How Social Security Decides Whether You Are Disabled

By / January 2, 2017 / Social Security Disability Claims Process / 260 Comments

Learn how Social Security decides if you are eligible for Social Security Disability benefits and find out where to get help with your disability claim.

The Disability Advisor on the Claim Evaluation Process
Welcome! You have arrived at the third of DisabilityAdvisor.com’s Social Security Disability topics—How Social Security Decides Whether You Are Disabled. You can browse the eleven articles in this section for plain-language answers to the most frequently asked questions about the Social Security Disability decision process.

The Disability Advisor website offers at-your-finger-tips answers to the most frequently asked questions about Social Security Disability.

These articles address:

  • Social Security’s five-step disability assessment.
  • What your age, education, and work history have to do with Social Security disability.
  • Non-disability requirements to get Social Security Disability benefits.
  • A discussion of some illnesses that may qualify you for Social Security Disability.
  • When the Social Security Administration will ask you to see a doctor.
  • Who decides your eligibility for Social Security Disability.

Act Now to Get Help with Your Claim or Appeal

An experienced Social Security Disability attorney can help you with your Social Security Disability claim or appeal with no advance out-of-pocket cost to you for legal fees. This means you pay attorney fees only if your claim is approved. Then, attorney fees are subject to the standard limit set by the Social Security Administration and are deducted from your Social Security Disability back pay. All very convenient and risk free.

How Social Security Decides Whether You Are Disabled
1 (20%) 1 vote

  • Dear Rena,

    As you describe your condition, I recommend that you get a copy of your claims file and the hearing transcript and then consult with an experienced Social Security attorney for advice on whether the judge made any procedural errors in arriving at the decision. For you to be successful in an Appeals Council review, the judge has to have made some error, which is possible. If you decide to appeal be sure to do so with the sixty-day appeals period.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Rena,

    As soon as you get the denial letter, I suggest that you request a copy of your claim file if your current attorney does not already have it and a copy of the hearing transcript. Then you can consult with your current attorney if you wish and with another experienced Social Security attorney to get an opinion on whether the judge made any kind of procedural error that would be the basis for asking for an Appeals Council review of the decision. If you decide to change attorneys, be sure to notify the attorney and the Social Security Administration in writing that you are terminating the representation agreement.

    If you are told that you do not have a basis for an appeal and you decide not to appeal, you will be able to file a new claim for Social Security Disability (SSDI) only if you were still insured the day after the date on your hearing denial letter. If you are not insured, then appealing is your only chance of getting SSDI. If your income and assets are limited, you may be able to file a new claim for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability, which does not require work credits.

    Alternatively, you could accept the decision and try to get work in one of the occupations that the judge says you are able to do or get training to move into a some other line of work that is within your limitations.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear JB,

    You have to look under the same informational article where you posted the question. The last question you posted shortly before this one was under the article found at https://www.disabilityadvisor.com/application-for-social-security-disability-benefits/#comment-3410080371. If you put that Internet address into your browser, it will bring up the article and you can scroll down until you find the answer.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Britany,
    I am unable to find your post from last week. Please repost the question. Next time bookmark the page so you can find your answer.
    Sincerely,
    Jane

  • Dear JB,
    I am unable to find your post from last week. Please repost the question. Next time bookmark the page so you can find your answer.
    Sincerely,
    Jane

  • Dear Monica,
    You are welcome.
    Sincerely,
    Jane

  • Dear Monica,

    If you were approved for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), your local Social Security office will calculate and authorize SSI payment. Before payment can be calculated, a financial update will be needed from you if your claim has been approved on appeal and even sometimes as an initial claim if it has pended a long time. The office will contact you for a financial update so that benefits can be calculated for past months. Usually you will be paid within a month of the update interview and submission of any requested documents.

    Sincerely,
    Jane

  • Dear Rena,
    I am so sorry that there is a delay in processing your decision.
    Sincerely,
    Ruth Dobbins

  • Dear Rena,

    The information you shared with me is a bit confusing. Usually files sent to the Baltimore payment center have been medically approved for Social Security Disability (SSDI). However, it is also true that usually claim files are not sent out of the hearing office until after the decision letter is written and released. So, the two pieces of information seem incompatible.
    You should be getting a letter before long that will clear things up for you.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Rena,

    How long it takes to have the decision letter written and reviewed and signed by the judge varies from one hearing office to another, from a couple weeks to a couple months or more. You might call the hearing office and ask for a ballpark estimate for your office.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Maria Lawrence

    I applied for disability months ago and I’m waiting on the hearing. I have a lawyer but he didn’t know the complete answer to my question. I have medical insurance now, Tricare Prime, from my husband- he’s a disabled veteran. If I get approved for SSDI I know I will have a waiting period until I receive Medicare, and when that happens Tricare become the secondary payer. My question is this: If I’m approved and not yet covered by Medicare, and I need surgery, does Tricare pay for that although I would be on disability? Thank you.

    • Dear Maria,

      If your Tricare Prime is individual insurance and you continue to pay premiums, I would expect your coverage under the Tricare Prime policy to continue the same until your Medicare eligibility begins. However, to get a definitive answer review your Tricare Prime insurance policy to see if there are any exclusions related to being disabled and receiving disability benefits and/or contact your Tricare claims department.

      If your Tricare insurance is group insurance through prior employment, you may have to continue it via COBRA to keep it in force because often coverage ends after a period of time not being actively at work.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Dear Rena,

    Apparently when the decision letter was written up, there was an error in it; so the judge sent it back to have the correction made. That would be the usual procedure when there is an error in the letter preparation. As you describe the hearing, I would expect that the decision will be an approval, but you won’t know for sure until you actually receive the decision.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Kimberly,

    School records are used as evidence especially for children with intellectual or emotional disabilities; however, I suggest that you get the medical records yourself from her doctors and submit them as well.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Kimberly,

    Call or visit Social Security to report that you did not receive the letter until May 2 and either try to submit what was requested asking them to accept it; or if you need time to provide the requested information, ask for an additional seven days.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

    • Kimberly s

      Hi! Kay,
      I did get a chance to fax over my daughter’s paperwork. But he stated that she was to young for them to back date or pull her infomation from when she first started receiving services. Im confused. Will ahe be ineligible dor benefit? He did send back forms to tge school she attends, but hes not able to get her psychological evaluations from her psyctrist or med doctor.

      • Dear Kimberly,

        I do not have a clear enough understanding of the situation to be able to predict whether your daughter will be approved for benefits or not.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

  • Dear Lori,

    How long it takes to get a decision on your claim is not an indication of approval or denial. It can take a couple months after a consultative examination to get a decision.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • You are welcome, Dee.

  • Dear Dee,

    Apparently, there are some accounting steps that occur, plus it has to go through the banking system. SSA notifies the Treasury and the Department of Treasury makes the actual payment. If it is direct deposit it will take multiple overnight computer runs before it hits your account; if it is a paper check, mailing time may be factored in.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Meagan,

    I am not certain what this combination of information and lack of information means. I suggest that you call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 to find out whether your claim is still waiting for a medical decision.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Meagan,

    The update on the online status seems to be different for hearings than for other claim levels. It appears that the “medical decision made” status does not appear until after the judge has reviewed the letter and signed off on it. This is logical because the decision is not final until it is signed off.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • You are welcome, Wynett.

  • Dear Meagan,

    The online status is more general than the information received from the hearing office. Your claim is being processed; it is now the letter writing stage of the process.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Wynett,

    Your private pension will not affect your application for Social Security Disability (SSDI).

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Ricardo,

    I recommend that your file a claim for Social Security Disability and submit the Residual Functional Capacity statement and your medical records. When you file the claim, list the symptoms and limitations associated with each of your different conditions and how combined they keep you from working in any occupation that you could otherwise perform if you did not have the physical and mental health limitations that you do.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Paige,

    I suggest that you try to take three actions: find a free mental health clinic to get help for your depression, contact your state Department of Vocational Rehabilitation and/or an organization like Goodwill or the Easter Seal Foundation to get some assistance for getting work or training for work that you can perform with the limitation of having only one arm, and reapply for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability benefits based on a combination of conditions–limited physical ability and depression. You may not be considered disabled, that is, unable to work, so your strongest possibility may be getting assistance in finding employment.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Shelly,

    Not every claimant is sent for a consultative examination of any kind. Examinations will be scheduled only if the decision maker wants information not available in the records.

    You have the right to get a copy of your claim file and appeal file to date; and if you think some of your records have not been obtained, it would be a good idea to do so. You should be able to get a copy by requesting it from the hearing office. However, I recommend that you check with your attorney first to see if he or she already has already obtained a copy.

    Sincerely,
    Kay
    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • You are welcome, Leslie.

  • Dear Jacqueline,

    The person receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) can apply for Social Security Disability (SSDI) for workers who have enough work credits, for childhood disability benefits (CDB) if he became disabled before age twenty-two and has at least one parent who is receiving Social Security or who is deceased, or for disabled surviving spouse benefits if he is at least age fifty and became disabled within certain time frames.

  • Leslie Drury

    Thank u! Ur so sweet to reply so quickly. Thank for the service also. It’s very helpful! God bless ur efforts!

  • Dear Leslie,

    Disability benefits are paid for mental illness as well as physical illness and for limitations related to a combination of illness. Benefits are not paid for disability due to drug or alcohol dependency. That means that you must prove that you are disabled due to your physical and mental illnesses, not your drug dependency.

    As an RN, your earnings power has probably been high enough to earn payment of dependent benefits. If so, your children can receive Social Security dependent benefits on your earnings records. The parent with the primary physical custody is likely to be made payee to receive and manage the children’s benefits.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

    Sincerely,
    Kay

    • Leslie Drury

      My daughter will be 18 and going to college. I read that as long as she’s in college she could still get a check through me until she finished college. Assuming that happens would the check be in her name if she’s 18 and older?

