How should I answer the judge’s questions at a Social Security Disability hearing?

By / March 3, 2016 / Social Security Disability Hearings / 455 Comments

Get tips on how to answer the judge’s questions at your Social Security Disability hearing and learn the most important hearing tip of all.

How to Answer Hearing Questions
If you have an attorney who is representing you at your Social Security Disability hearing, your attorney will present your case. Even so, the Administrative Law Judge will ask questions that he or she will want you to answer yourself.

Here are some “do’s:” The best way to answer questions at a hearing is to answer honestly and completely. At the same time, it’s important to limit your answer to the specific question that has been asked without adding information about related or unrelated topics. Third, listen carefully to the question and if you don’t understand it, ask to have it explained by saying, “I am not sure I understand what you are asking.” Similarly, if you have a lapse in attention, do ask to have the question, or anything else you missed, repeated.

And now, here are some “don’ts:” Be careful not to exaggerate your problems and avoid using generalities like “all the time”, “always,” and “never” unless they are really true. It helps to think about whether your symptoms are really most of the time or two to three times a day, rather than always. Similarly, avoid saying that your health or functioning has not improved at all when it has improved. You can always qualify your statement by saying the improvement is not enough to work or work regularly. Another pitfall at a hearing occurs when, without thinking, you turn your desire to work into a statement, such as “I think I could work if could find the right job,” which may give an incorrect impression of your ability to consistently perform work day in and day out.

Our Best Tip for Your Social Security Disability Hearing
These are all good tips, but the best tip is to have a Social Security lawyer represent you at your Social Security Disability hearing. Your attorney will prepare you for the hearing, including coaching you in best practices for answering questions, alerting you to questions that are likely to be asked so that you can think about them in advance, and advising you of court protocol. For more information about disability hearings, review our other hearing articles, including What is a Social Security Disability Hearing and What Can I Expect When I Request a Disability Hearing? Learn how you can afford an attorney to help you by checking out our article How Do Social Security Disability Attorneys Get Paid for Representing You in Your Disability Claim?

How should I answer the judge’s questions at a Social Security Disability hearing?
3 (60%) 7 votes

  • Dear Robert,

    You have already had your hearing so my input isn’t really helpful, but I will say that your wife’s professional background probably would not have any bearing on your claim, which is based on your health and your work history.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Lance,

    As you describe your challenges on the job and your condition, it would appear you have a reasonable chance for approval. Also, an attorney would not have taken your case if he did not think you had a chance for approval. Assignment of hearing dates are not driven by potential for approval or denial; you may have gotten your hearing date quicker because your area of the country is not as backlogged with cases.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • You are welcome, Becky.

  • Dear Becky,

    The claim should be in decision writing only if the judge has made a decision. A quick decision is not a sign of either approval or denial. It is possible that the appeal was fast-tracked because that hearing office has some inside procedure that fast-tracks appeals with certain characteristics. Or maybe the judge is just efficient.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Becky,

    Typically the judge will ask the hypothetical questions. The first question to the vocational expert (VE) is to find out what jobs you could do if you did not have health issues. The hypothetical questions are to ask could you do those jobs with certain medical limitations. The reason the questions are hypothetical is to make clear the judge may or may not accept the limitations as supported by the evidence.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Becky,

    “Off task” means that the person cannot stay on task (doing the job at hand) either mentally or physically by getting distracted or not following through. I would think that being off-task 15% of the time would not be acceptable; however, I don’t have any specific source reference to back that up.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Becky,

    I would say that the judge was very open to your claims of limitations and that is good. The judge may also think it isn’t reasonable that you could do housekeeping with one arm that is very limited. Also it sounds as if your attorney did a good job of helping you present your case. Overall, I’d say that you have a reasonable chance of approval; but, of course, you won’t know until you actually get the decision.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Lauren,

    The judge is not bound to accept the vocational expert’s opinion as the sole basis for approval; however, it would see that the judge overlooked or ignored part of the testimony. That should be good grounds for appeal. I assume that your attorney will be getting the hearing transcript so that he can be specific about the errors made. The Appeals Council only occasionally just approves a claim on appeal. It is more common if they find procedures were not followed to remand (send back) the claim to the judge for more investigation, which will often include a second hearing.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • You are welcome, Darrell.

  • Dear Darrell,

    I can’t give you a time estimate for pre-hearing preparation in your area now that it is actually actively being worked on. I can share that the hearing date is usually scheduled less than a month before the actual hearing date.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Benita,

    The key question is how much are you are able to work. The judge has to decide whether your testimony and job-search activity indicate you can perform substantial gainful activity (SGA), which is usually defined as the ability to earn $1,170 gross wages a month. If you made clear that you are looking for part-time work and that you cannot work full time, then looking for work may not have a negative impact on your claim.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Dennis,

    On the contrary, the brief hearing should mean your claim is being approved. If it is not, you may have grounds for an appeal because the judge did not get vocational testimony regarding your ability to work with your claimed symptoms and limitations. If you are denied and wish to appeal, I recommend that you request a copy of your claim file and the hearing transcript and that you hire an experienced Social Security attorney.

    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 the attorney can charge and the Social Security Administration pays the attorney directly from your back pay.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Maria Lawrence

    I agree with Cheryl Ryan. It’s also ridiculous that the speed of your claim depends on where you live in the US, not just the state but the region within the state. For example, Fayetteville NC is my region. It can take 19 months or more for the hearing, because, as I was told by an attorney, SSA has a hard time find ALJ’s that will work in Fayetteville. What?! That’s for SSDI, not SSI. Here are a few scenarios I’m aware of from people I know.
    1. In NC: A neighbor friend with severe health issues applied for SSI and it took over 3 years for her to be approved. She had help from an attorney who works through our local hospital.
    2. In NC: A friend of mine had AIDS and terminal cancer. He had many years of income and applied for SSDI. He had an attorney. It took over 2 years for his case to be approved! He was approved a couple of months before he died and finally had the funds for much needed medications. Can you imagine? Cancer etc. and no money for pain meds alone? He spent his last months paying back his friends and neighbors. He had no family and had it not been for the kindness of friends and neighbors who helped financially, he would’ve been homeless for those two years. Since he was dying when he applied, he should’ve been approved immediately.
    3. In Indiana, a friend applied for SSDI. She had a medical condition that is not life threatening but still couldn’t work. She had an attorney. Her benefits were approved in about a year and a half. Something is seriously with the SSA Disability system.

  • Dear Wooly,

    Being involved in a Ticket to Work program usually requires that you be working towards increasing your earnings and eventually working enough to no longer receive benefits. If you used six months of a Trial Work Period (TWP), you currently have three months left. However, currently earnings below $840 gross do not count as TWP months. If your earnings remain below that amount, you will never use the remaining TWP or enter into an Extended Period of Eligibility (EPE) during which benefits are payable only if your earnings are below $1,170.

    Given that you have had one continuing disability review (CDR) and benefits continued, it is likely that your benefits will continue with the level of work you plan because benefits would not terminate due to work and because they will not be medically terminated if your health does not improve. This means you may not need to enter the Ticket to Work program.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Lori E Esper

    Can an ALJ ask me to give up some of my backpay in order to approve my case. Is that even legal>

    • Dear Lori,

      Yes, it is legal for a judge to ask you whether you want to accept a determination that your that your disability began later than you claimed, which in turn results in less or no back pay.
      The judge will offer you this option either your medical records were not sufficient to prove the earlier date or the later date coincides with when you turned either age fifty or age fifty-five, at which times the rules for evaluating whether you can work in a new occupation change and it becomes easier to qualify.

      You have a choice of accepting the later date and being approved or refusing the later date and having the claim denied or partially approved with the later date. If you refuse the later date, you will have to appeal the denial or partially favorable decision to get try to get approved with the earlier date.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Dear Parish,

    If the judge accepts that you have the medical conditions, limitations, and restrictions you have claimed, based on the information you have provided I would say that your claim will be approved. However, if you have an attorney, I recommend consulting with your attorney to see if he or she has the same interpretation and to inquire whether he or she recommends any response to the vocational expert’s report.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

    • parishenderson318

      Thank you so much

  • Dear Antoinette,

    As you describe your medical conditions and your hearing, I would say there is a good chance of approval. The judge should not disregard the vocational expert’s testimony but he does need to determine that the information in your claim file including the hearing testimony supports the limitations that you claim and that the vocational expert considered in her testimony.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • You are welcome, Veronica.

  • Dear Veronica,

    Administrative work must be done after a medical decision. This is true whether the decision is an approval or a denial.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Veronica,

    Please see my reply to your other posting of this question.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Veronica,

    If it says a review for processing accuracy, it means your claim was selected for a quality assurance review to see that the decision was arrived at using the correct documentation and evaluation procedures.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Shakira,

    Being “at risk for ADHD” is not the same as having it, so probably for your daugher to be considered disabled, her respiratory issues would have to be severe enough to infer significantly with her daily activities so that she cannot function in the normal range for a three-year old.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Chris,

    As you describe your condition, treatment, and work history, I would agree with your attorney that you have a good chance of approval.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Antoinette,

    Just globally, as you describe your conditions and the hearing, I would expect your appeal to be approved and your benefits reinstated. Regarding your specific questions, the judge is to consider all the information in your claim file as well as the testimony at the hearing. The judge should accept the testimony of the vocational expert (VE) unless he has a specific reason for questioning it. He does need to find that the information provided in your claim file and at the hearing supports the limitations cited in the hypothetical questions to the VE. If he does, your claim should be approved. Not that I think it is necessarily needed, but you could share your concerns about your testimony with your attorney to see whether he thinks you can and should submit a post-hearing statement to supplement your testimony.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • You are welcome, Joann.

  • Dear Joann,

    Please see my reply to your first post.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Joann,

    Whether or not you are disabled as defined by Social Security law depends on whether or not you are able to work in an occupation that does not require you to be on your feet much. When deciding this, Social Security considers your past work history and your age.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Joann,

    I think you are asking about the status of your claim. All claims that pass an initial screening for non-medical eligibility factors undergo a review of the medical and vocational information and evidence that is submitted for the claim. This review is done by the Disability Determination Services (DDS) of your state, which is hired by the Social Security Administration. Your claim status is telling you that your claim is at the DDS and undergoing review or waiting its turn to be reviewed.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Shakira,

    If your child is approved for benefits, it would likely have to be related to her respiratory issues because being at risk for something is not the same as having it.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Chris,

    If the medications you are taking do not improve your functioning enough for you to be able to hold a job, you will be approved for benefits.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Bunny,

    Vocational testimony is always given weight in evaluating a claim, but it is not the only factor considered. If you cannot return to past occupations, your past work history and, of course, your physical limitation are considered in determining whether you can work in a new occupation; your age is also considered.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Eldah,

    If you have been having medical treatment for your PTSD and it is documented as being severe, you may qualify for benefits. I suggest that you talk with your attorney and ask whether it would help your case to submit the police reports to prove the provoking incident.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Marie,

    I have insufficient information to offer an opinion on the outcome of your hearing. Your doctor’s letter could be helpful to your claim if it is very specific as to why you cannot work and how the doctor arrived at that conclusion (what tests or clinical findings support his opinion).

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Andy,

    I am responding to your three comments posted on the same day.

    Social Security dependent benefits for children under age eighteen are paid based on the child being a minor. When he or she turns eighteen, to have the benefits continued or started at a later date, he or she must be disabled and most have become disabled before age twenty-two. The childhood disability benefits (CDB) I referred to use to be called Disabled Adult Child benefits. To become eligible for these benefits at an older age, it is necessary to prove disability before age twenty-two and that the disability has continued to present.

    My reference to being switched from childhood disability to adult disability applies only to the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program, not to Social Security dependent or survivor benefits.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • You are welcome.

  • Dear Hcppam,

    The judge may have not have questioned the vocational expert because he plans to approve your claim based on the severity of your condition and your age and education.. If he consults with the expert after the hearing, he has to send the question and reply to your attorney for review and potential response. If your claim is denied without vocational input, it may be grounds for appeal.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Andy,

    Children’s dependent benefits paid under a parent’s earnings record are paid based on age, not disability. You may have also gotten Supplemental Security Income (SSI) childhood disability benefits. The criteria for SSI disability benefits for children and adult SSI disability and Social Security childhood disability benefits (CDB) on your father’s record are different from the childhood criteria. The notice you received indicates that you met both the children’s and the adult criteria.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Christoher,

    If the judge finds that you are disabled due to the one disability that the vocational expert says would keep you from working without consideration of the other two conditions, your claim could be approved.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Jessica,

    I think that you have a reasonable chance for approval.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Jessica,

    Start out by telling the judge that you are afraid that you will not tell him or her everything that is important because you forget things since you had ECT treatments recently. Then do the best you can to answer questions; if you can remember, say so.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Dellaann,

    Your attorney needs to review the vocational interrogatory to see if he agrees with the new evidence, which was likely requested after the judge got some clarifications from the post-hearing medical review. If the attorney finds anything that needs to be refuted or corrected, it needs to be done by the 30th. Otherwise, the judge will take non-reply as agreement with the additional vocational testimony. I suggest you call the office and try to get through to the attorney especially if there is anything in the report that you disagree with.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Tim,

    I would think that the medical documentation and the vocational expert’s testimony would be more important than the questions he asked about your activities of daily living. While it would perhaps have been better to be more forthcoming with an answer, you did respond and apparently your attorney is not concerned by your response, so probably you shouldn’t be either.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Tim,

    By now you have had your hearing. If you already submitted proof of your history of kidney failure, the judge will consider that information in your claim file along with the testimony at the hearing.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Lisa,

    If the judge finds that your claim file supports you have the limitations that you are claiming, your claim will be approved based on the vocational expert’s testimony that a person with your limitations would not be able to perform the occupation.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • I really like your tip about having a social security lawyer represent you at the hearing. My brother is going to be going to one of those in the next few weeks and I think that having someone there to walk him through the process would be really helpful. I’ll have to pass this information on to him to see if it can help him prepare, thank you for sharing!

    • Kay Derochie

      You are welcome, Danni.

  • Eugene

    Kay, Thank you for providing this service. I had my hearing today, (long story short) the ALJ asked 1 hypothetical question to the VE which the answer was “no”. Overall the hearing when extremely well. I and my attorney are “cautiously optimistic” about a favorable out come. Thank you again. I learned a lot from reading your articles and posts.

    • Kay Derochie

      You are welcome, Eugene.

  • Clay

    Hello, I had my hearing Nov. 22nd. Hearing seemed to be good but idk. I have had two surgeries on my back. Two of my bottom disc are fused with six screws. I have a hard time doing anything without back or nerve pain. All of my records were good except where I hurt myself in August of 2011. The judge gave us 14 days to submit the records from when I got hurt. Not sure why, but my Disability 2 ran out June of 2012. My attorney thought he might be trying to proof you hurt yourself while u was still under the time period for disability 2. But idk what are your thoughts? Not sure why he would want that if he was just going to deny me. But I don’t how to take it. Thank you for your time.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Clay,

      For you to be eligible for Social Security Disability (SSDI) based on your earnings record, you have to prove that you became disabled while you were still insured. As your attorney said, the judge requested the old 2011 records so that he can make a judgement about whether you became disabled while insured. Be sure the records are submitted within the time frame given.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Clay

        Thanks for the response! Yes I had the records at home. They were sent to the judge two days ago. So now I’m just in the waiting game. Fingers crossed everything is in my favor.

        • Kay Derochie

          You are welcome, Clay.

  • Linda

    Hi
    I had my hearing in August and after I was interviewed the Judge ask the VOCATIONAL EXPERT a question and twice she said no your honor. He again ask the question and then she started to say what jobs I could do. Why would the Judge have to ask her the question three times. I feel as if the judge just didn’t want to approve me . I was denied so I’m at the appeal council level now. would they listen to the recording on my case?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Linda,

      The Appeals Council may or may not listen to the transcript from the hearing of their own accord; but if you or your attorney call the Council’s attention to the exchange between the judge and the vocational expert, then they would.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Linda

        Thank you so much for your time and rapid reply. You have been so helpful not only to me but everyone that ask. Again Thank you.

        • Kay Derochie

          You are welcome, Linda.

    • Isabelle Brooks

      Hi Kay, Sorry to piggy back but I wanted to share my hearing details with you to see what you thought regarding whether or not I have a good chance fo win my case.Good morning everyone. I went to my Hearing on Sept. 22, 2016
      This is going to be kind of long, but I will do my best to shorten things.

      Me, my husband and stepdaughter arrived at the hearing location on time in order to meet with my lawyer. The lawyer was really nice and assured me not to worry because all the judge was going to do was ask questions about my disability and since I had a strong case with my medical records and history intact plus witnesses (my family amd two best friends of mine), along with the SS doctors observation, she said she had a good feelng that we would win. My hearing was scheduled for 2:15pm but someone came in the waiting room to tell us that the judge was ready “now” around 1:58-1:59pm. My lawyer asked the person if the judge would allow my witnesses (family/friends) to come in. The person, which we found out later was the court recorder, got off the phone with yhe judhe and informed us that he eould call only family if needed later. So, we get inside the room. I am walking in with my cane. Tje judhe, court reportet and Vocational expert are all seated. They all make introductions and begin. A lot of the legal lingo is spoken betweeny lawyer and the judge. The first observation that the judge notes is the use of my cane and based on LAST YEARS RECORDS whem my application eas submitted for a hearing request, he told the lawyer that he watchede walk in with my cane and I didn’t fall nor needed assistsnce sitting down. My lawyer tried to interject but the judge ptoceeded to tell her that my level of mobility was listed under an Axis code that I guess meant two handed assistive devices such as a walker, two canes, or two crutches. Mind you, I used to fall a lot last year. I still have mear misses now.Just because i didn’t fall right in front of you in the courtroom does not mean that i still don’y fall!She then frantically was looking for her docomentation but under the judges scrutiny amd intidating character, I could see the frustration in her eyes and voice. I had given her my shipment order for my walker that I will be receiving. My physical therapy doctor ordered it. My medical treatment is performed at UC davis Medical Center. The physician who has been treating me filled out my disabiliy Medical forms. The judge was going over this with my lawyer and stated “she is a Resident doctor”. I feel that this was irrelevant because she is a practicing physician who was on her last year and is very knowleheable not to mention one of the best doctors I have ever had! Plus in the family medicine department for primary care, they’re all resident physicias with staff supervisors! Ok, now he starts asking me sbout my job history in the last 15 years. I guess I had forgotten to look over my application beus because I wasn’t remebeting the exact dates. My lawyer was trying to object because of my difficulty remembering and noted the cognitition issue. The judge interrupted her and said “we all get a turn here ” you speak then I speak. I’m not trying to overturn your clients case, I’m just trying to test her memory.” I am really nervous at this point because the judge is giving her a look and she is giving him a look. He then asked me,what do I do in a typical day? I told him that I get up I check my blood sugar and then I take my morning meds he then asked me, “is that it? I told him no I also check the the mailbox and I He asked if I cooked and cleaned. No my family helps me out, even though I may try until I can’t. His questions were of course as expected, but it felt as if I were under criminal interrogation. He grilled me wanted to know why I still had my drivers license after my initial bout with Vertigo and dizziness back in 2011. I had a class B drivers license back then because I was a bus driver. He was stern and questioned me about not having a medical card as a class B driver. I stopped driving back then and as far as I knew, it really didn’t matter what class license I had. Hell, my license was expiring Anyway on my Birthday which was just around the corner in 2012! He asked some questions in which I did not understand at first which seemed to annoy him. Yhen he asked me when was the last time I had seen my mental health doctor. It was back in March of this year. He asked why haven’t been going back?
      When I explained to him that my husband was the only bread winner and I couldn’t always afford my $50 co-pay, he asked me “do you still smoke?” I recently quit but I was smoking before so I replied yes but I finally quit. (Yes, I know it’s a bad habit, considering all of the stress I was going through I smoked). He then said ” You can afford to buy cigarretes, yet you can’t afford your co-pay?!” OMG!! Yes, I know he has a point, but what the Hell?!?! Then Ihe asked me what all am I suffering from? I went down the list to explain everything, but I felt so intimidated and rushed that I really don’t think I got out everything. There were times that I wanted to speak, but I was not allowed to, I guess? He then went on to the Vocational expert to ask what kind of jobs a “hypethetical female at age 45 who can walk with assistive device, ( no mention of my ailments by the way) can still do based on my past job history. I have a lot of previous lab experience which required liftong bemding stooping and mixing chemical ingredients, sometimes dangerous. He tried to say that I could still do these thing with light modified duties! No I can’t! This job now requires a College degree which I unfortunayely do have! Also, there is a degree of lifting, stooping and bending required for this job. Not to mention skilled in mathematical equations and conversion of units of measure which I’ve long forgotten. Even if I did do it because you know my math skills are not up to par. My lawyer rebuttled him because of the work and my cognition issues and depression. Then the vocational expert was asked by the judge to see if there were any other jobs in the market that I can do? He said, I could work in a mall and pass out Perfume samples. REALLY?! I am unable to stand for a long period of time. If I could I would. My lawyer then rebuttled him to ask under all of the listed jobs could someone with mental impairment and severe mood disturbances do any of the jobs that he listed. His reply was no. My lawyer then said she had nothing else to say. The judge then made his closing statement and informed us that we would receive a decision in 6 to 8 weeks. He then spoke to me and said he wish me all the best. We then left the room. Both my lawyer and I left feeling like we had been defeated. I can’t say that I feel confident that I won my case or not. And I actually wasn’t able to have my family and friends come in to testify .I was isolated. My lawyer also told me that she noted mistakes during the hearing and that if I get a denial they’re going to fight and re-appeal. I am depressed and feel like I wasn’t given a chance to really tell my story to the judge. I did the best that I could. The only thing left to do is to pray and hope for a goof outcome. :’ )

      • Isabelle Brooks

        Oh by the way Kay, my initisl diagnisis (Disabilit) is Multiple Sclerosis. Sorry about that.

