You are here:  Home  >  Hearings  >  Current Article

How to Win Benefits at Your Social Security Disability Hearing

By   /  March 3, 2016  /  103 Comments

Learn what to expect and what to do at a Social Security Disability hearing and find out where to get assistance with your hearing.

social security disability hearingThe Disability Advisor on Hearings

Welcome! You have arrived at the fifth of DisabilityAdvisor.com’s seven Social Security Disability topics—How to Win Benefits at Your Social Security Disability Hearing.

Additionally, The Disability Advisor website offers at-your-finger-tips answers to the most frequently asked questions about Social Security Disability. For example, you can browse the seven articles under this topic for plain-language answers to the most frequently asked questions about Social Security Disability hearings. The articles address:

  • Overview of Social Security Disability hearings.
  • What to expect at a Social Security Disability hearing.
  • Important reasons for attending your Social Security Disability hearing.
  • Tips on how to answer questions at a Social Security Disability hearing.
  • Administrative Law Judge qualifications and training.
  • Waiting for a Social Security Disability hearing date and a hearing decision.
  • When you might have two Social Security Disability hearings.

Act Now to Get Help with Your Claim or Appeal

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

How to Win Benefits at Your Social Security Disability Hearing
5 (100%) 1 vote

  • Published: 1 year ago on March 3, 2016
  • By:
  • Last Modified: December 5, 2016 @ 5:41 pm
  • Filed Under: Hearings
  • You are welcome, Becky.

  • Dear Becky,

    It seems your posted your question twice. Please see my reply to your first post.

    Thank you,
    Kay

  • Dear Sharon,

    Stopping work due to your health will not have a negative effect on your hearing. Do be sure that your attorney has all the details regarding your work effort.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Ms Sha

    HI KAY
    I MEANT DECEMBER 6TH I GOT THE CALL

  • Ms Sha

    HI KAY
    I WAS TAKEN OFF WORK DECEMBER 5TH 2016 AND I GOT A CALL FROM MY LAWYER ON DECEMBER 7TH STATING MY HEARING IS FEBRUARY 23 2017 WOULD THIS HURT MY CASE SINCE IT WAS SO CLOSE TO THE DATE THAT I WAS TAKING OFF WORK

    THANK YOU
    MS SHA

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Ms. Sha,

      Please give me some dates and figures so that I can comment.

      1. What disability date did you claim?
      2. Were you working when you filed the claim?
      3. If not, when did you start working?
      4. Why did you stop working?
      5. How much did you earn in gross wages or net self-employment per month.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • KH

    Dear Kay , My attorney has her own Law Firm she used to be a judge for Social Security disability hearings. She called me this morning asking did I return a form that she sent me a couple days ago and I did send it back. I stopped working January 2016 I applied May 2016 for ssi / ssdi . My hearing is this month. This morning she asked me why have I waited so long to apply for Social Security disability ? do you think that’s a good sign that she thinks I should have been on it or approved? I was thinking maybe with her seeing my medical evidence she’s wondering why I was still working for so long and didn’t stop maybe she was thinking I would have been approved seeing my medical evidence.

    • KH

      Also Kay .. in the beginning of 2015 I collected unemployment for 6 months and then for the last six months of 2015 I only made a little over $7,000 can she go back that far for an onset date during my unemployment? or would it have to start after I only collected under 6000 in unemployment as well.

      • Kay Derochie

        Dear KH,

        You can claim an onset date prior to or during your unemployment. Also, if your earnings were less than $1,090 gross most months in 2015, the work following the unemployment may not affect your ability to claim the earlier onset date.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

        • KH

          Dear Kay, I have received my notice of hearing today from the ALJ . He wrote in issues he will consider.. I will also consider whether you have enough earnings under Social Security to be insured for a period of disability and disability insurance benefits if you do I must decide whether you became disabled while you are insured. Would that be the time frame that I am asking you about? Also there is a notice to the vocational expert that will be testifying there to appear and saying he will be asked specifically 2 questions and it says what questions will be asked.

          • Kay Derochie

            Dear KH,

            Yes, the just will look at your work activity to determine your onset date and will compare that to the last date you had enough work to be insured to be sure you became disabled while insured.

            Sincerely,
            Kay

            • KH

              Thanks Kay!! Just one more quick question he also says that in issues I will consider. The hearing concerns your application of May 2016 for a period of disability and disability insurance benefits under Section 216 i and 223 a of the Social Security Act the hearing also concerning your application of May 2016 for supplemental social security income SSI I will consider whether you are disabled under Section 216 section 223 and section 1614 of the ACT under the ACT I will find you disabled for those benefits for SSI if you have a physical or mental condition. What does this mean and what do the numbers mean next to them?

              • Kay Derochie

                Dear KH,

                The letter is just a very formal statement saying the judge is going to decide whether you are eligible for Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security Income disability. The numbers are references to sections of law in the Social Security Act.