      • Dear Leslie,

        Student dependent benefits extend only to the end of 12th grade or age nineteen, whichever is first. It has been several decades since benefits were paid to college students. Under the Affordable Care Act, you can keep her on your health insurance. Or, if she is disabled, she might qualify for childhood disability benefits (CDB) on your earnings records.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

  • Sheena

    I applied for disability in Jan of 2014 for my back I got denied march of 2014.i appeal in April 2014 got a hearing date of August 30,2015.i went to hearing date the lawyer didn’t have all my medical records update the judge gave the lawyer more time to turn it in. It’s be al most three months I never heard anything an when I call the hearing office they say the decision has been made I don’t have to come back for another hearing I should receive something by November 25,2016 does this mean I’m approved

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Sheena,

      If you were told there was going to be a supplemental hearing and the hearing was cancelled, then the decision is likely to be an approval. On the other hand, if there was no reference at the first hearing or after to a second hearing, the decision could be either an approval or a denial.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Sheena

        I never received anything I call they say it’s still pending waiting on the judge to sign off it’s been almost 4 months now could it be approval

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Sheena,

          My prior opinion has not changed because the situation has not changed; it has just dragged on longer.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

          • Sheena Pinkins

            Thank you

            • Kay Derochie

              You are welcome, Sheena.

  • Marie2010

    Together me and my husband make 3,000.00 a month my son get Ssi how much will it be cut down to…he get 733

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Marie,

      I estimate that your child’s SSI will be reduced to $386.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • MH

    Hello Kay.

    I filed for SS over 13 weeks ago in Alabama. My rep was very pleasant in the beginning. She.kept me up to date with the process and was very helpful. She called 3 weeks after my records were forwarded for medical review and asked that I send records of all the prescriptions I have had filled in the last 12 months. We faxed those to her at 7:30 am the very next day and she confirmed she had received them. She suggested I call her two weeks from that Friday if there was no movement in the status online.

    The basis for my disability is I am fused C1-c2, c3- c4, c4-c5, c6-c7. The original fusion of C6-c7 failed one year later and they had to do another posterior fusion to correct it. I have almost no range of motion and pretty severe atrophy on the right side of my neck due to the inability to move my neck. I can’t sit for more than 45 minutes to an hour without laying down. My neck muscles just aren’t strong enough to hold my head up. I have nerve damage down right arm into my dominant hand to my index and middle fingers that is constant. My regular GP filled out the paperwork for a LTD policy I had then he retired. For a very short time an ER Dr. saw his patients and also filled out paperwork stating in her opinion I am unable to work. When his replacement was found, she also completed forms saying she agreed I am completely and totally disabled. I had an MRI and my surgeon reviewed it with me the day before my SS Examiner was going to submit my claim. His notes were very specific in that the nerve damage prevents me from using a mouse. He stated I can not sit or stand for more than 45 min at a time without being allowed to lay down for a minimum of 15 minutes. He addressed the medication side effects and also stated I was completely and totally disabled. With all of this evidence (4 doctors saying I can not work) 5 weeks after submitting the RX list to DDS I get a letter from my DDS Rep. saying I need to go for a consult with a physician.

    After a little over two weeks I attempted to call my rep at DDS (as she suggested) and she never returned my call. I left about one message a week for 3 weeks and still no call back.

    I am also treated by a local pain clinic and see the doctors there every 60 days. Their records indicate i am treated for Facet syndrome, cervical disc degeration, cervical radiculopathy, etc. The pain and meds make it impossible for me to continue my work as an accountant. I take 3200 mg of neurotin a day along with Norco 10 4 x a day. There are many other medications, but the Norco and Neurotin are the 2 that affect me the most . If I don’t take the meds I hurt so bad I can’t concentrate to do the work. If I do take the meds I am too foggy to do it. I worked for the same company for over 16 years. I left in January 2016 (6 months after returning from the last surgery).

    What should I know before I go see this Dr.? Should I take x-rays with me that show the fusions and metal? Should I take the 4 documents signed by the 4 local doctors that believe I am disabled? 2 of them have worked in this area for many many years and have very distinguished reputations in the community. I thought he might know them and knowing they consider me disabled might be beneficial.

    Thank you so much for your advice.

    • MH

      I neglected to mention the fusion at c5-c6. Sorry. So I am currently fused c1-c2, C3-C7.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear MH,

      In theory, the consulting physician should have received background information from your claim file, but if you want to take the x-ray reports and copy of the doctors statements with you to offer him, you can. If he says he does not want to see them or says he’s already seen them, don’t push the point. The main point of the examination is for him to exam you.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Rebekah

    Hello Kay,

    I filed a claim for PTSD back in May. When I spoke with my claim examiner on Monday he said my claim was being reviewed by a dds psychiatrist. While going thru my file the examiner noticed I had high blood pressure and asked why i didn’t add that to my claim. I didn’t think hypertension was a disability. He let me know he would put out a request to have my medical records sent to him. I got the impression that he had already decided my ptsd claim. Do you know if wanting my medical records for the hypertension a sign that his original decision is to deny me, but now may change his mind?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Rebekah,

      Your analysis of the situation seems quite possible. Hypertension most often is not disabling. Although a small percentage of people with hypertension are disabled from uncontrolled high blood pressure, usually it can be controlled.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Reyna

    Hi Kay,

    I applied for SSI in April for Bipolor, Depression snd Anxiety. I see a Licensed psychologist weekly for therapy and my PCP has me on depression/anti anxiety meds.

    My pdoc wrote up a very detailed report on the conditions he’s treating me for ( PSTD, Social Anxiety, Depression & Hallucinations) and how if affects my ability to work. I also had records from a therapist thst I wa seeing prior to my pdoc.

    When I called the DDS examiner ( who is slways nice & extremely helpful) he said

    ” You should be getting a letter with your appointment information for you CE exam. It was aporoved in the 16th do we scheduled your exam for October”

    Is there a reason my psychologists & and primary care physicians records werent enogh for a decision? Is this exam just a formality to deby me?

    Thanks!

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Reyna,

      You may have been asked to go to a consultative examination (CE) because a psychiatrist is not managing your care, or it may be that your records are enough to establish disability and the CE is to determine whether your illness makes you mentally incapable of managing your benefits so that your basic needs are met.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Janet

    Hi Kay, I asked you a question around 8-6-16. And I can’t find it? Thanks

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Janet,

      Here is the reply I posted to your question:

      If the supervisor did not say she would request the cat scan report, get a copy of the report and submit it yourself. If she said she would request it, wait a week from that call and check to see if it has been requested. If not, get the report and submit it. If you do not have a decision within thirty days of submission of the report, I suggest contacting your congressperson to see whether they will make an inquiry about your claim because it will have been pending eleven months by then. Make clear that this is an initial claim, not an appeal.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Janet

        Hi Kay, I posted a new question on Sept. 1rst and lost it again. Not sure where it went. Thanks

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Janet,

          Your question and my response were posted on September 5. You should be able to see them now.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

    • Julia Durand

      Kay I cannot find my post, not sure if it made it sorry for this approach. My question is; I applied for SSDI around Oct 4, 2016. I am 54 yrs old, former Manager/Director. I left my job after suffering from severe Anxiety and Depression. Medical history is well documented. I received the forms right away and made corrections in the local office. The Rep said he came out because he saw it was his client out there. Then when we corrected the online errors he said do you know how much you will receive? He said he would send it over that day. Finally I received the medical requests ad statements from 3rd party on Oct 21, 2016. The Mental evaluation letter said, we have enough information to make a decision once we receive this form back. I received the medical report from Kaiser today and will mail it tomorrow. Is this a good sign or standard processing time? I was always told it takes months to get a response. Thank you.

      • Kay Derochie

        Dear Julia,

        The processing of your claim is moving along well, but I don’t think any assumptions can be made about the decision. I believe that the letter, which probably came from your state’s Disability Determination Services, which is under contract with Social Security to make Social Security medical decisions, was just telling you that the requested form is the last evidence that is needed to proceed to a review and decision.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

        • Thank you, a Mental Consultation has been scheduled.

          • Kay Derochie

            You are welcome, Julia.

  • Sherri

    Hi Kay. Sorry but couldn’t find where to put my question. How you get this.I am a 50 yr old type 1 brittle diabetic. I have gotten denied and am in the reconsideration phase. I have type 1 diabetes, neuropathy, depression. As says you can’t get ss disability for diabetes. I truly don’t understand that. My blood sugars high and low affecting my work most days. I have a letter from my endocrinologist,sent 16 pages of my sugars that were downloaded from my pump. I don’t understand how they can deny Its not an over exaggeration. I have the proof. I have had diabetes for 40 yrs. I have an attorney I asked if my Asst manager at a state agency where I worked should write a letter about diabetes affecting my job? They said no ss wouldn’t look at it. Ugg what a mess

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Sherri,

      If you are working and performing Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) by earning $1,130 gross per month, you are not eligible for Social Security or Supplemental Security Income disability benefits. Also not everyone with diabetes is disabled. However, if you are not earning at SGA level, it is possible to be disabled due to diabetes or diabetes combined with other conditions. What you have to prove is that your health made you either stop work or drop your hours so that you are earning less than $1,130.

      In all due respect, I disagree with your attorney about submitting a statement from your manager that describes the performance problems you had at work, the average number of days of absence per month, the number of days you went home early, and any physical or mental symptoms she could SEE when you were on the job. Such a statement could help prove the effect your illness has on you. Social Security will consider the statement along with the rest of the evidence. You might also write a statement of the how you feel and what symptoms you experience when your glucose spikes or drops too low and connect those symptoms with inability to perform certain work duties and how frequent and how long those spikes and lows are.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Sherri

        Sorry Kay but I have a few more questions When I get the letter from my manager should I take it to the local ss or should I take to my lawyer ( which says that ss won’t even consider the letter)? Since its in the reconsideration phase can they fax the letter and my letter to them?
        Also should I contact my congressman? Is it helpful?
        Thanks
        Sherri

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Sherri,

          Contacting your congressman would likely not be appropriate at this point. I would again ask the attorney to submit the statements after you have them. If he says there’s no point but does not say not to, then send them to the claims examiner at the Disability Determination Services (DDS) reviewing your claim. You should be able to get the address and phone number of your DDS from your local office. Or, as you suggest, you could get the number for the correct DDS fax for your examiner and have them faxed.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

          • sherri patten

            Kay
            If I look on the online status for the decision for ss disability will it show favorable or not favorable? Also is it doctors that review my claim? I am in the reconsideration phase of this process. It is so much stress this waiting on this decision has on me which is not helping my diabetes at all.

            • Kay Derochie

              Dear Sherri,

              The amount of claim information available online while a claim is pending is limited. The medical decision will not show up online, just the payment amount and date once you have been approved and after the benefits have been calculated. If you are denied, usually estimated benefits show up again.