      • Kay Derochie

        Dear Isabelle,

        The hearing doesn’t sound very promising, but it could be just the judge’s style. If you are denied, I agree with your attorney that you should appeal. You or your attorney can request copies of your claim file and the hearing transcript to help with the appeal if one is necessary.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

        • Isabelle Brooks

          Thank you Kay. I appreciate your response. I will just continue to pray for the best.

          • Kay Derochie

            You are welcome, Isabelle.

  • Colleen

    Hi Kay,
    I had my hearing today and the judge asked the VE if I missed one day of work a month was that except able by the DOT for work and he said yes. The judge asked him about 2 days a month missing work and the VE said no it is not by DOT standards. I would have to miss 3 to4 days a month. Does this sound in my favor or doesn’t mean anything. The judge also didn’t ask about all my conditions but he does have the Dr. report from Pain Management he just didn’t receive the recent appointment notes from my Therapist? Just wondering about the VE stating the missing days would not be except able and No there were no jobs that would except 2 days a month out of work.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Colleen,

      If the judge believes that the information in your claim file supports that you would miss two or more days a month, your claim is likely to be approved based on the vocational expert’s testimony.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Sean

    I was admitted a Partially Favorable decision and started receiving benefits last month. I informed my attorney that I was ok with The partially favorable decision. However he told me that my case was so strong that I would most likely win fully favorable and that he would like to appeal the portion that stated my onset date. I again told him I wasn’t sure, so he told me we have 60 days. My fear is loosing the benefits that I currently have. But WAIT This is the BIG kicker.

    I received a letter from my attorney that also went to the appeals council stating that I would like to request a review of the hearing with my signature forged onto the form. I DID NOT sign or discuss this with the attorney. Did he literally just destroy my case based on the fact the he would have only gotten about 100$ in fee’s? He doesn’t have much to loose, But with me I would risk loosing all of my back pay and future benefits even if he tries to appeal, Am I correct? If so what can I do to stop this?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Sean,

      Your attorney cannot appeal without your permission and should not be signing your signature to anything unless below it he writes “by, his name, appointed representative.” If you do not want to appeal, you can withdraw the request for review of the onset date.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • SEAN

        Thanks Kay. This has me really upset. The lawyer wont even return my calls or provide me of an excuse of why he did this to me. Im fearing that they are going to review my case, Deny the entire case, then force me to pay back the benefits Ive received already. It states that Im appealing a portion, when I believe that’s not possible for them to only look at the onset date. I Just don’t want my case reviewed. I feel like hes throwing up a red flag simply because he’s selfish and has nothing to loose. I want well enough left alone, and my attorney knew that, along with the risk of full denial happening. I believe this is why he forged my signature on that form with out even calling or consulting with me. Even if i request the withdrawal, Its possible for them to review it and deny me anyway right?

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Sean,

          It is true that when an date of onset is appealed, there is the potential for a denial. You can write to the Appeals Council and withdraw the request for review. Even though it can take months or even years for the Appeals Council to perform a review, you should send in the withdrawal right away. You can state in the withdrawal that you do not want to appeal and the attorney filed the appeal without your permission and signed your name. Keep a photocopy of the letter you send and send it certified requiring a signature. The address to use is

          Appeals Council, SSA/ODAR
          5107 Leesburg Pike
          Falls Church, VA 22041-3255

          Sincerely,
          Kay

          • Sean

            Hi Kay, I called them to get the fax number to fax the form to them. Someone asked for my ss# and informed me that they didn’t have it on file yet, and that they wouldn’t be able to withdraw until they had they actual request for review on file. I’m not afraid of them denying the back pay. However I am afraid of them denying my case all together and forcing me to pay back what I received. what are the chances of that happening?

            • Kay Derochie

              Dear Sean,

              Any time a appeal is filed on the disability onset date, the issue of whether you became disabled is opened again so thre is the potential of having the whole claim denied. The likelihood of that happening could be quite small, but it exists. If you still want to withdraw the appeal your attorney filed, called once a week to see if the appeal has been received and logged into their system. As soon as it it, fax the withdrawal to them.

              Sincerely,
              Kay

              • Sean

                Thanks Kay. I finally did this week, but by the time they got in the computer a day later I got a letter in the mail Explaining that they were giving me more time to gather evidence before they act on my case. This doesnt sound good. Could it be that they are no allowing me to withdraw my request for review?

                • Kay Derochie

                  Dear Sean,

                  No, I’d say that it is more likely that the letter went went out before your withdrawal registered in their system. I suggest that you call to confirm that the withdrawal of your appeal has been processed.

                  Sincerely,
                  Kay

                  • Sean

                    Thanks Kay, I Spoke with my attorney today and he got very upset that I was attempting to withdraw my request for review, He told me that at this point withdrawing it could actually hurt my case. He told me that it would not affect the favorable decision at all. Now Im just confused frustrated and worried. I have already seen a ALJ judge for this, and received back pay and currently get benifits each month. It took every process step te get me approved. Could I now hurt my case by withdrawing the appeal he filed

                    • Kay Derochie

                      Dear Sean,

                      My understanding is that when you appeal in incurred date of disability, the medical evidence is looked at again to determine when you became disabled, so there is a small chance that it could be determined you did not become disabled. I am not aware of how not appealing would adversely affect your claim except that you will not get much in back benefits. However, I am not an attorney, so you might consider getting a second legal opinion from another Social Security attorney about the matter.

                      Sincerely,
                      Kay

  • Jamie

    Hi Kay, I had a hearing a few days ago that lasted about an hour and at no time during the hearing did the judge ask me anything about my daily activities, not even one question, nor did he ask about my depression although he did ask me about my social anxiety. but alot of the questions had absolutely nothing to do with my problems at all, things like what happened in my past and the places Ive lived and about family members. Its puzzled and bothered me since then. He was very nice and even joked with me and my lawyer. Any thoughts on what it could mean? Thank you for your time

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Jamie,

      I suggest that you talk with your attorney to get his or her take on the judge’s questions and the hearing in general.

      Sincerely,
      kAY

  • S.A.Stanfield

    HI Kay,
    I filed for SSDI three yrs ago. I have Lupus, Fibrmyalgia, DDD, severe anxiety. Spinal stenosis and colitis. I have had more than 5 surgeries in the last 3 yrs. I am on large amounts of opiates just to get through the day. I taught for 17 yrs until I just couldn’t do it anymore. I was denied twice for benefits and finally went before judge in Sept. VE said there were no jobs I could nor can I legally drive with the amount of meds in my system. One of the top hospitals in our country refused to touch me due to the risk of paralyzing me during surgery. Needless to say I received a letter of denial, and I just cried. I am so confused about this decision. I had letters from Drs. and every x-ray, surgery, mri, ct. and surgeon documented with diagnoses. I have an attorney but I feel so completely defeated. How am I suppose to survive?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear S.A.,

      I suggest discussing the denial with your attorney to determine if there is a basis for requesting an Appeals Council review. You mention teaching for seventeen years. Most public employers have short-term and long-term disability policies that cover their employees. If you have not already applied for those benefits, I suggest you check with the benefits department of your former employer to see whether you were covered under such a policy when you stopped working.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • susie

    Hi, I was wondering what my chances of getting approved are. I have major depression with psycotic features, social anxiety, schizoaffective disorder, sleep apnea, carpal tunnel syndrome. Do you think I have a chance on a possible approval or would it be a waste of my time applying? thanks for your opinion

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Susie,

      I can’t offer an opinion on whether you are disabled according to Social Security law. If you really believe that you cannot work, I encourage you to file a claim to get a formal determination. You have nothing to lose.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Dee

    Hi Kay, I filed an ssi/ssdi claim in Feb 2015, with an onset date Jan 2014. About a year later, I learned I qualified for benefits based on my deceased spouse’s wages, being I’m 51yrs old, his benefit would be greater, and I met all the other qualifications. I had the claim interview by phone. I recently had a hearing with the alj. He agreed with the Jan 2014 onset date, recommended I go to 2 CE’s, and said he wouldn’t use the VE input, whatever that meant. My question is, if I’m approved, would I be able to receive back pay based on my earnings, with the Jan 2014 onset. And then receive the monthly benefits based on my husband’s wages? I ask because I turned 50 in Dec 2014, and read I can’t receive widow ‘s benefits for the time before I turned 50.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Dee,

      You will be paid Social Security Disability (SSDI) based on your own earnings record including months of back pay that would begin to accrue July 2015 after the five-month, unpaid waiting period. If your reduced Disabled Widows Benefits (DWB) are higher than your own benefit, you will be paid an additional amount off your husband’s record so that the SSDI and DWB benefits together total the higher DBW benefit. For example, if the DWB was $1,000 and your SSDI was $800, you would be paid SSDI of $800 and $200 DWB.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Dee

        Thank you Kay for explaining the way DWB works. You say my back pay would accrue July 2015…Why wouldn’t back pay accrue Jan 2014, since the judge agreed with that onset date, and I was told by the rep at SS, the DWB wouldn’t start the claim over, but would be joined with original claim….

        • Dee

          *correction: Why wouldn’t back pay accrue July 2014.. Appreciate your response and advice.

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Dee,

          It is possible that there is no DWB waiting period when you were already getting SSDI benefits on your own record; at least, that seems logical.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

          • Dee

            Thank you Kay for your time and appreciate you answering so timely, as there are so many other people going through the ssi/ssdi process, and wanting to get as much info from someone who has knowledge about the system and how it works..At times it can be overwhelming.

            • Kay Derochie

              You are welcome, Dee.

  • Kathy

    Hi Kay, I had my court date yesterday the September 26th and the judge asked me all kinds of questions, some about my problems but alot was about things that had nothing to do with my issues, is that normal for a judge to do that? Anyway the judge asked the VE about any jobs he thought I can still do and the VE said about 8 to 9, my lawyer asked him one question about reduced quality of work/ productivity and he changed it to saying no jobs i can do. That is when the judge stopped the hearing and said he will look over the evidence and mail me his decision. My lawyer is concerned because there was only one hypothetical question used. I am still hoping for the best but with my lawyer saying she has some concerns i am preparing myself for the bad news when it comes. what is your thought on my chances about being approved. thank you for your thoughts

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Kathy,

      Reduced quality and productivity in the workplace is not limitations; they are ther result of limitations. There needs to be an explanation for why your productivity and work product have declined due to your illness. That is, what symptoms do you have that reduce productivity and quality? If the limitation were expressed at the hearing or made apparent in your records and were linked to reduced quality and productivity, there’s a chance for approval. Otherwise, I share concerns with your attorney.

      If you are denied, request a copy of your claim file including the hearing transcript to you and your decide whether to appeal.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • kathy

        My problems are Major Depressive Disorder severe with Psycotic Features,, Social Phobia,, fatigue,, Cervicalgia (neck pain),, Multilevel Disc Degeneration with nerve compression, arthitis in my left knee. I have carpal tunnel syndrome in my left wrist and cubital syndrome in my left elbow that causes a lot of problems using my arm and hand. I am obese now at 311 pounds. the judge asked me about these problems during the hearing and I believe we did cover most of my limitations. Im just confused why after my attorney asked one hypothetical question he would cut off the hearing like that is all. I can only hope that since the ve changed his opinion to no jobs it will somehow work in my favor. thanks for your opinion

        • kathy

          I have problems sitting I cant for very long around 25 min I had to keep standing at my hearing because of it. My hearing lasted over an hour, I cant stand for no more than an hour if I really push myself. No lifting over 10 pounds. I can only walk about a block before I have to stop, I have pain in my lower back that go down my legs. I use a cane that I lean on frequently, Im not able to climb or stoop, or anything like that. I hate to be around people ANY people and that includes my family. I have never been able to keep a job because of that fact. I also have depression that causes me alot of issues. sorry for rambling but I guess Im just venting and sad that after all this time Im looking at a good chance Ill be denied. If so Is it even worth the trouble appealing it. Thanks for your time

          • Kay Derochie

            Dear Kathy,

            At this point, you have no reason to believe you will be denied. If you are denied and you firmly believe you cannot work, I suggest that you consult with an experienced Social Security attorney to see whether you have the basis for an appeal. 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 before they send your back pay to you.

            Sincerely,
            Kay

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Kathy,

          The judge ended the hearing because he though he had enough information to make a decision.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

      • Kathy

        Hi Kay, After waiting for what seemed like forever. I just got my letter today,, I was so suprised when I opened the envelope and saw, Fully Favorable, staring back at me. I had convinced myself and I was so sure it was going to be a denial. It has been 3 long years, but in the end it worked out. For anyone who is going through the process of trying to get their benefits just hang in there. Sometimes good and unexpected things do happen. Thanks

        • Kathy

          I had my disability hearing September 26, 2016

        • Kay Derochie

          Thanks for sharing, Kathy

  • Ann

    Hi, I was just wondering. If a VE at your hearing lists jobs you can do then after getting hypothetical questions about why someone cant he changes it to no jobs, could that be a good sign someone will be approved? thank you

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Ann,

      If the judge believes that the limitations and restrictions you claim are supported by the evidence in file, your claim is likely to be approved based on the vocational expert’s opinion.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Kim

    I have a question. I had a hearing today the ve said there are no jobs I’m capable of working does that have a big affect on the judges decision?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Kim,

      If the judge believes that your limitations and restrictions are as great as you claim, your appeal will be approved based on the vocational expert’s testimony.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • nichole ridenhower

    i would like to know if it’s good or bad when the judge ask the lawyer for disabilty what percentage he ranked me and he said 20%.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Nichole,

      I have not heard of a judge asking that question. Social Security does not deal in percentages of disability. To be disabled you must be unable to perform Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) for a period of at least twelve months. Usually $1,130 gross earnings is considered substantial. The evaluation considers your medical and vocational history. (If percentages were considered, 20% seems like a low percentage and, therefore, not strongly supportive of your claim. That said, your attorney would not have taken your case if he or she did not think you were disabled, so that goes back to the fact that SSD eligibility is not determined based on percentages.)

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Cindy

    At my husband’s hearing when it was time for the BE to speak she only had one comment. She reviewed the fact he had one job for 30 year and stated she disagreed with the DOT, as his job is listed as medium work and she felt it should listed heavy. That was it, nothing regarding her opinion if he could do the job or any other type of work. The judge did not have any questions for the VE and the hearing lasted 15 minutes. Is that a bad sign ?

    • Cindy

      At my husband’s hearing when it was time for the VE to speak she only had one comment. She reviewed the fact he had one job for 33 year and stated she disagreed with the DOT, as his job is listed as medium work and she felt it should be listed heavy. That was it, nothing regarding her opinion if he could do the job or any other type of work. The judge did not have any questions for the VE and the hearing lasted 15 minutes.

      Two days later SS called and stated the would like him to see a medical doctor.

      Is this a bad sign? Also, does he have to see their doctor or can he pick a doctor?

      • Kay Derochie

        Dear Cindy,

        Please see my previous reply regarding the vocational expert’s testimony. Your husband does have to see the consulting physician that Social Security selected and it is very important that he attend the exam. The exam is supposed to be independent and objective. Apparently the judge thinks there is not enough information in file to support the limitations your husband is claiming or insufficient to determine whether he could do medium or light work; although if your husband is in his fifties or older, I wouldn’t expect evaluation for other occupations necessary because he has had a single job for so many years, which makes for limited occupational experience.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

        • Leslie robin

          Hey Kay question I just received a letter on the mail from disability saying that they have requested the disability determination services to schedule a consultative examination from the office of new Jersey I been waiting to see the judge for a video hearing instead I got this letter about c onsultative examination what do you think is about thank you.

          • Kay Derochie

            Dear Leslie,

            It appears that the judge wants more information about your medical condition and has requested an exam to get it before the hearing. Be sure to attend. It also means that your appeal is progressing toward hearing date.

            Sincerely,
            Kay

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Cindy,

      The vocational expert’s (VE’s) testimony is favorable to your husband’s claim. Because he had been in only one occupation for thirty years and the VE testified that it was heavy, there probably was no need to investigate your husband’s theoretical ability to perform other jobs, especially if he is fifty or fifty-five years of age.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Steve

    Hi, I was wondering I have been seeing a mental health nurse practitioner for a few years now for my depression and anxiety. I was thinking about applying for ssi but heard that nurse practioners are not an acceptable medical source. What do you think my chances might be if I do apply while seeing the nurse practitioner, or should I change to a Psychiatrist. Thank you

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Steve,

      The decision about whether to change medical providers is one that you will have to make. Reports and records from nurse practitioners are not given the same weight as from a psychiatrist or psychologist. You might ask your nurse practitioner whether he or she works with a managing psychiatrist. If so, you might be able to see the doctor for a second opinion regarding your diagnosis and appropriateness of treatment. Or, possibly a psychiatrist is reviewing your records from time to time already. If that is not the case and you are seeing the NP for counseling/therapy, you could see the psychiatrist less frequently and continue to see the NP for part of your care.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Kathy

    Hi Kay,, I do have another question. I received my letter about my court date for next month September. There is a letter to the VE enclosed as well requesting him to appear to give testimony at the hearing. It says his testimony will primarily cover the following period April 1, 2005 through to the present. I originally filed back in 2005 for my depression, phsycosis and anxiety back then, and it has been a chronic recurring issue for me. That is the date I first went to get help for my mental issues. Is that all its about is the onset date that I put down on my application cause this time i filed in 2014.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Kathy,

      If the judge determines that you are disabled, he or she must also determine when you became disabled. Apparently on your 2014 application you listed your disability onset as 2005, so the investigation will go back that far and the vocational expert’s testimony has to consider occupational possibilities (labor market) existing back to 2005. Even if you are found to have become disabled in 2005, your payment will be based on your 2014 application with a maximum retroactivity back to 2013.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Kathy

    Hi Kay ,, I was just wondering what you think of my chances for an approval. Im 53 yrs old. I filed in May 2014 and now I finally have a court date set for September 2016. Im dreading it in a lot of ways but ,on the other hand relieved it is almost here. Anyway my problems are Major Depressive Disorder severe with Psycotic Features,,, Social Phobia,, fatigue,, Cervicalgia (neck pain),, lower back pain caused by Multilevel Disc Degeneration with nerve compression. I have pinched nerves in my left arm that causes a lot of problems for me using my arm. Im also Prediabetic and having problems with my weight as I am now 312 pounds. Any hope for me getting a favorable decision, I am expecting the worst but hoping for the best. I met with my Atty and she told me to think about answering the question on why I cant work, she said the judge will ask. Is that a bad sign that my atty told me to think about that? maybe she isn’t so confident about my case after all. Thanks for any thoughts you can give me.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Kathy,

      The attorney would not have taken your case if she did not think there was a reasonable chance of approval. I would say she asked you to think about how to explain why you can’t work so that you would be prepared for the hearing. For example, you would might list your mental symptoms and why they interfere with you from working and list your back and arm symptoms and say how they limit you physically.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Leslie robin

        Hey Ms.Kay I have a question so I apply for disability last year july 2015 i got a lawyer from the start i got denied and my lawyer put a appeal sep 15 2015 they send my paperwork to Nj i live in Ny also my lawyer ask for a video chat better still waiting on a hearing date my issues are herniated disc bulging disc all in my lower back pinch nerves i previous had fractures on my wrist partial tear on both ankles grade 2 torn on both knees just got diagnosed with major depression with psychotic features in may of this year 2016 taking medication also been in physical therapy now for over 2 years and also i see a neurologist over 2 years i also have asthma since 2008 I’m 31 years old i only had one type of job I did for 11years working as a nurse assistant job that i can no.longer do i resign my job last year in june do u think i have a chance to be approved.

