How Does SSDI Back Pay Work?

How Does SSDI Back Pay Work?

There may come a time when you are not able to work because of a condition that prevents you from doing so. If that is the case, you may qualify for financial assistance from the Social Security Administration. Social Security Disability Insurance is accessible to you if you were once able to be employed in the past but now cannot work for a minimum of one year.

What Is Social Security Disability Insurance?

Social Security Disability Insurance disburses benefits to you or family members who paid Social Security taxes through work earnings and worked long enough, and recently enough. It’s required that you have gained enough work credits to be eligible for SSDI. You are also required to have paid into the Federal Insurance Contributions Act, known as FICA, during the time you were working. The amount of work credits needed to be eligible are dependent upon age. For instance, if you are 50 years old, you will need 28 work credits meanwhile another person who is 40 years old will need 20 work credits. These benefits are paid if there is a medical condition that is anticipated to persist for at least a year. Once you are approved, the monthly payments can be used for your essential living needs such as rent/mortgage, utilities, and medical expenses.

What Back Pay Is

When you are owed back pay, it refers to the SSDI you would have acquired if your claim was approved promptly. Most claims for SSDI are denied at least once and involves a tedious process that can last for months, or even years. Once you are approved, you will obtain the SSDI benefits that you are entitled to. You will start receiving back pay for disability that goes back to the date of the disability onset. Due to a mandatory five-month waiting period, once you have been approved, you will not receive any payments until the five months have elapsed.

How You Will Receive Your Back Pay

All beneficiaries of SSDI benefits must have their payments directly deposited into their bank accounts. In order to obtain back pay, you must make sure that you have a bank account for the payments to be deposited to. If you were disabled for an extended period of time before you applied for disability, you may qualify for retroactive Social Security Disability payments for a timeframe of one year.

Retroactive Payments VS Back Pay

It’s important to understand that back pay is different from retroactive payments. Retroactive payments are paid out for up to the preceding 12 months prior to applying for SSDI benefits if you can demonstrate that you had a disabling condition throughout that time. Back payments are paid out to you up until the date you filed a claim to receive benefits.

How the Social Security Administration Determines Back Pay

The determination of back pay is associated with the date your disability claim was filed as well as the date the Social Security Administration (SSA) determines the established onset date. The distribution of the back pay is dependent on your approval for SSDI benefits. In some cases, you may have a long waiting period if your case needs to be determined by an administrative judge.

What Back Pay May Be Spent On

You may be receiving a lump sum payment that could add up to a substantial amount. You may have been in a financially tight situation while waiting for the Social Security Administration to approve your claim. It’s recommended that you utilize the back pay for basic living expenses such as rent, utilities, food, and health care. It’s also wise to pay off your bills. If you have extra money left over, you probably shouldn’t rush to go on a shopping spree. You may want to consider establishing a bank account that draws interest. Additionally, you may want to deposit the funds into an account in which you have easy access to just in case there is an unexpected emergency such as home repairs, car repairs, or a medical emergency.

Qualifying for SSDI

You may be eligible for SSDI if you are no longer able to work due to a medical condition. In order to be eligible, you need to medically qualify based on the guidelines set out by the Social Security Administration. There is a blue book that has categories for various systems of the body. For each system, there is a listing for the conditions the particular body system has that are debilitating. You will discover the types of medical benchmarks that are required to medically qualify for benefits. This includes treatments, test results, and other medical criteria. You can work together with your doctor to arrange any tests that are required to qualify.

For instance, if you have cancer, you must meet the benchmarks for a cancer listing. The listings for disability are separated based on where the cancer stems from. Each cancer has its set of criteria that are required to be met.

Understand the Difference Between SSDI and SSI

Many people get the terms SSDI and SSI mixed up. SSI is a disability program that is needs-based. Even though you still need to show medical documentation in order to medically qualify, you are also required to meet certain income criteria which include evidence of household income and the amount of people living in the household. Additionally, you are required to provide documentation of all assets such as stocks and bonds, cash, real estate, and bank accounts. There are resource limits that are maxed out at $2,000 per person and $3,000 when it’s a couple.

The Application Process

It’s recommended that you review the Adult Disability Checklist to round up the information and documents that are needed to properly complete the application. After you have gathered the needed items on the checklist, you will complete and submit the application. The application will be reviewed to ensure that you meet a few basic requirements for SSDI benefits. The Social Security Administration will analyze whether you put in enough years of work to qualify and evaluate any ongoing work-related activities. Your application will be processed and your case will be sent to your state’s Disability Determination Services office.

What Happens After You Apply?

After the Social Security Administration has received your application, the appropriate department will review it and contact you if there are any questions or if there are additional documents needed to process the application. You should be on the look-out for a letter that will be mailed out with their decision. If there were other family members included in the application, the Social Security Administration will notify you if they may be eligible to receive benefits.

If You Are Denied

There are plenty of reasons why claims could be denied. It’s not uncommon for disability claims to be denied upon an initial review. One of the most common reasons why claims are denied is due to inadequate medical evidence. You must demonstrate that you do not have the ability to work because of a disabling condition to qualify for disability benefits. A critical aspect in determining whether your claim is successful or not hinges upon medical records from your physicians. If your claim was denied from a previous application, you have an increased chance of being denied again without furnishing additional evidence. Additionally, your records will be under review to ensure that you are adhering to your physician’s recommended treatment plan. If you do not follow your physician’s recommended treatment plan, you could be denied for failure to cooperate. This is because the department that is reviewing your claim cannot correctly conclude if you are kept from working due to your condition.