              Sincerely,
              Kay

  • Janet

    Hi Kay, I applied for disability on Oct.3rd 2015. It was for severe anxiety, depression and I also have multilevel degenerative disc disease. Which includes disc bulges and so on. I’m 60 years old and my previous job for the last 15 years was very physical. Lifting more than 50 lbs, bending and standing all day. I have not worked in 3 years because of the severe depression and anxiety. Also my back problems. I have yet to hear back on my initial claim. I call and try to talk to the woman working on my claim and leave messages but she never calls back. Well after leaving messages for 2 weeks I found that she has been out of the office and won’t be back till next week!! I talked to her supervisor one day because they had set me up for an xray and I had told the woman working on my claim 4 weeks prior that I just had a cat scan. So that cat scan was suppose to be requested 4 weeks earlier. I found out through medical records at the hospital that it was never requested! So her supervisor canceled the xray. I’m at the end of my rope! If she would have requested the cat scan when she said she would this could have been decided weeks ago.My anxiety has good from bad to terrible. I can’t get any answers. Why is it taking so long?? Thank you

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Janet,

      If the supervisor did not say she would request the cat scan report, get a copy of the report and submit it yourself. If she said she would request it, wait a week from that call and check to see if it has been requested. If not, get the report and submit it. If you do not have a decision within thirty days of submission of the report, I suggest contacting your congressperson to see whether they will make an inquiry about your claim because it will have been pending eleven months by then. Make clear that this is an initial claim, not an appeal.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Janet

        Thank you ,they have had the cat scan and also an MRI my doctor ordered for 2 weeks now. The problem is the woman that was working on my claim has been out of the office for the last two weeks and I don’t know if she’s even back yet today. So I guess all I can do is wait

      • Janet

        Hi Kay,
        I did as you suggested and contacted my congressman. He put in an inquiry. Today I talked to the office that was working on it, and they said do to the fact that that I contacted my Congressman, they quit working on it and sent it back to Georgia. It was in an office in Alabama. How can they do that?? They whole thing is putting me over the edge. First they do a lousy job processing my claim and then when you complain they stop!! What do I do now. Thank you

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Janet,

          Wait about two weeks from when they said that they transferred the file and ask your congressperson’s office to check with the Georgia payment center to be sure that the file was received and assigned to an authorizer. My guess is that they were not actually working on the claim or they wouldn’t have transferred it; rather it was likely waiting to be worked on.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

          • janet

            Thanks Kay,
            She said they were working on it but her supervisor was upset because I talked to my congressmen. I’m just sick. Why would they not have worked on it in eleven months?

            • Kay Derochie

              Dear Janet,

              I don’t know why your claim has taken such a long time, longer than most delayed claims; but in general the payment centers are understaffed and, therefore, backlogged.

              Sincerely,
              Kay

  • Joan

    My26 year old son is currently in an inpatient substance abuse facility. This is his second admission within the year as well as one detox admission. He has been evaluated at our local emergency room one 2 occasions due to his alcohol use. He has been treated on an outpatient basis. He is currently being treated for substance abuse alcohol is his drug of choice depression and anxiety related disorders namely ocd and bulemia. He remains resistant to long term treatment because he feels that he needs to work to support himself. Is he eligible for SSD based upon this information

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Joan,

      Social Security and Supplemental Security Income law prohibits payment of disability benefits due to drug or alcohol use. For your son to be eligible for benefits, he must prove that he is disabled from his mental health and cognitive abnormalities without taking into consideration any incapacitation occurring due to alcohol use. The effects of these conditions are often hard to separate. I suggest that he talk to his psychiatrist and/or therapist to get their opinions on whether he is unable to work during periods of sobriety.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Hi Kay its me again,
    I was wondering how long does it take to receive a decision once the judge makes a decision? I had a hearing on the 14th of June and was told the Judge made his decision on the 16th of June. I was told that the decision writer has finished the letter and its back with the Judge so he can review it for errors and sign off on it, do I have to wait another month or so before I get a decision or will it be quicker?
    I also am a Lil worried because the judge made his decision so fast could that be a good or bad thing?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Bulldog,

      A quick decision is not an indication or approval or denial. You are likely to get the letter in less than a month from when it was sent to the judge for review and signature.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Bulldog

        Hi Kay just wanted to let you know the decision was unfavorable call the local office and was told it was denied on July18th even though the hearing office told me the decision was made on June 16th and it was mailed out on the 15th of July. How can decision just be made on the 18th? Do the rep mean it was put in their system then?

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Bulldog,

          The letter has to be written after the judge renders the decision. Once the letter is written, it is reviewed by the judge for accuracy and signature. Probably June 16 was the date the judge made the decision and July 18 was the date the letter was signed off.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

    • Bulldog

      Unfortunately Kay I was denied again. Although all thing led to a favorable decision

      • Kay Derochie

        Dear Bulldog,

        If you honestly believe you are not able to hold down a job in any occupation, file an appeal. I suggest using an attorney experienced in Social Security appeals because the rules for what you can submit for an Appeals Council review are quite restricted.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

        • Chichi

          Son had Seizures since 1 speech problem writing problem writes backward behavior problem since he was 3 Have fluid around kidney with heart murmur Go to life help and speech therapy and writing twice a week. On depekene adderrall colondine meds.what are the chance of my child getting Sis and he have had A Iep done for school. He also will get 30 min of speech and hand writing therapy in School. He will have a teacher to help him while he in class. Will he get approve and how long will it take

          • Kay Derochie

            Dear Chichi,

            Your child has a good chance of being medically approved for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability. You can start the claim by calling Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 and requesting an SSI application appointment. When you apply, try to submit the IEP for school and any documentation of his limitations. Be sure to list all his medical providers and therapists and the teacher who assists him in class and their contact information.

            Sincerely,
            Kay

          • Chichi

            Thank u he was approve

            • Kay Derochie

              You are welcome, Chichi.

          • Chichi

            I have one last question I applied last year of June and was denied January 2016 but I appeal it do he get all his back pay from last year of June

            • Kay Derochie

              Dear Chichi,

              If approved, your child will receive benefits back to July 2015 unless you applied on June 1, in which case benefits will begin June 2015.

              Sincerely,
              Kay

          • Chichi

            So do they take off 5 months of back pay . And when will he receive his benefits …

            • Kay Derochie

              Dear Chichi,

              The first five months of disability are never paid. It can take a couple months or more for payment to start after medical approval.

              Sincerely,
              Kay

  • Aminah Majied

    How does Social Security handle the processing of two separate SSD claims for the same person with different medical claims on each application? With one claim submitted about 3-4 months from the other.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Aminah,

      If the first claim is still pending, Social Security will combine the claims and and consider all your medical conditions. However, if the second claim has not yet been filed, it should not be. Instead the new information about the new condition should be submitted to Social Security to have it added to the pending claim.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Lenny

        What happens if the second claim is filed, while the first claim is still pending? How will the second claim affect my pending claim?

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Lenny,

          If you are referring to the situation in your prior posts, the medical review for the second claim (SSI) will be joined with the first for a single decision.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • Dear kay my last day of work was January 1 2016. I applied for ssi and ssd may24 2016. Will i recieve back pay for eather?

    • Also Kay i have generalized anxiety major depression adhd in borderline personality disorder I called the 1-800 number yesterday and they told me that my claim was on The Fast Track can you tell me why I was placed on the fast track?

      • Kay Derochie

        Dear Karen,

        Fast Track is applied when it appears minimal additional medical information will be needed to make a decision.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Karen,

      Supplemental Security Income (SSI) would begin to accrue June 2016. Benefits for your SSD claim will begin to accrue July 2016 if Social Security establishes that you became disabled in January 2016.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Also kay i am not doing good financially no work since January 1 2016 is it possible to tell my claim examiner i may receive a eviction notice on my door this week ?i have not been approved yet

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Karen,

          You can file a dire need statement based on a pending eviction. The statment might slightly improve processing time.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

          • Thank you kay

            • Kay Derochie

              You are welcome, Karen.

          • Dear kay. I contacted the determination examiner this morning and he had told me that my claim has been sent back to my local social security office and he has cleared me medically I explained to him about my eviction notice and he said I hope this will help you you should receive your determination letter by Thursday I have cleared you medically could you tell me what he meant by this?

            • Kay Derochie

              Dear Karen,

              I think he was using “code” to say that you are medically approved. I think he is also suggesting that you could show the letter to your landlord and maybe the landlord would not evict you.

              Sincerely,
              Kay

  • Sandy Young

    Hello, hope you are doing well today. I’ve been a waitress all of my life. 4 yrs ago, I broke 2 bones in my back because of osteoporosis. I continued to work in excruciating pain. By May of 2015, my back was so bad that I couldn’t do my job performances, so my boss cut me down to 2 days a week. ( I was used to 40 hr work weeks). I ended up filing for disability in June of 2015 and was awarded it Nov. 2015. I only get $831.00 a month and I cannot live on that. My question is, is it possible to receive Supplemental Income on top of the Disability? If so, what is the process? Thank-you for your time, Sandy Young

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Sandy,

      Your Social Security is somewhat to high for the maximum Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefit, which is currently $733. A few states have SSI state supplements. You could call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 and ask whether your state has one and if so what is the income limit. If you are within the income limit, say that you want to apply for SSI state supplement and ask whehter in your state you apply at Social Security or with a state office.

