Blog

Proving Disability for Clients with Fybromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a medical condition that is challenging for any attorney to prove under the strict standards of Social Security Disability rules. Under a new Social Security ruling, fibromyalgia symptoms are evaluated similarly to a chronic pain condition and can be a Medically Determinable Impairment (MDI) under the criteria set forth in SSR 12-2p with evaluation of symptoms including diffuse pain, fatigue, depression and difficulty with memory.

Waiting Time for Hearings Has Been Reduced Significantly

We are often asked the question: how long does it take until I get a hearing date on my disability appeal? Well, we have good news for our clients: today it takes significantly less time to get to a hearing than it did one or two years ago.

The latest report from SSA’s Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR) shows that the waiting time for post-hearing decisions in the Northern California regional hearing offices has been reduced significantly in the past two years.

Audio Recordings Can Now Be Electronically Downloaded Within Days of Your Hearing

In recent years, the SSA has implemented a number of online services for claimants’ representatives, including access to our clients' electronic folders. At LaPorte Law Firm, we have conducted online business for our clients with the SSA since the Appointed Representative Services (ARS) initiative began in 2009. These online services have allowed us to electronically file disability applications and appeals, and in addition we’ve been able to more efficiently file new medical evidence, written legal arguments, and even submit proposed Favorable Decisions for approval by SSA on behalf of our clients.

Unemployment Insurance

“I can’t work, but I’ve been receiving unemployment because I need a roof over my head. Will getting unemployment cause my SSA disability appeal to be denied?”

The Answer: Perhaps…or maybe not.

At our office, we receive inquiries often on this issue, particularly since 2009 when layoffs and extensions of unemployment benefits have been common.

Looking up

The Social Security appeal process has been more accessible, and user friendly, for individuals seeking to apply for disability or retirement benefits. Over the course of the past few years, the Social Security Administration has effectively changed and implemented many of the ways in which claimants can request information from SSA offices.

Public Benefits Offset to Social Security Disability Benefits

An award of benefits by Social Security for a claimant’s disability may be subject to offset because of payments received from Workers’ Compensation and/or State disability benefits. Because Workers’ Compensation, State disability benefits, and Social Security are all public benefits, the general intent of the offset is to reimburse the state for public benefits paid to an injured worker if that individual also qualifies for Social Security disability.