“Under the sequential evaluation process for evaluating disability, if it is determined that an individual is not engaging in substantial gainful activity (SGA) and has one more severe medically determinable impairment(s) which do not meet or equal the Listing of Impairments but prevent him or her from performing past relevant work, evaluation of the individual’s capability to do other work becomes necessary”
-SSR 83-10: TITLES II AND XVI: DETERMINING CAPABILITY TO DO OTHER WORK — THE MEDICAL-VOCATIONAL RULES OF APPENDIX 2
An individual’s capability and capacity to do other work depends on numerous “vocational factors” that the SSA takes into consideration, including Residual Function Capacity, age, education, and prior work experience. These considerations give the SSA an idea of the type of work you can do (if any). The types of work that can be done “in the national economy” can be classified several ways. One of the ways in which a type of work is classified is by what is called an “exertional level”. The exertional level of a job is defined as “the extent of a specific job’s requirements in the primary strength activities of sitting, standing, walking, lifting, carrying, pushing, and pulling”—that is, how physically demanding a job is given the frequency of exertion needed to complete that job.
This classification of exertion requirements ranges from “sedentary”, “light”, and “medium”. While there are also “heavy” and “very heavy” work classifications, we will only cover the levels of sedentary, light, and medium work.
According to Code of Federal Regulations § 404.1567, the physical exertion scale is as follows:
- Sedentary work
- lifting no more than 10 pounds at a time
- occasionally lifting or carrying articles like “docket files, ledgers, and small tools”
- involves sitting, although “a certain amount of walking and standing is often necessary in carrying out job duties”
- Light work
- lifting no more than 20 pounds at a time
- frequent lifting or carrying of objects weighing up to 10 pounds.
- requires a “good deal of walking or standing”
- involves sitting most of the time with “some pushing and pulling of arm or leg controls”
- if someone can do light work, it is also determined that he or she can also do sedentary work, unless there are additional limiting factors such as loss of fine dexterity or inability to sit for long periods of time
- Medium work
- lifting no more than 50 pounds at a time
- frequent lifting or carrying of objects weighing up to 25 pounds
- If someone can do medium work, it is also determined that he or she can also do sedentary and light work
Note the use of “occasionally” and “frequently”—in these cases, “occasionally” means occurring from “very little up to one-third of the time”, while “frequently” means occurring from “one-third to two-thirds of the time”.
In conjunction to exertional levels, work can also be classified in terms of skill level, which pertains to the skill requirements and abilities needed to learn and perform the specified tasks of a specified job.
According to Code of Federal Regulations § 404.1568, the skill requirements scale is as follows:
- Unskilled work
- needs little or no judgment to do simple duties that can be learned on the job in a short period of time
- may or may not require considerable strength
- can usually learn to do the job in 30 days, with little specific vocational preparation and judgment
- does not gain work skills by doing unskilled jobs
- Semi-skilled work
- need some skills but does not require doing more complex work duties
- may require alertness and ability to pay close attention to processes and tasks
- less complex than skilled work, but more complex than unskilled work
- coordination and dexterity may be necessary
- Skilled work
- requires judgment to obtain the proper form, quality, or quantity of production
- may require laying out work, estimating quality, determining the suitability and needed quantities of materials
- may require making precise measurements, reading blueprints or other specifications
- may require making necessary computations or mechanical adjustments to control or regulate the work
- may require dealing with people, facts, or figures or abstract ideas at a high level of complexity
At Forbes Disability Group, LLC, we have been using the “HITECH” Act to more efficiently and effectively order electronic copies of medical records for our clients. This is a more beneficial way of ordering records, as it reduces the cost of obtaining medical records for both ourselves and our clients, increases privacy and protection of the records, and yields more compliance with healthcare providers when requesting the records.
What is the HITECH Act?
HITECH stands for the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act, which Congress signed into effect in 2009 to “promote the adoption and meaningful use of health information technology” by covered entities. According to the regulations implementing the Act, covered entities include:
(1) A health plan
(2) A health care clearinghouse
(3) A health care provider who transmits any health information in electronic form
Why do we use the HITECH Act to order records?
When using the traditional method of requesting hard copies of records, healthcare providers can charge an access fee, a sometimes-hefty “per-page” copying fee, shipping cost, and sales tax on the entire request. For some large medical records, with several hundreds of pages, this can end up costing several hundreds of dollars or more per record request. With medical records more seamlessly now available electronically, the HITECH Act aims to keep to a minimum the cost of accessing records on the patient’s behalf. For records under the HITECH Act, the cost shall not be greater than the entity’s actual costs in responding to the request for the copy.
