Monday, May 09, 2016

Medical records are helpful to a disability case, but which medical records?

Not all records are helpful to a case. And, in this regard, I mean records from non-medical sources such as chiropractors, naturopaths, or anyone who is not licensed to practice medicine. Usually, this means anyone who does not have the professional privilege of writing prescriptions. This is why even though a nurse is a medical professional, they cannot supply records that by themselves that are especially useful to a disability case.

On the subject of chiropractors, Chiropractic medicine helps alleviate the pain of many thousands of patients. However, chiropractors are not considered medical treatment sources by the social security administration (they cannot write prescriptions) and their records are not used in deciding social security disability and SSI disability cases.

Tip: if you have back problems and are receiving treatment only from a chiropractor, you should, for the benefit of your case, consider seeking treatment from an M.D., possibly an orthopedist, and, perhaps, a pain specialist if you have ongoing and debilitating levels of pain.

On this subject, here are a few pages:

Medical Evidence Used on a Social Security Disability or SSI Claim

What happens if the Social Security disability examiner cannot find all the needed medical records?

How are medical records and work history used to determine a social security disability claim?

If You File For Social Security Disability How Far Back Will They Look At Your Medical Records?

I am a former disability examiner and I publish the website Social Security Disability Resource Center, or SSDRC for short. I also maintain a facebook page for SSDRC (Social Security Disability Blog.

Archives for this blog.

Neither this blog, nor the facebook page, nor my website are affiliated with the Social Security Administration.

On Cheating people out of a fair disability hearing

This article deals with several things. First of all, with the backlog in disability claims, which is extreme and immoral. It is immoral IMO when elected representatives allow their constituents to needlessly suffer because they refuse to adequately fund a federal agency to a level that is necessary for the agency to do its job. What I am saying is that the problem for the last 20 years has been Congress. This article also points out that there are too few administrative law judges (this has been true for well well over a decade). Finally, It also points out that the attempt is being made to cheat claimants out of a fair remand hearing. For those who are unaware, a remand hearing is a second hearing by the same judge after the appeals council has determined that there was something wrong with the decision of the ALJ when he/she denied the case.

Social Security Administration Seeks Shortcut Through Massive Disability Backlog

I am a former disability examiner and I publish the website Social Security Disability Resource Center, or SSDRC for short. I also maintain a facebook page for SSDRC (Social Security Disability Blog.

Archives for this blog.

Neither this blog, nor the facebook page, nor my website are affiliated with the Social Security Administration.

How Social Security decides claims, xrays, symptoms, filing a second claim

How Social Security decides claims

Social Security will base its decision to award medical disability benefits on an individual’s ability to engage in past work or "other" work activity. This decision is made by reviewing both a claimant's work history and a claimant's medical history--which is done by gathering a claimant's medical records. Note: Past work may potentially include any job done by the claimant in the fifteen year period prior to becoming disabled, as long as the job was performed long enough for the person to actually learn the duties of the job. "Other work" is potentially any type of job that a claimant may be thought capable of doing based on their education and job skills, and mediated by their current limitations.

When should you File for Disability benefits with the social security administration?

Social Security Disability and sending copies of XRAYs

Over the course of many years, I've had disability claimants send me their xrays. Not the xray reports, mind you, but the actual films. This has happened to me while I worked as a disability examiner and also in the course of disability representation.

Should you ever send your disability representative your xray films? No. Should you ever send the disability examiner who has been assigned to make the decison on your case your xray films? No. Should you take your xray films to the social security office when you go to apply for disability? Once again, the answer is no. Here's why---

When you apply for social security disability should you send copies of your xrays?

Put down all symptoms when filing for disability A person who is trying to win Social Security Disability or SSI disability benefits should list their various symptoms they have. They may also wish to list the effects of each condition they have. This would include any difficulty they have in certain physical areas such as the ability to sit, stand, walk, reach, bend, lift, carry, see, or hear. It would also include any difficulties they have in cognitive areas such as difficulty in concentrating, difficulty in remembering, difficulty in adhering to work schedules, etc.