                Sincerely,
                Kay

                • KH

                  Kay, thank u for your support through this

                  Thank you !!!

                  • Kay Derochie

                    You are welcome, KH.

            • KH

              It’s 216(I) 223(a) 223(d) 1614(a)(3)

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear KH,

      What you suggest is possible or she may be just gathering information because the judge might ask why you were able to work with the medical condition for a while but didn’t keep working.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • KH

        My symptoms have just gotten worse and I can no longer work

    • KH

      Dear Kay, my hearing is next week . I’m so nervous and full of anxiety . I’m not sleeping at night I sleep maybe 2 hours at night called my psychiatrist me in something for insomnia. I’m so scared of being questioned by the judge thinking I won’t answer properly or comprehend the question. My lawyer keeps trying to reassure me I will be fine with this judge but my fear is still there. Comprehension and explaining myself has always been my problem. Will the judge ask me a lot of questions?

      • KH

        Should I let the attorney know I’ve been put on medication for insomnia or is it just because of my hearing so is there no need to report the medication? Plus being my hearing is next week should I add that to my medication records?

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear KH,

          Tell your attorney and let the attorney decide how to handle it.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

      • Kay Derochie

        Dear KH,

        I cannot predict how many questions you will be asked. Answer honestly and if you do not understand a question directed to you, say so and ask to have the question explained.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

        • KH

          Thank you Kay

          • Kay Derochie

            You are welcome, KH.

  • Kh

    Dear Kay my hearings in two weeks but i didn’t get a letter from the hearing office saying the date and time . My attorney told me my date and time .She didn’t get one eather .she said she would see why but never got back to me . Does that happen no letter when to appear?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear KH,

      Both you and your attorney should have received letters.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

    • Hi Kay I been waiting 15 months for my ssdi appeal and I was told today that my paper claim was waiting for the alj to sign so what does that mean and how long the wait will be after the judge signs.

      • Kay Derochie

        Dear Mable,

        If you have already had your hearing it means that the decision will be mailed to you as soon as the judge reviews the letter for accuracy and signs it.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

        S

  • Alan

    Had hearing on the 12th, called odar today and the person I spoke to said they saw an unfavorable decision in my file, i am devastated hearing this as I have no hope for the future. The vocational expert testified I couldn’t do any more work and I am out of options. I know nothing is official until I receive it in writing, but I might not even open it knowing its unfavorable. Are there any programs to help people who are denied? I can’t wait another year for an appeals council!

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Alan,

      You are right not to trust the verbal decision, partly because decisions are virtually never given over the phone. Call to double check that a letter has not been sent out to you. If it has and you haven’t received it, request another letter be sent with the current date. Otherwise, wait for the decision and if it is a denial appeal with the help of an attorney even though the appeal will not provide immediate financial relief. If you do not already receive food stamps, you might apply. And, if your own physician says you are disabled, check to see if your state or county has any temporary cash assistance for the disabled.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Robert

    Hi Kay,

    I thought I posted a question already but I’ve been unable to find it.

    I have been awarded IU by the VA. While I was waiting for that outcome I was sent to see a psychiatrist by the SSA. That doctor told me she would tell me at the end of our meeting what her findings will be. She said in her professional opinion I was unable to work. So to my surprise I was not awarded disability from the SSA. I was then told it would be 12-14 months before I go in front of the ALJ. I have 2-4 more months until that time arrives.

    I was awarded UI for anxiety and depression.

    My question is in your experience how often does someone who gets UI from the VA get approved for SSDI?

    Thanks in advance

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Robert,

      Your prior post and my response are under a different article where you posted your comment. Here is the response I wrote:

      I am unable to predict whether you will be approved and don’t have statistics regarding approvals and denials of claims from veterans who are receiving VA benefits as 100% disabled. The VA and Social Security do have different governing laws and sometimes such claims are denied. Be sure that the judge knows that you have been drug and alcohol free since July 2014 because Social Security benefits are not paid for disabilities caused by drug or alcohol use. (When such use co-exists with mental illness, it is difficult to determine which is causing functional limitations.)

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      I am unable to predict whether you will be approved and don’t have statistics regarding approvals and denials of claims from veterans who are receiving VA benefits as 100% disabled. The VA and Social Security do have different governing laws and sometimes such claims are denied. Be sure that the judge knows that you have been drug and alcohol free since July 2014 because Social Security benefits are not paid for disabilities caused by drug or alcohol use. (When such use co-exists with mental illness, it is difficult to determine which is causing functional limitations.)