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Leslie,

          Whether or not you are disabled as defined by Social Security law depends on how severely your several conditions affect you, specifically if they would keep you from working in another, less physically demanding, occupation. You do have a chance of being approved; otherwise, the attorney would not have taken your case.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • HUMBLE D

    HELLO KAY WELL ON AUG 2 2016 AFTER 28 MONTHS I FINALLY HAD MY HEARING WITH THE ALJ AND NOW IM NERVOUS AS CAN BE FIRST OFF THEY SENT ME A NOTICE ABOUT A VE WILL BE PRESENT AT MY HEARING BUT THE ONLY PEOPLE WHO WERE THERE WAS MYSELF LAWYER THE JUDGE AND THE RECORDING LADY MY HEARING ONLY LASTED ABOUT MAYBE 25 MINS THE JUDGE ASKED ME ABOUT 4 QUESTIONS PERTAINING TO MY DAILY ACTIVITIES I ANSWERED THEM THEM MY LAWYER ASKED ME ABOUT 7 QUESTIONS ALL ABOUT MY DAILY ACTIVITIES AND THAT WAS IT THE JUDGE LASTLY SAID HE WAS GOING OBTAIN MY WORKERS COMP SETTLEMENT INFORMATION AND HE WILL MAKE A DECISION TO SEND ME MY LAWYER THEN HAD ME FILL OUT HER FEE REQUEST SHEET AND SAID TO ME GOOD LUCK AND THAT WAS IT HAVE YOU EVER HEARD OF A SITUATION LIKE THIS? DO YOU THINK MY CASE WILL BE DENIED CAUSE A VE WASNT THERE AND THE JUDGE NEVER ASKED ME ABOUT ANY WORK HISTORY OR I DIDNT GET TO TELL HIM I WORKED AT MY JOB FOR 24 YEARS? IM JUST REALLY NERVOUS ABOUT ALL OF THIS WELL HE DID MENTION HOW I WAS SEEING THE SAME ORTHOPAEDIC SPECIALIST FOR 15 YEARS

    • HUMBLE D

      I FORGOT TO ADD I GOT HURT ON THE JOB AUG 9 2013 HAVENT WORKED SINCE AND MY MRI SHOWED NUMEROUS HERNIATED DISKS WITH NERVE ROOT INPINGEMENTS ALONG WITH ALOT OF OTHER FINDINGS IM IN PAIN CONSTANTLY EVEN WITH MEDICATION AND I CANT ONLY SIT MAYBE 15 OR 20 MINS BEFORE I NEED TO STAND TO EVENTUALLY LEADS ME TO HAVE TO LAYING DOWN TO GET A LITTLE COMFORT I SLEEP MY DAYS AWAY THE MES HAVE ME FEELING HIGH AND DROWSEY MY SPECIALIST ALSO FILLED OUT THE SSA RFC AND HE STATED I COULD NEVER BEND STOOP SQUAT AND NUMEROUS OF THINGS I MEAN THE JUDGE NEVER MENTIONED ANY OF THE MEDICAL RECORDS I DONT UNDERSTAND WHY? IS THIS A NORMAL HEARING? THANK YOU KAY I APPRECIATE YOUR RESPONSES

      • Kay Derochie

        Dear Humble,

        The hearing is an opportunity for you to present and the judge to gather information that is not fully explained in the claim file. Accordingly, the judge probably did not ask about any aspect of your claim that was already sufficiently covered in the claim file.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Humble,

      The judge may have waived having a vocational expert (VE) present because he had decided that if the medical limitations you claimed were supported, you would be disabled according to Social Security law. If your claim is denied, the VE’s not being present may provide some grounds for an appeal.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Humble D

        Thank you Kay I appreciate you for all the information

        • Kay Derochie

          You are welcome, Humble.

  • Darlene

    I have been working with a ss attorney for over 2 years waiting on a hearing for my son who has had mental developemental problems through life and now at 44 was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. He was hospitalized for 2 weeks, on oral meds and monthly injections. I have been faxing all the new information to the attorney and learned last week that my son had received the hearing letter but never told me. When I found out, I faxed it immediately to the attorney and there was about 2 1/2 weeks before the hearing. The attorney called me on a Saturday, said he’d call me Sunday or Monday to set an appointment with me and my son. That was a week ago and have heard nothing. The hearing is August 9th and now if he’s not taking the case it is too late to try and get another attorney. I would postpone but the judge who will have the hearing is suppose to be very good. Will I be allowed to represent my son and if so can I talk with the judge before my son comes in as his condition is fragile and I don’t want to say things in front of him that may hurt him but that the judge needs to know. Thank you.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Darlene,

      Right now, you and your son need to contact the attorney to find out whether the attorney will follow through and to get a definite appointment time for the pre-hearing attorney consultation. If the attorney is not available to represent your son, your son needs to terminate representation by the attorney in writing and send a copy to Social Security. If the attorney drops the case, your son has to appoint you as his representative to represent him in his hearing in order for you to speak. He can get the correct forms from his local office and submit them to the hearing office. If the attorney continues with the case, you can ask the attorney to call you as a witness with your son out of the room.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Alfred majors

        Hello my question is . The judge asked the Ve a bunch of questions concerning my medical record and and the Ve stated no jobs. Also I have a biopsy in 2 weeks to check for breast cancer and the judge said. She didn’t need to keep the record open. So You think that is a good sign. I answered all her questions.and she asked if I wanted to add anything else and I froze up and said no

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Alfred,

          Given that the vocational expert said no jobs and the judge did not feel the need to get your most recent records, I think there is a reasonable possibility that your claim will be approved.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • charles

    I wanna help I’ve seen same mental heath doctor for 3 to 4 years.diagnosis other specified bipolar and related major depressive episodes anxious distress agoraphobia ptsd (marked) including related paranoia, other specified personality disorder with borderline anti social traits. They sent me to see an ssi doctor which agree. And on rfc form it is all mostly marked but 3 the simple q’s and that was not from my doc but ssi doc I have a hearing in month my lawyers say I might not have to go to get approved. What r my chances? ??

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Charles,

      Your attorney knows the details of your claim so there is not reason to doubt the attorney’s opinion that you will approved, possibly on the written record without a hearing.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • charles

        Yea that was my question even though I have a court date can still get approved before date with some type of writers she said. Thank you for your help.

        • Kay Derochie

          You are welcome, Charles.

  • Keith

    I had a hearing in June of 2006, for hernatied disc with never root compression, sever panic attacks, chronic pain, and shoulder problems. I went before a alj with a 65% approval rate. The judge didn’t ask any questions be he seen I was very panick and told me not to worry everything was ok and that he was there to help so to answer my lawyer the best I could. My lawyer ask me alot of questions and I answered them. No ve was present and at the end of the hearing the judge told my lawyer he would make a decision in three days after he review and if he had question for a ve he would submit the questions and send my lawyer a copy then make a decision. 5 days after my hearing the alj made a decision hr did not have any questions for the ve and now my case is with the writers. Dies this sound like I have been approved.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Keith,

      I would say that your claim will be approved. If it is not, you should have good grounds for appeal.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Bridget

    Hi Kay,
    I had a few questions. I had my hearing Jun.22. I have Lupus sle, Ra, erythromyalgia, fibromyalgia, DDD of L4/L5, Raynauds, carpal, Ibs, Gerd, Migraines, Depression and anxiety all documented in records. My lawyer was horrible, and I beleive the judge noticed. She directed all questions to me. The V.E stated no tp previous work…2nd question yes to a job as a clerical assistant..then the judge used the rfc from my treating doc for the last question which the ve said no jobs. The whole procesa lasted 55 agonizing minutes. The judge was very nice but didn’t ask about my 12 different meds..she asked me about my impairments..type of home i lived in..do i have a basement…can i lift a gallon on milk..of course all no answers..i cried when she asked if I were suicidal…apologized and we moved on. My lawyer said it went well. Judge gave 2 weeks for more medical records to come in since there was a gap. When the hearing was done i felt i did well.my lawyer didn’t even say anything during the hearing. When i was leaving the V.e. turned to me and said “you take care of yourself…ok”..it took me by surprise as i was so overwhelmed I wasnt sure how the hearing went…at that moment but found it nice foe him to speak up as I was leaving. I am sorry this is so long and you are probably wondering the question…i guess i am jist replaying everything in my head and wondering why the Judge didn’t ask about my lupus or my numerous meds…and is giving my lawyer an extention to get medical recorda in a good sign? P.s. i sent all my records to ODAR after my lawyer fumbled and admitted the requests for records prior to my hearing never went out in the mail so he offered me a 25% refund of fees for a fully favorable decision if approved.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Bridge,

      The judge will ask questions only about things that are not fully answered by the claim file. If your medications and diagnosis are well-documented, the judge may not have needed any more medical information than the missing records to fill a time gap.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Kesha

        I asked a question..but I don’t see it or a reply

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Kesha,

          Your question and my reply are under the article “How Long after my SSI Approval Will I Have to Wait to Get my SSI Back Pay?”, where you posted. You can find the article under the “SSI” tab at the top of this web page.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

    • Kim

      Dear Kay Im had my therapist and psychiatrist fill out my paper they mark for me was moderate and list all my meds I take for depression and anxiety ocd said they working on me to work give the paper work to a lawyer he said he can’t help cause they stated they working on a goal to have me work in the four true I have little education and anxiety and depression ocd I live with is better I go see help from another lawyer or should I rep sent myself wil I have a chance of winning either way

      • Kay Derochie

        Dear Kim,

        Having a goal of returning to work and working with a therapist and psychiatrist to work in the future is not necessarily a reason to be denied now. Their listing that your limitations are moderate may be more of a problem. I suggest that you try to find another attorney and show the statement to the attorney or two to see if they think you have a case.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

        • Kim

          Thank you so much Kay I will try to find help with another lawyer I will keep you posted how I’m doing wish me luck lol ! My date is anytime soon next month

          • Kay Derochie

            You are welcome, Kim.

  • Robert

    Dear kay
    I was wondering i went to my hearing earlier this month, during the hearing the judge did not ask me any medical question, but still posed a bunch of limitations during his hypos with the ve, how did he come up with these limitations, and is it a good sign if these were his interpretation from my medical records. By the end of it ve said no jobs with needing 5-6 days off a month. Thanks Robert

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Robert,

      The course of the hearing could indicate that the judge determined the limitations based on the information in your claim file including your medical records. If this is the case, your appeal is likely to be approved.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Robert

        Dear kay,

        I just received a call today from the local ss office. The rep said the judge ruled fully favorable for my case. Just wanted to thank you for your advice.

        • Kay Derochie

          You are welcome, Robert.

  • amanda

    I’m waiting on my hearing date.ive just gotten a letter from my lawyer saying not much longer.i have major depression, with phycotic features, anxiety and panic disorder, sciatica pain,arthritis, high blood,tachycardia, borderline intelligent. I’ve been in special ed all of my life.and the list go’s on.i have have these on papers from Dr’s and hospitals.do you think I will win my benefits and backpay?my onset date is 05.16.2011 Thank you

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Amanda,

      It is possible that your claim will be approved, but there is no way to know until you get the judge’s decision letter.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • carol

    I am an authorized representative for my disabled brother. We have an appeal hearing July 19th in Moreno Valley. He is in much pain and on pain medications so it would be difficult, if not impossible, to speak on his behalf or remember everything that needs to be brought up. They are not questioning his medical condition. The issues are deductions from his income and repayment of overpayment amounts. Can I ask the judge to speak on his behalf?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Carol,

      If you are your brother’s representative payee and receive his benefit checks, you can probably represent him at the hearing with no further action. If not or just to be sure, your brother can sign sign an SSAS-1696-U4 form for you to represent him in his appeal.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • veretta king

    I have lupus sle,, with depression and anxiety attack I take lots of medication, I have lost hair, have arthritis have a pleural fibroid I’m on three kinds of steroids. Narcotics for pain, also taking Cymbalta and Xanex for my anxiety attack. What is my chances of winning Ssi hearing, I can’t work and have two kids with disability problems. I see therapist and Phychristrist.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Veretta,

      You may qualify medically for Social Security and/or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability benefits, but you will not know for sure until you get your hearing decision. With multiple conditions, it might be helpful to have an experienced Social Security Disability attorney present your case. 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 your retroactive award before they send your back pay to you.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Margaret mcgaw

    I have a hearing in June for my daughter she is 5 years old and has a autism diagnosis. She has been previously denied for a developmental Disorder diagnosis. She has a IEP in school and receives many therapies outside of school including occupational, and counseling. Her therapies are very expensive and not everything is covered by insurance. In the past she has had physical therapy, speech therapy, developmental therapy and ABA therapy. We had insurance difficulties with ABA therapy, even though it was considered medically necessary and would like to start it up again but cannot afford it without approval. I cannot find a attorney who will take her because she is a minor.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Margaret,

      Your child being a minor should not categorically eliminate attorney representation. You might contact your state’s bar association to identify additional attorney’s with a Social Security Disability practice.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Roxanna Caldera

    Been denied twice waitin for the hearins court have ptsd major depresion with phycotic.go to see therapist weekley take latura busporin seraqual.cant be around people have paranoia hear voices but im doin better do you think ill be eligable .eight grade level.special ed low iq

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Roxanna,

      It is possible that you will be approved. Please see my response to your first post.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Dear kay, i am 55 years old, i suffer from major depression, disc disease of the back and neck,and fibromyalgia. my second attempt for disability(after about 3 years wait) i finally got a hearing with a Judge last week, but after asking me a few questions,the Judge wants me to have another hearing with a Psyc. specialist and an Ortho. specialist the? I have not needed to have any kind of appt. with an Ortho.but i see my regular DR.often and i see a my Psyc.weekley. All my paper work is up to date, what is going on? my attorney thinks my next hearing should be in 3 or 4 months? what do you think Kay? please help me i am so stressed out

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Leah,

      Please see my response to your similar post of earlier in the day.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Stephanie

    i have a hearing next week i have bipolar 1 agoraphobia ptsd schizoaffective disorder major depression im 29 and i have panic attacks what am i looking foward till when i have my hearing next week im really nerves

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Stephanie,

      You or your attorney, if you have one, may be asked questions about your symptoms and daily activity or perhaps about your medical treatment and records. A vocational expert (VE) may be present and may be asked questions about your ability to work. If you (or your attorney) disagree with the VE’s testimony, you can disagree and explain why or ask the VE a question about what has been said. Answer questions honestly. If you are nervous or anxious you can say so.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Veronica Greene

        I have a 13 year son whose was diagnosis with adhd and defiance behavior at age 10. I took him to several doctors and therapist to help. The last one has him on meds but he still gets in trouble and his barely passing. He chews on everything and the meds triggers his migraines. I filed for disability for him for help. But they turned me down because they say he’s functional. But his function as a 5 year old. Do you think a SSI lawyer can help? And what are the odd on approval?

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Veronica,

          I can’t predict whether your son is eligible or not, but I would recommend getting help from an attorney for the appeal. 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 your retroactive award before they send your back pay to you.

          I also suggest letters from his teachers or other school records that document your perception of your son’s diminished ability to function. It may also be helpful to the childhood disability section of the article “What Medical Conditions Are Required to Meet SSI Disability Qualifications and to Get an SSI Approval?” under the SSI tab on the navigation bar at the top of this web page.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

          • Veronica Greene

            Thank you very much. I talk to a lawyer in my city and he think I have enough doctor and school evidence to do an appeal. But he did share these cases are hard to get an approval.

            • Kay Derochie

              You are welcome, Veronica.

  • Vonda Cruz

    Dear Kay
    I was denied my first time for low vision , double vision, mascular degeneration, depression and anxiety headaches. I was drawing unemployment at time of request because I live alone. No source of income no checking or savings. I have since stopped receiving unemployment . worked a job as a machinist at same job for over 15 yrs. My site got worse after retina tear and reattachment surgery. I was fired for quality of work got worse and I kept messing up. Do you think I have a good case?

    • Vonda Cruz

      I am 50 yrs old

      • Kay Derochie

        Dear Vonda,

        Please see my response of a few minutes ago to your first post.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Vonda,

      You may be medically eligible. If you do not have an appeal pending, I recommend that you appeal with the help of an experienced Social Security attorney. If possible, get a statement from your last employer about the performance problems you had that led to your being let go from your job. 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 your retroactive award before they send your back pay to you.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • james

    My hearing is with 38% approval rating judge on 29 of this month, I have MRI documented herniated disc, moderate to severe spinal stanouses, moderate to severe hearing loss, MRI right shoulder impingement torn labra take steroids for and impingement on left steroids also with recomdation of surgery, had triple heart bypass surgeon considered self god and fixed me but put on two blood pressure meds, mild carpel tunnel, require medical priscrbed cane, take hydro/perk every six hours as needed.my recliner is my best friend , doc gave me rfc lifting 10 freakently 20 pound never, use walking cane, nobenbing, pushing pulling, no reaching over head. What chance you think I got good medical documentation, even have neurons state no repedetive bending , twisting or low back pressure surgery or not. After open heart I have a phobic about having more surgery what do think.,

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear James,

      You chances for approval appear to depend on your age, education, and work history. If based on those things, your limitations prevent you from working in any occupation, your claim will be approved.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • james

        Thank you for your insight, age 54.

        • Kay Derochie

          You are welcome, James. Your age could be in your favor.

          • james

            Thank you for this sight. I believe SSdI lawyers should furnish counselors. 8th education worked residential construction most of my life, roof shingles, did spend time with Lowes hiring installers for there install program, they called me manager but had no employees, traveled store to store used there corp paperwork to qualify installers, they hire them if they qualified. I see no tranferrabal jobs matches. Just a trade.

            • Kay Derochie

              Dear James,

              If you are able to do work you did at Lowe’s, your claim will be denied. However, every claim has many, many factors so it remains to be seen what the decision on your claim will be.

              Sincerely,
              Kay

    • james

      Kay had hearing judge told my lawyer he met his obligation for 2014 forward but was struggling with 2013 forward what does that mean?

      • Kay Derochie

        Dear James,

        It means that the judge thinks that there is enough evidence to find you disabled at some point in 2014, but may not be enough for a 2013 disability date, which is presumably what you claimed. If 2014 is established and you were still insured then, you will be approved possibly with less back pay than with a 2013 disability onset date.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

  • len

    i have a quick question, not going to go into details about my case however. i went to court last wees here in south carolina the judge asked the ve if there were any jobs on the market i could do he said three but said something about air and pollutants yes i have bad breathing problems but thats not all. the second question the judge asked if there was anything i could do for 8 hours the ve said none. my question is hows my approval look to you!