When you apply for disability, mention all your medical symptoms

Filing a second disability claim

If your initial disability claim is denied, the best course to take is to file an appeal. The goal in filing a disability claim is to win your disability benefits, and you cannot do that if you are constantly filing initial disability claims that are denied. Despite this fact, there are many claimants who never utilize the appeal process and, instead, simply file new claim after new claim after new claim.

What Happens When You File A Second Social Security Disability Claim?

I am a former disability examiner and I publish the website Social Security Disability Resource Center, or SSDRC for short. I also maintain a facebook page for SSDRC (Social Security Disability Blog.

Archives for this blog.

Neither this blog, nor the facebook page, nor my website are affiliated with the Social Security Administration.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Invisible disabilities and fools

This reminds me so much of the very many idiots who think their neighbors are committing Social Security fraud simply because these idiots don't see their neighbors confined to wheelchairs. To these legions of idiots, most medical conditions are not overtly obvious to the eye, and this is doubly so with individuals who have zero medical training (meaning practically everyone).

From the article:

"I was diagnosed with a chronic joint disease in high school that has progressively worsened over the years, causing a major health issue for my right leg. I’ve had a series of invasive, painful medical procedures, but the exterior signs of my trauma are reduced to a series of scars on my ankle. When I’m wearing long pants, it’s impossible to distinguish me from anyone else — which is why I get horrible looks, and even overt hostility, from onlookers when I use my handicap placard. The battle between disabled and non-disabled people is one that is not highly publicized. But the manner in which general society perceives disabled people, specifically people who show no visual signs of their disability, is an ongoing issue that needs addressing."

To read the article and comments by others on the facebook page: Invisible disabilities

Social Security Video hearings

This is a post from attorney Charles Hall's blog. It leads off with the statement "In an effort to make it more difficult for claimants to object to video hearings..." Video hearings are conducted because SSA is trying to deal with the issue of hearing backlogs and how long it takes to get a hearing in each state (and it can vary considerably between states as well as between hearings offices within states) without adding more judges to the payroll. Of course, the budget of SSA is left to the discretion of Congress, not the agency and not the executive administration (the White House) which can only submit budget proposals. Purse string powers belong to Congress.

Claimants need to understand that it is their right to have an in-person hearing if they so choose and that means they can reject a video hearing. In an earlier post this from Mr. Hall's blog, he stated "over 220,000 claimants opted out of video hearings when they were given the chance in October and November of 2014. That's more than one in five pending requests for hearing. I'm surprised that the number opting out isn't even higher. Some claimants and attorneys are more willing than others to tolerate video hearings but nobody likes them."

What's interesting is what a couple commenters on that particular blog post had to say.

Commenter 1: "the VTC (video hearing) is the lesser of two evils when compared to the harm of even more months for the claimant waiting for a hearing".

Commenter 2: " is my opinion that VTC hearings are wholly detrimental to my claimant simply because of the impersonal and removed nature of the things".

Looks Like This Plan Didn't Work

Thursday, November 19, 2015

New entries on the SSDRC facebook page

Postings on the SSDRC facebook page

On this page, I'll list recent and older posting for the Facebook page for, the Social Security Disability Resource Center. For those who are unaware, I am a former disability examiner who worked at the DDS agency in Raleigh NC and who made decisions on SSD and SSI claims.

Here is an excerpt from my "about me" page on "As a disability examiner, I adjudicated Social Security Disability and SSI claims, which is simply another way of saying that I reviewed the medical and vocational evidence of a case in order to determine whether it should be approved or denied. This background gave me particular insight into how cases are determined, how the system actually works at the ground level, as well as certain commonly made mistakes that are often made and which should be avoided.

Finally, I have taken and passed the federal written examination that is administered by the Social Security Administration and which is authorized under Public Law No. 111-142, "The Social Security Disability Applicants' Access to Professional Representation Act of 2010". The purpose of this exam is to test knowledge of the relevant provisions of the Social Security Act and also knowlege of the most recent developments in SSA including court decisions that affect titles II and XVI of the Social Security Act."