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Kh

    Dear Kay I asked a question it’s gone

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear KH,

      Please find your question and my reply above. They were posted on September 7.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Kh

    Dear Kay , My hearing is at the end of October .My psychiatrist left in August that I was seeing for over a year. Now I’m seeing another psychiatrist in the same Health Center .Not sure if I want to stay there but it’s close to my hearing don’t want to move my Medical records around it being so close . My question is until my hearing my records get up dated to the hearing office and I still have to get to know this psychiatrist will this affect my hearing ? Having to change psychiatrist? She was asking me why my depression meds got changed at times and what dates they were changed I don’t know the dates . She ask me did I still drink Alcohol a topic that has not came up with me and my last psychiatrist since I began seeing him .I would not ever drink and take meds. Having to see a new psychiatrist is hard for me I don’t like change .

    • Kh

      Before I came to the Health Center I was seeing my primary doctor which is also in the health center I was the one that came to her and told her I had been drinking and seek help for myself she placed me on depression medications and no longer was drinking . My primary doctor and I talked about other issues that I needed to deal with and that’s how I wound up seeing my psychiatrist .

      • Kh

        Also Kay, the psychiatrist I am seeing now ask me why am I not in therapy she said I see you were in therapy here at the health center how many times did you go and why did you stop going why were you in compliance I had told her I went about 3 or 4 times and could not bring myself to talk about some thing and called the therapist and told her that I would not be coming in and I would reschedule. When I was with the last psychiatrist I was the one that initiated trying therapy then he set me up with the therapist in the health center. I don’t feel as though I was in compliance not only not being able to talk about things I didn’t feel a connection with her I actually like speaking with my psychiatrist he also dispenses my meds . The psychiatrist im seeing now ask why my depression medications were changed at different times and not working along with my other diagnosis a month after I started seeing the first psychiatrist I started with my brother passed away of a massive heart attack at 44 my only brother it’s been hard.

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear KH,

          Please see my response to your first post. I suggest that you ask for a referral to a different therapist. Sometimes, success in therapy depends on finding the right match–someone you are comfortable talking to. As I mentioned before, it might be a good idea to review your chart to find out whether your explanations to the doctor’s questions are being recorded.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

      • Kay Derochie

        Dear KH,

        Please see my response to your first post. I suggest getting a copy of your medical record from the visit in which you told your current psychiatrist that you have not been drinking to be sure that your statement was recorded.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear KH,

      I suggest that you talk with the new psychiatrist openly and let her know that you have a Social Security Disability claim pending an appeal. Tell her the symptoms that you experience that are keeping you from working and explain that is why you applied. Ask politely whether she could possibly review your records at the clinic so she is familiar with your condition and past treatment both to help with treating you know and in case she is contacted about your appeal. You could also help her out and possibly help your appeal by getting from your pharmacy a printout of your medication records for the past two or three years.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • KH

        Thank you for responding Kay. I am assuming that she has some what reviewed the records because the drinking was a discussion between me and the last psychiatrist . When I went to my primary doctor I went for help on my own to her about the drinking that’s when the pd began my depression meds . My primary doctor is in one facility the medical center and the psychiatrist are in the Health Center they’re all on the same grounds they’re all connected. Shouldn’t the new psychiatrist have access to my medical records ,notes and diagnosis from the last psychiatrist if he is no longer with the health center?

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear KH,

          I would expect the clinic would retain the records, but you can check with the medical records department to find out.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • cam11

    just had my hearing today through video and the judge never asked the vocational expert anything at all,nothing,zip nd now im worried that he already had his mind made up to deny me before i even stepped foot in the door . Is this common for alj to not ask the ve any questions? thanks for all the answers you have provided to everyone im sure they all appreciate it oh by the way my hearing was 6-30-16

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Cam11,

      The judge may have decided that you met the medical listings and, therefore, vocational testimony was not needed for an approval. or, the judge could have decided that your condition was not severe, so vocational testimony was not needed. If you are denied, failure to get vocational testimony could be the basis for an appeal.

      If you appeal I recommend that you do so with the help of an experienced Social Security attorney because the rule for requesting an Appeals Council review are very specific. 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

      • Cam11

        Thanks for the answer, I am hoping that it will be approved since the alj asked my Atty if I wanted to change the onset date we did but the alj never said if he would award benefits or not so I guess it’s a pray and wait game now.

        • Cam11

          Also the judge never gave us a specific date so my Atty had to make an educated guess as to what date he wanted

          • Kay Derochie

            Dear Cam,

            This response is to both posts of July 4. Usually the judge specifies the date to be agreed to. That said, his question does hint at a probable partially favorable decision, that is, approval with a later disability onset date that you claimed.