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Len,

      If the judge believes that the limitations you are claiming are valid, your claim will be approved based on the vocational expert’s testimony.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • len

        o.k. ill tell you a little about the medical i have had a brain bleed thats caused problems,seizure disoreder(before bleed),copd and sciatica. All are diagnosed by speacialists
        the i have three nero speacialists i have seen all of them said i should get approved my attorney after court told me 80-90% approval and said to open a bank account court had all medical records and the judge did not try to pick apart anything soon as ve said what he sais she said she had all she needed and to watch the mail so to me like you said i should be approved thanks for your time

        • Kay Derochie

          You are welcome, Len. Thanks for the update.

          • Lisa

            I applied for Social Security Disability, in November of 2013. I had my Hearing February of 2016. The judge granted my Lawyer 30 days to submit my medical records and my lawyer asked for an additional 30 days to get my records in. The judge finished reading my medical records two weeks ago. How do you think it will take the Judge to render a decision?

            • Kay Derochie

              Dear Lisa,

              Given that he has finished reading the records, I would expect a decision within a month.

              Sincerely,
              Kay

  • William M

    I had my SSI hearing about a week ago. I am age 42 and suffer from type 1 diabeties and nueropathy. I take a once a day insulin and another insulin around 3 times a day on a sliding scale. During the hearing my non attorney rep let me speak for the most part explaining my condition. I was asked when I test and give a shot during the middle of the day about how long does all that take. I estimated roughly 15min, from the time it takes to gather my things for testing , testing , and depending on how high my sugars are giving my dosage. The judge then asked the VE what kind of work could I do. She gave off a list of around 10 or so items, such as ticket taker, assembly worker , things of this nature. My lawyer than asked the VE if these jobs would allow me time during the days to go test and give medication when needed. Her answer was, If he was a good worker. The lawyer asked then that since I am not currently working would a new job allow that. Her answer then was, well Texas is a right to work state so that would be up to the employer she would guess. She then after that turned to me and tried to ask me why it would take so long to test , but the judge told her not to. I explained everything in as much detail as I could, but I am thinking since she gave around 10 “sit” down examples of work , and then tried to question how long it would take to test and give myself medication, that I am looking at a unfavorable decission here. And honestly has me a little concerned.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear William,

      The information you give does not seem favorable to an approval. In theory you could test your glucose levels at morning break, lunch, and afternoon break. If blood testing is the only reason you feel you can’t work, then it is likely you are not disabled.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • William M

        No those werent the basis of my appeal. My diabeties and nueropathy was the basis of my appeal on this case. However those issues were brought up I spoke about. Testing is only part of the things that were brought up and I was asked about those.

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear William,

          Based on what you posted in your previous question, it would seem that the vocational expert thought you could work with your diabetes and neuropathy and identified job and that the judge was double-checking by asking about regular time away from the job for the testing, so my original guess about the outcome is unchanged. Of course, you will not know for sure until you receive the judge’s written decision.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • patricia

    Kay,
    My son is 23 years old and has a disability hearing this Friday. He has had emotional problems since the age of 3 and is believed to have been sexually abused by his biological father which is also schizophrenic. He has been diagnosed as major depression with psychotic features. he also hears voices and behaves very inappropriate. He is very socially withdrawal and doesn’t even visit with family. When speaking to him you would think you were talking to an adolescent. He also has violent outbursts over nothing. He can’t manage money and its a chore just to get him to bathe.
    He goes weekly to mental health and takes zyprexa, Prozac and vistaril.

    I’m very nervous of messing up his chances for his disability. I really can’t financially afford to care for him. Do you have any suggestions that would help me.

    thanks
    patricia

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Patricia,

      I assume that because your son is an adult he will be at the hearing. If that is the case, you need to have him request that you be allowed to serve as a witness. If you are allowed to speak at the hearing as a witness, you should explain what you have explained in your note to me. Try to be specific and give examples of inappropriate behavior if it would not be tolerated in the work place. Tell how often he has the violent outbursts and what they look like. Another alternative is to submit a written statement about your son’s day-in and day-out functioning as you have in this letter. If you have an attorney, be sure the attorney knows all this and that you are willing to testify.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • patricia

        I’m sorry I should have included this. We filed for disability in June 2013 after he had what they called was a psychotic break and has never been the same. He has tried to kill himself several times. He says the voices tell him too. I filed for his disability and it was before he turned 22 so he is under me. I was told if he gets approved that he could never marry or have children or he would lose benefits.

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Patricia,

          If your son is approved for Social Security Disabled Adult Child benefits, he will lose benefits if he marries because he would no longer be dependent on you because his spouse would have primary financial responsibility for him. I don’t think having children of his own will cause ineligibility. If he were to marry and his family income and assets were low, he might quality for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability benefits.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

          • Patricia

            Ok. Thank you! Say a prayer for us to get him approved.

            • Kay Derochie

              You are welcome, Patricia.

  • RJ Smith

    I have a hearing coming up in Feb. I got only 4 weeks notice that it was happening and the Judge will be in a remote site far from where I am located so it will all be via teleconferencing. I am very nervous about this case because I read that he only approves 23% of the cases that come in front of him. My issues are this. I suffer from HIV, Chronic Fatigue, Severe Depression – recurrent, post traumatic stress syndrome from sexual abuse as a child. I use to have a very wonderful career which I loved but back in 2013 that all came crashing down. I have a letter which was submitted to SS from my doctor stating I could not work because of the issues mentioned above but in the letter she recommended that I be out of work for a year and then it can be-re-evaluated on a yearly basis to see if I am improving. I will be 58 years old this year. I am also seeing a therapist whose expertise is in Trauma and I am going to ask her to write a letter supporting my case also. I am very nervous. Since 2013 I have lost 35 pounds, cant eat, sleep, i’m exhausted all of the time. Most of all I know no one would hire me even if the judge did not approve my case because I would have to be honest with any employer no matter what the job that I need to lay down sometimes up to three times a day and no employer is going to give me a bed or cot at work and let me go lay down when I need too. I need help I am so stressed beyond belief with worry and my life feels so helpless at this time. I am going to hearing alone…

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear RJ,

      Be sure that your more recent medical records since you filed your claim and especially since your last appeal have been submitted to the judge. At the hearing be honest and specific about your limitations and your weight loss, especially if you are now under weight. If your doctors find your fatigue credible (the need to lie down multiple times a day), a statement of that need and the credibility of it and why could be helpful.

      To help you at the hearing you might take a list of points you want to make at the hearing in case you need help remembering at the time.

      If the vocational expert identifies jobs that you can do, ask the expert whether you could do those jobs if you had to down and rest during the middle of the day up to three times a day.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • cago

    my son has high functioning autism, adhd, really bad anxiety that causes head achs. ive been fighting for him for over 2 years. we have a lawyer but its non profit and they have occasionally lost our information. i started handling every single thing myself even with the lawyer because she claimed i never gave her some important information(i did). i had to start everything all over again like i had never filed because she waited till after the cut off date to even call me about it. that was actually the first time she had ever had to turn in anything for us. i had been doing it all. this is the 3rd lawyer the office has given us because they keep quitting. i got a letter about my son having a hearing. he will be 11 next month and i filed the fist time when he was 8. im not sure how the hearing will go for him because when i had mine for my breast cancer case my lawyer showed up late and i had no idea what they were even going to ask me. i had not been prepared at all. she just told me to show up and it would be ok. of course i was denied even with all my diagnosis of lyphadema, bipolar, depression and anxiety. im afraid the same will happen to him. his doctor already said he would need care even after he was an adult. when we met with the therapist they sent us to she said we should have no issues. he wouldnt even speak to her. here we are 2 1/2 years later. but do the kids have to be at the hearing? i hate talking about him in front of him. im about at the point of giving up

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Cago,

      Your child does not have to be at the hearing; however, I would ask the attorney you are currently dealing with whether it would be a good idea. Be sure that the opinion that your son will need care when he is an adult is submitted in written form to the judge either before or during the hearing. Also, be sure that any special education or individualized education plans the school has for your son are also submitted.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • James Johnson

    I has my hearing with a awesome attorney
    On January 7th, I’m 25 the judge I had ain’t too
    Bad, he has a 45% approval rate where my alj
    Hearing took place. He asked me several of
    Questions when I was a kid, why couldn’t I make
    It to school, my mother worked two jobs… Anyway he was aware I have a 8th grade education and the ve named off a few jobs but
    My lawyer cross examined her and the last
    Thing I heard was “no jobs” then the judge said
    That’s all I needed, thanks and good luck. My
    Attorney said it went great but apparently the
    Old pharmacy I use to use noted down I only
    Picked up cretin meds, due to low income and
    Having children , I get them from a chain store
    Where I can get them cheaper, self pay, I’m
    Diagnosed with anxiety bipolar and am on 30
    Mg of hydrocodone on top of 4mg of xanax and
    The 25 mg of seroquel.. I just remember hearing
    No jobs and the judge said he had all he needed
    But lawyer wants a draft signed by my Dr saying
    I comply with my bipolar medicine which I do…
    My lawyer feels good about it, but I feel like
    Jumping off a bridge cause I have a family to
    Support and been fighting for 3 Years, judge
    Knows I can be violent, forgetful. In pain and
    He saw me cry a few times I couldn’t help myself

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear James,

      The information you have given about the hearing seems favorable. I suggest you follow your attorney’s advice about getting the letter. Also, you can get a computer printout of your pharmacy record from the chain-store pharmacy.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • James Johnson

        Thank you Kay, like I said I completely
        Broke down once I had to tell him the
        Medications xanax and hydrocodones
        Make me have to take naps and it takes
        Me away from spending time with my son and family. He did mention that the note of me being non compliant was from 2013 but I made a appointment for the 19th, earliest they had.. lawyer said
        She’ll make a draft? And fax it to my lawyer to sign, that’s funny you said that because the day before Walgreen’s printed out all the transactions since 2013 and it says clearly I fill my meds and my lawyer cross examined the alj
        And told him I get them from a chain store due to self pay and low income.
        Thanks again Kay it’s been 3 long years
        I’m blessed to have such a kind lawyer
        She knows the judge very well and said he liked my response and it went well

        • James Johnson

          Forgot to mention, I was diagnosed for like the 10th time in 2013 I was very offended and resentful towards my doc at first
          But within a few months I filled it. He also saw that I was sent to millwood phyc hospital but since
          That was when I was 14 I’m not sure If hell take that into consideration, my lawyer told him I should’ve been on since I was
          First diagnosed and pumped full of pills at the age of 5! With your words, I can feel the positivity.
          I overreact negative non stop even Tho my lawyer is top notch and her words after we’re, I wouldn’t have you as a client if your case wasn’t a winner, thanks Kay

          • James Johnson

            Also my lawyer said the judge responded very well

        • Kay Derochie

          You are welcome, James.

  • wynnie

    Hi KAY I’m 44 years old and worked over 10years doing various jobs but 2003 I was diagnosed with major depression and then applied and won but I only get backpay becuse I felt better enough to go back to work I did not have to go to court my attorney and I won and I told him I only want backpay I’m back working. Now it’s 2013, I suffer another problem

    Applied for ssdi and ssi on July 2013 inflammatory arthritis and recurrent major depression and I have several other medical conditions but these are the main two that keeps me from working I had a ajl hearing on October 23,2015 did not go in the court room judge only ask my attorney he stayed in court room about 20 minutes and stated to me that, judge needed record from my mental doctor and therapist that I’ve been seeing since July 23 2013 I’m on 8 med for my illness I suffer from server joint pain on some days my flare ups can last up to three days and other days may last up to two hours most of time not sleeping lack of energy and lack of appetite my focus is off and feel hop less and some days I feel so exhausted due pain and frustrated and angry not knowing when the next flare up will come I don’t even get out of bed my family don’t
    like being around me. I now have another court date on Jan 12, 2016 I am very worried and a nervous reck I hope I don’t have a panic attack at hearing do you think they will deny me Kay

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Wynnie,

      Your claim is under active review and the judge will consider the medical records that he requested and also the testimony at the January hearing. At this point, there’s no reason to project that you will denied. You just need to wait and see. Don’t worry about having a panic attack at the hearing. If you do, just say what is going on.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Ms.Brown

    I HAVE MY COURT DAY COMING UP IN JANUARY 25. MY ILLNESS IS

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Ms. Brown,

      It appears your post was cut off.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • wynnie maloy

        Thank You Kay

        Wynnie

        • Kay Derochie

          You are welcome, Wynnie.

  • Jasmine

    Hello! I just had my appeal hearing yesterday and it went differently than I had expected. The first thing the judge did was explain the definition of disability by law and stated I fit the criteria, he then asked some questions about how long I could sit or stand without pain, how much money I made in my previous work, what medications I was taking, if my condition (herniated disc and degenerative disc disease) had caused problems with my previous work, what procedures I have had and how often I see my doctor. The only thing he asked the Vocational Expert is what levels my past work had been, which were all light/medium duty. I expected him to ask if I could still perform my previous work or if there was any other work I could perform and he didn’t. I was very nervous and without representation. I am only 33 and could not find a lawyer to take my case. The whole process took about 20, maybe 30 minutes. He said he could not give me a decision at the time but had to mail a letter and if approved, there would be an additional information packet mailed to tell me the next step. At this point and I am unsure if it went well or not.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Jasmine,

      It appears that the judge had already decided that you were medically eligible but wanted some additional details and the vocational expert’s testimony to support his decision.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Sondra

    I had my disability hearing last week, the judge didn’t ask the VE any questions and my attorney says it went very well. Does this mean that the judge will probably approve my case?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Sondra,

      Often the judge’s not questioning the vocational expert is a sign that the appeal will be approved; however, you won’t know for sure until you receive the written decision.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

    • Di’Ana

      I had a hearing on December 11, 2015. I am 32 years old with Bipolar 1 with psychotic features., Major Depression, PTSD. I have a good work history with enough credits. I had a major paniac attack at the hearing, shaking, crying uncontrollablly. My teeth were even chattering. The judge asked me who told you were disabled. I said my therapist said the whole team of doctors at the mental health clinic said I could not work. He wants a note. The ve said no to my past job, no to something else but yes to, dishwasher, heavy landscaping. But then the ve asked what if the hypothetical person was off-task 15-20%? She said no to 20%, but that 15% was the average. At the judge said he will give it 15 days, to forward information the information and he said good luck. My lawyer said I did also and may rule without the note and that he may want the note to hang his hat on. What does this all mean?

      • Kay Derochie

        Dear DiAna,

        Be sure that the note is submitted. Your attorney knows the details of your claim and was at the hearing so, for now I suggest trust your attorney’s opinion that your claim may be approved.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

  • Milah Gibbs

    Hello Kay,
    Our daughter was born in October of 2013 with Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia (CDH) on the right side. She had surgery at 6 days old and was in the NICU for a month.
    The Social Worker in the hospital said she would be eligible for S.S.I and filed all necessary papers for us.
    We received a letter in January of 2014 that she was denied, so I appealed it immediately.

    We finally had a hearing 2 days ago on October 19, 2015.
    I was requested to bring her with me, but while in the hearing she had a serious meltdown and was kicking and screaming. The judge asked if I had someone to take her and I said I did, so I took her out in the waiting area to her father.

    I get back into the hearing and the judge says to me, I noticed she has bulges on her stomach, I said yes, that is due to the surgery and it now being deformed. He then said I see she will get another surgery next year for the doctors to fix it and I said yes, they are waiting for her to get bigger.
    He then proceeded to ask me if she can drink out of a cup alone (NO), if she was still on a bottle (NO), does she drink out of a sippy cup (YES), he then said, oh I see she has a Capri Sun, does she drink out of that (I said yes, with help), he asked how many words can she say (I said about 5), he asked what the words were and I told him. He asked if she could go up the steps alone (I stated not yet, but she is trying). He asked if she could run (I stated NO), he asked about her temperament (I said she can be mean at times and likes to hit).
    He asked about her relationship with her siblings, he asked about any side effects to the CDH(I stated that she is constipated a lot). He asked me if I wanted to make a statement and I said our Pumpkin was denied because they said while her disability was severe that it had improved. I explained to the judge that she will have to have a surgery once she turns 3, she has a goretex patch covering her diaphragm to keep the intestines in her stomach. I stated that she will have this goretex patch for the rest of her life, I explained that there is a chance of the patch busting open and that her intestines could spill into her heart, lung and chest cavity again.
    There are no guarantees, I also said I worry about the way she plays, if someone should kick her in the tummy and reinjure her.

    He said he would go to his chambers, look over all info and make his decision. He said we would receive a letter in the mail.

    I didn’t have an attorney, I just am curious why he asked to see her, why he asked about what she can do and if we have a chance of winning her case or being denied again.

    I also am curious of how long it will take for us to get a letter in the mail with his decision.
    We are located in Pennsylvania.
    Any help/advice will be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks in advance Kay!

    • Milah Gibbs

      Btw Kay, I apologize in advance for writing a book, but I just wanted to make sure every detail was included.
      Thanks again!

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Milah,

      The judge asked questions about what your child can do in order to assess how her medical condition has or has not affected her development and functioning as compared to the normal range for children without medical problems.

      Your child has to be continuously disabled for twelve months in order for her to be eligible. What her condition might be in the future will not be considered in determining whether she is disabled now. The guideline is for the judge to make a decision within sixty days, however, it could be more or less than that amount of time.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Milah Gibbs

        Thank you Kay!
        I wasn’t sure, I appreciate you answering my questions.

        If we are denied, they said I can appeal it on a federal level, but does this have a deadline like when she was first denied, we had 60 days to appeal.

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Milah,

          Yes, there will be an appeal deadline to file in federal district court. The denial letter will tell you how long you have to appeal.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • cindy v.

    Dear Kay-
    I just wanted to update you and everyone- Today Oct 13 2015 I won my case fully favorable, it will be retro active to April 2013 my original file date. 30 long drawn out months of hardship. It took the judge 59 days to decide. (I was told 60 days so the judge was true to her word). Words cannot come close to describing the relief I feel- My process: was denied 2xs won at hearing level. Good luck to everyone I know exactly what its like to worry over this. Stay calm and pray for the best-we really cant do much else while we wait.!(original post August 16 2015)
    cindy

    • Kay Derochie

      Thank you for sharing, Cindy.

  • Guadalupe Cantu

    Hi, my son is 3 years old and has been legally blind in his left eye since birth. His diagnosis is optic nerve coloboma with retinal detachments. He has undergone 3 surgeries to reattach his retina and everything has been a fail. We applied for disability for my son in may 2015 and was denied in July 2015 “not legally blind with 20/200 or worse”. (we provided paperwork from one doctor stated he indeed had 20/200 or worse). So we appealed the decision in August 2015 and it came back denied this month, October 2015. They did not use the new doctor that we provided to make a decision. (the new doctor also stated that my son had no vision and is legally blind on the left eye as well.) so Now we have a hearing with an alj, if that is correct, but what should I expect? Do you think my son can win this case? And what can we do to prove that he is disabled?? He has also been enrolled into special ed, because he cannot see what the teacher is teaching and cannot get around the room/school without getting confused and lost. Only way he can see is if he has his head tilted all the way to the side so he can see through the corner of his left eye.

    • Guadalupe Cantu

      Sorry, I mean the right eye is blind and he can see through his left eye.. * another thing, how long will it take to see a judge, because everything seems to be moving rather quickly? And also, I have heard that if my son is accepted, disability will pay him back pay from the day that the disability started?