Get Assistance from a Disability Attorney

Applying for Social Security Disability can be a daunting task with a long approval process and a high potential of being denied. If you have a disabling condition that has rendered you unable to work and you would like to apply for social security disability benefits, it’s wise to work with an experienced disability attorney. By working with an attorney who deals with these types of cases, you have an increased chance of your disability claim being approved.

Lilac City Law knows the Social Security Disability process. Our team will guide you through the disability process so that you can gain a better understanding of what to anticipate. Contact Lilac City Law to discuss your case.

What is Presumptive Disability in SSDI Claims and How Does it Work?

What is Presumptive Disability in SSDI Claims and How Does it Work?

For those who have few assets, a low income and are disabled or blind, Social Security Income is a benefit paid monthly that can help pay the bills. To qualify as disabled, you must have a medical condition that prevents you from supporting yourself financially. Unfortunately, the process of obtaining disability payments can be long and sometimes complicated. This means that if you become disabled, it may be a long time before you would begin receiving the monthly payments. Yet, for those with certain disabilities, there may be the possibility of obtaining your benefits faster through Presumptive Disability payments, which can be paid up to six months while waiting for a claim to be approved. 

What Is Presumptive Disability?

A Presumptive Disability payment is ultimately a payment that is designed to provide you with the support you need while the Social Security Administration works to process your claim. To qualify for Presumptive Disability, there must be sufficient evidence that a disability claim will most likely be approved once all of the evidence-gathering processes have been completed. You must also fall into the required income limits as well, which will include all household income and assets. 

Conditions That Might Qualify Your for Presumptive Disability Payments

To possibly qualify for Presumptive Disability, you must first be diagnosed with a condition that has such severe impairment that it would be easy for the SSA to make the assumption that the result would be total disability. Some of the conditions that may qualify your for SSI payments under Presumptive Disability include:

  • AIDS or an HIV infection where you are showing symptoms
  • Complete blindness
  • Complete deafness
  • Amputation as long as it involves two limbs or a leg that has been amputated at the hip
  • A spinal cord injury that results in the inability to walk without the assistance of a device such as a walker or a wheelchair
  • A stroke that has occurred three months ago or longer and you are still having difficulties using an arm or hand, or walking
  • Muscular conditions that result in severe muscle atrophy leading to complications walking, speaking, or using hands, such as cerebral palsy or muscular dystrophy
  • End-stage renal failure that requires constant dialysis treatments
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
  • Low birth weight
  • A severe intellectual disability in an individual older than the age of seven
  • Confinement to a bed with the requires use of a wheelchair, crutches, or walker to be able to move
  • Terminal illnesses where you are expected to live less than six months and require hospice care

How to Apply for Presumptive Disability

You apply for Presumptive Disability payments at the same time you file your SSI paperwork with the Social Security Administration. They will review the condition, and for certain conditions, they may be able to make a determination for presumptive disability right at the field office. Most likely, in these cases, they will need to get some preliminary information before making a decision, such as information from a social worker, physician, or school staff who can attest to the condition or diagnosis. 

When cases cannot be made in the field office, they will be forwarded on to the Disability Determination Services. It is this office that will ultimately render all SSI Disability decisions. They also have the ability not only to make determinations on Presumptive Disability for the above-mentioned conditions but also ones that are not listed but may still qualify. 

If you qualify for Presumptive Disability payments after the review is complete, you will begin receiving your SSI payments while you are waiting for your application to be completely processed. There is also the chance that the determination may come back, not allowing you to receive cash payments until your application is completed, but allowing you access to Medicaid during the time. 

If you have a disability claim that has been denied and you have appealed the decision, you will not be able to request Presumptive Disability. All requests for Presumptive Diasbilait must occur at the initial stage of your Social Security Disability claim. If you do start receiving cash benefits, they will come for up to six months or the completion of your application and the rendering of the SSA’s decision, whichever comes first. It is important to note that if the Social Security Administration has not yet made a decision within the six month time frame, the Presumptive Disability payments will stop 

How Much Might You Receive From Presumptive Disability?

How much of a Presumtpvive Disability payment you are entitled to will largely depend on the amounts of both your household assets as well as all the income going into the household. It is important to understand that SSI is based on need. So even if you have a valid claim for disability pending application with the SSA, if your household income does not meet the income requirements, you will not be able to receive any Presumptive Disability payments and will have to wait until your claim is finalized. 

When it comes to how much you will receive with your Presumptive Disability case, most often, it will be equal to the amount of SSI you would receive when the application is approved. The range for SSI benefits in 2020 is between $800 and $1800 per month, with the average being around $1,258.

What to Expect if Your Claim is Denied

Even though you wouldn’t be granted Presumptive Disability unless you had a strong case for disability benefits, there is always the chance that your claim could eventually be denied. Many people are afraid to file for Presumptive Disability because they believe that they will be required to pay the funds back to SSA in the event that their disability claim comes back denied. This is not typically the case. If the case comes back denied for a medical reason, you will not be required to repay the money that you had received in Presumptive Disability payments. Yet, if your claim has been denied because of filing errors or discrepancies that were found in your household assets and income, you may be required to make repayment. Because of this, it is critically important to be completely honest about all income and assets coming into the household. 