            Sincerely,
            Kay

    • Hi Kay,
      Can’t find my own link to write you I know I did cant find it well my.daughter is 5 she just had her hearing with a judge she was only in the room not even 2 mins he asked her a question twice same one she got over whelmed she didn’t look at him she reached for her shoe lace and began in doing it , he dismissed her promptly and asked me questions she has Autism speech delay she gets OT Speech at school she’s in a special Ed class she is also diagnosed with adhd as well she has sensory issues cognitive disorder Anxiety sever meltdowns special ed bus I removed her from the lady she got diagnosed with for bad bedside manners as a doctor she was diagnosed at 3 started speech in 2013 she was in full day preschool last year with all kinds of service she doesn’t understand what’s going on academically she struggles she rarely sits still runs from am to pm thinks she’s a boy or animal not a girls I expressed all of her behavior to the judge as well all of the problems her pediatrician marked her severe and marked on everything as to she the one that deals with her the judge wants her to see a phycologist through social security doctor he goes you’ll have my decision 3 weeks and say good luck to you and your child please help me understand as to I’m still waiting for a schedule time to see the social security doctor I don’t want it cutting into school she had her hearing August 25 16 thank you

      • Kay Derochie

        Dear Susan,

        Please see my response to your first post. Even if the appointment requires keeping your daughter out of school for a day or part day, it is important that you take her to the exam. If you do not, her claim may be denied.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

        • Hi Kay
          I’m sorry I couldn’t find my old posty daughter will be going on the 19 th of Sept for her appointment the judge requested I’m bringing her but she will not be happy with me , do you think the judge seen something about her that’s why he wanted her to see the social security doctor’s I’ve been having a hard time with this all

          • Kay Derochie

            Dear Susan,

            The judge wants to see her and interact with her, probably for only a few minutes, so he can assess her capabilities in normal interaction. I recommend that a second adult go with you to the hearing because your child is likely to be excused from the courtroom while the judge asks you questions.

            Sincerely,
            Kay

  • I have a question

    Hello I had my hearing in 5/2016 no response yet , in 2014 I had a TIA , and now suffer from syncope episodes…severe loss consciousness and body and vocal functions cervical and lumbar radiopathy , bipolar with depression and PTSD , the VE stated jobs I could perform but with my conditions would cause excessive absences if I would work , im nervous that i will be denied how long does it take for a decision after a hearing

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear “I Have a Question,”

      The guideline is for you to receive a decision within sixty day, but sometimes it takes longer.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Leatrice Harmon

        Dear Kay, My disability hearing was March 17, 16. My lawyer told me it would 60 days to get a ruling from the judge. She, the judge, had all of my medical history except the one from my primary care doctor and they were not sent to my lawyer until June 23, 16. My lawyer told me he then submitted them to the judge on that day and it would be 60 days from that date before I heard anythin. He checked the docket today and it’s saying pending letter writing process. What does that mean? Also, at my hearing the judge gave the VE a list of jobs and asked him which ones I would or could still perform. Out of the long list he stated there were only 2: automotive industry and administrative assistant work. I have degenerative disc disease, osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, pinched nerve in my back, and I have no cartilage in my knees. My lawyer asked the VE would I be accomodated on either of those jobs for the use of my cane. The VE stated he wasn’t sure about the automotive industry but the administrative assistant work yes. My lawyer then asked him if I would be allowed to sit down and work in an automotive industry. He said no. He also asked him if aside of the normal breaks given in an automotive industry would I be allowed to take extra breaks to sit down and elevate my legs due to swelling. The VE stated no. My lawyer asked him the same questions about the administrative assistant work with the exception of would an employer accept that I wouldn’t be able to do the daily errands that are required for that job description and the VE stated no. Do you know what my chances are and why it’s taking so long.

        • Leatrice Harmon

          Dear Kay,
          Above my comment, on yesterday at 2:50pm, it’s saying that my comment is awaiting moderation. Is there something wrong? I realize that it’s a bit long, but some of the other comments on this thread are long as well. I’m sorry if I’ve caused an inconvenience.
          Thanks,
          Leatrice

          • Kay Derochie

            Dear Leatrice,

            No inconvenience at all. Your question has been answered. Questions and comments “await moderation” until they are answered.

            Sincerely,
            Kay

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Leatrice,

          The major delay was in getting the medical records. The judge has made a decision and the decision letter is being written up. I would expect you to get a decision by the end of the month. The information you have provided indicates that you may be approved for benefits.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • Stephen Graves

    Kay,

    I was recently approved for SS disability in the first round (thankfully) after suffering a career-ending ankle injury. SS determined the onset of disability to be the day after my 55th birthday, however, which was 14-1/2 months AFTER the initial injury. I spoke with an attorney about it and they advised me to file an appeal for those 14 months of benefits that were denied. In this state, however, that means a hearing in which judge could potentially reverse the initial determination and deny benefits altogether!

    The attorney says they’ve never seen an appeal judge do such a thing, but they advised me that it could happen. Hmm. My question to you would be, then, is it worth the risk? Should I just move on and count my blessings, or is the risk of a judge overturning the original decision so low that filing an appeal makes sense?

    I know it’s an unusual situation, but if you have any thoughts they would be very much appreciated!