These fees can only include the cost of supplies for and labor of copying and preparing the information, and postage, keeping the cost of obtaining the records relatively low, typically under ten dollars.
What this means for our clients:
With the adoption of this new method of obtaining records for our clients, a signed HITECH release form is needed when ordering medical records. This new form is similar to our traditional authorization and release forms but updated with the new HITECH stipulations. The same rules apply for healthcare providers in that they must comply with HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996) regulations when fulfilling the request. We will likely send out this request when applicable. This allows us the same privileges and expectations that would come with a traditional request, in that it is secure, accurate, and typically requires records be produced within the HIPAA-specified timeframe of 30 days.
- 42 U.S.C. § 17935(e)(2)
- 45 CFR § 160.103; 45 C.F.R. 164.524(c)(4)(i)-(iii)
- S. Department of Health & Human Services, HITECH Act Enforcement Interim Final Rule, accessed November 6, 2018 https://www.hhs.gov/hipaa/for-professionals/special-topics/hitech-act-enforcement-interim-final-rule/index.html
- S. Department of Health & Human Services, Covered Entities and Business Associates, accessed November 6, 2018 https://www.hhs.gov/hipaa/for-professionals/covered-entities/index.html
- Individuals’ Right under HIPAA to Access their Health Information, accessed November 30, 2018 https://www.hhs.gov/hipaa/for-professionals/privacy/guidance/access/index.html
To receive your annual Social Security earnings statement each year, you must request it. There are three ways to do this.
The easiest way to request your statement is online. To check online, visit www.ssa.gov/myaccount to sign in or create an account. Creating an online account with the Social Security Administration enables you to manage your benefits and information easily and securely.
You can also contact your local Social Security Field Office to request your statement. Visit https://www.ssa.gov/locator for more information about your local Field Office, including phone numbers, addresses, and hours of operation.
Finally, you can call the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) and use their automated services to request your statement.
There is valuable information on this annual statement, including your current Early Retirement amount, Full Retirement amount, and the amount you would get if you needed Social Security Disability Insurance.
If you need help with, or have questions about Social Security Disability Insurance, call Forbes Disability Group, LLC at (800) 665-1002 ext. 101 and ask for Mark.
If you are unsure as to whether you would qualify as being disabled, use these five steps (as used by the Social Security Administration) to determine your eligibility.
Step 1: Are you engaged in “Substantial Gainful Activity”?
That is, are you currently working enough to disqualify you from benefits? According to the Social Security Administration, “to be eligible for disability benefits, a person must be unable to engage in substantial gainful activity (SGA)” or, if working, earn less than the specified monthly amount. The specified monthly amount depends on the type and complexity of a person’s disability; for instance, the Social Security Act specifies a higher SGA amount for blind individuals, but a lower SGA amount for non-blind individuals. The projected 2019 earnings for non-blind individuals is $1,220.
If your monthly earnings are more than these projected amounts, you are presumed to be engaged in substantial gainful activity and are likely to be determined not-disabled.
Step 2: How Severe are Your Impairments?
While the law defines disability as the inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity (SGA), the reasons for such inability must meet the criteria of medically determinable physical or mental impairment(s) “which can be expected to result in death, or which have lasted (or can be expected to last) for a continuous period of not less than 12 months.” If your impairments cannot be expected to result in death, and/or they have not (or will not) last continuously for one year, you are likely to be determined not-disabled.
A medically determinable physical or mental impairment, per the SSA, is an “impairment that results from anatomical, physiological, or psychological abnormalities that can be shown by medically acceptable clinical and laboratory diagnostic techniques. The medical evidence must establish that an individual has a physical or mental impairment; a statement about the individual’s symptoms is not enough.” If a medically acceptable clinical/laboratory diagnostic technique cannot establish your physical or mental impairment, you are likely to be determined as not-disabled.
To be severe, your conditions must significantly limit your ability to do basic work, such as lifting, standing, walking, sitting, and/or remembering—for a continuous period not less than 12 months.
Step 3: Do I Meet the Listing of Impairments?