      • Kay Derochie

        Dear Guadalupe,

        It usually takes about a year for the hearing date to be set. If your son is approved, he will be paid back to the month after he applied.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Guadalupe,

      Be sure that your son’s claim file has the medical records with the testing that shows he is completely blind in one eye and 20/200 or worse in the other. Get a copy of the school’s special education records and a copy of any individualized education plan he might have. Also ask his teacher what she observes his condition to be in class–for example how he has to turn his head to see and other problems he has in school. When you are at the hearing, mention the optical records that were submitted to prove legal blindness in his good eye. Also, it would be a good idea to take your son with your to the hearing.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Melissa

    Kay,

    I have battled CRPS for 5 years and while I worked for several years with severe pain I finally came to the hard decision of leaving a job I liked as I couldn’t perform any of the jobs I was hired to do. I then at the advice of my Primary Physician I filed for disability. I at this time had already seen 14 doctors with countless bills, procedures etc. I was originally denied then my lawyer and I went before a judge. My lawyer stated that the judge will focus on why I didn’t see a psychologist. I can’t imagine anyone would not become depressed as your life is not your own. I explained that I have a prayer partner thru my church whom I speak to regularly too. I believe the judge was not happy with my answer as I stated I felt comfortable speaking honestly and she has seen the extreme changes with me over the years. I was answering the same questions it seemed for 1.5 hours. (my primary physician who I have gone to for 18 years documented all my symptoms, swelling, bruising, I have botox injections every 3 months for severe migranes and take 31 pills a day. These cause stomach problems, sleepiness, nausea etc. I finally after 4 week 2 days received a letter from social security which lists 2 physicans names which I have learned are psychiatrists and my lawyer has 10 days to respond. My question is what does this mean? Should I be worried that this will be another no.

    thanks,
    Melissa

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Melissa,

      I do not know what you mean by the letter “listing” two physicians names. What question is your attorney supposed to respond to? If you would like to clarify, I will try to respond.

      Thanks,
      Kay

      • Vic

        Hi Kay, I went to hearing Sept. 1, was told that claim was in final editing Sept. 22, what does that mean and how much longer before I get something in the mail?

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Vic,

          Final editing means that the decision was made and the letter was prepared and reviewed by the judge, who found the need to have some corrections made to the letter. When it is returned to him, he will sign it and it will be mailed out to you.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • Wanda

    Hey Kay,

    I had my hearing the other day and before going in my lawyer stated we may be in there for 45 min to an hour , but we were in there for like 20 minutes. The judge didn’t ask the VE any questions . My lawyer as me my education level which was a Masters and she asked wholed I was at the wounded warrior battalion did I work and I stated no . The judge asked me did I have anything showing the time frame I was there .Do you think she was using the dates for my onset as to when i stop working. I told her I had orders and she said it was good. My lawyer informed she will grant me my disability because she didn’t even go through the whole process with me at all. I have serve PTSD from the military and alot of others like chronic back pain bulging disc in L4 And 5 , bulging disc in neck C5 and C6 major recurring depression, anxiety, panic attacks, fibroymogia, and migranes. My lawyer states all my medicail information was very well documented

    • Wanda

      What does it means when it’s states my comment is awaiting moderation?

      • Kay Derochie

        Dear Wanda,

        Waiting moderation means it is waiting for me to read your comment and respond to it. I have now responded to all your posts.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Wanda,

      Yes, if your active service was your last work, the judge may have wanted to see the papers to document the onset date.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Wanda

        Thanks Kay

        • Kay Derochie

          You are welcome, Wanda.

  • Jessica Ruth

    Hello,
    I have a hearing coming up next week for Bipolor II and Severe Chronic Depression. I left my last job when I had this most resent episode about 2.5 – 3 years ago. I’m concerned about two things- 1. Will they see me living with my boyfriend who helps me money wise if he can…..His mother also helps us out if we need it. 2. The only way I see myself getting through this hearing is using written notes, when my stress levels get to high I just shut down. I’m I allowed to use notes?
    Thanks for any help,
    JR

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear JR,

      Yes, you are allowed to use notes at the hearing. I would suggest telling the judge that you brought notes because when you are stressed you shut down. Financial help will not affect your Social Security Disability (SSDI) claim. If you also applied for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), the financial help will be considered in determining your financial eligibility and payment amount.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Hi Kay.
        Like JR I asked my Lawyer if I could bring notes. Im diagnosed with bipolar, major depression, ptsd and anxiety disorder. She said eeh..thats not really necessary. Although I was really uneasy about this and a little, concerned I thought she knew what shes doing. She is part of a big firm and experienced.
        2 1/2 year’s since my appeal and finally yesterday came. My hearing was at 10am yesterday November 23. I was up for 2 days with no sleep, sick to my stomach and just mentally exhausted. About 20 minutes before we go in she tells me that she just got off the phone with the office and it looks like the psychiatrist sent the old documentation that we already have and she requested updated paperwork.
        Im shaking now and I know Im having a panic attack. She says that happens a lot. Im ready to scream and its are turn to go in.
        I don’t even know how I’m writing this. I just don’t know. During the hearing I could hear myself talking in circles and I actually kinda tuned out. and can only write about it for now because I’m afraid I’ll get myself too worked up again and have an attack. I hope that you could give me some advice. It gets worse. .but the VE eventually said I could not perform any work. My mother who lives with me and a friend also wrote a witnesses letter. Also since my Lawyer did not have any updated records she asked him if he wanted a summons.. ??

        • He said he didn’t think that they were doing that anymore. She said depending on who it was. He then said ok and he gave us 30 days. Then he said to me when did you get your license back? He through me through a loop..( I got a dui in 2013 but my license wasn’t ‘suspended until 2014) I said in March. Ok do you still babysit?( I said no I cant even take care of myself) he said ok.
          She then turned to me and said ok smiling like everything was fine. He asked my onset date. We were excused. She took me aside while she fumbled with her files and said he was confused because I wasn’t able to focus I was talking in circles. She said she would like me to go home and when I feel better tomorrow write a letter saying you were having a panic attack. She said she had to get going and talk to you later.

          • Kay Derochie

            Dear Renee,

            Follow your attorney’s advice and write a letter saying that you were having a panic attack during the hearing and couldn’t think straight. Clarify whether you are to send the letter to the attorney or to the judge.

            Sincerely,
            Kay

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Renee,

          I am not sure but perhaps the attorney was asking the judge whether the judge wanted to request (summon) the other more recent records. To be sure, I suggest you ask your attorney what the she mean.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

          S

  • Charles

    Today I had my SSDI hearing. I suffer from Major Depression Disorder with Psychosis, PTSD and Anxiety.The judge went over some of my medical records and asked some questions. Than she asked the VE were there any Jobs that I could do with my disabilities and he came up with one Job. The judge than asked hypothetical question as to not being able to work more than 2 hours without a Break VE said no. Than asked If I couldnt be around people is there employment he said stocking shelves. Then the Judge asked if there were any jobs for someone whi cant focus more than 45 min. Than her last question to the VE was that if I need to be in treatment 4days a week is the employment. The VE said I would be Unemployable. The judge said she has enough to support her decission and asked about the onset date and dismissed us. My lawyer says it look good. Do you think this could mean a Favorable Decision?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Charles,

      The fact that the judge asked about the onset date is an indication that your claim might be approved.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • cindy v.

    hi kay-
    Ive been reading alot of the comments here and i must add to it. My hearing was on August 10 2015. I have many mental disabilities. Have statements from my therapist, a ptsd therapist and psychiratrist. Not to mention my pcp because i have a history of dvt (deep vein thrombitist) and take 40mg of blood thinner every day. Long story short, at my hearing in Evanston, Il. The alj asked the VE 3 hypos in reference to me working-he said yes to all 3, but upon the alj questioning him stating “could a person who must elevate their legs for 20min during a 1 hr shift do that job, he responded no to all 3. Now my attrny, states my hearing went well. But my concern is i had a therapist that stated back in oct 2014 she thought i was “improving”.That therapist is no longer working at the facility and my 2 new therapist said i wasnt improving and i was misdiganosed. At any rate, I am trying not to worry about the ourtcome until it gets here-my attrny said if i dont get approved (which he rated my case a “A” on a scale on A-f) then he would be shocked and appeal. My question to you is how long before i get some pay if i win and how much harm did the 1st therapist do to my case? any help or suggestions will be appreciated.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Cindy,

      The judge is supposed to render a decision within sixty days, although sometimes it takes longer. If you are approved, it can take another sixty days or more for benefits to start. As far as the first therapist’s chart notes, it will depend on how much weight the judge gives them as compared to the records of the later therapists.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • cindy v.

        Thank you Kay-keeping my fingers crossed and trying to stay calm.!

        • Kay Derochie

          You are welcome, Cindy.

    • heather brown

      I called today to check on the progress from when I seen the ALJ the secretary said that it is now in the supervisors hand and then it will go back down to the judge and then to the lawyers to write it up does any of this sound correct

      • Kay Derochie

        Dear Heather,

        The usual procedure is for the judge to make a decision, which is sent to the letter-writing department, where a letter is prepared. Then the letter goes back to the judge for review and signature. I don’t know why your appeal would be with a supervisor.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

        • heather brown

          so odd. ty so much

          • Kay Derochie

            You are welcome, Heather.

  • james

    I had my hearing on my disability case the only issue was that my doctor write on the opinion that I could possible work 2 hours a day at a sit down job but when the DOJ ask The VE about this she stated that she couldn’t recommend me for any jobs based on the testimony and records and based on that I should be considered disabled and the judge ask my lawyer did he have any questions for the VE and he said none then the judge told me this was the end of the hearing my lawyer told me he believes I have won my case is this a good sign

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear James,

      The information you provided supports your attorney’s opinion.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • cami

    Long story short 3 months before my alj hearing I was going to need a biopsy to check for cancer and I freaked out and wound up in the ER twice for panic attacks. The ER psych doc recommended counseling which I started. The counselor had me take MMPI testing and some five other tests. The test showed -wait for it- that I have anxiety. But it also said something about an FBS and I tested as not faking bad and not faking good. Because the testing happened before my hearing I assume it is in my file. Cancer was not one of the things I was using to file for disability and still isn’t at the moment. Will the ALJ consider any of my psych test results? And what is taking bad and faking good? I didn’t do them so Im assuming that’s in my favor or won’t it matter?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Cami,

      You should not assume anything about what is in your appeal file. If you have an attorney, you should contact the attorney immediately to be sure the attorney knows about your psychiatric conditions and so that the ER records and psychiatric test findings and counselor’s notes can be presented to the judge (if they haven’t been) before the decision is made. If you do not have an attorney, you would have to have submitted the records yourself for them to reach the judge. If you have no attorney, call the hearing office and tell them that you think that important psychiatric records from treatment shortly before the hearing have not been submitted to the judge. Ask what is needed to hold the decision until they can be submitted for consideration. Hopefully, you will be allowed a reasonable period of time to get copies submitted.

      I do not know what FBS stands for. Faking bad means that trying to answer the questions in a manner that makes you look like you have more mental problems than you have. Faking good means the opposite: trying to answer questions so that your look healthier than you are.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • cami

        I looked it up!… FBSmeans Faking Bad Scale. There is a lot written about SSA and MMPI testing. The POMS say it shouldn’t be used because no ntest can determine definitively whether someone is malingering. It seems that the whole point of the alj hearing is for them to decide whether or not an applicant is faking! So I looked up how a judge can know in an hour or less if someone is faking. One thing I found out is they go to big conferences in cities like Reno to ‘learn’ how to figure out the fakers. In and around their training sessions they can attend wine tastings! And someone posted its not even the alj who ‘writes’ a negative opinion. Negative opinions are cobbled together from a big database of paragraphs they pick and choose from if it sounds something like your case and the people doing this work are high school graduates! Good grief! That’s some big mess and peoples lives are dependant on that rigamarole. Have you heard this stuff happening? I stumbled on an alj forum and supposedly aljs themselves are saying this stuff…..

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Cami,

          All hearing decision letters, approvals and denials, are prepared in the letter-writing department and are based on the judge’s decision and the reasons given for the decision. And, yes, a data base of stock paragraph is used for parts of the letter because certain points of law and case facts have to be addressed in every decision.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

          • cami

            people who go for hearings should be told up front how much SSA has their hands in this part of the process. We need to not get our hopes up that the alj process is at all fair!

          • cami

            I guess I errantly believed aljs were rather a watchdog for applicants who were incorrectly denied by SSA. Turns out they are paid by SSA. There are enough remands to indicate points of law and case facts are being arbitrarily ignored by aljs which pretty much only harms applicants further. It’s so very crushing.

            • Kay Derochie

              Dear Cami,

              This is in response to your posts. The first three appeals available are within the Social Security system and all the decision makers for those appeals are trained by the Social Security Administration in Social Security Disability law. If a person is denied at all levels of appeal within the system, it is possible to appeal to the federal district court, at your own expense for filing costs. The federal court is outside the Social Security Administration, but still evaluates your claim as related to Social Security Disability law.

              Sincerely,
              Kay

    • I have a disability hearing coming up I suffer. From major severe chronic depression aniexty panic attacks and PTSD I see a therapist and a psychiatrist once a month I am on Wellbutrin twice a day and klonopin at night for night mares and to take a klonopin when I am having a attack which is everyday I cry a lot socially withdrawn stay to myself family very distant I also have hypotension which causes me to blackout I also have high blood pressure high chlosterol am on lethrotjyroxin all my life for thyroid issues I also had hini in 2014 that triggered all of this I also have occasional tremors is this enough for disabilty I 56 years old

      • Kay Derochie

        Dear Karen,

        It is possible you could be approved although it is more difficult to prove disability caused by a combination of illnesses. If the hearing has not yet been scheduled, it might be worthwhile to hire an attorney to review your case and prepare the best presentation of the important factors. 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 your retroactive award before they send your back pay to you.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

  • heather

    hi. i went to my hearing the other day and i am a complete wreck . i am a 34 year old female .at 32 i was diagnosed with shingles,since i was still having pain post herpatic neuralgia. the neurologist did a cervical mri because i had pain but did not expect much. well mri showed a syrinx on the cord and disc compression. i had an emergent fusion on c5-7. since the surgery things have gotten worse. i have a diagnosis of post laminectomy syndrome, transverse myelitis,spinal stenoisis,migraine,neurogentic bladder, and a few other stuff like fibro. i have done pt,ot, bladder therapy. currently doing pool therapy.i take meds and that was discussed about the gabapentin making me confused and baclofen making me tired. the part that is making me a wreck is because the judge said to my attorney she believes my testimony my neurologist records do not reflect severity. like 5 to 15 migraines per month or using the bathroom up to 30 x per day when i am having an attack. not being able to stand more than a half hour. i have a lot of records. i have to self cath because of the neurogentic bladder at least one week out of the month.i know that is in there. i do botox for the migraines and it went from everyday to 5 to 15 a month.` the vocational expert said i cant go back to my past work but gave a few jobs the judge gave hypotheticals about not being on task for 2 hours per day , no over head , no extreme temp, no repetive neck movements and being out at least 3 x per month. the expect ending up saying no job in the economy. i am so scared because she said my record does not reflect severity. i am making myself sick over this

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Heather,

      “Severity” has a specific meaning in the disability approval process. The judge may have used it in the technical sense, which would be that your conditions are not so severe that your work experience does not have to be considered in deciding whether you are disabled. If the judge thinks the medical supports the limitations you claim and the vocational expert said you would not be able to work in any occupation, you likely will be approved.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • heather brown

        My records have the diagnosis. It definitely says post laminectomy syndrome, transverses myelitis,neurogentic bladder, and just a bunch of other stuff like arthritis. I don’t really talk to my neurologist about the exact amount of times I have used the bathroom durning the day. We just talk about treatment options and if I started falling yet or anything. I did tell the bladder therapist it was every ten mins sometimes. My primary care dr has it in her records before I started getting botox that I had a migraine every day. In one consult with a neurosurgery it states the only way to fix my neck is to go in and rip out the hardware and redo it but he won’t do it because it can make things worse. Will the judge read all this? There are so many records. she asked about my meds and I listed them. Told her xanex for panic attacks. She said what panic attack. I said mostly at night I think I’m going to wake up and not be able to feel my legs. I cried at this point. I’m just so scared the doctors missed some of this in reports. I told her I can only walk about a half hour but no one put that in the records.but transverse myelitis makes you weak. will she know this? I’m so afraid

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Heather,

          The judge is supposed to read all of your claim file. Presumably she would research any medical information needed to make an informed decision.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

          • heather brown

            Ty so much Kay.

            • Kay Derochie

              You are welcome, Heather.

        • heather

          i am reading how others have seen social security doctors to be examined. that was never offered to me . any idea why?

          • Kay Derochie

            Dear Heather,

            The Social Security Administration orders and pays for examinations only when needed information cannot be found in the medical evidence presented by the claimant for his or her claim.

            Sincerely,
            Kay

          • heather

            i am just so scared she will think my symptoms are exaggerated, i truly told the truth. reading over some of my mri’s the last one shows my neck is in spasm.it is written in the report.i just feel like there may be to much info in my records. when i was looking for a cure i seen a few specialists and gotten many opinions,lots and lots of test from mris ,xrys, ssep ,spinal tap,emg,bloodwork,ureodynamics,she yelled at my lawyer in the beginning of my hearing about duplicate records.my anxiety over this is really getting the best of me .your page is helping me so much .ty,

            • Kay Derochie

              You are welcome, Heather.

  • low

    Hi I was diagnosed with schizoeffective disorder and depression I filed fo ssi in 2012 I just had my hearing yesterday my lawyer told me before the hearing that I would probably be denied because of alcohol an substance abuse my hearing lasted about 35_40 min the judge asked me question and my lawyer did also he did not ask the ‘ve anything or let my witness testify at the end he asked my lawyer about my onset date ..she said I testified really good and based on the fact he didn’t question the ve and asked about my onset date I could possibly win..but she also said he might deny me because of the alcohol and weed .what do you think???

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Low,

      Social Security does not pay benefits for disabilities stemming from the use of alcohol or drugs. If you are disabled by a mental illness without considering any impairments you have because of the use of alcohol or drugs, your claim could be approved.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • susie

    Just had alj hearing with a judge who denies and dismisses 70% of cases. Hearing went an hour and judge only asked VE one hypothetical and VE said no jobs. Attorney said we probably will be denied. It’s so confusing.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Susie,

      You might ask your attorney whether he or she thinks there will be a basis for appealing the judge’s denial if, in fact, your claim is denied.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Susie

        Is there a website that gives data on how many cases each alj loses on appeal?

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Susie,

          I am not aware of such a site. You might try searching the Internet for Social Security hearing denials.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

          • liberty

            I looked and nothing. I’d like to know things like what the ages are of people the alj approved and how many of them were of a certain religion. There should be more data so applicants can decide whether their chances are better with the alj or reapplying before credits run out. Judges who have a lot of cases turned over on appeal should be identified for applicants as well.

            • Kay Derochie

              Dear Liberty,

              The government keeps some statistics on benefits paid, but beyond trying a lot of different Internet searches, I don’t have any suggestions. I think probably age statistics are kept, but not religion, which would not come up in a disability review.

              Sincerely,
              Kay

        • SALLY RENAUD

          Google Disability ODAR Judges,,,a site will come up and you can pick your state.

  • Jessica

    Dear Ms. Derochie:

    I applied for SSD in March 2013 and my hearing was on June 15, 2015. I have been diagnosed with RA, asthma, & severe major depression. At the hearing, my atty asked me basic questions name, dob, ss, etc. After I answered 3 basic questions, I completely froze, had a panic attack & cried uncontrollably throughout the remainder of the hearing & could not answer anything else bc of the condition I was in. The day of the hearing, I was also sick w/a fever, coughing & weezing (due to asthma) that the ALJ commented & said “you sound sick” I told him “yes, I’m not feeling well today. I have fever & asthma is bothering me”. That was the only conversation I had w/the ALJ. He did not ask me not one single question at the hearing whatsoever. My atty & the ALJ proceeded to go over my medical reports. The ALJ read out loud a paragraph of a report from a psychologist I saw 10 times that would come to my home for our sessions. It read something along the lines of….That I have severe major depression, crying spells, fear of leaving my home,etc. He also went over my RA blood work w/my atty. After that he stopped the hearing & said to my atty “good work counsel, good job, good job.” The hearing was less than 20 min. He didn’t even ask the VE not one question.

    I’m worried that I messed up bc I couldn’t talk bc of the panic attack, etc. Ms. Derochie, I would love to hear your thoughts if you think this was a normal hearing, good or bad? I thank you in advance for your time reading my comment. Thank you.