Who Is Most Likely to Qualify for Presumptive Disability?

Not everyone who applies for disability will be eligible for Presumptive Disability payments, even if there is a strong medical case. Since Presumptive Disability is need-based, you will need to prove that your income is severely limited. Even if you are not eligible for Presumptive Disability, you may still qualify for regular disability after the application process is complete. 

Other Expedited Social Security Disability Programs Are Available

If you do not qualify for Presumptive Disability and are still in need of expedited Social Security Disability programs, there are others available. The SSA may provide Compassionate Allowances, which would help to quickly identify diseases and medical conditions that would meet Social Security’s standards, such as cancer and brain disorders. Once identified, a Compassionate Allowance may push forward the application more quickly. There are also ways to file for emergency advance payments, immediate payments, and immediate reinstatement. 

What Is an Emergency Advance Payment?

An emergency advance payment is a one-time payment as an advance on SSI payments in the event a new applicant is facing a financial emergency, and the benefits have been delayed. The most you can receive in the emergency advance payment is:

  • The SSI Federal benefit rate
  • The total amount of benefits that would have been due
  • The amount requested to cover the financial emergency.

Once regular SSI payments are being made to you, the emergency advance payment amount will be subtracted from the amount before the funds are dispersed to you. If there are no payments to you that are past due, the amount will be broken up into six monthly installments and subtracted from the monthly benefit amount. 

What Is an Immediate Payment?

Another option for an expedited payment is an immediate payment that new applicants may qualify for if their benefits are delayed, and they are facing financial issues. The payment cannot exceed $999.00 and is only available to those who have applied and are due benefits for SSI but have not yet received their payments. The money will be deducted from the first check when benefits start.

What Is Expedited Reinstatement?

If you had been receiving benefits and they ended due to earnings, you may be able to have your benefits restart without reapplying if your financial situation changes. To qualify, you will have to prove that you cannot engage in gainful activity due to the impairments that previously qualified you for benefits. You must also make the request within five years of when the original benefit ended. To facilitate your reinstatement, you will need to provide updated medical information. If the request for an expedited reinstatement is approved, you could begin receiving your SSI benefits as soon as a month after your initial request. These provisional benefits can be granted for up to six months while the case is reviewed, and if it is determined that you are not able to receive benefits again, you will not likely have to repay the benefits. 

The process of obtaining SSDI can be long and difficult, meaning you may have to wait months to obtain benefits. But if you are in a financial bind and have a good case for disability, then you can take advantage of the expedited payment options offered by the SSA, such as Presumptive Disability. Need advice on how to get your claim started? The professionals at Lilac City Law can help. Contact us today to discuss your disability case. 


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Can you receive Social Security Disability Benefits for Social Anxiety?

Can you receive Social Security Disability Benefits for Social Anxiety?

While many people are affected by high levels of stress and anxiety in their daily life, there are others who suffer from anxiety on a regular basis. Anxiety is a mental condition that is marked by extreme fear and worry in the midst of everyday activities that can lead the person to seek complete control over everything that goes on during their day. In some cases, this anxiety can be so severe that it interferes with your daily life, inhibiting your ability to function in a workplace and secure gainful employment. When this occurs, you may be entitled to seek out social security benefits as long as your anxiety meets the medical and other qualifying requirements.

Symptoms of Severe Anxiety

It is easy to become stressed and anxious when you are in a situation that is out of your control. But for those who suffer from severe anxiety, they have an extreme fear of public humiliation and judgment of others. This level of anxiety can be either mildly or extremely disabling for the individual. In fact, people who suffer from extreme anxiety are likely to underperform or underachieve so that they can fly below the radar and go unnoticed by others. They also may try to protect themselves by limiting their activity, sometimes even confining themselves to their homes to avoid public places such as grocery stores. 

When severe anxiety occurs, it can have major effects on an individual’s physical and mental behavior. Some of the symptoms of severe anxiety include:

  • Flushing in the face
  • An increased heart rate
  • Excessive sweating
  • Tense muscles
  • Inability or difficulty speaking
  • Irrational fear in common situations
  • Avoidance of people or places
  • Problems concentration or focusing
  • Fear of crowds
  • Feelings of extreme panic
  • Feeling faint
  • Hypervigilance
  • Difficulty staying on task
  • An inability to perform activities at home, work, or school

Anxiety disorder is most often diagnosed by a psychologist or psychiatrist, once they have completed a full evaluation. After diagnosis, they will often use cognitive-behavioral techniques and therapies, counseling, and medications to reduce symptoms. While these can minimize symptoms, sometimes the side effects of the medication can cause problems as well. 

Medical Evidence Needed to Support an Anxiety Disorder

Anyone who gets anxious from time to time may be diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, but for your anxiety to be classified as severe and possibly grounds for disability, there are some medical parameters that will need to be satisfied first. Your doctor or psychologist will need to diagnose you with a specific form of anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorders can be classified as:

  • General Anxiety Disorder: Which includes symptoms of anxiety during daily activities with no underlying cause specifically to blame. 
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: This is marked by stress related to recurring thoughts about a past event that was stressful.
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: Which can involve obsessing over and repeatedly performing simple tasks. 
  • Panic Disorder: This is marked by a physical response even when no actual danger is present.
  • Agoraphobia: This can involve the avoidance of public places and even result in self-confining to one’s home. 