    Steve G
    Los Angeles

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Stephen,

      Reopening and denial is possible, but I don’t know how often that happens. I suggest that you discuss the likelihood of that happening in your claim given the specific facts of your claim. I will provide some general information: the fact that you were approved the day after your fifty-fifth birthday is probably related to the criteria for evaluating whether a person can work in new occupation is less strict the older a person gets. Age fifty-five is one of the dividing lines for evaluation criteria.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • ofelia rose

    Fantastic post – I was fascinated by the facts , Does someone know where I could grab a blank SSA-3380-BK version to fill out ?

  • waiting

    Hi Kay,
    My husband has been in the process of disability for about 2 yrs now he is now at the judge hearing level due to being denied at reconsideration. We have been waiting for a heari ng since Nov 2015. I sent in a dire need letter….then did a congressional inquiry due to us facing eviction and past due medical bills. Now we got a letter his case is expedited and an attorney has been assigned. Do you know about what’s the time frame for his case to be reviewed by a judge? I’m at the verge of declaring bankruptcy as well would this affect his claim?
    Thank you

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Waiting,

      Declaring bankruptcy will not affect your husband’s claim. I suggest that you ask the hearing office for a ballpark estimate of how long it will be before a hearing date is set.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Michelle in Texas

    Hi Kay,
    I was recently denied at hearing level by a judge. I have fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, chronic migraine syndrome just to name a few. The judge says he gave no weight to my rheumatologist, who completed form stating I cannot work or hold a job, because he said He had only seen me three times. I now have a new RFC from the same Doctor (2 1/2 years later) stating I cannot work. Also, judge stated that one of the doctors I saw for stomach problems said he did not believe I have IBS, but the Doctor listed “IBS” as diagnosis on that same day. I would like to request the appeals council for review but my attorney’s have dropped me and I can’t find an attorney to give me any of their time. It looks like I will be on my own with this, and I am really nervous. I’m not sure if that is the right choice. If I do request this review does that mean if I get denied again,does that mean I cannot reapply? Or would I better off just reapplying now?
    It’s been almost three years, I don’t want to give up now if I don’t have to. And if I do go forward with review what do I need to know since I am on my own? Or if you know anyone you can refer me to?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Michelle,

      You can file a new claim after an Appeals Council denial, but if you no longer insured for SSDI the claim would be denied. (At that time, if your income and assets are low enough you could apply for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability, which may pay less than your Social Security.

      You will have to make the decision of whether to appeal or file a new claim. If you file a new claim, you must claim a disability onset date of the day after the date of hearing denial letter.

      Part of what you can consider in making the decision is the date you are last insured for Social Security Disability (SSDI). If you are no longer insured, you have nothing to lose by appealing. If you are close to your insured status ending so that it might end before you get the Appeals Council decision, which can take a year or two with possible remands to the judge for another hearing, then it might be better to just file a new claim now, claiming a disability date of the day after the hearing denial letter, rather than risking another denial when it could be too late to file a new claim.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Husband

    Hi Kay, my wife has a Social Security hearing at the end of the month and she has been in the process for two-and-a-half years. The initial physician and psychiatrist visits deemed her unable to work yet she was still denied for the initial request as well as the appeal. She was working with the lawyer for a couple of months but the lawyer didn’t want to work with her because of her age. She suffers from depression, severe anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder, rheumatoid arthritis, degenerative arthritis, 6 bulging discs in her lower spine, and a pinched nerve in her spine caused by a botched epidural surgery her hearing is in a week and we don’t have an attorney what do you think our chances are? And is there any advice that you could give us?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Husband,

      Your wife should answer questions honestly and simply. If the judge does not do so, she has the right to ask the vocational expert who will be at the hearing whether she can work with the limitations she has, naming the limitations/symptoms that interfere with her working. If some important point is not brought up, she can bring it up.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Gloria Young

    I was told today that my decision was with a writer and after that my case would go back to the local field office. What does that mean. Do all decisions go back to the field office.? Depending on the decision, does the case/claim go back to field office and then processing center if approved or if approved does it go straight to processing center? thanks

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Gloria,

      Your appeal may have been approved. If you filed a Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claim, the SSI portion would be sent to the local office if the claim was approved. If a Social Security disability claim was approved, it would be send to the payment processing center.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • waiting

    if approved for ssdi i know my child is eligible for backpay benefits but is spouse also eligible for backpay for taking care of a child.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Waiting,

      Your spouse can receive benefits if the child is under age sixteen and if your spouse’s work earnings are not too high. Currently, half of gross wages above $15,720 a year cause a reduction in annual spouse’s benefits. If your spouse is eligible, he or she will be eligible for back pay for the sames months that you are. Note that if your spouse should notify Social Security if he or she wishes benefits asking benefits to be processed based on a protective filing of being listed on your application.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Kay Derochie