      If you have not done so, contact your state or county Social Services to apply for SNAP (food stamps). You might also apply for government subsidized housing. One more idea is that some people take in a roommmate to split shelter costs.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Yes I worked for 33 years and I am now disabled. I do not make enough on my own to pay rent and other things. I would think working this long I would get more than this. People that have worked little or none get 733.00. I get 1170.00 now. But it was lower than that. I have a 23 year old son who the doctors have said in the past is ADD. He had problems in school with the teachers telling me he has a learning disability. I took him to a clinic some years back and they had him on adderall. He wanted to quit scholl so this is why I took him to the doctor and he has other issues too. This doctor told me he has a personality diorder. He has not work since graduation in 2012. I tried to get him some help at Alapoint for add and they said they could not help him. He was too old. They treat children only. I wanted to ask can he draw from my disability? Or is he too old? I do not know what to do with him. He stays in his room mostly. He only has like two friends he has known for a long time. He does engage with others much at all. And I tell him he needs to get a job and he just walks away and goes to his room. If you know of anything that I can do for him or if he can draw from my disability please let me know. I need help with this issue and do not know where to turn anymore. Thank you! Paula

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Paula,

          Your son can apply for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) based on his current cognitive and psychiatric condition. For the SSI claim, he will likely be sent to a mental health professional for assessment for the SSI claim. Your son may also qualify for Childhood Disability Benefits (CDB) on your earnings record based on becoming disabled before age twenty-two. However, because he has had limited medical or psychiatric attention, it may be a challenge to prove that he was disabled before age twenty-two. I suggest gathering all the written documentation you can get–report cards, individual education plans, anything from the school that would show learning or behavioral problems, and the records from the doctors who diagnosed ADD and personality disorder. These documents will help with the SSI claim also. You can make an appointment for him to file the claims by calling Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 to protect this month as his filing month even if it takes a little while to gather the information. When he files, ask for an activities of daily living form for you to fill out regarding how he spends his time and observations you have of his illness.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • Susan

    Hello Kay,

    I am 47 years old, and my medical condition started with a congenital birth defect that ultimately required a major exploratory abdominal surgery when I was five years old. That resulted in more than 700 internal sutures and subsequent adhesions that have hardened to “choke” the intestines in the 42 years since. I have had digestive problems since birth, and a few more childhood hospitalizations for them.

    The current situation started becoming untenable in 2006. Beginning that year and through to the present, I have required several week-long inpatient hospital stays (NG-tube drainage, catheterization, and IV narcotics) and innumerable episodes of being bedridden with horrific pain at home for several days most weeks (oral narcotics). I have been diagnosed with several different abdominal conditions and ileuses and have significant problems digesting food. I follow a strict medical diet that causes continuous problems like anemia and malnutrition.

    I was terminated from a full-time position in 2008 due to frequent hospitalizations and medical absences, and with no other viable option, became self-employed at that time. From 2008 through 2014, I maintained a moderate salary working odd hours whenever I was well. My condition deteriorated enough by late 2014 that I can no longer work enough to earn any significant income.

    In addition to the stomach issues, I have a seizure disorder that is still being investigated as potential MS and has caused severe enough hearing loss that, in 2012, the OVR deemed it a significant obstacle to employment.

    Documentation of all of this, including hospital records, graphic photos of things that happen at home, but are completely inappropriate and biohazards in a workplace, were provided to the SSDI examiner and CE doctor (who seemed to agree with diagnoses). My general practitioner who coordinates all of my specialist treatment also wrote a detailed letter outlining the diagnoses, symptoms, frequency and unpredictability of these episodes, and his emphatic opinion that there is no possible way that I am capable of maintaining any kind of work schedule at any job.

    I spoke with the SSA yesterday and was told that a determination was made April 11, and then it was pulled for quality review, which is still pending. They expect a determination by or before June 10. The problem is that we have to make some life-altering decisions regarding my husband’s career and our home by the end of May. Knowing this, our federal congressman is involved and is trying to advocate, but no one with the SSA would speak with his aide because of HIPAA.

    I know there is no way to predict whether or not I will be approved (first round) based on the information above, but is there enough provided that I can be cautiously optimistic about approval and hedging our bets on factoring SSDI into the decisions we have to make in the next few weeks?

    Thank you for your time.

    S.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Susan,

      As you describe your conditions and documentation, I’d say there is a good chance for approval. Fill out an authorization for Social Security to release information to your congressman’s office. Find out which regional office is doing the quality review and try to get contact information for it so your congressman’s office can contact the SSA component that has the file.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Vix Maren

    Hi Kay. I am awaiting my initial decision. I applied in January 2016 for anxiety, depression, and panic, and was sent to a physical CE on April 9 and a mental CE on April 28. I only recently realized that SSA did not have all of my medical records. My previous long-term treating psychiatrist retired in 2015, so I have had only been seeing my new psychiatrist for 9 months at the SSDI application date, and he is only doing meds management. However, I had extensive medical records from my previous psychiatrist from 2013-2015, including documents showing functional limitations and work restrictions. But, when SSA requested my medical records, they were only sent my current doctor’s 9 months of session notes. I JUST found this out, and had them fax all of it to my DDS examiner a few days ago. I also faxed him a letter apologizing and explaining what had happened and why he was just now getting these records. I’m worried that since I already had my CE’s, he may be too close to a decision and won’t want to have to “start over” with all of this new documentation, and will just go ahead with denying me. At what point does DDS cut off receipt of new information? The day before they make the decision? What about if it’s almost signed off as a denial and then all of this new stuff comes in. Would it depend on the particular DDS examiner? I’m worried I blew it for an initial approval. Thank you.

    • Vix Maren

      Sorry, a correction — I had only been seeing the new psychiatrist for 4 months, not 9.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Vix,

      All evidence received before the decision is finalized should be considered. What you suggested is possible, that an examiner might not want to start over and would succumb to that temptation; but that would not be the norm. You can call the examiner to confirm the records were received and ask whether they were received in time to be considered and whether the consulting psychiatrist will have to review the records and amend his or her report. If you are denied, request a copy of the claim file to see whether the earlier records were referenced in the decision memo. That will help you know how to form your appeal.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Vix Maren

        Kay, you are awesome. Thank you so much for replying.

        • Kay Derochie

          You are welcome, Vix.

          • Vix Maren

            Hi again. Just a follow up. I can’t get through to my DDS examiner but I did speak to a very nice woman at the SSA 800#, who told me that several faxes have been recently scanned into my claim file, including a 40-page fax from my doctor’s office. She said my claim is “still pending” so I am hopeful that maybe that indicates that the new medical documentation will get reviewed. Luckily I caught the error or I would have been heading for a certain initial denial. I mean I still might be, lol/nonlol, but at least they have everything scanned.

            • Kay Derochie

              Dear Vix,

              That’s good that you checked. If you are denied, ask for a copy of your claim file so you can see whether or not the additional records were considered and will know what points to address in the appeal.

              Sincerely,
              Kay

  • Felicia davis

    Hey I received a letter from ssa saying my daughter guardian was her payee so does that mean that she approved for ssi or does that mean she just filed a claim with ssa

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Felicia,

      Notification of payee usually indicates approval for benefits.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Kayla

    My name is Kayla and i was diagnosed with hyperthyroid back in 2009. I’ve been sick on and off for the past seven years with the disease. I’m a part time worker so I don’t make that much, and lately i’ve been getting more sick all the time more frequent doctors visits feeling depressed . I do work 36 hours a week, and i just feel sick more, and more.I filed for disability back in 2014 and was denied, and i just recently filed again today. I was wondering do you think I have a case.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Kayla,

      You do not say how much you are earning. If you are earning $1,130 before taxes, your claim will be denied. If you are earning less than that, whether or not you are approved will probably depend on how well your medical records are documented. Also, if depression is interfering with work, try to get a psychiatric work-up to submit for the claim. If you are missing a lot of work, I suggest that you submit proof from your employer of how many days a month you are missing.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Cathy

    Kay, my son attempted to file for SSDI on his own and has been turned down once. He is re-filing with the assistance of a company out of Washington state. He’s a juvenile diabetic with poor control, he has extreme low and high blood sugars several times a month, he’s also got physical problems probably as a result of his poor control. He filed for the diabetes and for arthritis in his shoulders and his second attempt is still in the works.

    The thing is, he also has legitimate mental problems. He was in special education classes in high school and was IQ tested there, they said his score was 70. He’s 40 now and has never been able to hold a job for longer than about a year. He’s attempted suicide a couple of times, he’s got anger issues, I could go on, unfortunately.

    I used to tell him to see if he could get some help and get on public assistance but he didn’t want to be “a bum”, his words. We were estranged for a few years and have just now got back in touch with each other. I believe he needs more assistance than an out-of-state company he found on the internet is going to give him. What should he do? His doctor told my son he wouldn’t fill out any papers for SSDI for his diabetes because diabetes isn’t a disability.

    Does the Social Security Office have any resources for learning disabled/mentally challenged people? Thank you.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Cathy,

      Poorly controlled diabetes with secondary conditions can be a disability. Your son can have the doctor’s office send his medical records to his representative. You can also give the representing firm the information about your son’s cognitive limitations and mental health issues. Try to get his school records, any individualized special education plans and IQ tests. The representing firm will likely not give you any information without your son’s written permission, but you can give them information.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Richard blakeman

    Don’t see my post either, my question was ,if my workers compensation payments just ended will my ssdi go up?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Richard,

      Your first post and my reply were posted under the article “Are Social Security Benefits Taxable.” The short version of my answer is that, yes, your Social Security will increase if it has been reduced for workers comp.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Good afternoon kay could you tell me how I post on here?

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Karen,

          Post your comment the same way you posted your question on how to post. (Comments sent to other visitors to the site are not posted, only questions to the moderator will appear after they have been answered.)

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • stephanie

    Hi,
    I have a question. I am already on disability (short-term) I wanted to know with my medical backround (I have had two brain surgeries and I have about seven cavernous malformations (angiomas) in my head). I would like to know if I could be put on long-term disability with my backround???

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Stephanie,

      It is possible that your might qualify for Social Security Disability, which requires that you be disabled for twelve months or longer. I suggest that you file an application now, which you are getting short-term disability (STD) so that you have some income while your Social Security claim is being processed.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Renee

    I posted a question and cannot find it on the site now.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Renee,

      Your post and my reply are under the article “Who Decides If I Am Disabled? under the Claim Process tab on the navigation bar at the top of this web page.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Bulldog

        I post a couple questions and I can’t find them anywhere as well for Bulldog

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Bulldog,

          Your posts and my answers are under the articles where you posted your questions. You will find them the article Who decides if I am disabled? If both my doctor and the Social Security disability doctors say I am unable to work, will I be approved?” under the Claims Process tab at the top of this webpage in the article My doctor says I am disabled, so why was I denied Social Security disability benefits?” under the Appeals tab.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • Becky Ferguson

    Hi Kay;

    My question is, I injured my lower back 3 years ago. I slipped and fell on ice while walking my dogs. I went to chiropractor and physical therapy for 6 months and no improvement so they sent me to see a neuro surgeon. He suggested first to go to a pain therapy clinic which I did for about 8 months. I had every test possible done on my back. They did the nerve end burning, several different steroid injections, drugs and nothing worked. The pain Dr. sent back to the surgeon and he said that surgery was needed. I went to Laser Spine first because I was afraid of having my back operated on. Well to make a long story short that did not work. So I went back and saw my back surgeon again and he did a discogram on me to make sure which disk was herniated. We found which one it was and decided to have the surgery done. Well we had it done and I was still having lots of pain in my lower back. So we went and did the trial spinal stimulator and it helped some, so we decided to put the permanent one in. Well it has helped some the pain is no longer a 8 or 9 on my good days, its more like a 7. My surgeon said that there is nothing else he could do and has put in my files that I could not have gainful employment since I can’t stand or sit for long period of times. My hearing is coming up soon and I was wondering if there is a chance that I would be denied for my benefits?