To be approved for disability, SSA will look for evidence of both psychological evaluations and testing to show that the diagnosed case is present. It is also important that disability is made aware of what the possible ramifications of your illness would be if you were in a workplace. Would you have a hard time concentrating? Would you avoid customers and coworkers? Would workplace stress trigger your condition? Would you experience limited functioning if your anxiety was triggered?

Qualifications Under Social Security’s Listing of Impairments

In order to qualify for disability, your doctor’s diagnosis will have to characterize your anxiety as causing three or more of the listed conditions.

  • Difficulty concentrating or staying on task
  • Restlessness
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Muscle tension
  • Becoming easily fatigued

Once three or more of the above characteristics have been established, it will need to be proven that your anxiety inhibits normal function. You will need to have demonstrated extreme impairment in one of the following areas listed below or a serious problem in two or more of the areas.

  • Problems comprehending, retaining, or using information, inhibiting your ability to follow instructions, exercise good judgment, or learn new things.
  • Difficulty interacting with others, preventing you from exercising socially appropriate behavior.
  • Problems staying on pace or concentrating on a task, leading to your inability to complete them.
  • Difficulty adapting to change which can cause behavioral problems.
  • Problems with self-care.

If you have already been in a protected and structured situation such as intense therapy or receiving an immense amount of psychological support, these issues may be diminished, but that does not mean you won’t necessarily qualify. If our doctor determines and has documented support that the above conditions are likely to exist if you are removed from your protected setting and put into real-life situations, you may still qualify. 

Medical Eligibility Requirements

There are also medical eligibility requirements that will have to be met in order for you to qualify as disabled due to anxiety. You will need to be able to meet these Blue Book listings regarding your anxiety disorder as well as have historical documentation of all your associated symptoms that could limit your capability to work. There are different requirements based on the specific disorder you are diagnosed with, but you will be required to meet at least two of the following criteria below.

  • Demonstrated restrictions in the activities involved for daily functioning.
  • Severe difficulties functioning in a social setting.
  • A significant difficulty in maintaining pace, concentration, or persistence.
  • Experiencing repeated episodes of decompensation.

To qualify, you will need to have experienced these difficulties and been unable to work for at least a twelve-month period. You can either apply for Social Security Income or Social Security Disability dependent on your current income levels and what is included in your work history. 

Residual Functional Capacity

There are cases where your anxiety disorder would not be considered to be severe enough to prohibit you from working, but may still limit you. In these instances, you will be given a “mental residual functional capacity” statement from the Social Security Administration. This statement will detail the type of work that you are capable of performing and how often you can perform these tasks. For example, a diagnosis of panic disorder could lead you to concentration problems as your panic will take over in certain situations. Your statement may prohibit you from performing complex tasks but allow you to perform shorter takes that are simpler and can be learned in less than a month. They can also put more restrictions in place, such as no contact with the general public and limited contact with other employees. 

In this situation, you would likely be denied benefits as you can still perform minimal tasks, but if your panic attacks were to become more frequent, limiting your concentration level to around eight hours, then it is likely that you would be unable to perform any type of employment and could be awarded disability. 

In short, to be awarded disability benefits, your residual functional capacity deemed by the SSA will need to limit you from working any jobs that you have previously had, and from performing been simple tasks available to unskilled workers in the United States. 

Making a Disability Case fo Anxiety

Even if you meet the requirements, obtaining Social Security Disability for an anxiety disorder can be a long and difficult process. Since there are no definitive medical tests to diagnose anxiety, it can require months of medical history, a significant amount of testing, and multiple assessments for a diagnosis to be accepted by SSA. Additionally, the process can take months to complete, and there is a higher percentage of applications that are denied initially. This does not mean that you should avoid applying for fear of denial. If at first denied, you can go through an appeal process that can allow you to address the concerns in the denial and prove your case.

Since the application process can be long and difficult, and often result in the need for an appeal, you will have the best chance of securing benefits if you seek out the services of an experienced Social Security Disability attorney. The experienced attorneys at Lilac City Law know the ins and outs of the disability process and can help to better prepare you for the case. By better understanding the process and what to expect, you will have a greater chance of obtaining the benefits you need. Contact Lilac City Law today to discuss the particulars of your case. 


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Social Security Disability: What Does it Mean When Your “Appeal is Under Review?”

Social Security Disability: What Does it Mean When Your "Appeal is Under Review?"

Every day, people who try to navigate the Social Security Disability bureaucracy quickly discover it can be challenging. The claims process tends to be tedious and a single misstep can result in setbacks or outright denials. For people who need these critical disability resources to sustain a reasonable quality of life, attempting a DIY approach to navigating the Social Security Administration can be risky. 

Filing claims, submitting necessary medical documents, and even arriving on time for scheduled appointments can prove difficult. If you have submitted a Social Security Disability claim, been denied, and are in the midst of an uncertain appeals process, it’s hard to know where you stand. When you finally receive paperwork that indicates your status is “Appeal Under Review,” it’s time to get legal help. 

At Lilac City Law, our team of legal professionals delivers determined advocacy to get good people the decision you deserve. If you received an appeal under review notice, these are essential things you should know. 