    Dear Debra,

    I suggest that you contact the attorney firm and ask for an explanation from the attorney. There could be a myriad of reasons including illness. Be sure to send a copy of the letter from the attorney to the Social Security Administration and request that he be removed as your attorney of record and that he not be paid any fees if you are approved because he withdrew from the case. Also, I suggest requesting from the attorney firm your entire file so you can turn it over to your new attorney. Your new attorney can also request a copy of your claim file and the transcript from the hearing to bring him or her up to speed.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

    • Debra

      Hi kay,
      I have left 3 messages with women in the office, I am told he is court…. I sent an email requesting an explanation with no response. I did request a letter from him stating he will receive NO FEES.. I did get that letter but no phone call no email nothing, so I have no idea as to why he quit. I have already found another attorney and hopefully he will not do the same.

      Thank you

      Debra

      • Kay Derochie

        Dear David,

        How long letter preparation takes varies a great deal from one hearing office to the next based on workloads. There is some possibility you will have the letter within a month.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

  • Heather johnson

    I had a hearing in front of the judge in August 2015 I have not heard nothing yet I am wondering what should I expect you think I’m going to get approved I have borderline personality disorder and bipolar and a learning disability on top of all of it

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Heather,

      I am not able to predict whether or not you will be approved. It depends on how severely your mental health and cognitive conditions affect your ability to function.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Thomasina

    I went to my hearing on 1-25-16(depressing,anxiety,bi-polarisasi,ptsd etc)..the SSDI doctor said i was unable to work…he agreed to my diagnosis. I have a history of drug use(not currently)..the judge brought that up. The doctor said,the DRUGS in no way effect my diagnosis and i would still be ill,even if no DRUGS were not involved. The vocational person said,there are no jobs for me,under my diagnosis…i did have an attorney..my concern is i work…i Suck at it and miss alot of days..,but what do u think???

    • Thomasina

      I do see a doctor really for my meds.and have been since 2001 . On paper my unless started 2011…is that how far back i get paid?

      • Kay Derochie

        Dear Thomasina,

        Your Social Security Disability (SSDI) benefits will begin the later of your sixth calendar month of established disability and twelve months before your initial application.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Thomasina,

      If you are earning less than $1,090 gross per month, your work will not keep you from being approved for Social Security Disability (SSDI).

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Jerry

    My hearing is set for the 26th of this month I am in a homeless situation what’s are my chances of being approved

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Jerry,

      Your medical condition will determine whether or not your are approved for benefits. Because I have no information about that, I am not able to offer an opinion.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • azdahar

    Hi KAY I have questions about my ssi hearing I been waiting now for twenty months but in paperwork it says 14_18 months I didn’t get anything yet why thank you

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Azdahar,

      The hearing office in your area may have a high workload with a large backlog. You can call the hearing office to see whether it can you an estimate on when your hearing date might come up.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Waiting

    Hi Kay. I see my post and not your answer. Thank you.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Waiting,

      I responded to your original post and responded to your request to delete your name by deleting your original post because I can’t delete just the name.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Kay Derochie

    Dear Marie,

    Yes, that is correct. Social Security benefits are based on your past earnings history because the benefit is an earned benefit. No dollar amounts are shown when your claim is pending. You might be able to order an earnings statement online, which will include a list of your earnings and a benefit estimate.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Waiting

    kay please delete my first name and last name on my post above this one. I changeed to waiting. thank you

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Waiting,

      I cannot remove your name; all I can do is delete your post, which I did. I have answered you and the answer still shows, but your question does not.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Robert

    Hi Kay,

    I was recently informed by the ODAR office that my status is “Ready to Schedule” and has been that status for about two months. I can’t get a straight answer as to what this actually means in reference to a hearing date. Do you know what this means exactly and how close I am to a hearing date based on this status? What should I expect now?

    Thank you 🙂

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Robert,

      Your appeal is in the stage before a hearing date is scheduled. I cannot predict how long it will be before it is scheduled. In most areas, hearing dates are about a year or a bit more after the hearing appeal is filed.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Donna Warren

    I have been waiting for social security for my son for 14 years he has mental illness and they denied him then I appealed and we have a hearing soon,I hope. During this time of waiting he lived in homes I paid for and then he would leave due to paranoid delusions. He is now incarcerated and going to a mental ward so I guess he will be denied his appeal and when he gets out I will need to apply again this is the process I have been dealing with for years. He has attempted suicide multiple times and he is a threat to society as a mother I feel the need to get him help. The court has deemed him incompetent and placed him under mental health to regain compentency I dont understand how that works. Please let me know what direction i can go for him.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Donna,

      My response applies to Social Security Disability (SSDI) because that is what you inquired about. If your son is incarcerated when his claim is approved, SSDI benefits due to him for the period prior to incarceration will not be released to him until he has been released from prison. After he has been released, benefits can be started without a new application. His being in a mental hospital will not affect payment of SSDI unless he is being held in a mental institution in lieu of completing a prison sentence. If you have not already done so, provide the claims examiner with a copy of the court order that has found him incompetent because it might help his claim.

