aren’t disabled and give more preference to the opinions of the SS medical reviewer that works for SS or the consulting doctor that is paid by SS, even when your own treating doctor is the one who has seen you and treated you and is the one who truly knows your medical conditions and your physical or mental functioning abilities.

The path to receiving your SS benefits is not a straight shot; for most people, it is a long and uphill battle. 

The younger you are, the steeper the hill you have to climb. SS considers anyone under 50 to be a younger individual and the rules and regulations that apply to younger individuals are stricter than for people 50 and older. And regardless of your age, and the fact that you have serious impairments like Degenerative Disc Disease or Diabetes, SS may still decide that you are capable of working.

Experienced SS attorneys know all too well just how unfair this system is. They understand the burden of proof that must be met in a case and they can prepare Medical Opinion Statements that you can take to your doctor to fill out that can help you have a stronger case and one that is more likely to result in a winning claim. These forms are designed to address the specific questions that SS will be answering when deciding your case.

If you are turned down at the Initial Stage or Reconsideration stage, as most people are, and you find that you have to go for a Hearing in front of a judge, an experienced attorney can be a great help to you. The attorney reviews all of your medical records and they know what the SS medical reviewer and the Consultative Examiners have said you can and can’t do, and the attorney is prepared to make the persuasive arguments needed to deal with these opinions and to improve your chances of winning your case.

Misconception Number 2: I can’t do my job anymore so SS will have to find me disabled.

As we have been discussing, the SS system simply isn’t fair. It is not designed to make it easy for you to obtain your benefits and not being able to do your job anymore does not mean that SS will find you disabled. For most people, and particularly those under 50, SS looks not only at whether your impairments should keep you from doing any of your old jobs (those you performed in the last 15 years) , but also at whether you could do any other kind of work… including simple sit-down, or sedentary work, like sitting and watching a security camera, (called a “surveillance system monitor”)or sitting in a quiet place putting stickers on envelopes, (called an “addresser”) or watching peanuts travel down anassembly line, (called a “nut sorter”)!

As incredible as it sounds, according to SS, these simple, sit-down jobs theoretically exist and many people are denied their SS benefits because SS decides that they can do this kind of work.

Social Security uses an old and out dated book, called the Dictionary of Occupational Titles, which identifies all kinds of jobs that may have existed in America years ago, and classifies these jobs by the physical and mental exertion needed to perform the work. In my experience, many of these jobs simply don’t exist anymore, and if they do exist they certainly don’t exist anywhere near where you live. To make matters worse, SS does NOT have to provide a ready willing and able employer in your area that is offering this kind of job. All they have to do is say that this job exists, theoretically, and that they think you could do this kind of work!

Experienced SS attorneys are very familiar with the Dictionary of Occupational Titles book that SS uses, they are also familiar with the job experts, called Vocational Experts, that are usually present at SS Hearings, to give opinions to the Judges about what kind of work you use to do and what kinds of jobs you might be able to perform even with your physical or mental limitations. You might not know what to say to a Vocational Expert in an SS Hearing, but an experienced SS attorney will.

If you have questions or need help with your SSDI or SSI filing contact the Hartwig Law Firm today at (508)732-8989