As the SSA states regarding its Listing of Impairments:
“The criteria in the Listing of Impairments apply only to one step of the multi-step sequential evaluation process. At that step, the presence of an impairment that meets the criteria in the Listing of Impairments (or that is of equal severity) is usually sufficient to establish that an individual who is not working is disabled. However, the absence of a listing-level impairment does not mean the individual is not disabled. Rather, it merely requires the adjudicator to move on to the next step of the process and apply other rules in order to resolve the issue of disability.
For a comprehensive Listing of Impairments for both Children and Adults, follow the links at the end of the post.
Step 4: Can You Do Your Prior Job?
If you are unable to engage in substantial gainful activities and have a severe enough impairment(s) that also meets the criteria of the Listing of Impairments, the next step will be to decide if your medical impairment(s) prevents you from performing any of your past work.
First, at step 4, the Social Security Administration will determine your Residual Function Capacity (RFC), your ability to do physical and mental work activities on a sustained basis despite limitations from your impairment(s).
If your impairment(s) do not prevent you from performing any of your past work, you will likely be determined to be not-disabled.
Step 5: Can You Do Any Other Job?
If you are unable to work, and you cannot do the work you did in the past, the SSA will look to see if there is other work you could do despite your impairment(s).
The SSA will consider your medical conditions, your age, education, past work experience, and any transferable skills you may have. If they find that you are unable to do any other work, you may be determined to be disabled; however, if they find that you can do other work, or are able to perform a job elsewhere in the workforce, you are likely to be determined not-disabled.
If you are unsure as to whether you qualify as being disabled, how these five steps may apply in your case, or whether other special considerations may apply, consult a top-level Social Security Representative; do not assume that you are not disabled without consulting a top-level Social Security Representative!
Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. § 216(i)
Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. § 223(d)
Social Security Act, 42 U.S.S. § 1614(a)(3)(A)
20 C.F.R. § 404.1520(a)
20 C.F.R. § 416.920(a)
Substantial Gainful Activity Amounts
Benefits Planner: Disability – How You Qualify
Disability Evaluation Under Social Security
Listing of Impairments (Adults)
Listing of Impairments (Children)
An overwhelming 70 percent of applicants are disappointed when their disability applications are denied by the SSA. What happens when a disability application is turned down by the SSA? Do these applicants need to find other ways to financially support themselves and their families? If your application for disability benefits has been denied by the SSA, do not give up hope. You may still receive the disability benefits you need to make ends meet. You just need to know what to do and where to turn. If your Social Security Disability claim is one of the 70 percent that are denied during the initial application process, keep the following advice in mind.
Appeal the Denial
Many applicants make one of two mistakes after receiving a notice of denial from the SSA. Some will give up hope of receiving the disability benefits they so desperately need. Others will just try to re-apply for Social Security Disability benefits all over again. Neither of these choices is wise.
If your application for Social Security Disability benefits is turned down, giving up is never a good idea. A mere thirty percent of applications are approved at the initial stage of the disability application process, whereas more than half of the applicants who pursue the disability appeal process go on to receive Social Security Disability payments in the future.
Re-applying for disability benefits with the SSA is not the best course of action. While it is true that the appeal process takes longer than the initial application process, if you re-apply for benefits rather than pursuing the appeal process, chances are that your application will just be denied again and you will, eventually, have to endure the appeal process if you hope to receive Social Security Disability payments at some point in the future.
Seek Out Legal Help
If you have been denied Social Security Disability benefits during the initial application stage of the application process, you should seek out help prior to filing an appeal. Hiring a Social Security Disability attorney can significantly increase your chances of receiving a favorable decision during the disability appeal process.
Many people decide not to hire a disability lawyer because they feel that it is not within their financial means to do so. After all, legal help can be expensive and those who are applying for disability benefits are usually suffering from financial hardships. The good news is that it does not have to cost you any up-front, out-of-pocket expense to obtain the legal services you need.
Social Security Disability lawyers work on a contingency basis, receiving a portion of the back pay that you are awarded by the SSA. When you hire a lawyer to represent you during the disability appeal process, your lawyer will receive either 25-percent of your disability back payment or $6,000 (whichever is less). This not only makes it affordable to hire the legal representation you need, but it also gives your attorney some personal motivation to win your disability case, since they do not get paid if you are nor awarded benefits.
If you are one of the 70 percent of applicants who have been denied disability benefits, the good news is that nearly two-thirds of applicants are awarded benefits at their disability hearing. Statistics show that your chances of winning your appeal are significantly increased when you have a lawyer representing you at this hearing.