What You Need To Know About “Appeal Under Review” 

It’s common for the majority of individually filed Social Security Disability claims to receive prompt denials. The first wave of review typically runs around 120 days, and the conventional wisdom leans toward the Administration rejecting most claims out-of-hand to reduce unnecessary payouts. The fact your legitimate claim has been denied is not necessarily cause for alarm. But a robust effort is usually required to gain favorable reconsideration in the next phase. 

It’s imperative that filers promptly resubmit a claim because the next stage can run approximately 90 more days. If your first response came at about 120 days and you’re about to tack on another 90, that could total a 7-month waiting period. You could then also be forced to appeal to another rejection. We urge anyone who has received the first denial to secure legal support immediately. But if you have already received an Appeal Under Review letter, it’s crucial to take proactive measures. 

What Does Appeal Under Review Mean For Your Claim?

Many people experience anxiety and worry they will not receive the benefits necessary to ensure a secure future. The “under review” status only seems to add to the sense that financial security is beyond your control. Keep in mind that claims under review can be turned around in your favor. 

In some cases, appeals under review simply means that the Administration has assigned an examiner to verify the accuracy of specific information and documentation submitted. It’s an open secret that the federal government tends to move slowly and efficiently. So, don’t feel disheartened by the review status of your claim. Even if you are denied on a first appeal, there are steps a determined Social Security Disability attorney can take on your behalf.

How To Appeal Unfavorable Decisions

Although the Social Security Administration tends to be challenging to navigate and rigorous about documentation, there are several appeals layers that deserving people can utilize. The Administration typically hands-off cases to examiners who are not necessarily involved in initial reviews or unfavorable decisions. This allows those who appeal to enjoy a relatively clean slate about your case file. However, each appeal can come with a more stringent review, increased documentation, and compelling arguments are typically needed to overcome past denials. There are four levels of appeal an experienced attorney can explore on your behalf.

1: Reconsideration

If you recently received the initial under review letter, in all likelihood, your case is stuck in reconsideration. This entails a complete review of your application by Administration personnel who were not involved in the initial rejection. This fresh set of eyes checks the documentation submitted with the filing, and petitioners can include new evidence to support the claim. 

One of the key things to keep in mind is that the Administration may deny claims because examiners believe you are no longer have a disability. If your application is based on a condition that could improve, resubmitting medical information that details you still are unable to sustain gainful employment may be critical. 

2: Administrative Law Hearing

Should the Appeal Under Review status result in an unfavorable decision, the next phase will require a formal hearing. This process involves presenting your case before an administrative judge. This impartial judge will have had no part of any other previous review process and will notify you about the time and place of the hearing. Typically, these hearings are held within 75 miles of the filer’s residence. 

The Administration now takes a more active role in arguing against overturning its examiner’s decision. It’s not unusual for the federal agency to request more information or clarity about evidence submitted on your behalf. Many times, it can be in the person’s best interest to provide as much concise evidence as possible in an effort to sway the judge to recognize the reasonableness of your claim. 

During the hearing, the administrative law judge often asks pointed questions of you, witnesses, and any experts that your legal team calls. Video conferencing has also emerged as a sometimes preferred hearing method given filers have disabilities and the residual effects of the pandemic. Hearing methods vary from case to case. 

3: Social Security Appeals Council

Favorable reversals are often gained at the administrative law hearing. But sometimes the judge may not fully grasp the compelling reasons why your situation requires Social Security Disability benefits for relief. When that happens, the Social Security Appeals Council can be petitioned to review how the case evolved, supporting evidence, and previous decision-making. When process errors, evidentiary uncertainty, or technical mistakes in law have negatively impacted your position, the Appeals Council may take up the case. To get the Appeals Council to take the matter under review, a powerfully persuasive case must be put together. Keep in mind, your attorneys are fighting to overcome past mistakes and get you the ruling you deserve. If the Council fails to render a favorable decision, you still have one last appeal. 

4: Appeal To Federal Court

The last resort is to step outside the confines of the Social Security Administration’s appeals process and file a motion on your behalf in federal court. Judges at this level enjoy unique expertise about technical law deficiencies. In many instances, legal acumen tends to persuade federal judges based on missteps by the Administration and appeals examiners. 

Obviously, the letter you received that indicated Appeal Under Review ranks among the early possible steps to gaining a favorable decision. While the letter certainly heightens worry that you may be denied vital benefits, you may receive a quick and favorable decision without having to fight the case all the way to federal court. 

Other possibilities disabled persons may find helpful is the fact that your attorney can request the Administration keep any current benefits active during the appeals process. If your benefits have been reduced or suspended in error, formal requests for restoring payments can be promptly submitted on your behalf. The Administration commonly honors such as requests, and a savvy lawyer could get any back payments you missed. 

Work with An Experienced Social Security Disability Appeal Attorney 

If you are among the upwards of 70 percent if Social Security applicants who are routinely denied benefits, it’s essential to contact a law firm with experience resolving these specialized cases. The Social Security Administration typically limits appeals to a 60-day window from the day you receive a determination letter. The process of resolving Social Security Disability rejections and the rigorous technical process can be overwhelming for those outside the legal sector. That’s why it’s imperative to contact a law firm determined to fight to secure your rightful benefits. 