      If your son is also approved for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), all of the above applies except SSI benefits are not payable if your son is in a governmental mental institution and, if your son is ineligible for benefits due to incarceration or residency in a governmental mental institution for twelve months or longer, he will have to file a new application to reinstate SSI benefits.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • LB

    My mom applied for disability 14 months ago. She was denied and it was in reconsideration and denied again. She spoke to a lawyer and the lawyer said she needs a letter from physcricts saying that mom can’t work because of her mental diagnosis. A nurse prationer told my mom she was for her getting disability.Mom goes to all her appointments either by me taking her or someone else. For the past 9 months mom thought she was seeing physcricts but it was nurse prationers seeing her and writing her prescriptions. Before that mom was going to another place where she seen physcricts and councelors. There was also ppl coming to our house to talk to mom and help her. Moms M.D. wrote a letter stating that she first became her patient in 2005 and was diagnosis with depression and aniexty. That she has suffered prior before every seeing her. That she’s had different medication that was very little help.She was put in hospital back in September for planning her on death. The place she goes to now said they won’t write a letter for my mom but they will give documents and notes for the lawyer.She has been also diagnosis with bipolar, szphrenic ,ptsd.My mother hasn’t worked in two years & can’t tolerate ppl. For the past year her memory has got worse and her speech has changed. Years ago my mother could sit down and read for hours but now she can’t keep attention to nothing and won’t even watch tv. It’s hard to get her out of the house.We have moved house to house with family members because mom can’t work. My question is why won’t a Dr write a note when they know Mom can’t work? Will the letter from MD help that my mom has seen for 10 years that was wrote or is it all a time waster? What can we do?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear LB,

      I suggest that you get the letter from the doctor and the records from the nurse practitioner and also ask that the nurse practitioner refer your mother to a psychiatrist for an evaluation, so there is at least one medical report from a psychiatrist. See if you can get the nurse practitioner and/or the psychiatrist to complete a Mental Residual Functional Capacity Assessment. The form can be obtained at http://www.disabilitysecrets.com/resources/disability/disability-and-social-security/mental-residual. Also, you and other family members can write up statements about what you have observed about your mother’s mental health. You can use form number SSA-3380-BK to make the statement or just write up your observation. You can get and print an SSA-3380-BK at http://www.ssa.gov.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • I originally filed for SSD/SSI in March, 2013. I was told I didn’t have enough work credits, but could file for SSI. So I filed with mental disability of Bipolar 1, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Depression, and ADHD. I was diagnosed with ADHD, as well. I also filed with physical disabilities. I am diagnosed with Degenerative Disc Disease, Osetoarthritis, Asthma-COPD, and more recently, a Congential Heart defect known as PFO, Patent Foramen Ovale. A hole between the right and left atrial chambers of my heart, there from birth. There is a right to left shunt (flow of blood from right to left) which is more dangerous than left to right, since it goes directly to the brain. I suffered a TIA back in January from this. It could be considered under a Compassionate Allowance of Eisenmenger Syndrome, due to the right to left shunting but my Cardiologist, says it is not. Either way, I’m under the impression the heart defect is on the list, and solidifies my evidence a lot more for my claim to be approved. To be sure, I’ve hired an attorney. I’d like to know if the ALJ approves me, will I be able to borrow against retro payment for medical and clothing items, or be given a portion of retroactive benefits as I’ve read on the actual SSA website? If so, will my attorney tell me how to request these funds?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Michele,

      If you are approved for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), the back pay is typically paid out in installments six months apart with the first two installments not exceeding $2,199 each. You can make a written request to the Social Security Administration to release more to pay for medical care, but likely not for clothes. With the request, you should submit evidence of the estimated amount needed for the medical care. All of this happens after you have been medically approved and have had a financial update interview to determine the amount of SSI payable for each month between your first month of eligibility and the present month.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Wendy

    Hi Kathy,
    I received an Unfavorable Decision from my ALJ Hearing back in October 2013; the attorney I had showed up empty handed…thats as far as I want to go regarding her incompintency. So after receiving this decision and her letter no longer representing me and waiving her services fees regarding my case, I personally submitted an Appeal. in March 2015, I received a letter from the Appeals Council remanding the ALJ’s Unfavorable Decision, that a Hearing date will be scheduled accordingly. In this letter, the Appeals Council Judges outlined their reasons, basically in agreement to my Appeals Letter. So after some deep thought of attempting to hire an attorney again, I scheduled a consultation with a predominate Law Firm. They said they would be glad to represent me but wanted me to pay $150 in Non Refundable Administrative Fee costs, this being outside the $6K cap that Soc. Sec. Limits Attorneys to charging. Well this concerned me and I did not sign or pay anything and left. So # 1. Was this the right move – is that Legal for them to do? I mean they explained how they felt positive about me getting an approval and seemed knowledgable. #2. I am beginning to think that maybe I will be better off representing myself… like my Appeal, I did that myself and it was remanded – your thoughts? #3. I was told that it isn’t easy to get a remand from the Appeals Council, unless represented; is that true too? #4. How long do you think it will be that I will get my Hearing date?
    Thank You in Advance for your professional advice, I sincerely believe you help many of us who are in limbo with our Disability cases!