Individuals who have questions about filing for disability benefits, or have filed and have questions about the process, appeals, or specific issues may want to visit or the facebook page ( where they can ask questions and share their experiences with other individuals. My hope is that, over time, that page will become a community where individuals can support each other in their fight for disability benefits.

Social Security disability requirements

Qualifying for disability with anxiety and panic attacks

When should you check on your disability case

Do you automatically get Medicare with Social Security disability?

Why and when does Social Security send you to a medical exam?

Getting a statement from the doctor for a disability claim

How to file for disability

Judges and decisions on disability claims

The Social Security disability DDS doctor

The chances of winning disability benefits

Social Security disability reconsideration appeal

Getting a disability lawyer or representative

How hard is it to get disability?

Applying for disability with carpal Tunnel

A statement from a doctor for Social security disability or SSI

What your doctor needs to state to help you win disability

How severe must your condition be to get disability?

About Social Security Mental Exams

The Social Security definition of disability

Social Security Disability and Pain

What to prove to qualify for disability benefits

Social Security Disability and Fibromyalgia

Texas disability hearings

Bad Social Security Disability Advice

Social Security Disability SSI and contacting your congressman to speed things up

You may apply for Social Security disability for any medical condition

When should you file for disability

Social Security Disability and Continuing to Work

Are Social Security Disability Exams Bogus?

Social Security Disability, SSI, and Traumatic Brain injury

You can certainly apply for disability with no history of treatment

What can I expect from a Social Security Mental Examination or Evaluation?

Why does Social Security send people to medical exams?

Will Social Security decide you can do your old job?

Why does Social Security send people to medical exams?

What can I expect from a Social Security Mental Examination or Evaluation?

Filing for Social Security Disability or SSI with Multiple Sclerosis MS

Social Security Disability and Statements from Doctors

Why do you have to go to a Social Security Doctor?

Social Security Disability approval rate

Social Security uses mental consultative examinations to evaluate a variety of mental disorders and conditions

Does everyone need an attorney or non attorney to win a disability case?

Stroke is often listed on a disability application

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Ruby's Bequest - A story-telling Project

I was recently contacted by Patrick Tutwiler of United Cerebral Palsy. He mentioned a site I might be interested in, and, as it turns out, I am. I have an aging parent myself and I also recognize that all of us are inevitably headed toward some degree of disability. It's simply the nature of the human condition. However, I told Patrick that I really couldn't explain the site, Ruby's Bequest, better than he already did in his email. So, with his permission, I have reposted his email here:


So I’ve been reading your blog for a bit here, and I think I have a project you might be interested in posting about. Basically it’s a virtual-reality project called Ruby’s Bequest, sponsored by United Cerebral Palsy (UCP), AARP, and the Institute for the Future (IFTF) which seeks to develop solutions to the imminent care-giving crisis.

I’m sure you and your readership are familiar with the problem:

There will be, in the near future, shortages of paid care-givers and direct service providers, shortages in government resources to assist people who use care services, and an influx of people who will need said services as more Boomers with disabilities start aging, and as more Boomers start aging into disability.

Ruby’s Bequest is a story-telling project which aims to provoke a massive brainstorming session amongst all its participants. During the course of the project, participants will be presented with various future scenarios containing various care-giving related problems. They will then have to put their heads together and imagine creative solutions to those problems.

The end result of the project will be a compendium of novel ideas and solutions to the near-term problems associated with care-giving and caring in general.

Hopefully it also serves as the beginning of a conversation about a new, more holistic and sustainable way to look at the role of caring in society.

Anyway, thanks for looking it over and let me know if you have any questions.


Return to the Social Security Disability SSI Benefits Blog

Friday, February 02, 2007

We move along

The GoldFish gave me permission to quote from her disability blog and so I'd like to present a few lines (quite a few actually) from one of her recent posts. Her post concerned moving, leaving a place...but so much more than that.

The post made me think of a few things and reminded me of others. Things I've read. Things I've thought. Places I've left. And people I've known who, living or not, have become inexorably removed from me as I am carried along, not always willingly, on the conveyor we call linear time.

I can see these people and places in my mind, as a still picture, or, in very reflective moments, as a short, personal movie clip. If the moment is right, I can hear sounds from long ago, and if I conjure hard enough I can grasp shadowy incarnations of an old scent or a past touch.