At Lilac City Law, we deliver the determined legal services that earned us a reputation as the Northwest’s leading disability law firm. We understand that our valued community members can be no match for powerful government bureaucracies that may never know you as a person. Such anonymity may allow them to dispassionately deny necessary Social Security Disability benefits. That’s why we fight each and every day to ensure our clients are fairly treated and get you the decision you deserve. If you received an Appeal Under Review notification or are considering filing a claim, contact Lilac City Law today. 


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Do You Qualify for Disability? 5 Ways You Can Tell

The 40 million Americans who have a disability are often unable to work. Fortunately, those with disabilities can receive assistance through Social Security Disability programs. 

Disabled Americans may either qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) depending on their situation.

But if you have a disability, how do you know if you qualify for help? These guidelines will let you know if you qualify for disability. 

Your Condition is Considered Disabling

The Social Security Administration (SSA) provides a list of disabilities that are severe enough to qualify for benefits. These physical and mental conditions can be so disabling that they keep you home from work. 

Here are just some of the categories of conditions that may qualify you for benefits: 

  • Heart conditions
  • Lung diseases
  • Cancers
  • Immune system illnesses
  • Mental health issues
  • Kidney disease
  • Vision, speech, or hearing impairments
  • Chronic syndromes
  • Skin conditions
  • Digestive disorders
  • Neurological disorders

Keep in mind that your condition does not have to be included on the SSA’s list in order for you to get disability. As long as you can prove that your physical or health condition significantly impacts your ability to work, you might be able to receive benefits. 

You Aren’t Engaging in Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA)

SGA is one of the most important guidelines for receiving disability. If you make more monthly income than a certain amount, then you are engaging in SGA.

As of 2019, the monthly SGA amount for those who are not visually impaired is set at $1220. For those who are blind, the monthly amount is $2040. 

Earning over these amounts means that you cannot qualify for benefits. However, if you are not able to engage in SGA, you can get approved for disability. 

You Can’t Work in Your Former Careers

Your previous work history has to justify that you are unable to work.

The SSA will look at the job description of your previous jobs, along with the challenges you faced working there, and how physically taxing the jobs were. The SSA will also consider what aspects of your disability hinder your ability to complete these jobs.

You Struggle with Daily Activities

The SSA will also want to see how your disability impacts your capability of getting through the day. You are more likely to be eligible for disability if you struggle with the activities of daily living (ADLs) like cleaning, cooking, walking, communicating, and getting dressed. 

You Are Unable to Do Any Type of Work

When examining your case, the SSA will determine if you can be placed in another type of job that is more accommodating to your impairment. If your disability prevents you from doing any other type of job at all, you may be qualified to receive disability. 

During this process, the SSA will take into account what type of disability you have, your age, your skills, as well as your education. This helps them figure out if you are capable of having another job. 

Find Out if You Qualify for Disability

Applying for disability can be challenging, especially if you are currently suffering from a medical condition. Hiring a lawyer to guide you through each step can make the process a lot less stressful. 

Contact one of our experts today to see how you can qualify for disability. 


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7 Possible Reasons You Were Denied Disability

Just over 30% of people who file for disability benefits get their claims successfully approved.

The rest of the applications are all denied disability for a variety of factors ranging from technical to medical. After all this, the median percentage (across the US) of those who do get accepted through a reconsideration is just eight percent!

If you were denied there are a number of reasons why this happened. But do not worry, by knowing what the reasons were, it improves your chances for improving your claim in future.

You Have Been Denied Disability Before

Being denied for disability before may seem like a petty reason, but it is true. Many people who are processing claims will reject them if they see you have already been denied before.

The unfortunate part is, because of the high-volume of claims they receive every day, they likely do not have time to see why your claim was denied.

If you fall into this category, your best option is to actually go through the appeals process with updated information.

You Earn too Much

Income is a definite factor when taking your claim into consideration.

If you applied for Social Security Disability (SSDI), then it will depend if you have attained enough work credits to qualify.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) on the other hand is for exclusively low-income individuals and those who may be out of work for 12 months or longer.

You can also not be earning a monthly amount equal to SGA, or substantial gainful activity.

You Have Not Followed Procedure

If you were asked to bring in documentation or attend a medical exam and failed to do so then you risk being immediately denied.

The whole disability claims process may be frustrating and even seem like a waste of time, but if you do not keep in contact with the person handling your claim and follow the rules then you are just guaranteeing yourself a denial.

You Did Not Stick to Your Treatment

To prevent people from taking advantage of the Social Security system, it is a standard procedure for doctors to report those who do not show up for treatment.

If a doctor cannot assess if you are able to work or not, then the claim handler has no choice but to deny you. If you feel like you were mistreated or there was a misunderstanding you can always speak to the same doctor and use his testimony in your appeals process.

There is Not Enough Medical Evidence to Prove Your Disability Claim

It is essential that your primary care physician provides written proof for each time they have seen you about a condition that affects your ability to work.

Word of mouth will not suffice so ensure you have enough proof that your issue has been long-lasting and will continue to do so.

Along with medical evidence, it is important to have your doctor also write a letter stating his or her opinion about your disability and whether or not you are able to work with your condition.

Make sure you are completely honest with your healthcare provider. Also, do not exaggerate or play down your condition. Your doctor needs to know everything about your disability to give you the best documentation to submit to Social Security.

Your Disability is Not Severe Enough

If you will be out of work for a short period of time but will recover soon then you cannot get coverage.