    Jessica

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Jessica,

      I suggest you ask your attorney how he or she thought the hearing went. My opinion is that your claim will be approved.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Jessica

        Ms. Derochie:

        Thank you for your response. Because I was such a mess bc my nerves took control of me, I didn’t speak w/my atty much. I got really sick @ the Hearing & just wanted to get home to bed. However, my atty did say it went well. Why would the judge tell him good job then turn around and deny. That would be a slap on the face. But then I thought maybe the judge was just being nice. I’m a very pessimistic person. :-/

        In addition to depression, RA, asthma I have also been diagnosed w/severe anxiety, sever panic attacks almost daily, fear of leaving my home, borderline personality disorder, insomnia, etc. Also, both my doctor & the psychiatrist that SS sent me to stated that I cannot work.

        In your professional opinion, do you think I hurt my case by not being able to speak bc of the panic attack I had at the hearing? I’m just worried that I messed up on the opportunity I had at my day in front of an ALJ due to the fact I could not talk.

        The fact that the ALJ did not ask me any questions even before I panicked, did not ask the VE any questions, my hearing was about only 20 min, & no discussion about onset dates has me very very very worried. Should I worry about any of the above-mentioned?

        What you do on this website is amazing and a true blessing! I appreciate you & thank you so very much!

        Jess

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Jessica,

          It would seem that the judge’s comment to your attorney is an indication your claim will be approved. Your having symptoms of the kind you say disable you while in the hearing should not hurt your case. The same questions are not asked in every hearing so no questions to the vocational expert could mean that the judge was convinced that the other evidence indicated that you cannot work. All that said, you’ll have to wait for the decision to know for sure.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

          • Jessica

            Ms. Derochie :

            Thank you so very much for your response. It’s much appreciated. 🙂

            Jessica

            • Kay Derochie

              You are welcome, Jessica.

  • Bren

    Kay, I have severe clinical depression, ptsd from ongoing childhood sexual assault, fibromyalgia, ibs, cfs, hand tremors…I applied in Sept of 2014 got denied in Dec 2014 appealed in January 2015 they sent me to a ce mental exam on july 1 of 2015…what I dont understand is I see a therapist/counselor weekly so why would they need to have a mental exam done? I could understand if I wasnt seeing someone in mental health but I am…just wondering if you might know why I was sent to the ce exam? Could it be to confirm what is already in my medical records? Thank you bren

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Bren,

      If you are not also seeing a psychiatrist or clinical psychologist, a physician’s evaluation may be needed in addition to your counselor’s records.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Patty

    Hi, I am waiting for a hearing date, I am in danger of being evicted, credit is ruined, every bill is behind. I have diabetes, had most of my pancreas removed as 3 masses clogged and killed it, spleen removed, caused the diabetes, severe pancreatitis, comprised immunity, have severe reflux, gurd, fibromyalgia, migraines, severe fatigue, pruritis (extreme itching) hyatel hernia from the pancreatectomy, osteoarthritis, depression, panic attacks. I’m on so many meds, including 2 insulins, pancreatic enzymes, any time I get even a cold, I have to go on antibiotics. I’ve been denied twice for disability, waiting for the hearing. Lawyer is trying to get it expedited due to financial situation. What can I do? The pancreas illness was considered rare as they do not know what caused the masses and even made it a case study at the U. of Penn. why was this denied? I am now seeing a pscyhatrist for the stress and depression. I don’t know what I’m going to do or what to do next. I’ll be homeless before the year waiting time. My husband apparently grosses too much for us to qualify for any help. We constantly go into overdrawn account status to pay rent, etc.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Patty,

      Your attorney has taken the appropriate action of trying to get your appeal expedited due to dire need. You might try looking for less expensive housing or consider taking in a roomer to help cover the rent.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • tabitha

        I had a hearing in March, it went really awful, the judge looked like she just woke up and in the middle of the hearing was digging through her purse etc. Anyway, I have Lupus , high bp, hypothyroid, depression, carpal tunnel, bursitis and edema. Had all medical records, Dr’s and therapists statements. I was berated for not having seen a rheumatologist yet and she said she was making me and appointment with one and paying for it. Well she sent me to some quack social security dr who said nothing was wrong with me after a 5 minute visit , oh I was a little sad. My attorney had received letter from her saying I could have a supplemental hearing and she requested it , but now the adjudication office said she has made a decision and it is in the writing process. The judge did ask me at hearing if I had anything I wanted to say and I said that I guess since only what is on paper matters and not what I go through day to day matter then no I don’t and she was taken aback and said it does matter and I was really crying and this point and my attorney said she had never had that happen with a judge acting that way and looking that way that it was uncalled for and extreme. I don’t have a clue what to expect. Attorney said seemed like she was back crawling because of how she acted and offering a supplemental hearing. So worried. It’s been two years of dealing with the 3rd denial and first hearing .

        • tabitha

          And the dr was not a rheumatologist, my attorney did send her a letter telling her it was absurd she sent me to that do and not a specialist after berating me.

          • Kay Derochie

            Dear Tabitha,

            My response is to both your postings. It sounds as if your attorney is keeping close track of what is happening so follow your attorneys recommendations regarding appeal if you are denied.

            Sincerely,
            Kay

  • Kelli Rogers

    Dear Kay,
    IN accouple days I have to go to court because for overover 20 years II have been experiencing seizure disorders because of a head injury I experienced 31 years ago,(Brain damage) . Back injury I experienced 10 years ago.. Since then my seizures haven’t gotten any better, my back has gotten worst plus I have something wrong with both of my knees shown in the x-rays not counting my anxiety or hypertension. No I can’t afford to have a lawyer so where do you honestly think I stand on keeping ssi I was grant10 years ago?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Kelli,

      If your condition is the same or worse and you have presented proof of that the original conditions continue and proof of new conditions, your benefits should be continued.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Billy

    Dear Kay
    I seen all the post on here and thought you may be able to help me. I do not like putting myself out there but I feel like I need someone who has a clue to help me out. I applied for SSDI back in Aug 2013. Had my hearing March 17th 2015 and had a attorney. I go to therapist about once a week, psychiatrist once a month. I have BPD and anxiety both of them filled out the RFC forum or what ever it is called. We got to court early like asked ALJ was about hr late. Went in asked some questions. AT one time he said something and I anwsered his question and he said I understand that lets move on and one was about meds and why I been on so many. ALJ asked if it was from a past drug problem back in 04. I told him yes part of it was but I take what I am asked and if dont work we changed it. Then he asked the VE 2 questions. The first was about past work the VE said no. Then he asked a question if a person had this could they work the VE said no. My attorney never said anything during the hearing he just sat there marking things off his paper. The only question he asked was about a letter the ALJ wanted from a past job and how long we had to turn it in the ALJ said it was no longer needed. ALJ closed the file told us to have a good day. I walked out a few mins later my attorney walked out. He said we essential won at the hearing. It sit in post hearing for 72 days and now with a unassigned decision writer. What do you think the outcome will be?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Billy,

      There’s no way to know for sure, but I think you are going to get a favorable decision.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Billy

        I will keep you let you know the outcome. The decision writer is writing it up as of June 12th.

        • Kay Derochie

          Thanks, Billy.

      • Billy

        Dear Kay as of today I just found out it was in editing what does this mean?

        • Billy

          As a update June 26th 2015 my attorney called to inform me that the case was closed and in our favor. To all waiting I understand how hard it is to wait but keep ur head up. It all is worth it in the end.

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Billy,

          An appeal being in editing means that when the judge reviewed the letter to sign it, he or she found an error and sent it for correction.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

          • Billy

            As of Friday June 26th the case was close and we have won. Took 22 months and 26 days from the day I filed but it is over.

            • Kay Derochie

              Thanks for the update, Billy.

  • Rick

    Anyone help
    I went before ALJ hearing 2 weeks ago the judge wants. Me to go to a neurologist. So I did this week my lawyer is electronically sending reports to judge.but neurologist found what was causing my falls tremors and pain my nerves in feet and legs are dieing original cause was spinal stenosis but not enough evidence.as I was leaving hearing the judge told me she found me very credible. What do you think approval or Denial

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Rick,

      I think you are saying that your own doctor thought you had spinal stenosis but the consulting doctor thought there was another cause for your symptoms, but I am not really sure. Please clarify and I will try to respond.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

    • Richard pridgen

      I had 2 doctors diagnose me with chronic lower back pain. I have episodes where I just fall down. I had my court date with the ALJ on May 26th I had 2 doctors saying I had the chronic back pain and was causing sciatica. But the orthopedic said my symptoms did not match my mri. So the judge asked if I would go to a neurologist and I said yes. He diagnosed me with essential tremors upper and lower body and rheumatoid arthritis in my hips and legs said this was cause of sciatica. He did a second English and said I had significant dead nerves than from last English last year. My attorney sent this to judge we had till the 15we got in by 10 now it’s the 10 of July. As we were leaving courtroom the judge said mr Pridgen I find your testimony very credible. Does this sound like I might get approved. My lawyer also sent me a paper to amend my onset date to my 50th birthday which was last year I know if approved I could lose a lot of money but at this point I just want my monthly pay thank you

      • Richard pridgen

        I meant EMG not English sorry

      • Kay Derochie

        Dear Richard,

        If the judge solicited the change in disability onset date, then the rest of the information you provided seems to support that you will be approved.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

        • Richard pridgen

          I called the social security office they connected me to ALJ clerk he said my case was with the judges workers what does this mean are they going over my case or has a decision been made is this good or bad. Or does it sound like three close to a decision thank you very much Rick

          • Kay Derochie

            Dear Richard,

            I don’t know what is meant by “the judge’s workers.” If your appeal is in the letter-writing department, it means the decision has been made and you are in the final phases of getting written determination.

            Sincerely,
            Kay

  • Nicki

    I had my hearing on May 5th. There was no VE. My attorney stated that was a good thing. I have connective tissue disease, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, raynards syndrome, sjoerns, major depression, hypoglycemic, and I have migraines about 2/3 times a week. The judge only asked a few questions. My lawyer asked the majority. The judge asked if I could do my previous work of caseworker. I answered truthfully and told him, I missed my career working at the welfare office, but I currently don’t feel I’d be able to work at this time until I can regulate some of my medical issues. The judge then said I see you worked there for a long period of time. 9 years to be exact. I said yes . But due to cramping of my hips, fingers and feet, I’d have issues performing my job duties in a fast paced environment. I was there in the hearing all of 20/30 minutes. My lawyer stated my testimony was excellent and he feel my case will be approved. The judge needed info from my pain management doctor, and my cardiologist. I’m afraid I’ll be denied due to know VE being present. But, my lawyer have reiterated that it holds no bearings due to my testimony being in line with all of my medical records.. I dunno.. applied for SSA March 2013.. I’m a nervous wreck. I’m in the midst of foreclosure and not being able to provide for my four children..

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Nicki,

      I would trust your attorney’s opinion. The vocational specialist is needed only if the judge thinks there might be some work you can do. Concentrate on getting the pain management doc and your cardiologist to respond quickly. If you are trying to keep your house, talk to the bank. Tell them that your attorney believes that you will be approved and that in a few months you will have back pay to catch up the mortgage. If you are not getting public assistance, you might contact your local social services department and apply for SNAP (food stamps) and also for cash assistance to support the children.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Lynn

    Dear Kay,

    No, the judge did not order a CE. I have to obtain the additional medical info myself.

    Thank you very much for the info.

    • Kay Derochie

      You are welcome, Lynn.

  • Lynn

    Hi Kay,

    I had my hearing at the beginning of April 2015. My non-attorney advocate explained to me that the evidence in my file does not support the fact that I cannot do any work; however, some information was missing at the time of my hearing, namely RFC from my current rheumatologist which was not submitted to the judge during the hearing because my rheumy forgot to check an area on the form. This piece was submitted after the hearing.

    The judge gave me 30 days to have an exam for fibromyalgia (my former rheumy wrote in my file I had it but never performed an exam) through my rheum and other testing on my shoulder and hand that was already scheduled. It is coming up 30 days and I am at the mercy of my doctors scheduling. Some additional testing has been completed but I need the exam for fibro and additional radiological testing.

    All hypotheticals from the vocational expert were eliminated due to my limitations.

    I am 53 and I suffer from Sjogrens syndrome, psoriatic arthritis, many musculoskeletal issues and a host of other problems.

    I’ve asked my non-attorney rep to ask for more time but I do not know if the judge will grant it. I am grateful that he did not deny me straight off and gave me a chance to get the additional information. I would like to hear your insight on this and your thoughts about my chances of winning my case.

    Thank you,

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Lynn,

      I am unclear on why you want to request more time unless you are saying that the examinations that are scheduled are not for consultative examinations ordered by the judge, but are exams that you are being required to set up and obtain. If the latter is true and the exam dates are too far out to get the report back in thirty days, then, yes, talk with your representative about informing the judge of the earliest exam dates you could get and requesting a longer period for submission of the reports.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • leonardo

    Hi Kay,I have epilepsy, mood disorder nos, diabetes, high blood pressure, carpal tunnel.this medical conditions are in the blue book? Do you think I can apply for disability?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Leonardo,

      To be approved based on the listings of severe conditions, each diagnosis must be accompanied by the test or clinical findings listed in the Blue Book. If you are not eligible based on the listings, you may be eligible based on other criteria. More information about Social Security’s disability review process can be found in the first article under the “Claim Process” tab at the top of each page of this website.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Dee

    HI Kay
    My case was remanded back to the ALJ .
    What are my chances of winning my case., will I have to go back in front of a ALJ again,
    I am 51 now was 47 when I got turned down the first time by the ALJ.
    I am in pain all the time and have a hard time dealing with day to day issues .
    Its hard to explain to the judge how you feel and what you can and can not do.
    I would like to know how do you explain that you hurt all the and have anxiety that stop you from working
    or even being around people.
    Thanks

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Dee,

      If you have an attorney, discuss your questions with your attorney and ask for advice. Otherwise, make the statements to the judge that you have made in your question to me and give some examples of things that you have trouble doing, or no longer do, or that take a long time to do because of the pain you are. Do the same about the anxiety; give examples of what happens when places and circumstances when the anxiety comes up and examples of your being anxious in the workplace and how it affected your work. If you have family or friends who have seen your dysfunction, you might ask them to make written statements or to testify to what they saw. You can prepare by writing some of this out ahead of time.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Kristine

    Hi! I am going to my second hearing on March 25th, with the same judge that denied me the first time! I will probably not have a lawyer. So many have said no, they don’t do that. I called the firm who were with me the first time, but, the lawyer the sent me was no use to me! He was even 20 min. late! He talked like he had memorized a bunch of questions. I have not had any new doctors appointments because I don’t have a car. Any advice for me? Thanks in advance!

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Kristine,

      It would help your claim to have current medical, but lacking it, be sure to explain that you haven’t been getting care because you don’t have transportation. If you decide to proceed without an attorney, answer honestly and try to be clear and concise in your answers. Speak up if you hear any testimony or statements by the judge that you don’t agree with and explain why the testimony isn’t correct.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Christine Bowie

        How do I post a comment. I tried scrolling down to find the comment box and it’s not there

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Christine,

          Somehow you posted this comment so I’m a bit confused. Your comment will be visible to you after I answer it. I did look at the article this comment came in under and have notified the programmer to make some adjustments. In the meantime, you can post your comment to any other article, just remember which one so you can find it.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

      • Christine Bowie

        My son just turned 6. He was originally denied when I filed His claim, he was 4. They said at the time his condition is severe but not severe under their standards. Since at the age of 4, he received many more diagnosis. He now has severe adhd, O.D.D, D.M.D.D, anxiety and Autism spectrum. his doctors want to completely put him to sleep to run tests, xrays and get all dental work done at the same time Since he is severely violent. He was suspended/expelled from kindergarten and placed in a partial hospitalization school for 4 months. He slowly returned to his normal schoold with family based therapy for home and school. The Dr said he has to be round the clock medicated at all times. And the next step would be full hospitalization If he doesn’t get any better with the new Meds. We just recieved his hearing date for March 31 2015. They said that my son does not need to be there. Is that typically because of his age. Is there any advice for me, I have severe anxiety as well and I choke up when speaking in front of people. We do have a lawyer as well. Any advice would be great. Thanks

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Christine,

          Usually the minor child is not present at a hearing. I suggest following your lawyer’s advice about son’s attendance. If you are called upon to speak at the hearing, try to remember you are speaking for your son; perhaps that will give you voice.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • Steven

    went to hearing today with my lawyer the judge was on video camera the VE was on phone conference we decided on onset date talked about my past jobs the VE stated couple jobs to the judge that might be able to do which I was not given the chance to argue that could not do them jobs my lawyer said nothing either before know it judge says thanks hearing is over,I talked to my lawyer said he was sure I would get disability approved just baffled why nothing was said about not doing them jobs & about my depression & other things please help me ease my mind on what the outcome could be thanks alot

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Steven,

      I would have thought you or your attorney would have refuted the VE’s opinion; however, your attorney must have some reason for his opinion that you have been approved. He was at the hearing so his opinion should be more reliable than mine, so I remmend trusting your attorney’s opinion.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • tim

    I’m so confused. At my hearing the judge asked all the questions. My lawyer barely spoke. I have a letter from 2 psychiatrists saying due to my limitations from depression ptsd add and bilateral hip replacement I cannot work.
    However the ve still found jobs and the judge requested some records on my hip.
    I thought 3 doctors letters with supporting documentation would be enough.
    I feel like the judge is questioNing my doctors by requesting more records..
    What do you think
    ?
    Tj

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Tim,

      Doctors’ statements are considered, but they must be supported by medical records of test results and/or clinical findings. Apparently, the all appropriate supporting documentation was not submitted for your claim. Usually a judge will ask whether a person can do the identified occupations with the limitations the person has. If the judge did not do that, it could be that he or she didn’t have enough information to see that the limitations you were claiming were supported. I suggest that you talk with your attorney for additional insight.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Deborah

    Hi Kay
    I had my alj hearing and it seem to go well. The ve came up with 3 jobs I could possibly do but the judge questioned him on it, so the ve finally said no. At the end of my hearing the judge said he was going to expedite his decision and said good luck to you. It this a possitive sign?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Deborah,

      The judge’s comment about good luck could just be polite conversation, but I am more inclined to think that the remark together with the statement that he will expedite the decision is an indication of approval. Of course, only time will tell.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Deborah

        Dear Kay…I need some clarification please. I called ssa to check on my claim status and was told the alj made a decision on Feb.4,2015 but then changed it on March 4th due to more records came in. They said(ssa) that a letter is being sent out. My alj hearing was Jan 21, 2015. Can they change a decision from the hearing date to notification? Thank very much.

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Deborah,

          The decision is still pending and not final until the decision letter is finalized and sent to you; so, yes, the decision can be revised any time in the process.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • Rodney S.

    Hi Kay,

    I too have the misfortune of being part of the 70%. I received a letter from my Congressman’s office saying that my case has been exhibited and is now pending in their ready to schedule status. Normal scheduling time is 3 to 5 months. My reconsideration was denied August 2014 and the wait time for an ALJ hearing in my state is approxiamately 13 months. Do you have any idea if this means they will schedule it in 3 to 5 months or the actual hearing will be in 3 to 5 months? I did not decline a video hearing. My state is AZ

    Thank you for any input,

    Rodney

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Rodney,

      I believe that you mean that your claim has been expedited. It should be scheduled within the three to five months quoted. Hearings are usually scheduled within a month of the hearing date, so the wait till the actual hearing date should be four to six months.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Rodney

        Thank you for your answer. I rechecked the letter from the Congressman and it says exhibited, so maybe they did a typo. Thanks again.

        • Kay Derochie

          You are welcome, Rodney.