Remember, you only have 60 days from the date you receive your determination letter from the SSA to appeal the decision to deny your benefits. If your claim for benefits has been denied, contact a Social Security Disability attorney as soon as possible to begin the disability appeal process.
This is the Glossary of Social Security Terms, as posted by the Social Security Administration. Here you will find, in alphabetical order, common terms and their definitions relating to Social Security. Click on the links within the definitions for even more helpful information.
|AIME Average Indexed Monthly Earnings||The dollar amount used to calculate your Social Security benefit if you attained age 62 or became disabled (or died) after 1978. To arrive at your AIME, we adjust your actual past earnings using an “average wage index,” so you won’t lose the value of your past earnings (when money was worth more) in relation to your more recent earnings. If you attained age 62 or became disabled (or died) before 1978, we use Average Monthly Earnings (AME).|
|AME (Average Monthly Earnings)||The dollar amount used in calculating your monthly Social Security benefit if you attained age 62 or became disabled (or died) before 1978. The AME is determined by dividing the total earnings in the “computation years” by the number of months in those same years. See Your Retirement Benefit: How It Is Figured .|
|Appeal (Appeal Rights)||You will receive a letter of explanation whenever Social Security makes a decision regarding your eligibility for Social Security or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. If you disagree with the decision, you have the right to appeal (ask us to review your case). If our decision was wrong, we’ll change it.|
|Application for Benefits||To receive Social Security benefits, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments, or Medicare, you must complete and sign an application.|
|Application for a Social Security Card||The application form you need to complete to obtain a Social Security number, or a replacement card. For more information see Get or Replace a Social Security Card.|
|Baptismal Certificate||An official religious record of your birth or baptism. In some situations we can use a baptismal certificate to establish your age.|
|Base Years||In initial computation, a worker’s (wage earner’s) base years for computing Social Security benefits are the years after 1950 up to the year before entitlement to retirement or disability insurance benefits. For a survivor’s claim, the base years include the year of the worker’s death.|
|Benefit Verification Letter||An official letter from Social Security that verifies the amount an individual receives each month in Social Security benefits and/or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments. These letters are normally issued following a request from a person receiving benefits or his/her authorized representative.|
|Benefits||Social Security pays five types of benefits:
The retirement, family (dependents), survivor and disability programs pay monthly cash benefits, and Medicare provides medical coverage.
|Benefits – Reduced||You can get the following reduced monthly benefits before reaching full retirement age:
|Birth Certificate (Original)||The record maintained by a governmental entity such as a state, county, parish, city, or borough that documents your birth. For additional information on obtaining a birth certificate see the NCHS – Alphabetical List.|
|Child||We use the term “Child” to include your biological child or any other child who can inherit your personal property under State law or who meets certain specific requirements under the Social Security Act; such as:
|Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA)||Social Security benefits and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments may be automatically increased each year to keep pace with increases in the cost-of-living (inflation).|
|Computation Years||Computation years are the years with highest earnings selected from the “base years.” We add total earnings in the computation years and divide by the number of months in those years to get the AME or the AIME. (We use your 35 highest years of earnings to compute your retirement benefits.)|
|CPI-W (Consumer Price Index)||An index prepared by the U. S. Department of Labor that charts the rise in costs for selected goods and services. This index is used to compute Cost of living adjustments.|
|Credits (Social Security Credits)||Previously called “Quarters of Coverage.” As you work and pay Social Security taxes, you earn credits that count toward your eligibility for future Social Security benefits. You can earn a maximum of four credits each year. Most people need 40 credits to qualify for benefits. Younger people need fewer credits to qualify for disability or survivors benefits.
For more information read: How You Earn Credits (05-10072).
|Decision Notice (Award Letter or Denial Letter)||When you apply for Social Security, we decide if you will receive benefits. We send you an official letter explaining our decision and, if benefits are payable, we tell you the amount you will get each month.|
|Delayed Retirement Credits (DRC)||Social Security benefits are increased by a certain percentage (depending on date of birth) if a person delays taking retirement benefits beyond full retirement age.