    Thank you Kay for your time,

    Becky

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Becky,

      I think you have a reasonable chance for approval if you have documented everything including submitting the records that show your neurosurgeon’s opinion about employability.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Pete g

    I was just approved for ssdi and I have 5 children and one of my children is disabled recieveing ssi my wife and I were wondering will my ssdi reduce our disabled under age child’s ssi

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Pete,

      Unless you have one of the very highest benefits possible or your wife and/or children also have income, with four non-disabled children, your monthly Social Security will not affect your child’s Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. You will, however, be required to apply for Social Security dependent benefits for your disabled child and all but $20 of that benefit will reduce his or her SSI.

      Your Social Security back pay, if any, may make your child ineligible for SSI in the month you receive it. Check with Social Security Administration to find out whether your Social Security back pay is excluded for nine months from counting as a resource in the same way your child’s unspent Social Security back pay will not count for nine months.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Tracy

    I have severe copd also have high blood pressure, migraines and am obese have had to stop working as I can not breath well enough to take calls in a customer service job. I have an appointment set for disability and wanted to know if there is anything else I should do before I go ? my doctor is not very helpful but I am set to see specialists for my medical issues

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Tracy,

      It might be helpful in filing your claim to read the articles under the SSD Basic Facts, Apply for SSD, and Claims Process tabs on the navigation bar at the top of each page on this website.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Susan

    I am on SSDI for about 4 yrs now, my circumstances have changed my health is decreasing but I have been in a relationship for over 20 yrs now and its come to an end. My domenistic partner wants me out and I have no down payment , no bank account with money in it since Ive been on Social Security and im over 60. What I make a month will not help me to afford to live on my own. I do not know what to do now . I own a car which I make payments on but that’s it. He owns his own house and I live in it. Any ideas? I need help

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Susan,

      Try to get on a waiting list for government subsidized housing; and, for the short term, possibly try to find a roommate to share costs or rent a room in a house or apartment. If you are not already receiving food stamps, file an application to see if you are eligible.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • david

    Dear kay,

    I recieved my full approval letter dated December 21st, i then followed that by setting up a direct deposit account through my bank to ssdi….I havent recieved my award letter yet…im curious to know the time line of my lump sum (which amounts to 22 months back pay) to my first monthly check recieved and if setting up the account helps? Thank you..

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear David,

      Setting up the account ensures that your benefits will arrive securely; it does not speed up payment. The monthly benefit will be paid first and then the back pay up to two months after the first monthly benefit, which can take a month or two to get paid.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Janet kirsling

    I posted and my comment is gone. Thank you

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Janet,

      Your question and my answer are posted under the article “Can Mental Illness Serve As a Basis for a Social Security Claim?” under the SSI tab on the navigation bar of this website.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • heather brown

    I posted and my post is gone

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Heather,

      Your post and my answer are posted under “How Do I Answer the Judge’s Questions at a Hearing?” under the “Hearings” tab on the navigation bar.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Mike

    I called milwaukee odar and the lady said a decision was made on my ssdi case. She said it was closed and sent to processing center, could u tell me what this means.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Mike,

      If your claim was sent to the payment center, it was medically approved and is being reviewed for payment calculation.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Roni

    Good morning. I have a question my husband has applied for disability he applied in March of 2015. he has not worked since September of 2014. He was let go from his job because he could not be released to do the work that he has worked 30 years doing. he had knee surgery that did not take and he cannot stand or sit or walk for long periods of time. he also has severe arthritis in both knees. The doctor told him he had to do Sedatary work. he has worked most of his adult life doing construction and concrete work which is no longer able to do. He is 53 years old and a high school graduate. We filled out all the paperwork we have an attorney and then last week he had a an evaluation with a doctor set up through Social Security. my question is is it probable that he will get turned down the first time. since he can no longer do his occupation and he is over 53 years old it looks like I’m reading that because of the fact that his knees are so bad he can’t walk or stand for long periods of time he cannot get on his knees to do concrete work that he may be approved right away. Can you tell me what the chances of that are and if the fact that he had to go to a consultation evaluation means that they did not get enough information.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Roni,

      It is possible that your husband could be approved given his narrow work history and because he is in his fifties. Usually consultative examination are ordered only when there is insufficient information in the submitted medical evidence to make a decision.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Roni

        Thank you! How long can we expect this to take?

        • Roni

          Also I if approved will he get back pay from when he had to stop working or when he filed?

          • Kay Derochie

            Dear Roni,

            This reply is to both your posts. New claim decisions typically take from two to five months. If your husband is approved for Social Security Disability (SSDI), benefits will begin to accrue the later of the sixth calendar month after the date his disability began or twelve months before the month of application. If he is approved for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits and meets all the financial requirements for each month, benefits will begin to accrue the month after the month of application unless he applied on the first of the month in which case benefits begin with the month of application.

            Sincerely,
            Kay

            Sincerely,
            Kay

    • I congestive heart failure copd high blood pressure acute depression and anxiety I mailed out my application for SSDI on July 14th 2015 and still have not heard anything yet been in the emergency room several times and call the claims adjuster to let him know of this matter did you know how much longer it’ll be before they make a decision about my claim

      • Kay Derochie

        Dear Klove,

        Claims decisions typically take from two to five months. You might ask the examiner whether there is anything you need to do to move the claim decision along.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

  • Candy L

    Hi Kay,

    I think I asked this question under the wrong heading. My husband applied for Disability in April 2015. I believe his case should be decided by now. The DDS examiner said that she had already written off on his case and it is being reviewed by the DDS doctor. My question is that if his psychiatrist says that he is unable to safely work in any occupational setting and even vocational rehabilitation, can they deny him? Please advise. He has a plethora of mental issues.

    Thank you for all you do!

    Candy L

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Candy,

      Please see my response to your first post.

      Thank you,
      Kay

  • Cindy

    I have fallen due to a company not marking a step and the ramp beyond. I went to a Neurologist who MMI me as having a permanent disability and he could not longer help me and referred me to a ENT. Vestibular Therapy did not work and I fell again at my PT office. Now the Neurologist is telling me to sue the PT people( I do have a law suit) But if he states that I am permanently disabled should I be able to collect disability form the state. I have not been released to drive since May 10, nor can I do my job before which was reading blue print and designing motorized shading system that interfaced with light and movie screens. My eyes get too confused, I have not memory, can not use cell phone because it’s too small. any suggestions.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Cindy,

      Whether or not you are eligible depends on whether there are other occupations that you can perform. I recommend that you file a Social Security disability application to find out whether you qualify. Ask your doctors to make written statements of your diagnosis, symptoms, limitations and restrictions and their opinion that your condition is permanent. Submit the statements with copies of the testing reports that support the diagnoses to support your claim.

      If you are denied, appeal using a Social Security attorney. You can reach a knowledgeable, experieced Social Security attorney by completing the online form on this page to request a free Benefits Evaluation from Disability Advisor. When you hire a Social Security attorney, you do not have to pay any legal fees up front and you will pay attorney fees only if you are approved for benefits. Social Security law sets the amount your attorney can charge and the Social Security Administration pays the attorney directly from the retroactive award at the time they send your back pay to you. So, it’s all very easy and risk-free.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Jacquie

    I am currently on short term disability and I applied for State Disability in April 2015. I have turned in all forms and also had my doctor complete a RFC form. I not only provided current medical records but I also turned in records from 2006 when I first started having issues after my surgeries. I did receive a letter from my DDS requesting I help the obtain medical records from my GI doctor and the surgeon I am currently seeing. I provided these on 7/2/15. What should I expect now?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Jacquie,

      If I understand correctly, your pending application is for state disability insurance (SDI), not Social Security Disability. If that is the case, I can’t provide assistance because I am not knowledgeable about the SDI claim process. If you expect to be disabled for twelve months and have not already done so, I recommend that you also apply for Social Security Disability (SSDI) now so that the claim can be processed while you still have disability income from another source.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Robin

    Hi Kay:
    It’s been exactly a one year, since appealing with the Appeals Council. My attorney filed a brief about 3 weeks ago, which the Appeals Council stated they wouldn’t do anything with my case. Allowing 25 days, for him to file the brief. Does this add more time onto the review? Also, when I check online for my status, it says it cannot give me any update at this time.
    Can you tell me the average wait time for this review and why the social security website, cannot give me an update?

    Thank you

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Robin,

      I suggest that you talk with your attorney about the time frame. I am not familiar with the submission of a brief after the Appeals Council has declined to review a claim.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Issiah Thomas

    Hi I’m am at the appeal stage in front of an alj
    I am wondering If I qualify for ssi benefits
    My audiogram testing states that I have a hearing loss of 100 db in both ears at all frequencies and the speech discrimination part says ” can not test ” so do I qualify or not because If I do I will definitely find a lawyer instead of wasting their time knowing I don’t…

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Issiah,

      I am not qualified to interpret whether your hearing tests show that you are disabled and cannot make the decision for you regarding whether to hire an attorney. I would have thought that if the test results showed you met the Social Security listings in SSA’s Blue Book that describe disability regardless of vocational background, you would already have been approved. Note that if you do not meet the listings, it is possible to be approved if you you can prove that you cannot perform past occupations because of your hearing and that do not have education and occupational background to perform other occupations, which is required if you are under age fifty and sometimes above that age depending on your past experience and education.

      The listings state the following:

      A.

      An average air conduction hearing threshold of 90 decibels or greater in the better ear and an average bone conduction hearing threshold of 60 decibels or greater in the better ear (see 2.00B2c).