Any post on any blog that evokes such feeling is one that I highly recommend.

Here's the quote, followed by a link to the full post---

"I am fine, somewhat tearful. No reason; we have nothing to lose. I think there are only a handful of things in life anyone can claim that they have actually lost. We have both had a great time in this place and nothing can ever take that away from us. Only it moves into the past tense and can only be revisited in the imagination. We never get to revisit the great times in any case; even if their locations have been frozen in time, we have not. And that's not a bad thing. There are other great times, new adventures to be had ahead of us, new places which will become special to us further along the road. There are friends out there who we don't even know yet, perhaps a few who are not yet born, let alone all those who exist who we are only going to get to know and love better with time.

Nobody has died; nothing to mourn.

But saying goodbye, even to a place, even when you know that it's time to go..."

That was then

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Sometimes the pages outlast us - An Internet journal on caring for an Alzheimer's parent

In the last few weeks, I've come across at least 2, perhaps 3, websites that are still operating despite the fact that their creators have passed away (yes, I prefer the euphemism, passed away, to die, though I will use die occasionally). And each time I do, I get the same feeling accompanied by my own staring off into the window behind my desktop monitor. What is that feeling? Well, as with so many feelings, it's difficult to translate. But...I just find it really neat that webpages that have expressed the feelings, thoughts, opinions, and sentiments of their creators can continue to live on the net, providing valuable information and sometimes needed insights to those who find them. And when that happens, the experience is not only a testament to the webpage writer, but a way for that writer's life experiences to be transmitted to others and passed on.

Unfortunately, it's not always the case that a person's pages will continue after they're gone. For most sites (some free sites may not fall into this category), hosting fees need to be paid every now and then and there's also the issue of domain registrations that need to be kept up. So, I would suggest to those who are aware of a family member's writings online, try to keep them going if you can after the person is gone.

In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if, oneday, someone decides that this is a good business idea; that is, for a small fee, ensuring that someone's pages will be maintained on the net. Though, this may already exist at the site, (however, there is no guarantee that will always be around).

Here's a link to one of the three sites I found recently. Her name was Denise Cooper and according to a short message at the top of the screen, she died in 2002. The journal she kept may be helpful to anyone caring for a parent with Alzheimer's disease.

Coping with Alzheimer's disease by Denise Cooper

(It's sites like this that show the real potential of the web)

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Forrest Landry and the Blog super highway

I came across Forest Landry's blog a moment ago and I was struck by several things he said on his 4pm, April 14th 2006 post (Forrest Landry).

" They automatically turn everyone down the first time, because they know that a good 80% will not appeal the decision. And then they turn down almost all the ones who appeal the first time, and they know there's a high percentage who won't go to the judge."

I wouldn't debate the statistic, but, for the most part, of course, Mr. Landry is right. And I've heard these sentiments espressed many many times. But seeing it in print on a blog "feels" a little different and, perhaps, a bit depressing.

"So I had to face the "retirement" demons early. It's not an easy process. There are layers of guilt about not working, not getting up and going to work, not being productive, not making a living, etc. that keep coming up like layers of the world's largest onion...Because we're taught from early childhood that going to work is the whole purpose we have in life."

I think I may have echoed this in another post I made. Or perhaps a comment on someone else's blog. And my sentiment was this: few people would really want a disability check versus having the ability to work. Why would you? Working pays more and it gets you out of the house and into the world. Yet our citizens who are legitimately disabled, who have lost the ability to remain employed at the level of SGA (substantial gainful activity) are made to feel guilty about their condition, circumstances, and are made to feel less worthy as individuals. Definitely a flaw in our society.

"I predict that there'll be millions of Boomers who will start up new companies and get part time jobs and do consulting and open hobby shops and just DO stuff to keep from idling in retirement."

I think he may be right about this. And I'll be very curious to see if it does happen.

Oh, well, that's the end of this post. That's the nice thing about blogging. You don't have to necessarily tie things up neatly. Just as you wonder about in the blogosphere you can drift about in each post.