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Working Hard for the Working Class

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What Are My Chances of Being Granted Social Security Disability?

Posted on Monday, July 13th, 2015 at 1:50 pm    

ss-disabilityThe Social Security Administration keeps very good records regarding the ratio of total filers for social security disability and the total number of people that are successful. The story this number tells is not pretty. Between 2003 and 2014, only 24% of applicants were granted disability on the initial application. Even after appealing to a hearing with an Administrative Law Judge (an ALJ), only 41% of applicants nation-wide are granted disability. Although people often think that the disability system is abused, with undeserving people receiving disability, those abuses mostly ended over ten years ago. In fact, the rate of fraud is relatively low and most fraud is committed by people with actual injuries that are working on the side, rather than people who are not hurt at all but also are not working. Today it is statistically more likely than not that an applicant will never receive a disability payment!

How Can I Maximize My Chances of Receiving Social Security Disability?

First, getting the right attorney can drastically increase your chances, although getting a lackluster attorney won’t help you much. Although it’s rude to brag, at Lawrence & Associates we can statistically say that our approval ratio far exceeds the averages set forth above – in fact, our attorneys’ approval ratio is in excess of 90% approvals over the ten-year lifetime of the firm at the time of this writing. So we encourage everyone to seek counsel but to research the lawyer they hire before signing a representation agreement. (Our bar association requires us to say that all cases are different and there is no guarantee of victory, so the mere fact that we have a 90% approval ratio does not mean your particular case has a 90% chance of success.)

Another way to maximize your chance of approval is to enlist your treating doctor. A good treating doctor is worth his or her weight in gold during a disability hearing. A treating doctor can write a Residual Functional Capacity report for you, which can be valuable proof of disability. The doctor may also be willing to write you a letter that you can submit to the Social Security Administration that explains your medical condition and its effect on your life in better detail than you can.

Finally, the claims examiners with the Social Security Administration are trained to analyze a “typical day” in the life of an applicant and measure by hours what the applicant can or cannot do compared to what an “average” person can or cannot do. Write a letter to the examiner breaking down your day into what you think your most important limitations are. For example, can you only stand for an hour before having to rest? Make a note of that in your 24 hour chart. Someone who has to sit down frequently for rest is less hirable than someone that can stand for long periods of time. Limitations can add to up to the point where a social security disability award seems reasonable.

Overall, Don’t Give Up

The road to disability approval often has many stages. Giving up at any particular stage means starting all over again, so don’t let things fall by the wayside! At Lawrence & Associates, we are Working Hard for the Working Class and that means helping worthy Northern Kentucky residents get the disability they paid for through years of taxes. If you need help, call us today.

How Much Work History do I Need to Have Before I Qualify for Social Security Disability?

Posted on Monday, June 8th, 2015 at 10:07 am    

Lawrence & Associates consults with many clients each week regarding potential social security disability claims. One of the most common reasons we have to reject a potential claim is a lack of work history for the disabled person. In addition to meeting the definition of disability set forth by the Social Security Administration, you also need to have enough “work credits” to form a basis for a disability payment. In this post, we’ll talk about how a work credit is measured.

calculatorSocial security work credits are based on your yearly wages or your reported self-employment income. The amount of income needed to earn a credit changes annually; in fiscal year 2015, one work credit equals $1,220 worth of wages. Of course, if you are getting paid under the table to avoid paying income taxes, you are not recording any work credits. This is one reason that it is a good idea to report all your income (in addition to the obvious fact that the law requires you to do so).

Here is a rule of thumb for whether or not you have enough credits to qualify for social security disability: You must have 40 credits, and 20 of those credits must have been earned within the past 10 years. Although younger workers can get disability with fewer credits, it is also harder to qualify as disabled when you are younger. You can find a handy chart detailing the number of credits required for any given age here: Social Security Administration Work Credit Chart

At Lawrence & Associates, we represent Kentucky and Ohio clients in all forms of social security claims, from disability to SSI claims for income benefits. We’re Working Hard for the Working Class, and we’d be proud to represent you. Call today!

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