      OR

      B. A word recognition score of 40 percent or less in the better ear determined using a standardized list of phonetically balanced monosyllabic words (see 2.00B2e).

      Note that if you do not meet these listings, it is possible to be approved if you you can prove that you can not perform past occupations because of your hearing and that do not have education and occupational background to perform other occupations, which is required if you are under age fifty and sometimes above that age depending on your past experience and education.

      You can read the listings in more detail at http://www.ssa.gov/disability/professionals/bluebook/2.00-SpecialSensesandSpeech-Adult.htm. Scroll down past visual impairments to hearing loss.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Duke

    Hi Kay

    So my case been going on bout 13 months now I’m in the reconsideration stage I have another exam to go to
    BT a few days ago I got a packet from social services about medicaid and they wants my Consent to send my information to SSA for ssi
    What this could mean

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Duke,

      It is a little confusing to receive both a request to attend an exam for your disability claim and a request to release information from social services to Social Security for SSI. To clarify the situation, you might contact the social services offices to find out what information Social Security is requesting and why.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Jeanie

    Thank you if the Dr I saw in Feb said he sees no reason for me to be denied.does that mean I will be approved?i had brain surgery for a tumor in July and have total hearing loss on left side,my left balance nerve is gone and have permanent facial and tounge paralysis.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Jeanie,

      The consultative examination physician’s remark is encouraging but not a guarantee of approval.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Jeanie

    Hello Kay
    I applied in July for SSD. I have seen the SS doctor in February. I talked to my case worker the 2nd week of March. She said she would put it through to determinenation dept. and it should not be much longer. How much longer before I hear anything? Thanks

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Jeanie,

      I cannot say how long the claims examiner meant when she said “not much longer,” but I will take a guess and say, perhaps a month for the medical decision to be completed. It will take an additional month or longer for payment to be calculated and paid.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Laura

    Hello,

    I have been out of work for a year and half. I have a plethora of medical issues. I was on short term but had issues obtaining LTD thru work because of preexisting. Last year, more out of sympathy, my father had me “house sit”. Basically, this was ideal, because I could lie down and when I was sick, there was a bathroom, would this affect my application for disability? Even though, essentially, there is no way I could find work that allowed me to throw up and take naps, etc. I did not do this for that long, as it became too much but I would really like to know if this is an issue. My previous position were upper lever professional.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Laura,

      To answer you question, please tell me how long you house sat and whether or not your father paid you. If he paid you, how much per month did you earn?

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • monica

    Thank you again so much for all your help. And have a Happy New Year’s

    • Kay Derochie

      You are welcome, Monica. Happy New Year to you, too.

  • monica

    I have just one more question when I see my benefit social security letter online from social securiry website stating that this is my officaial notice of benefits and the date I should receive my payments and it has my brother up top as my payee. Why dont I see my kids payments will it just go into his account along with mine? I am confused as to why I do not see how much they will be getting even though they said this when I went into the office should I call to make sure they will get theres?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Monica,

      There should be a separate notice of benefits for your children. Give it a couple weeks because the children’s claims are processed after yours.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • monica

    I have question I was approved for ssdi and went in for my interview and had to have a payee which is my brother and it was November 19 and still waiting on my backpayment they said they will sent a notice to payment center to see if they can speed it up. My question is I have state taxes but my brother pays them for me which is around 4,000 but they are not late and it is up to date my question is will they take this from my backpay even though it is not behind at all ?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Monica,

      Social Security benefits are not subject to levy for past-due state taxes.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • monica

        ok thanks due to I heard that if you owe any taxes they would hold up your check or take out and that is what I was wondering if that was the hold up on my check even though I am not behind my brother makes the monthly payments for me but thanks again for your response.

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Monica,

          State income taxes are not collected from Social Security benefits, only federal taxes.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • Mario Richardson

    Hello Kay, I have a phone interview tomorrow and I wanna know how long will it takes after that . When will my benefits start? I went to office last week and gave them all my udated info. (Address, kids Soc. Sec. #, bills amount, bank info, i mean everything they ask) Can you tell me what’s next after interview and how looong it will take?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Mario,

      It can take from a little over a week to a month or more for payment to be calculated and released. How long it takes depends on the complexity of your finances and the current workload in your local office.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • doreen

    I applied for ssi or my 8 y.o grandson …he has delayed learning he goes to speech and special ed. At school..hes also been diagnosed with adhd and has a eic .you wouldnt happen to know what are his chances of getting approved.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Doreen,

      I cannot predict whether your grandson will be approved. It will depend on how severely he is impaired in his daily life.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Monica

    Thank you so much for your help when I called back I got someone else and she said the lady was just rushing me off that I do not need to come in that is only if I was getting ssi and my earning were high enough that they I would not qualify for ssi again I do thank you for all your help and responding I am not sure what I would do If it was not for this great site.

    • Kay Derochie

      You are welcome, Monica.

  • Monica

    I am trying to find out if I am married and was approved for ssdi due to I have worked for over 20 years and I have an appointment to come in next week I called and got a lady that was hard to understand and she seemed upset saying I have to bring my husbands work statments and kids birth ceritificates so they can get paid my question is If I am going to recive ssdi why do I have to bring my husbands work payments and I thought that it goes by my income for ssdi for them so will they now lower the kids payments if it is due to his income even though I have worked and earned enough credits I guess I will call back and ask to speak to someone else due to it said nothing about that on paper

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Monica,

      Your husband’s earnings do not affect your Social Security Disability (SSDI) benefits. Social Security wants to see your husband’s work earnings to see if they are low enough that it would be advantageous for your husband to apply for young husband’s benefits, which would be paid in addition to your benefit. If he is eligible the total dependent benefits payable would be split among him and your children.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • hi
    i have submitted a disability claim and in a few days a decision will be made. I did not have to go to a ss doctor, so i am assuming my medical records were ok. My question is do i stand a chance of getting disability if my previous job were data entry and customer service. i submitted claim for diabetes and loss of vision.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Susie,

      Whether or not your claim will be approved depends on the severity of your medical conditions and the limitations they cause. If you have significant loss of vision and it is secondary to diabetes, your condition may be severe enough to be considered disabling.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Monica

    Thank you again so much for all of your help and this site

    • Kay Derochie

      You are welcome, Monica.

  • Monica

    I have another question I called today and was told that they approved my medical and it was at the review board to determine payment my question is that I really should of won at the hearing last year when I had a lawyer and this time I did it with my brothers help and this site he was looking at and won this without a lawyer but my question is that it should of been approved at the hearing last year and I took your advice when i did a new application this year and when I was denied I appealed the denial on the website and then I was approved my question is since I lost at the hearing they will not pay me back at that time of December of 2013 but will only go forward after this correct? due to nothing had changed my doctor also called in to them as well due to I am on 6 different medications and in and out of hospital but that was all the same when I went to the judge and he claimed that I could still work even though vocational judge said there was no jobs I could do with my condition. So sorry about this being so long so my question is they will only go forward after the judge decision?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Monica,

      Your claim will be paid based on your current application.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Monica

    Thank you so much Kay for your help and this site

    • Kay Derochie

      You are welcome, Monica.

  • Monica

    Can you please help me on what this mean when I was denied I applied this and I got a letter from the Senator from the SSA officials stating that My appeal was selected for quality review on September 17, 2014. The interim decision could be overtuned? I am not sure what this all means I am not sure due to my doctors have said my condition is not getting better and now I am on 6 medications which they added one more last month so this letter is so confusing and to what they are talking abou

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Monica,

      A small percentage of claims are selected for quality review to see that claim evaluation procedures are being followed. The letter is notifying you of the review and telling you that the medical decision (approval or denial) made by either the Disability Determination Services or the Judge is being reviewed and will not be finalized until the quality review finds the decision was correctly arrived at. This basically all comes down to your claim could be either approved or denied because no final decision has been made.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Mr. Perez

    Hello Kay, I went from reconsideration to a hearing in 4 months because my claimed was fast tracked. If I lose my hearing and I appeal to the Appeals Council, will they still fast track my case? The reason I was fast tract is because of my history of suicide attempts..
    And I live in fl and I haven’t heard anything about my hearing in 5 weeks, is this normal? Thanks Kay

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Mr. Perez,

      The Appeals Council does have an expedited process for some cases. When you appeal, indicate that your claim and hearing were expedited and why and request that the Appeals Council also be expedited.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Mr. Jones

    Kay, I’ve recently had my SSDI hearing but I feel it didn’t go well, and I’m going to be denied. If I decide not to go to the appeals council and reapply for Ssi or Ssdi can I use my submitted medical records with my new claim? Or do I have to get new medical evidence?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Mr. Jones,

      If you file a new claim, you must resubmit anything you want considered because your prior claim file will not be reviewed. You must claim a disability onset date after the date of the hearing denial letter.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Monica

    I am asking again for your advice due to in a recent post here dated July 20 when I stated a whole new application and my previous lawyer wants to represent me again due to said I have a strong case well when I went to do new application I made a mistake and put the date I became unable to work which was Oct 2011 and my hearing was dec 2013 and when I read your post you said to do date after my hearing with ALJ due to most likey they will deny it due to my hearing well after you said this I called within the 10 day time frame and even spoke with a supervisor and wrote her name down and she said I do not have to change date due to when they review they will go by new date after hearing well I got a decison today and they have down below how they made the decison and I see one it shows ALJ hearing documetn report received 12/27/2013 and my doctors which they said i cannot even work well I am asking what do I do next due to they even said they would not go by that date and they have well I will now also contact and rehire my lawyer will they also be able to fight that and to change date due to they told me and even supervise said so now if they keep denying and I go to court with another alj i am not sure if they will just refuse and see the old date . Please help so confused and to why they lied and now it is on paper

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Monica,

      Your idea of rehiring your attorney to help you address the date issue is a good one.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Monica

        Thank you so much they said they will take care of this

        • Kay Derochie

          You are welcome, Monica.

  • Amanda Enriquez

    I applied Dec 2013 and have not heard anything. I was taken off work by my doctor Sept 11, 2013 due to complications with HEP C.

    I know a few people who have been approved and a few who have been denied that applied after I did.

    I am 58 and have worked my whole life since 15 years of age until I was taken off work. Any idea when I can expect an answer?