The requirements stipulate:

  • The condition must completely prevent you from working for a minimum of 12 months. YOu can either have been out of work for 12 months already or be predicted to be out of work for a minimum of 12 months.
  • The condition must be severe enough to have a significant impact on your ability to do basic work-related tasks.

Administrative Errors

Of course, human error is also a potential factor. Maybe there was a smudge on a copy you sent. A clerk could have misread a key piece of information. 

Whatever happened, be sure to check your application thoroughly and see if there were any errors or misunderstandings that could have lead to your claim being denied.

Be Patient

Just because you were denied disability does not mean you have to give up.

This time around read through the documentation and make sure you are checking every box. For the appeals process, it helps to enlist the help of people who know the system.

Feel free to contact us if you want a free consultation, otherwise, check out our other blog posts for more useful information.

We help people like you get their disability appeals granted every day. 

Contact us today!


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5 Mistakes to Avoid Preparing for Your Social Security Disability Appeal

Filing for social security benefits can be a daunting task. Making it more daunting is the high probability you will get denied.

Preliminary claims have a denial rate of 67%, while reconsiderations – which are the first step in a disability appeal in Washington – have an increased rate of 87%.

However, with the right guidelines to follow, you can make filing for a disability appeal a little easier.

Many people make really simple mistakes that will have them sent another denial letter.

You can change that by knowing what the most common mistakes are and what you can do to avoid them.

What You Need For Your Disability Appeal

You can find the list of what is needed on the Social Security website. You need to gather your medical information, which may include tests, medications, and a list of your doctors. Be sure you have notations of any changes to your work, medical condition, daily activities, and even education.

You also need to provide any documents to support your claim of an appeal. Just note that the online appeals process can take about an hour to complete.

Mistake 1: Not Enough Information

One of the major mistakes people make when filing an appeal is they fail to provide enough contextual information for their case.

As mentioned above, the possibility of winning an appeal is slim. The burden is on you to provide as much information to present the most ironclad case possible. Save copies of any and all medical records and submit them into the appeals process.

Mistake 2: Deadlines Are Important

If you were initially denied, filing an appeal should be of utmost importance. According to the Social Security website, you must file for an appeal within 60 days of the date of your denial.

You can send your appeal via snail mail, though we recommend going through the online appeals process, which is faster.

Mistake 3: No Doctor Support

Failing to get your doctor’s support is a major flaw for your appeals process. Reiterating mistake one, you need as much information as you can to build a solid case.

If you are in communication with your doctor, who can provide an expert opinion on your disability, it adds up to building an ironclad claim.

Mistake 4: Failure to Be Completely Honest

Lying during the appeals process can land you in serious hot water. If you are found to be withholding, fabricating, or misrepresenting information pertinent to your case, you can find yourself on the wrong side of the law.

Make a mistake and you could face prosecution for fraud, which comes with either a stiff fine, jail time or both. Go over your information carefully and remember to not skip over any detail that pertains to your case.

Mistake 5: Not Consulting With A Lawyer

If you ever are in need, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Consulting with a lawyer can ease the process of filing a disability appeal, and they provide a wealth of information.

If you need help on where to start on the appeals process, contact us to speak with someone who can help you right away.


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Do SSI Lawyers Really Help With Your Disability Claim?

If you find yourself in need of assistance for a social security disability case, it is important to get help from an expert.

Many people make the error of representing themselves. While you may know your rights, it is always advantageous to reach out to one, or several social security disability law firms to increase your overall chance of success.

Follow the tips below to learn more about the importance of hiring the right SSI lawyer for your situation.

SSI Lawyers Increase Your Chance of Success

When you need a payout for your social security disability case, the last thing you want to deal with is personal doubt and uncertainty at each step of your claim. Hiring a competent disability lawyer will help you wipe away a lot of this doubt since you will have professional advocates on the case for you.

A great team of SSI advocates will work to clarify any questions the SSA has about your medical condition, employment status, medication and treatment, and any other concerns that arise. They will be there every step of the way working on your behalf to convince the Social Security Administration (SSA) that your claim is appropriate and should be granted.

A Great Team of SSI Lawyers Can Speak For Your and Explain the Details of Your Case

Knowing the law is one thing, but you also need a professional that can articulate it on your behalf.

When you start shopping around for various SSI lawyers, gauge how each one of them explains your situation to you. You want a lawyer that will explain everything about your claim, and the work they will do for you clearly, and also answers all your questions.

Remember, your lawyer will argue on your behalf that your condition meets the standards of a disability as defined by the SSA. They will further prove that your state hinders your ability to work and earn a living. It is vital that you can communicate with your lawyer if you ever expect them to be able to convey your situation accurately and compellingly for you.

SSI Attorneys Ease the Application Process

With social security disability cases, you are always subject to lulls in claim turnaround time. One of the best things you can do to get your claim approved as fast as possible is to retain a good SSI lawyer. Hiring a lawyer improves your chance of getting accepted in the first wave of the application process – which can help you get your claim approved in months rather than fighting for years over why it was not accepted in the first place.

You will also get another set of eyes on your initial disability application.

You Will Get Paid What You Deserve

In most cases, you can expect your social security lawyer to take up to 25% of your payout (up to $6k). This rate is the maximum rate an SSI lawyer can charge to assist you as an advocate. But there are some ways that firms can slip other fees by you. Even though it seems like everyone charges the same thing, you can still find there is a difference at the end of the day (in your bank account) if you don’t shop around.