  • latasha

    I had my disability hearing on 1-27-15 the judge asked me all kinds of questions and looked at the drs statement i brought with me he ask the ve about the jobs i could do he said i couldnt do any after that he stopped asking questions and ask for my closing statement and said he would leave it open 10 days because the didnt request my 2014 records and make his decision in two weeks im worried it will be a no is it a good thing the ve said no jobs

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Latasha,

      It is in your favor that the vocational expert testified that there are no jobs you can do. Are you clear on who is supposed to supply the 2014 records? You or your attorney, if you have one? Or is the judge getting them? Whatever the situation, be sure that your 2014 medical providers get the records to the judge within the ten days.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Cindy Farley

    Hi, I’ve been denied for disability. I’m currently waiting on hearing date. After research, I’ve found a hearing could take up to a year or longer. Is there a way to check if I have acourtdate online? As opposed to waiting for a letter in the mail or a call from my attorney? Also, do you have any advice for me as to. What I can be doing in the meantime to help me prepare and win my case. I have degenerative disc disease, herniated and bulging discs, spondlyosis, sciatica, scoliosis, hepatitis c, depression, anxiety, bi-polar, borderline personality disorder, , sleep apnea, obesity, irritable bowel syndrome, hypothyroidism, chronic fatigue, arthritis in my hips, knees, and spine. Numbness in my legs and arms. Probably more, just can’t think of all of it now. Do you think I may have a good chance for a favorable outcome?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Cindy,

      While you are waiting for your hearing date, continue to follow your doctor’s orders including keeping appointments and taking prescribed medications. You can call the hearing office to see if you have a court date; however, court dates are assigned only a few weeks before the date. The fact that an attorney took your case is an indication that you have a reasonable chance for approval.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • brittany

    Hi Kay, I went to my hearing last week and there were a VE there. I have a skin disease, depression, anxiety, and acid reflux. Plus surgery scars that hurt badly everyday. I was in special ed, and I have 5 kids. Im 23 years of age and my friend doeas all my daily living for me. I told the judge all this. She asked the VE can I perform work with my physical disability and he said yes and the next question was can I perform work with my mental disability and he said yes and she asked can I perform work with my mental and physical disability and he stated not at all. She said she will write me my decision. Do I need to be worried? What does this mean for me? Please help!

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Brittany,

      If the judge accepts that you are as limited as you claim to be, the Vocational Expert’s testimony is an indication that your claim will be approved.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Hi Kay, I had my hearing a few days ago in florida, the judge let my attorney ask me questions but the judge didn’t ask any thing. She asked if we had anything else to say or a closing statement and we did not. she never asked the VE anything that was there. My attorney says that was good she didn’t question him. what chance do I have of getting an approval letter?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Cynthia,

      There is no reason to question your attorney’s opinion that the hearing went well, which I assume means the attorney expects an approval.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Sally

    I have my hearing next week. I am very nervous as everything I read says my attorney will have advised me how to answer questions from the judge. He hasn’t. He says he is confident I will win because I have a lot of medical evidence from my doctor to support my diagnoses of ptsd, major depressive disorder, anxiety, and a.d.d. I have also seen a doctor at the direction of the SSA, who gave me a GAP score of 41. (However, I was denied after this examination, and am now appealing.) I am unsure how to answer how these conditions keep me from working without just sounding full of self pity. I have a hard time just taking card of my daughter and getting through day to day. I cry all the time. I don’t sleep on a regular schedule. Is that what I say to the judge?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Sally,

      I cannot give you specific advice regarding this because you have an attorney representing you. My general advice is to keep it simple and tell the truth. That said, I recommend that you talk to your attorney and tell him that you would like some coaching on how to respond to the judge’s questions.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • John

    I had my hearing 2 weeks ago. The ALJ asked the VE only one hypothetical…he stated No to past work and No to any other work, the VE even explained why I could not work due to limitations described by ALJ. The AlJ asked my attorney if he had any questions and he said no your honor. The case was then closed. The attorney told me after that since the VE said NO in both steps 4 and 5 there was no need to cross examine the VE. Are these good signs for approval?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear John,

      They are good signs if the judge believes that the information in your claim file supports the limitations you claim.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • joanne

    Hi Kay,
    At my sis hearing last week the VE said I could work at a job I had 12 year previous. The judge told him it wasn’t enough income. Then the Ve said I could cashier. The judge asked the VE if the employer would keep me if I missed 4 days a month. The Ve Said most likely not. The judge asked me what I had to say.I told him all I know is I’m a mother of two young adult daughters and didn’t want them to have to take care of me. And that I didn’t really know what else to say. I mean they have over a thousand pages of medical on me. I have lupus sale fibermyalser arthritis bursa separation of connective tissue in my hips.dyverthicula have my colon is removed severe depressed migraines severe injury to my neck edema .I can’t guess on how the hearing went. What do you think.
    Thank you, joanne

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Joanne,

      The vocational expert’s (VE’s) testimony in response to the VE’s initial statements looks positive. I don’t understand what you were trying to say about your inability to work in your response to the judge.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Rob

    Dear Kay

    At my hearing the was neither a vocational or medical expert involved. Is that unusual or Normal? Is it better to have the experts or not? Thanks, Rob.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Rob,

      It could be a favorable sign that no vocational expert was called. If the judge thought the medical evidence showed inability to work clearly enough, he or she might not call a vocational expert. It is common not to have a medical expert present.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Jasmine

    Once again Kay I have one more question the lady at the attorney office who normally let me know what going on she told me my decision in writing but her attitude seem like different like I’m bothering her so what I’m asking is when the judge makes his decision and it in writting do the attorney know if I’m approved or denied before I do? I called her and ask well when did the judge make his decision but she seem different she left a voice mail talking about something else never told me the date and said it nothing she can do for me ?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Jasmine,

      “In writing” probably means that the decision letter is being prepared. If that is the case, the attorney’s office would not know the decision.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Jasmine

    Thanks so much

    • Kay Derochie

      You are welcome, Jasmine.

  • Dawn

    Zoe, you should be asking your attorney all these questions as they will have more insight to what is really going on. Everyone’s case is different as are the time frames, payment times and how much etc… So, there are no definite answers. Seriously, I would ask your lawyer, if you have one, afterall that is what you are paying them for!! Wish you luck! My hearing is on Monday, doing more research tonight as my anxiety is at a all time high, haven’t been sleeping at all, so stressed out!! Good luck everyone!

  • Jasmine

    Also if my judge says no then can I appeal it since he never ask the VE any questions or he don’t have to ask her any questions

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Jasmine,

      If you are denied, your attorney will tell you what the best approach is. One possibility would be to point out that the vocational expert (VE) would have had information that could help your case and wasn’t questioned by the judge. However, your attorney had the right to question the VE and perhaps he or she thought it was better not to. Again, you need to discuss this with your attorney if you are denied.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Jasmine

    Thank you

    • Kay Derochie

      You are welcome, Jasmine.

  • Jasmine

    Hello I wanted to say I had two hearing and I have attorney there was a VE over the phone at my hearing but the judge never asked her any question now I’m told that there a decision in writing so do you think there a good chance for me

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Jasmine,

      Either the judge decided that your medical condition was so severe that he or she did not need vocational information or decided that your claimed limitations were not supported so he or she didn’t need a vocational opinion. The first would be an approval; the second, a denial.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • i have disability medicaide my caseworker file for ssdi for me sept 2013 got denied 2 time but she never put in the appleel that i got a 8th grade education was in special ed anxiety/depression.learning disorder.pspd.high blood pressure,obessity.having seziers.shoulder pain,back pain acid reflex diseaseinfection fungal in my blood.so now i got to go infront of the judge like i did for my disability medicaide i won that case for medical whats my chace of winning in front of the judge for ssdi

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Jaimee,

      You may have a good chance. Be sure that you give the judge all the information including your level of education and learning disabilities. Also, be sure that you have submitted all your medical records to proof all the conditions. If you have ever had IQ testing,see if you can get the results to submit.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Hi Kay,

    Thank you for your quick response. My attorney is always able to appeal with this judge. Because, RFC’s hold no weight with her and doctors opinions are of little or no value to her. You would think that she would have given my attorney the chance to argue a case that I no longer could do my previous job primarily because of my arthritis and what this does to my fine fine motor skills. Hopefully, what you suggested and what my lawyer felt that no questions could be to my benefit will work in my favor.

    Thank You,
    Mary

  • Hi Kay,

    I had my ALJ hearing eight days ago. I am 59 years old with fibro, chronic fatique, arthritis, IBS,chronic asthmatic bronchitis, vitamin D deficiency, a rare skin rash, and high cholestrol. I previously did office work. The ALJ I appeared before has a 31 percent approval rate. At the hearing the VE stated the codes of the jobs I previously did but there were no jobs stated that I could do, and no one asked. My attorney said she left it go because this VE along with the judge are very difficult. She thought I would do well because of my age and work history. What is your opinion of the judge not asking about jobs I could do or the VE giving any.

    Mary

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Mary,

      Because you are over age fifty, to be considered disabled you must only be disabled from occupations that you have done in the past. That is probably why the judge did not inquire about other jobs. Possibly, he did not ask whether you could do the occupations that you had because he had decided you couldn’t based on the severity of the combination of conditions you have. If you are denied, talk with your attorney about whether the judge’s failure to ask questions about your ability to do the jobs is grounds for an appeal.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Jennifer

    Hi! My hearing has been scheduled for October 21, and I have been assigned a judge who has a very low approval rate. My attorney is requesting an On The Record Decision. What is the probability that I might be approved? Is the judge I was assigned the same judge who would do this review? Thanks!

    Jennifer

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Jennifer,

      I can not predict the likelihood of your claim being approved. The judge assigned to the case will do the on-the-record review.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • stacy davis

    hi im 36 im bio-polar II , major depression disorder, asthma and sciatic nerve to my back. I had a hearing and some man in there was calling off jobs I could do and couldn’t do. the judge asked with her problems can she do them he said no. then for a sit down job he said I was level 4 and for a job lifting level 2. what does that mean?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Stacy,

      A vocational expert uses several factors to help determine the types of occupations you have done and the types of occupations you can do. The numbers that you were referring to have to do with the level of your strength and mental acuity. I would have to have been at your hearing to offer an opinion about their significance in the overall presentation of your claim to the judge.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Rachel

    Thanks Kay.

    We spoke with case worker over the phone and she did check using my income and said that neither one of us (me or my husband) would qualify for SSI because I make to much but our son does qualify. So my husband and I signed a paper with drawing our SSI applications and requested that only our son get it. Now he’s going today to sign all the paper work. (The case worker filled out the application with him over the phone so he can just run in and sign.) How much longer do you guesstimate it’ll be before he gets his first payment?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Rachel,

      I wonder if some confusion has occurred. Based on the information you are providing, I don’t think your son is signing up for Supplemental Security Income (SSI). I think that he is filing an application to get a one-time payment of Social Security dependent benefits due for the period of time he was under age eighteen (or under nineteen and still in high school.) If the application is for SSI disability, your income and assets would have no bearing on his claim.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Rachel

    Thanks Kay. So he got a letter yesterday from or local SSA office stating that they wanted to meet with him this upcoming Thursday. They want me to bring all my pay stubs going back to 2011 and my bank account statements going back to 2011 and my life insurance policy. Is this normal? He applied for both SSI and SSDI when he put in his claim. The letter did state that he was approved at the hearing level. Can he just opt out of ssi and still get his disability?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Rachel,

      It is normal for Social Security to request financial information and documentation for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payment calculation.

      Your husband can opt out of SSI, but before he does so, he should find out two things: 1) Is his Social Security benefit low enough (below $741.00) that he might qualify for SSI to supplement his SSDI on an ongoing basis and 2) whether or not there will be months of SSI eligibility before Social Security Disability (SSDI) begins. Note that I am saying months of “eligibility” not when benefits actually start being paid. If SSI eligibility starts before SSDI eligibility, he could be turning down income.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  • My husband has applied for disability and finally got his hearing in front of an ALJ in June. This week makes it 4 since that day.

    On that day we arrived to his hearing 45 mins early as instructed. Our lawyer said that his doctor kept really good,consistent medical records and notes about his condition. His court time was at 1:30pm but he didn’t get called back till almost 3pm. By the time he was called back he was in so much pain he could barley walk.

    Now the lawyer never called me into the hearing so I am going to tell you what my husband remembers. I say remembers because he was medicated and in lots of pain. The entire hearing only lasted all of 20 mins. In the hearing my husband said the judge was kind and personable. Told him that he can stand or sit or do anything he needs to do to get through it. He (my husband) was questioned by the ALJ about his meds and his condition. At one point the judge did say to my husband that it was obvious that he worked as long as he could. The incident happened in 2008 but my husband kept working till 2010. At witch point his job cut his hours and he could not make it any more. The lawyer asked questions. Then the ALJ gave one hypo and the VE testified that there are no jobs available nor are there any jobs one can do with the limits. At that point the judge ended the hearing and told my husband that he will have his answer to him in 2 weeks.

    On the way out the lawyer sated that he never lost a case were the VE states there are no jobs and that he’s 99.9% sure we won the case and would be shocked if we lost.

    My question is does it also sound to you that we won our case? We live in Maryland, how long will it be before we get a letter in the mail telling us the outcome?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Rachel,

      The way you described the hearing and your husband’s condition at the hearing, I’d say there is a good chance for approval. Despite the judge’s good intentions (promising a decision in two weeks), it could take two months or more. You can call the hearing office to find out whether the decision has been made and the claim is in the letter writing department.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  • Jay Johnson

    Hi Kay – This is a part 2 question:

    Also, because rage with people is part of my problem…I’m scared that the judge might agitate me and trigger me into either flat out raging out in the court room…or I might just get highly agitated with the judge.

    Logically, I know this is a high possibility, but I don’t how if I can stop it – if I feel it surge.

    Will the judge take this negatively or be objective with me?

    Also, if the judge does take this negatively…is there anyway to arrange a different type of dialog? Like, just over phone…or just have my mom there, etc.

    I don’t know what to do about this aspect of my personality…which is why I’m isolated all the time.

    The Lithium only keeps fog on my brain and keeps me slower to a certain degree…but I still snap regularly when around people…which is not very often.

    I feel helpless with this court case now.

    please hlpe,
    Jay

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Jay,

      Please see my reply to your earlier post. At the opening of the hearing, the first chance you are given to speak, tell the judge that you have get agitated easily and have anger and impulse control problems. Tell him that you will try to stay calm, but that you can’t always control yourself. Say you hope you will be respectful, but also hope he will understand that if you lose it, it is part of your disability. You could even give this information to him in a letter form in advance of the hearing and bring a copy of the letter to the hearing. A phone or video hearing is definitely not to your advantage. Do appear in person.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

      • Jay Johnson

        Thank you Kay…I feel a bit better now after reading your response.

        I just did not think there was a chance of any of these judges being professional and impartial after the horror stories I’ve been reading about how judges treat people in these cases and how biased they can be.

        Jay

  • Mary

    What does it mean when your status for disability says”rating deciosion”?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Mary,

      Could you please check your question for typographical errors. I think it says “rating decision,” but I am not familiar with that term so wonder if there was a second typographical error in what you wrote.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  • Jay Johnson

    Hi Kay

    My question is simple. I am 44 years old with Bipolar 1 & ADHD (diagnosed by my main psychiatrist and I take Lithium) and because of my poor memory of what I do on a daily basis – I want to bring my mother in with me to the court to fill in the blanks where I just don’t remember things…with the judge.

    Is she allowed to be in the court room with me?

    She takes care of me and she thinks she can give the judge a more correct daily activities list. My mom also thinks that my perception of myself is off and that I am much worse than how I feel.

    Will it hurt my case, if I tell the judge that there are moments where I feel ‘together’ – instead just telling judge that I can’t do anything.

    I’m a rapid cycler (moods up/down several times in a day type of Bipolar 1) – So, I’m confusing to myself…seriously.

    I don’t want the judge to think that I can work, just because I say that I have moments where I feel normal.

    I’m like 2 people in one – normal & out of control – and this is documented as well…but if the judge thinks I have moments of being normal…then he might think I can work…even though I’ve been fired often for the last 20+ years of my life.

    How do I express to the judge that I cannot hold a job?

    Also, can my mom be with me to give details of my day & life that I don’t remember?

    I apprec. your energy in responding to me…thanks for help.
    Jay

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Jay,

      You can let the court that you have brought your mother to testify on behalf of your claim. (You have the right to call witnesses.) With regard to your testimony, you want to be honest, but also clear. You can simply say that you have rapid mood swings multiple times a day; you will be emotionally out of control, then feel better for a short time and them swing back again. You can say because you can’t maintain emotional equilibrium, you can’t hold down a job. Also you can say the reasons you were fired from your jobs if it was related to your mood swings. You might try to get statements from your last couple employers regarding why you were fired.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  • caitlyn

    Hi Kay,
    My son has a disability hearing tomorrow. I am a nervous wreck as I have no idea what to expect. The internet is only helpful for knowing what to expect with adult cases. My son suffers from EOE which is currently controlled, but is a life long disease that is only experimental medications. He also suffers from severe anxiety, aspergers, childhood eating disorder and adhd predominately add. He has some other conditions I listed but they aren’t severe such as chronic low rbc, mild tourettes syndrome and low growth factor 1. I still reported these even though the doctors don’t know why he has the anemia or low growth factor. His doctors would not fill out an RFC form due to :office policy” but his teacher did fill out a form that shows he doesn’t ask for help or to use the restroom resulting in accidents, it takes him twice as long as the other students to complete work, every 5 minutes she has to get him back on task due to “daydreaming” and a list of accomodations she has provided to him. He is also held back now from going on to third grade. There is also a multitude of things she marked as an obvious problem on the questionnaire. We have a lawyer but she hasn’t called to prepare me for the hearing. She knows my son has a great deal of anxiety with people so he will only be present for some questioning then wait in the hall with an adult we bring. What type of questions will the judge ask in general for a childs case and what will the ME do seeing as he is not a psych or gastroenterologist for the eoe? What types of questions will the specifically ask my son so I can give him a solid idea to lessen the anxiety. Thank you!

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Caitlyn,

      The questions asked vary from case to case depending on the specific problems the child has. I believe your son’s hearing has already been held, but in case not, the best way to prepare him is to tell him to answer honestly to whatever is asked.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  • Hi

    My disability hearing was June 5, 2014.
    The judge asked 2 questions to the VE.
    The hypothetical questions 1st one VE
    answered yes. The 2nd one were there any jobs nationally I could do the VE answered NO. My representative is retired from Social
    Security. She believed the hearing went great.
    What do you think and how long will it take for a decision?

    Lucy

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Lucy,

      I don’t have enough information to have an opinion on the outcome of the appeal, but presumably there is no reason to doubt the opinion of your representative. It can take two months or longer to receive a decision letter.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  • jerry

    hello can you tell me what you think filed in marc2013 with low back pain had mri moderate l4-l5 stenosis and moderate loss of disk height l5 ,went to physical therapy said I had facet joint ddd had extreme tight pitiformis muscle had therapy with no results s1 pain sacrilitis, high blood pressure, gout , diabetic type2 no insulin, have general anxiety taking medicine for all, 8 pills a day not working because back gets very sore after 10 minutes of doing chores now they have me on nerve pain pills because under my foot hurts with back , do you think I have a good chance

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Jerry,

      I cannot predict whether you will be approved. It will depend on whether all your various conditions combine to limit you so much that you cannot work in a past occupation or if you are under age fifty in an any other occupation.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  • monique

    Dear Kay, I had my Social Security disability hearing on 6/24/14. The Ve said that there were three jobs that I could do. The judge then asked her, how could she do these jobs if she has to have her legs elavated? Then the judge says can she lay down at work and take naps? The Ve then said no your honor there are no jobs that she can work. During my testimony my nose started bleeding and I had to be excused. I suffer with blood clots, PTSD, bi polar, social phobia, diabetes, and anxiety. The judge also stated that she noticed that there was noncompliance with my meds at one time. Why? I stated its because I didn’t want to live. How do you feel the hearing went? Thank you

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Monique,

      The limited amount of information you provided from the full hearing would appear to be favorable.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  • Joey

    Dear Kay,
    My SSDI Hearing is scheduled for this coming Wednesday 6/25/2014, and I am having horrible anxiety over it. My issues are Multiple Migraines caused by a car accident that have to be controlled with botox every two and a half months, hypogonadism, also from the car accident. 6 degenerative disks, 2 herniated disks with one touching the spinal chord, and a compression fracture all within the thoracic portion of my spine. Place where the Dr’s refuse to do surgery and have exhausted all other treatment options other then Pain pills and muscle relaxers and anti spasmodics. I am also going into all of this with Severe depression, PTSD, and Anxiety. Not to mention other health issues the lawyer I have on board will bring up.
    I wanted to give you a bit of what I had and basically just let you/someone out there in the world know how scared I am about going into this. I have a lot wrong, but I know they deny people all the time. I really Need this for my Medical bills.
    I am sorry to vent and lay this on you. If you can give me any words of wisdom or help I would really appreciate it. I feel like I am drowning and I just need a breath of air.
    Thanks

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Joey,

      It sounds as if your attorney has a game plan for the hearing, which is good. It is true that disability caused by a combination of conditions is harder to prove, but the hearing is your opportunity. Just tell the truth without exaggeration when you get there and be sure your attorney knows about any side effects you have from all the pain meds you are taking.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  • John Myers

    Dear Kay
    My hearing was today my judge never asked the ve any questions the hearing only lasted around 20 minutes or so ..At the end I thought I heard my judge tell my attorney that the client being me had reached the burden of proof..My lawyer came out afterwards and told me the judge was going to approve my case ,Just curious as to your take on the hearing THANK YOU

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear John,

      The judge told the attorney he was going to approve your claim.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

      • John Myers

        No Kay not that I’m aware of the only indicater I’m aware of is the judges statement when he ended the recorded hearing he stated”I find that your client has met the burden of proof and this hearing is concluded ” He never ask the V.E anything and my hearing only last est about 20- 25 minutes ..THANK YOU

      • John Myers

        I apologize Kay you were making a statement THANK YOU VERY ,I was just concerned on if you felt it was truly an approval.. THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR ALL YOU DO

        • Kay Derochie

          You are welcome, John, and no worries.