    Thank you,
    Amanda Enriquez

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Amanda,

      Your claim has pended much longer than normal. I suggest that you call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 to be sure your claim is still pending and that a decision letter has not gone astray. If they say it is still pending, ask for the Disability Determination Services number if you don’t have it and talk with the claims examiner to find out if anything is needed from you, what still has to be done for them to render a decision and when could you expect a decision.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Concerned

    Kay, I went before the alj judge this week and I think my hearing didn’t go well. He kept focusing on my alcohol use and abuse of prescription drugs, benzos. He recognized that I had mental health issues such as: c-ptsd, MMD recurrent and border line personality disorders with paranoia. But, he kept focused on my alcohol use and pretty much nothing else. He also mentioned that I stopped being insured as of March 2014. My lawyer already was talking about going to the appeals council. She wants me to get a letter from my Dr. addressing my alcohol use, but this information was already in my medical records. So, my question is am I no longer insured for ssdi? And if I start a new application can I use my current medical records?
    Because when I initially applied I didn’t have all of my medical records as I did for my hearing. And the ME stated that my alcohol use was material to my conditions, although three others Dr.’s said that without my alcohol consumption I would still have these mental health conditions. All of my RFC’s were marked for working in public and interacting with co- workers. I don’t know whether or not to take it to the appeals council or file for a new claim. Please help me Kay.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Concerned,

      It is sometimes difficult to show that mental health issues that are independent of substance abuse and, as you know, benefits are not payable for disabilities caused by substance abuse. At this point you will just have to wait to see the outcome and, if you are denied, consult with your attorney about whether to appeal or file a new claim. Ask about the case he or she can make to the Appeals Council and what he or she thinks the chances are.

      If you file a new claim, you must claim a date of disability after the date of the judge’s decision. I suggest that you request your earnings statement to be sure that all your work in recent years is on record. If it on record and Social Security says you were last insured in March 2014, then the date is correct. This means that a new claim for Social Security would be denied because you would have to claim a date after you were last insured. If your income and assets are low enough, you could file a claim for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), which does not have a work credit retirement for citizens and some aliens.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Concerned

        Thank you, Kay…

        • Kay Derochie

          You are welcome, Concerned.

          • concerned

            Kay, One final last question for you. If the ME said that my alcohol use is material, although three of my doctors stated that it did exacerbate my mental health conditions, but they also stated that without the alcohol, I would still have my mental issues. Does that mean, that I didn’t meet the listings under SSA 12.00 mental disorders? Can the judge still consider my mental health issues although the ME stated that it was material? and by the way the VE stated that I could be a linen attendant, although, my prior jobs were classified as a skilled profession..Just wondering..Thank you in advance

            • Kay Derochie

              Dear Concerned,

              For you to be approved, your mental condition has to be disabling even if you weren’t making it worse with alcohol use. The medical examiner’s saying that your alcohol use was “material” to your limitations probably means that he thinks that if you abstained from alcohol you would not be disabled. The judge will make a decision about whose arguments are more strongly supported, those of you and your doctors or those of the examiner. With regard to your second question, you are not disabled if there are other occupations you can perform; the law does not factor in levels of professionalism or prestige.

              Sincerely,
              Kay

        • Concerned

          Kay, I understand your info, but all of my RFCs were marked all the way through by three doctors stating that I cannot function around people at all. Shouldn’t this hold weight on its own? How can I be a linen attendant when all of my RFC’s says that I don’t get along with people.. Just wondering. Thanks again, Kay….

          • Kay Derochie

            Dear Concerned,

            Without looking up linen attendant in the Dictionary of Occupational Titles, I don’t know the exact description of the occupation. If the occupation has minimal interaction with co-workers and customers, it could be appropriate for you. I suggest that you get a copy of your claim file, which should have a decision memo that includes a description of the occupation. Once you have the description, you can show it to your doctor to see if the doctor agrees you could do that kind of work.

            Sincerely,
            Kay

  • Bill Mitchell

    Dear Kay;

    I am a 62yo Respiratory Therapist, and have Profound Hearing Loss in oe ear, and Severe-Profound Loss in the other. I also have severe tinnitus, and have developed Vertigo attacks that have caused me to fall several times (rotational vertigo- aka Drop Attacks). I have done a lot of reading and researching and it seems as though the “Grid System” might work in my favor. I have just stopped working and am on FMLA as well as STD because of my hearing and vertigo attacks. Mine is a bit of an unusual case, in that the reason for me not continuing my work, is that it has become clinically unsafe for my patients (and a liability to me) to continue practicing. I can no longer hear well enough to differentiate types or locations of breath sounds (even through the use of my digital stethescope that has kept me compensating for years). I am also making errors when receiving orders from physicians (my speech recognition is zero in my deaf ear and about 50% in my better ear), and can no longer hear overhead paging alerts such as “Code Blue” etc, which is an essential part of my job since I work in a small hospital an am the only RT on duty when I worked. I have workd full time since I was 16yo so credits isnt an issue.

    Do you think i should file on my own without legal assistance ? Is there a place on the application for me to explain the unusual circumstances like my competence as a Clinical Practioner? It’s not that i am unable to do “any” work, but i can no longer do what i am trained and licensed for, and at my age and state of deafness, retraining seems out of reach.

    Appreciate your thoughts and/or suggestions. Thank you so much for having this wonderful site !! If I needed to hire an advocate… there is no where else I’d rather go than Disability Advisors.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Bill,

      You may be eligible for Social Security Disability. I recommend that you apply on your own. You can get tips for filing an application by reviewing the articles under the “Apply SSD” tab of http://www.disabilityadvisors.com. You can add information in the remarks section or say “see attached” and attach a statement with additional information. If you are denied, I recommend getting a copy of your claim file and getting a good Social Security attorney. You do not have to pay any legal fees up front and you will pay attorney fees only if you are approved for benefits. Social Security law sets the amount your attorney can charge and the Social Security Administration pays the attorney directly from your retroactive award at the time they send your back pay to you. So, it’s all very easy and risk-free.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Monica

    I have another question due to losing after the adminstrative law judge due to vocational expert even agreed that I could not do any of my jobs but like I said earlier that after my hearing the senator called and someone told my brother that most likey that pissed the judge off due to after trial my lawyer said it went super well that the only thing judge will do is go at a later date for my money. Well now they want me to still get them when I start my new application over due to they feel If i pursue and go higher it can take over 5 years and they feel like I have a strong case due to I stopped working i 2011 but have been seeing my doctors since 2009 and still go every 2 or 3 weeks and on 5 meds. They want to represent me again due to they feel I have a strong case what I am trying to see is it a good idea to get the same lawyer again?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Monica,

      Your current attorneys know your case well. The fact that they are eager to represent you in a new claim indicates that they think they can win for you, so based on the little bit of information you gave me, I see no reason to change attorneys.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

      • Monica

        Thanks again so much for your input here, I do not know what I would do without this site

        • Kay Derochie

          You are quite welcome, Monica.

  • Monica

    I just have another question due to I became disabled in 2011 and that is when I could no longer work but at my hearing I was denied in Dec 2013 so I am confused about the new filing date. Meaning when I went to apply new they ask what date you became disabled and I put 2011 so do I have to change it and put the date that I was denied in 2013 is that the date I use as becoming disabled? due to this is so confusing because it looks like that is when I became disabled and I have not worked since 2011. So what do I say if they ask why I have not worked since 2011 if I have to put the date I was denied which was 2013

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Monica,

      It is possible that your new claim will be denied because you are claiming the same thing for which you were denied previously including on appeal. The law does not allow for starting a new claim for the same denied issue. Usually such claims are denied res judicata, which means “already judged.” By claiming a date after the judge’s decision, you are claiming something different and a medical review will be conducted on the new claim.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

      • Monica

        Since you are refering to my date is it possible to be able to change it or if they deny me for this new application can I be able to change the date or will my lawyer be able to do If I made this error and need to put the new date

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Monica,

          I suggest that you ask your attorney what to do about having used the same disability date on your new application.

          Sincerely,

          Kay

  • Monica

    I am applying over again I have not worked since 2011 due to all my problems and have been seeing my doctors since 2009 and due to staying with my brother he was trying to speed things up and had a senator involved due to with this it took less than 5 months and when I went to hearing my doctors agreeded that I could not work and was on 4 medications and also the vocational expert at hearing said that I could do 2 jobs in economy but due to my condtions I could not even do those jobs and would be fired. Well after the hearing my lawyer said it looked great due to vocational expert said I could not do none of the jobs. Well he was suprised that I got a decision in December less than 2 weeks after trial and judge denied which from my brother talking to lawyers. They said it most likely pissed the judge off. So anyway they want to take my case again due to said I have a strong case and did not want to to appeal to federal due to said it could take over 5 years. So right now I am starting over again and not trying to have my brother to call the senator but it will most likely take a long time. When the senator was involved it took less than 5 months from start to hearing in front of judge. Is there anything I can do or say to my brother so it can speed things up without getting senator involved.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Monica,

      I don’t have any advice to offer you on speeding up your claim except to submit everything that is asked for quickly.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

      • Monica

        Thanks so you think that my brother should not contact the sentor again due to when he did it speeded up my claim but I have my doctors who I have been seeing since 2009 and still going to like every 2 or 3 weeks said I cannot even work and when I told one of my doctors about them deniying me she said that is the process but she said to give it time which that was in the beginning.