Get the Professional Help You Need

We have years of experience and would love to hear from you. We’re passionate about helping you to know more about your claim – you can see this by visiting our blog

But we can also show you by meaningfully connecting with you beyond this article. Contact us and get advice and help on your disability claim today!

What to Look for in a Great Disability Lawyer

Have you submitted a disability benefits claim and are waiting to hear whether or not it’s been approved? Unfortunately, the odds are stacked against you. Only 23% of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) claims are approved at the initial application stage. Sometimes, even less if you did not use a disability lawyer.

Of course, you can always appeal a denial of disability, but even then, you’re facing an uphill battle. The total number of approvals, whether initially or upon appeal, is only about 34% of all claims filed.

Is there a way to improve your chances of receiving disability benefits? Luckily, the answer is yes. You can hire a disability lawyer to help you navigate this complex process.

A Successful Disability Lawyer Has Medical Knowledge

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) cases are particularly tricky because they require an in-depth understanding of medical conditions that can interfere with a person’s ability to perform their job duties. Therefore, the lawyer that you choose must be experienced in the specialty of disability law.

You are most likely not going to get the results you are looking for if you hire your tax lawyer to tackle your disability case. Look for a law firm whose lawyers have experience litigating medical-related cases. Ask them how many disability cases they have handled and if they have dealt with your particular disability before. 

A Successful Disability Lawyer Understands the Law

This statement should go without saying, but the complexity of disability cases means that a lawyer must know the Social Security system’s requirements inside and out.

In all disability situations, your lawyer will be seeking to demonstrate one, or all, of the following:

  • your medical condition meets the criteria of a condition that is among those described by the Social Security Administration (aka a “disability listing“)
  • you cannot perform your previous work in accordance with Social Security’s “grid” system, which classifies exertion associated with job duties
  • you cannot work even a sedentary position
  • you have limitations that aren’t covered by the grid but impact your ability to perform a job

An Experienced Disability Lawyer Will Be Choosy About Cases

Lawyers who specialize in disability claim appeals cannot charge clients an upfront fee or retainer.

Instead, they receive compensation on contingency. Once your appeal has been approved, and you have been awarded a sum of back pay from the Social Security Administration, your lawyer’s fees will be deducted.

Not having to pay any amount upfront is a massive bonus for clients who may already be struggling financially due to their disability. It means you can afford excellent representation – and you can be awarded your disability benefits even within our challenging disability system!

It also means that if a lawyer takes on your case, they are also taking on the risk of not achieving a favorable outcome. It is in everyone’s interest to work hard for you.

A Great Disability Advocate in Lilac City Law

Our disability team has the know-how and expertise to help you fight and win your disability appeal. For a free, no-obligation consultation, contact us today.


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How are PTSD and Disability-Related for Social Security?

How are PTSD and Disability-Related for Social Security?

If you are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), you may be wondering how PTSD and Disability are related to Social Security.

Will you be able to receive Social Security Disability if you suffer from PTSD?

How do you prove that you have a PTSD related disability and cannot work?

PTSD and Known Side Effects

Issues like severe depression and anxiety, hallucinations, irritability, memory, and difficulty sleeping are common mental health challenges for those experiencing PTSD.

In fact, PTSD has even been connected to physical concerns like heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and chronic pain as well.

As far as treatments go, there are no quick fixes for PTSD. Often, extensive therapy and counseling, as well as aid from medications, are needed (this is highly dependent upon the individual).


Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) does often result in successful social security claims; however, for you to be successful, your diagnosis and treatment do need to be very well documented by your doctors and therapists.

While being evaluated about your eligibility for benefits, all your records will be considered. It is a good idea for your doctor to fill out a Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) form. This form will answer many questions for the SSA evaluator and also can directly relate your PTSD to your work limitations.

The RFC should tell evaluators your ability to sustain activity, concentrate, follow instructions, avoid absences, interact with others as well as being on time and no excessive breaks needed. Along with the RFC form, having a letter written by your doctor or treating therapist saying you are unable to work, is also potentially very important.

Required Evidence

The five documented evidence requirements for PTSD diagnosis for SSI are:

  • You must have had exposure to death, serious injury or violence
  • Repetitive dreams, flashbacks, intrusive memories or hallucinations
  • Avoidance of physical reminders of the event
  • Disturbance(s) in mood or behavior
  • Increased loss of sleep or easily startled

A difficulty with Day-to-Day Activities

In addition to having a diagnosis, you should also seek to demonstrate difficulty with one or two of these items:

  • Self-care such as cooking, cleaning, bathing, or dressing
  • Controlling your emotions and adapting to change
  • Interaction with the public or other people in general
  • Concentrating
  • Following instruction when it comes to learning new tasks and information

If You Do Not Suffer From the Above

If you are not currently suffering from any of the particular reasons above you must prove that you either:

  • Have had severe PTSD for at least the past two years (hard to prove if you do not reflect the challenges stated above); or,
  • Currently having medical treatment or mental health treatment in a specialized protected facility; or, 
  • Unable to adapt to changes

Final Thoughts on PTSD & Social Security

As with Sleep Apnea, or any other disability challenge, the diagnosis is only half the fight.  The greater half is how it affects you on a daily basis.  This is why contacting and working with a good social security disability law firm is so key to finding success in your claim.

Contact us today to get help for PTSD and your social security disability claim. 


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