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Wendy,

      I’ll answer your questions in order.

      1. It is legal to charge for out-of-pocket expenses such as photocopy expenses whether or not the case is won; however, those charge are usually billed after the fact and are limited to reimbursement. You might find out from the law office what the administrative fee covers and then check with the Social Security Administration to find out whether an attorney firm can charge a flat fee for “administrative services.”

      2. The decision of whether to represent yourself in the hearing is one you will have to make.

      3. Usually it is better to have representation in an appeal to the Appeals Council because there are limitations to what the Council will consider as a basis for remand and it important to make arguments that address those issues. For that reason, it can be challenging to obtain a remand with legal assistance.

      4. First hearings are running about a year before a date is set; second hearings are usually scheduled more quickly.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Megan

    I had my hearing yesterday and I’m a total mess! I filed for disability in October 2011 for depression, osteoarthritis in the hips, anxiety, PTSD, and ADD. Part of my treatment plan was to attend school with accomindations so I did. I did okay until seated classes now I don have anything above a 50%. Plus lost insurance for almost two years and didn’t quilfy for assistance because they count my wife’s child support from my step sons as income. I could only go the hospital for emergency treatment and they refused me any ongoing treatments. Then I met a $8300 deductible for medicaid this past October but I had balances that I had to pay off first before being seen. I paid the important ones off in January. Since then I have found out I have DDD, scoliosis, and most recently this week COPD 67% predicted usage with worrisome x-ray results.(Increased interstitial markings) I have no clue what it means. I was just told because I have so many forms of cancer in my immediate family (brother, sister, is the only survived, mother, and three grandparents) and my age they want futhur testing done. I was referred to a pulmonary doctor but because the appointment isn’t until April 9 I won’t find anything out past my primary doctors spirometry results. I lose medicaid the 31st… My lawyer didn’t bring any of this up yesterday! He said my levels aren’t low enough to be considered so he told me and the judge to ignore the findings of the spirometry but he will turn them in?! But to make matters worse my lawyer questioned me about something extremely personal that I checked off on my intake for therapy but I haven’t ever spoke about it because it’s the worst thing that has ever happened to me! I have done okay pushing it aside for years and now I can’t stop thinking about it and I haven’t stopped crying since 2:00 yesterday! I called my therapist and told her we need to meet sooner but why would he do this to me? I cant eat or sleep now and I just want to be alone! I had a breakdown during my hearing I couldn’t think or process anything going on after that! Can I request a new hearing and lawyer?! I feel he ruined my case but not turning in my COPD stuff when I had it faxed Tuesday, making me look like a horrible mess, not reminding the judge I will lose all medication and treatment the 31st, and closing argument being based only on my work record going back to when I was 14 in 2001.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Megan,

      Your attorney probably questioned you about the bad event in your life to call the judge’s attention to the cause of your claimed post-traumatic-stress disorder (PTSD). You are claiming disability in part on three mental illness diagnoses so it doesn’t hurt that your broke down in the hearing and looked a mess. It could in help you.

      You can ask him, but your attorney may have suggested that the judge not consider the COPD because the results don’t show an extremely severe level of COPD and you are having more testing, which would delay the hearing decision if the judge waited for the outcome of the testing. At this point your next move is to wait for the decision from the judge; you may be approved. If you are not, you can appeal and, although I am not necessarily advising it, you could change attorneys at that time.

      With regard to health insurance, check to see whether you might qualify for insurance through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) with a government subsidy for payment of premiums. You can apply without waiting for an open enrollment period if you apply within sixty days of losing your Medicaid. More information is available at http://www.healthcare.gov.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • I recieve my ssd check now and have been for a couple of years now also I was recieving medical insurance also a long with my check all until about a year ago I was dropped from my medical benifits as of today I don’t know why who to see or talk to about ttohis situation I can,t afford an attorney in this matter Can you please tell me who to see or contact about this matter I,am starting to have sight problems out of my good eye and need to see medical attention about my other eye if you can help me please it shows that someone does care Thank You very much

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Ronald,

      For me to comment, I need to know what kind of medical benefits you are talking about Medicare, Medicaid, private insurance or employer-sponsored insurance?

      Thank you,
      Kay

Send this to friend