  • Susan Lyons

    Hello Kay, I’m hoping that your expertise can possibly shed some light for me. I applied for SSDI a few years ago, and after being denied at the hearing level in 2011, my attorney suggested that I “throw in the towel, and basically just give up!” I feel that my condition of extreme bipolar/anxiety was well supported and documented through my medical records. In the decision, the ALJ based his denial on the fact that back in 1995, I attempted suicide by means of a combination of alcohol, antidepressants, and cocaine. His claim was that my “alleged” diagnosed medical condition of bipolar/anxiety was actually caused by a substance abuse problem. He offered NOTHING to support proof of this absolute nonsense, other than my blood test results on that day, but come on Your Honor, THAT’S how I was trying to do myself in! Did you think to check my records for anytime I may have spent in drug rehabilitation? Or, how about my criminal record, any drug convictions or DUI’s? How about my driving record as well?
    “Please Kay,” help me understand how this man has the legal right to slap a label on me without ANY grounds of validity, and deprive me of my rights as an American! Did he ever consider that the exact OPPOSITE of what he believed to be true was ACTUALLY truth itself? Who is he to pass judgement so quickly on me, A STRANGER! He has absolutely NO clue who I am or what my life is about. So basically, ANYONE that EVER is found with drugs/alcohol in their blood, is AUTOMATICALLY an addict or alcoholic, and is stripped of ALL RIGHTS AS AN AMERICAN? I thought this was America, not MOSCOW!
    So help me Kay, is it even worth reapplying, or was that attorney right? Thanks so much for your time and wisdom…..
    Susan Lyons

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Susan,

      The law says that no benefits are payable for an individual whose disability is caused by the use of alcohol or drugs (whether or not an alcoholic or addict). If you reapply, you should submit all the evidence that you can to show you had no history of alcohol or cocaine use or use of non-prescribed drugs except in the suicide attempt. You cannot appeal the prior denial, but you could apply claiming a date later than the 2011 hearing denial letter.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  • tim

    Hi, I started an online application for disability 3 months ago .i saved it an i finally finished it an submitted it jun 2 2014, however prior to me actually submitting it on june 2nd , i had received a letter asking me for work history medical release form. that was weird to me. ok so submitted claim june 2nd 1 week after i received another letter with 2 appointments to see a doctor n another for a psychologist ,ive already seen them .been 2 weeks now.

    ok for my question how this all happened an i still havent recieved one phone call to go into my local ssa office for an interview. im confused..

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Tim,

      Sometimes the initial application can be done completely online and by mail. Your claim has been forwarded to the Disability Determination Services for a disability review. Part of your review can be to gather more information from consultative examinations. Be sure to acknowledge the examination appointments and attend them.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

      S

  • Eddie

    Dear Kay,
    I had my hearing before the judge back on February 20. It’s been over 3.5 months, but I still haven’t heard anything. When I call the call center, I get slightly varying answers: some wll say it was assigned to a “writer”, some say assigned to an “underwriter” back on April 18 (which is the 60 day mark). They all say that it is still “pending”, with no decision yet made.
    What do you think is going on here? Thanks.
    Regards.
    Eddie

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Eddie,

      Are you calling more than one office. If you are calling both the hearing office and the Social Security call center at 800-772-1213, you could get different answers. I would depend on what the hearing office is telling you because they track the progress of the hearing decision internally.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  • Eddie

    Dear Kay:

    I had my disability hearing before the ALJ back in late February. It’s been over 3 months now, and I still haven’t heard anything, one way or the other. I call the call center (800-772-1213) to see if they have any information on my case, and each time I call I get a slightly different answer: It was assigned to an underwriter in April (around the 60 day mark); it is “pending”, with no decision yet made; or it is waiting for a “writer”; etc.
    What do you make of this?
    Thank you,
    Eddie

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Eddie,

      It sounds as if the judge has made the decision and your claim is in the letter writing department waiting its turn for the letter to be drafted. After it is drafted, it goes back to the judge, who checks it for accuracy. If it’s all correct, the letter goes out to you.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  • kay evans

    dear kay, I spoke to worker this morning ans she said decision was made on husbands case and hopefully it will be sent on to ss. is that good sign?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Kay,

      From the word “hopefully” it sounds as if the person you spoke to was looking at a computer tracking screen and that she did not know whether the claim had been approved or denied.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  • John Jackson

    I applyed for social security disability 4 months ago how long does it take to make a decsion? And is there time limtation that they must respond to your request.
    Thank U.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear John,

      New claims can take two to five months or longer to process. There are guidelines for processing, but no hard limit because the information has to be gathered and analyzed to reach a decision after your claim has waited its turn to be reviewed.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  • Amy

    Hi Ms Kay, I have another question I was told that my back pay was issued out on April 28th 2014, well it’s April 30th and there is still no money in my account it is going direct deposit, is this normal for a direct deposit to take that long to show up, I called and was told it could take 3 to 5 days, I was just wondering if again that it’s possible to take that long, Thank you, Amy

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Amy,

      Yes, it can take three to five days for direct deposit of Social Security to pass through the banking system.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  • Renee

    I have filled for disability in Jan 2014, I was sent a letter asking me to fill out my job history, and the adult questioner I did so the other day I received a phone call from one of the ladies working on my claim and she told me my work had said 60% so that proved they made special exceptions on my claim she asked me to prove that I paid co pays and RX cost from 2010 forward she said she was trying to go back a year back pay. I asked her if that means I will be approved she said I can not tell you that ( I kinda knew that ) I am 59 years old with less than hs education and have fibromyalgia, ibs along with arthritis, does this sound like a good sign and i may get approved or just wishful thinking?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Renee,

      If you applied for Social Security Disability (SSDI) and have been off work for quite a few years, you may have to prove disability a year ago in order to still be insured and approved. If, on the other hand, you are still insured for benefits, then I would say that the examiner has probably determined you are eligible and is just trying to decide whether she can approve you with an earlier start date of your disability.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

      • Renee

        Hi Kay,
        Well the office called me back and went over the proof I sent them she was able to use some of it and I asked her when she thought my case would be decided and she said that they may be waiting for her portion of the process. She sounded like they will be able to go back a little while I gave her 2009 to present information proving my copays. I know someone else is handling the medical portion. This is the third call I have received from SS is this normal, do you think it is good or just another step. I see alot of people do not hear anything and I have had three calls… thanks would appreciate your input is this normal? I know that saying my work confirmed they gave special exceptions to me appeared to be good from talking to her but just do not want to count my chickens before they hatch … If I need to appeal how long does that process take do you know?

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Renee,

          Each examiner has his or her own approach to reviewing cases. Some use the phone more than others. The review of your claim seems to be thorough, which is good. If you are denied, it is important to make a strong and complete appeal on the first try (the request for Reconsideration). If you are not approved at the first appeal level, which can take two to five months, and have to request a hearing it can take a year or more to get a hearing date and longer to get a decision.

          Obtain an experienced Social Security attorney. You do not have to pay any legal fees up front and you will pay attorney fees only if you are approved for benefits. Social Security law sets the amount your attorney can charge and the Social Security Administration pays the attorney directly from your retroactive award at the time they send your back pay to you. So, it’s all very easy and risk-free.

          Sincerely,

          Kay

          • Renee

            Hi Kay, today I was told that my case has been sent to quality control (decision in my favor) They said i should receive a letter no later than August 17th (another lady told me 30 days). My question is does the quality control dept change the decision made by the adjuster- is this a common thing that happens.

            Thanks for your help

            • Kay Derochie

              Dear Renee,

              The quality control reviewer would reverse the favorable decision only if an error was made.

              Sincerely,

              Kay

  • Brian

    Hi Kay, first I want to say thanks for all you do here, the time & effort you put in, is amazing.
    My question- I applied for ssdi 12/13/13, got a letter a couple weeks later with a big long form to fill out & return, which I did. Now for the past couple months I’d heard nothing at all, by mail or phone. So today 3-4-14 I called the SS 800# and spoke to whoever answered. I said, I’m just checking on a status update on my claim. The lady said, ‘you haven’t gotten a letter yet?’. I said no. She said ‘oh, well are you ready for some good news-you’ve been approved, your first payment should be in May, for the month of April. You should be getting a decision letter anytime now.
    That’s great news and all Kay, but I thought a rep on the 800# never tells a person of a decision over the phone?
    Did I just get lucky?
    Thank you for your time

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Brian,

      The representative could give you information about the decision on your claim because it has been completed processed including the calculation of benefits. Because work was done on the claim and a letter sent, she could tell you.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  • Martin

    Can someone tell me what to do if my attorney has had my case for over 5 yrs now and still denied and doctors will not release me to go back to work? and now the attorney is or was being investigated for fraud….don’t think I have had a fair look at my case.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Martin,

      You do not say whether your claim is still pending in appeal or not. If it is still pending, you have the right to change attorneys at any time. Your new attorney could review your claim file to see if something else should be done to represent your claim.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  • I am a 61 yr old female with both RA and Osteoarthritis, High blood pressure, and anxiety disorder. I had my ALJ hearing on Dec 13, 2013. Have not heard a response, although hearing went well. Judge was both thorough and fair. I answered all questions honestly. VE stated that due to the fact that I must lie down and rest during a normal work day, there would be no jobs available. Is this a good indication of approval? If so, how long should I anticipate waiting for decision?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Jean,

      The judge evaluates two things: are you as disabled and limited as you claim and, if so, can you work. If the judge finds that the evidence supports your need to lie down midday, then the vocational expert’s testimony would be positive for approval. How long it will take to get a decision depends a great deal on the judge’s and the hearing office’s workload at the moment. The guideline is sixty days, but that time frame is frequently exceeded.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  • John

    I was awarded…thank you

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear John,

      I am glad to hear it. Hopefully, you will be able to get medical insurance lined up now.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  • John

    I may have posted this to the wrong area because it didn’t get a reply.

    I called SS and asked if there was anything else they needed and the agent said that DDS had closed the case on 1/22/14 and I would be receiving a letter. I was wondering if this meant a denial since they said closed case? Also how long I could except to have wait. I saw my Doctor yesterday and he called and asked a social worker to call me to see if I can get some help for the medical tests and procedures. I have relapsed and need some tests he said Imeidiatly. However I have applied twice for the affordable care act and been denied they refer me to medicaid but I live in a state that refused to expand medicaid under ACA so the only way for an adult male without dependent children to get medicaid in my state is to be deemed disabled and receiving some form of disability. I am scared because i cannot get testing and treatment and am just wondering if you an an idea how long it might take to receive that letter. Also should I call my local SS office and see if they can tell me anything I don’t want them to think I am bugging them. Thank You John.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear John,

      Please see my response of yesterday. You may or may not have been approved. Hopefully, your letter will arrive soon.

      Kay

  • daniel

    asking this for a friend she cannot type her father died when she was 4 and he worked basically most of his life and was insured then she got into a near fatal car wreck at the age of 17 she is currently disabled she is getting ssi survivors and also ssi disability she’s wondering how long will she get SsI survivors for? her disabilty is permanent . thank you

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Daniel,

      Your friend’s Social Security survivor’s benefits will continue as long as she continues to be disabled and is single. If she marries, survivor benefits will stop, with one exception. Benefits will continue if she marries a person who is also receiving disabled adult child’s benefits.

      Best regards,

      Kay

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