  • michael

    My attorney sent an otr which was denied. I was assured it would not be since I have over 20 listings, mental disabilities and a rare brain neurological disorder that devastates my entire body and nervous system right down to walking, talking , thinking , and severe crippling pain – you get the idea. Anyway now my attorney states the case manager did not include the rfc forms and that may be the reason of the denial. I am terrified now of incompetence at the hearing and am also being told after NEVER speaking with an attorney the one who DID happen to care enough to catch the incomplete file may not be attending the hearing with me . (Which is video another I heard was a big no no ) Also , my condition is so rare their is no cure and only a few specialist 1000, s of miles of away who sfates I am in need of brain surgery but if controlled by meds it should be done as long as possible and both ssdi mental and physical found me unable to work why is my attorney now saying I need rfc forms to win ? What if I cannot get my psychiatrist to fill one out. He states he does them for NO ONE? THANK YOU. Oh and I have been waiting 13 months for a hearing , no money and im down to 2 drs and 15 meds . I do not qualify for Medicaid or medicair. What are my chances and what do I do? I have been doing this since 2011. Can a judge reverse an OTR? PLEASE any advice is so very appreciated.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Michael,

      I recommend that you follow the advice of your attorney, who knows the details of your case. Denial of a request for an on-the-record decision is not denial of your appeal. It simply means that the judge wants a hearing to see you and gather more information before making a decision.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  • I had a hearing on may 22nd my lawyer said that I have done a good jod with talking to the judge so I really don’t know what that mean did I win I could somebody tell me its that a good sign

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Sharon,

      Your attorney was saying that you did a good job of explaining your medical problems. I do not know whether the attorney was also saying that you had a good chance of being approved. Your attorney’s comment does not mean that a decision has been made. It can take a couple months or more to get a decision.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  • Clarence Welsh

    Dear Kay

    I had a hearing on july 4 2014 with ALJ.I became disabled in jan 2011.I have ulcerative colitis degenerated disc disease and depression.Well my judge is doing all these conditions as all one condition ulcerative colitis.I have all the chronic symptoms that ulcerative colitis gives me plus my back pain and depression.I could not get rfc forms fill out by gastrologist but by my family doctor which we have a patient and doctor relationship with and was seeing him ten years now and he is prescribing some meds for my ulcerative colitis like for symptoms like nausea and for my colon spasms and for my back and depression.I only see my gastrologist for 2 years with appointments every 3 months I see my family doctor every month if not every 2 months .I had a colonoscopy done in 2012 but they are not diagnosing me on having it but I keep having appointments with them telling them what I am going through having ulcerative colitis.When I am saying my problems to them at my gastrologists they say it sounds like ulcerative colitis or you could have chrohn’s especially if the remicade is not working for you by now that we are prescribing.Well since they can’t say what I have in my medical records they are treating me with ulcerative colitis and chrohns medication remicade and it is intravenus I had 8 treatments already so far.They give the treatments but cant tell me what I have but they did find a mass that was benign in my colon.I ask them what that could be causing this mass and they said it could be your flareup’s from your ulcerative colitis doing it but they are not diagnosing me with this.They have all my past medical records on having it.It says I have ulcerative colitis on my appointment papers visits but not in my records.Well I have had my physically and mentally rfc forms filled by my family doctor about my limitations physically and mentally and that I can not work.My family doctor worked with me with the forms.Well I told my family doctor which knows me better then any other gastrologist doctor well was not even a doctor but a nurse practitioner at my gastrologists I told my doctor what happened and he said he would help me.Well my family doctor knows I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis in 2006 with intensive testing in the hospital for 4 days that I had ulcers in me and was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis and they also saw a spot in my small intestine too.Because he was my family doctor at that time too he prescribe some medicines for it then and is now.Now my judge was questioning me that why is your family doctor treating you for depression and my ulcerative colitis.I told her that I trust him more then anyone because I don’t do well with pain meds and meds for my ulcerative colitis they are not helping and I get alot of side effects from my depression medicines and my doctor only knows this and he prescribes some ulcerative colitis medications thats what I told the judge.I also told the judge that my doctor does consultions with me for a whole hour with my depression every month.He knows I have bowels accidents 3 to 4 times a week and I go 7 to 8 times one day another day go maybe 12 to 15 times or more it is not consistant but it happens to me about 3 times to 4 times a week at a whole month period.Or it can last my flares ups 3 weeks straight.I go through this month after month and from day one my ulcerative colitis medicines never did help me and my family doctor knows this.My family doctor knows what I am going through and I tell my gastrologists the same thing and my gastrologist don’t even care and my doctor is worried about me alot.Well I have a really thorough judge and we had a ve there but she was in a car while my judge was talking to her and we kept on loosing her on the phone and the judge was starting to get upset.Well I told the judge all this about my family doctor and she was saying there is not enough medical evidence with my ulcerative colitis not giving my family doctor a chance even though he is a preexisting and treating doctor too.Well she post poned the hearing the judge and she said I am going to bring the VE and ME because of not enough evidence and see if this disease causes this and these symptoms.But my Judge has my family doctors rfc forms I have copies too and my lawyer does too and my family doctor says with my limitations on both forms that I can not work and has to rest alot of times per day he said my prognosis is fair and have chronic stomach and back pain extreme fatigue and nausea and having accidents on my rfc form, but the judge is still calling them in.I ask my lawyer which she is real young If I have a chance on winning with rfc forms she said it should help alot and my lawyer was saying hey she did not deny you and you have a chance since she gave you more time like 30 to 40 days which is not that much time for records.My lawyer was saying start going to counseling now have your doctor refer one to you.Also if you can and try if you can to get a narrative letter from your family doctor which I know he will not do it he is a very busy doctor he helps me so much now and I don’t want to ruin my reputation with my family doctor.My lawyer knows the gastrologist problems I having with them and I told her I and getting second opinion on another gastrologist but they can’t get me right away they are going to do a mri soon to check my small intestine.I asked her what if they give me a runaround like the others and not know what I have but I am so sick anyhow and I can’t I was a hard worker all my life and now I need help.Well I asked my lawyer if they give me a runaround and not diagnose me right away could I still have a chance on winning she said she did not know.I told her I am really sick and I need this and if these rfc forms would help me alot and she said they will give you good pull getting approved.Well sorry Kay the story is so long but I am worried and is my lawyer right? Also can my family doctor still be able to help me get approved and do I really need the narrative letter or do you think I have enough pull on winning.If I have my doctor do the letter he is not a good hand writer can it be typed by him and stamped and signed or should it be written?My lawyer say IBD is a hard case to prove but if I get denied she sticking with me for council review because she thinks I have strong enough evidence to have it overturned.Do think I have a chance with VE and ME and will my doctors rfc forms over power them? if not my narrative letter and rfc forms will help better.Please Kay I need your help thank you for you time. Clarence

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Clarence,

      I recommend that you follow your attorney’s advice and get a narrative report from your family doctor. If the doctor is as helpful as you say he is, he will complete the narrative for you. Also, it seems like a good idea to see a therapist to help support the depression diagnosis given by your family doctor. The fact that the judge is calling in a medical expert indicates that he wants to understand your medical records fully before making a decision. In answer to your last question, usually no one thing overrides another; all the information is considered together in making a decision.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  • Zoe

    Hi Kay,quick questions about my sons SSI.i spoke with his claim examiner at DDS,she stated decision has been reached and decision will be forwarded to Social Security will contact us.if he’s approved will SSI back pay?.he applied in february 2014,decision reached May 13,2014.all medical evidence was from his doctor only,his disability is mental.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Zoe,

      If your son is approved, his Supplemental Security Income (SSI) will begin March 2014, the month after his application, unless he applied on February 1st, in which case it would begin with February.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  • Linda Beasley

    Sorry to bother you again Kay, but I was just curious as to whether Social Security Disabilty benefits are the same in each state as far as procedure wise?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Linda,

      Procedures for processing Social Security Disability claims are basically the same in all states.

      Best regards,

      Kay

  • Linda Beasley

    Hi Kay, I filed for disability April 2012, denied twice,had to get a lawyer,went to hearing in March 2014, April 2012 was denied, but 2013-2014 approved. I had a choice of just going with 2013-2014, or I believe he said an amendment which would give me more time to get proof that I was unable to work.Progress notes from one doctor showed that I was unable to work because of surgeries and treatments,but they did not state I was unable to work. I got a slip from my doctor stating I was unable to work in the time of question and faxed the note to my lawyer, who faxed it to the judge.Do you think this will be enough to get paid for 2012, and if it is, when should I expect an award letter? Lawyer and I had til April 12th to have information in, which we did. Thank You

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Linda,

      I don’t know whether a statement from the physician that was written two years after the period of time in question will be enough for the judge to approve you for an earlier date of disability. It can take sixty days or more to get the final written decision.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

      • Linda Beasley

        Thank you Kay, I’ve done all I can do I guess. So what will be, will be. If I don’t get all of it, Ill still be thankful just to get anything. Anything is better than nothing. Thanx again.

        • Kay Derochie

          You are welcome, Linda.

  • Zoe

    Kay,again,thank you so much for all your help,I enjoy reading and referring to your informative site.I tried to go to others sites with no help or understanding of their format,your site is easy to read and understand,your responses are truthful and precise.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Zoe,

      I am glad that you are finding Disability Advisor’s informational site helpful. Disability Advisor is also a good resource for getting connected with Social Security-experienced attorneys when one is needed.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  • Zoe

    Hey Kay,I guess I didn’t clarify my earlier question regarding my son,his case is with DDS,if they don’t send him for a medical evaluation and only rely on his psychaitrist medical documentation is that a sign of approval?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Zoe,

      If your son’s records will allow approval, the DDS examiner will approve the claim without sending him for a consultative examination. Similarly, if the records are very clear that your son is not disabled as defined by Social Security law, his claim will be denied. He will be sent to a physician only if there is insufficient information to make a decision, so not being sent for an exam is neither a good nor bad sign.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  • Zoe

    Hi Kay,my grand baby whose only eight months old,has been in hospital twice 5 days each time for asthma,can she qualify for SSi?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Zoe,

      For a child to be approved for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability, the child’s medical condition has to interfere significantly with the child’s ability to carry out activities that are normal activities for a child of that age. You or your grandchild’s parents might discuss this issue with the child’s pediatrician and with the Social Security Administration to decide whether to file a disability application on the child’s behalf.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  • Zoe

    Hi Kay,now that I been approved,I need to ask questions for my son.his case is still with DDS,she stated DDS wanted more medical from my son doctor and if enough documentation and the content were what they need,a decision could be reach without sending him for a medical evaluation.does that mean they will approve him?he only qualify for SSI for bipolar and psychosis.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Zoe,

      The Disability Determination Services (DDS) asking for medical information does not mean he will be approved. The DDS examiner was just describing the review process to you.

      Best regards,

      Kay

  • Zoe

    Thanks so much Kay,for all your help and prompt answering of questions.

    • Kay Derochie

      You are welcome, Zoe.

  • Zoe

    Hi Kay,I spoke with social security office,they said in dec.my file was randomly selected for quality review,that was before I went to court and was approve on April 18,2014,now my case in at the payment processing center,what are they doing and how long will it take to receive payment and back pay?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Zoe,

      The payment center is reviewing your Social Security claim to calculate and set up payment. Currently Social Security is giving a ninety-day time frame before monthly payments are started and back pay is released.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  • Zoe

    Hi Kay,I was approved for social security by judge and approved for review,what is review for?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Zoe,

      Out of context it is difficult to know what “approved for review” means, but my guess is that it means that the local office needs to review the non-medical factors of your claim to determine the amount of benefits that can be paid. To be sure, you need to ask Social Security what was meant.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  • Zoe

    Hi Kay,I received a fully favorable decision on April the 18th 2014.im going to receive social security disability.i filed for disability in July 2012,what amount of time will I receive back-pay for.im currently receiving medical disability from Office of Personnel Management. Second Question:how long will it take to get Back-pay and my first check.if I received workers comp in 2012 will that have any affect on the amount of back pay or the time it takes to process my back pay?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Zoe,

      Your Social Security Disability (SSDI) back pay will begin to accrue the later of July 2011 and the sixth full month after your disability onset date, as established by the Social Security Administration. Your SSDI is likely to be offset (reduced) by your workers compensation. The maximum you can receive between the two is 80% of your current average earnings as defined by SSA. If by your medical disability benefits from the Office of Personnel Management are disability retirement and not a long-term disability insurance policy, your SSDI may also be subject to a public pension offset.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  • Zoe

    Hey Kay,my case went to the decision writers April 11,2014 and it was written up that same day,now today April 15,2014,it’s on the judges desk waiting to be sign.since the decision writers didn’t have it long,is that a good indication of favorable?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Zoe,

      Hearing approval letters and denial letters are about the same length and take about the same time to prepare. It sounds as if you were lucky enough to live in a state where the letter writing was caught up and no big backlog existed.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  • Zoe

    Hi Kay,my hearing with judge was on January 28,2014,finally today,April 11,2014 it’s finally been assigned to decision writer,how long will it take before I receive decision.i

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Zoe,

      Depending on whether there is a backlog (and how big a backlog) in decision writing, it can be from a couple of weeks to a couple months.

      Best regards,

      Kay

  • Michael

    I had a disability hearing that I believe went terrible, for one the judge asked me a lot of yes and no question but never asked about my daily activities, my pain or the medication I was taking, the VE stated their was 2400 jobs I could do with my limitation and my lawyer never challege her or even ask me to explain why I could not do that type of work. After the hearing I asked him why he didnt challege the VE he said the judge new her by first name.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Michael,

      Well, it does sound as if your hearing was not very favorable and that your claim may be denied. If it is and you think the judge did not fully review your claim, you can request an Appeals Council review.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

      • John

        How do I ask a question here? I can’t find a link.

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear John,

          Thanks for inquiring. Scroll to the bottom of the article and scroll through all the previously posted comments and replies to the blank comment box.

          Kay

  • Fran

    I am 53 and had an appeal hearing for low back arthritis, fibromyalgia, glaucoma, anxiety and depression, vocal cord dysfunction, asthma. A Vocational Expert was present. The ALJ asked my attorney for comments the attorney was giving all kinds of code numbers reference to RFC form, from my back doctor. I was asked a series of questions but my voice was hard to talk due to VCD. The HVE said I could find light work the ALJ said even with a Cain she said yes the ALJ said but she is not able to talk on the phone VE agreed. My attorney said she is waiting for the RFC from my psychiatrist 2- 4 weeks. ALJ said will make decision when receives. My attorney advised me the appeal hearing went well and that the VE didn’t know the judge has my RFC with limitations, not able work or stoop or bend. I received a letter from SSAa week later requesting me to sign a release form to review my medical file, I signed it and sent it back. Do you think i might win. Thanks

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Fran,

      Based on the information you provided and the opinion of your attorney, I would say there is a possibility you could be approved.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

    • Fran

      I am still a little unclear why after the hearing I received a letter a few days latter, advising for me to sign a medical release form and send back to the SSA to review my medical records.

      Don’t they already have copies of this from the judge or my attorney? I signed it and sent it back. Now what?

      Does this mean I have a chance of approval?

      Thanks

      • Kay Derochie

        Dear Fran,

        It could be that the action to request the authorization started before the hearing and doesn’t have any bearing on your claim. Otherwise, it could be that the judge wants to clarify a point with one of your physicians and needs a current authorization. As long as the hearing decision is pending, there is a chance of approval.

        Sincerely,

        Kay

        Sincerely,

        Kay

      • Fran

        Hi Kay, I received a Unfavorable decision yesterday my hearing was 1/28/14 I am 53, my attorney case worker said the attorney would call me back 5/6/14 to discuss several options, she had appointments till then. Should I appeal, the AlJ that I had At the hearing I read that she has a high denial rate.

        Thanks for your help

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Fran,

          I recommend waiting and talking with your attorney. You have sixty days to appeal if that is what you decide to do. You have the choice of filing a request for an Appeals Council review or, in some circumstances, filing a new claim. It is probably these options the attorney wants to discuss with you.

          Sincerely,

          Kay

          • Brenda Ellis

            Thanks Kay, I am trying not to lose hope and keep trying, does filing a new claim mean using the same doctor info on file?
            What is the purpose to file a new claim if SSA already has information on file.

            Thanks

            • Kay Derochie

              Dear Brenda,

              You would submit everything you have to support your new claim including any updated information. You will be claiming a different disability date because after you have finished appealing the first denial, the denial decision about the disability date you first claimed becomes final. (It is rare that earlier claim denials are reopened after the appeals period.) The Social Security Administration will not review a new application that claims the exact same date of disability. As suggested earlier, I recommend that you follow your attorney’s guidance.

              Sincerely,

              Kay

          • Fran

            Kay, I work on contract a few jobs a year, I need more income for doctor appointments etc. if the appeal takes a long time for an answer I need to look for extra p/t work, my husband pays the major bills and benefits, catastropic plan. I have medical problems, and the attorney said the rfc was in file for my back problems. I think the VE opionion was more important than my doctors notes and rfc. I need to help support myself while waiting, would this ruin my chances of approval? I am getting sick to my stomach thinking about the whole procedure again. I can’t afford anymore doctor bills, it was a shock to read Unfavorable decision. After 2.5 years of waiting and doctor appointments.

            Thanks

            • Kay Derochie

              Dear Fran,

              If you are able to work only part-time and earn less than $1,070 gross per month, your work activity may not negatively affect your claim.

              Sincerely,

              Kay

          • kathy

            Dear kay my husband has been frighting for disability for just over six years now his condition has gotten worst,he went before the same law judge twice now doing a remand for thrid time before new judge his case went to virginia now back in fla ,since he first apply he is now having to use an electric wheelchair as well as walker to get around we r in floucloser and with no income coming in we ask for on record desion we received a hearing date for next month and now we heard that the judge gave his records to a doctor to look over was told may not have to go back before judge ,do u hear of this happing and by the way virginia felt that their were so many errors with his case that is why send it back for new hearing ,if approved will he get all back money owe to him,trying to keep our home just want this nightmare over he so deserves this in pain 24/7 he in in a deep depression thanks kay

            • Kay Derochie

              Dear Kathy,

              It is possible that your husband could receive a favorable hearing without going before the judge. If he is approved and the judge approves the original date of disability he claimed, benefits will begin to accrue the later of the sixth full calendar month after disability began or twelve months before the date of the original application that is being appealed.

              Sincerely,
              Kay

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