The benefit increase no longer applies after age 70, even if the person continues to delay taking benefits.
|Dependent Benefits||See Family Benefits.|
|Direct Deposit||The standard way to receive Social Security benefits and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Your money is sent electronically to an account in a financial institution (bank, trust company, savings and loan association, brokerage agency or credit union). For more information see Social Security Direct Deposit.|
|Disability Benefits||You can get disability benefits if you:
For more information see: Disability Programs.
|Documents (Proofs)||Forms and papers such as birth certificates, marriage certificates, W2 forms, tax returns, deeds, etc., submitted by individuals applying for benefits and services. We can accept only originals or copies certified by the agency that has the original document.|
|Early Retirement||You can start getting Social Security retirement benefits as early as age 62 if you are insured, but your benefit amount will be less than you would have gotten if you waited until your full retirement age.
If you take retirement benefits early, your benefit will remain permanently reduced, based on the number of months you received benefits before you reached full retirement age.
|Early Retirement Age||Age 62. For more information read Retirement benefits by year of birth.|
|Earnings Record(lifetime record of earnings)||A chronological history of the amount of money you earned each year during your working lifetime. The credits you earned remain on your Social Security record even when you change jobs or have no earnings.|
|Evidence (Proofs)||The documents you must submit to support a factor of entitlement or payment amount. The people in your Social Security office can explain what evidence is required to establish entitlement and help you to get it. For more information see Evidence Required to Establish Right to Benefits.|
|Family Benefits (Dependent Benefits)||When you’re eligible for retirement or disability benefits, the following people may receive benefits on your record:
|Family Maximum||The maximum amount of benefits payable to an entire family on any one worker’s record.|
|FICA Tax||FICA stands for “Federal Insurance Contributions Act.” It’s the tax withheld from your salary or self-employment income that funds the Social Security and Medicare programs.|
|Full Retirement Age||The age at which a person may first become entitled to full or unreduced benefits based on age.
For workers and spouses born in 1938 or later and widows/widowers born in 1940 or later, the full retirement age increases gradually from age 65 until it reaches age 67 for
This increase affects the amount of the reduction for persons who begin receiving reduced benefits. For information about the year you were born, read Full retirement age.
|Health Insurance (Medicare)||The federal health insurance program for:
|Insured Status||If you worked and earned enough Social Security credits to be eligible for retirement or disability benefits or enable your dependents to be eligible for benefits due to your retirement, disability, or death, you have insured status. For more information, see How You Earn Credits(05-10072).|
|Lawful Alien Status||Refers to people admitted to the U.S. who are granted permanent authorization to work by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) (formerly INS) or admitted to the U.S. on a temporary basis with USCIS (INS) authorization to work.|
|Lifetime Earnings “Earnings Record”||A chronological history of the amount of money you earned each year during your working lifetime. The credits you earned remain on your Social Security record even when you change jobs or have no earnings.|
|Lump Sum Death Payment||A one-time payment of $255 paid in addition to any monthly survivors benefits that are due. This benefit is paid only to your widow/widower or minor children.|
|Maximum Earnings||The maximum amount of earnings we can count in any calendar year when computing your Social Security benefit.|
|Medicaid||A joint federal and state program that helps with medical costs for people with low incomes and limited resources.
Medicaid programs vary from state to state, but most health care costs are covered if you qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid. For more information see The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
|Medicare||See Health Insurance. For more information, see Medicare Resources and the Official U.S. Government Site for Medicare.|
|Month of Election||This usually applies to retirement claims. In certain situations, you can choose the month in which your benefits will start.|
|Normal Retirement Age||See Full Retirement Age.|
|Number Holder||See Wage Earner.|
|Nutrition Assistance Programs||The U. S. Department of Agriculture program that helps needy families buy food. For more information see:Nutrition Assistance Programs (05-10100).|
|OASDI (Old Age Survivors and Disability Insurance)||The Social Security programs that provide monthly cash benefits to workers and their dependents when they retire, die or become disabled.|
|Payment Dates for Social Security Benefits||If you applied for Social Security benefits before May 1, 1997, your payments usually are dated and delivered on the 3rd of the month following the month for which the payment is due. For example, payments for January are delivered on February 3rd.
If the 3rd of the month is a Saturday, Sunday or Federal holiday, your payments are dated and delivered on the first day before the 3rd of the month which is not a Saturday, Sunday or Federal holiday. For example, if the 3rd is a Saturday or Sunday, payments are delivered on the preceding Friday.
If you filed for Social Security benefits May 1, 1997, or later, you are assigned one of three new payment days based on date of birth:
If your scheduled Wednesday payment day is a Federal holiday, we’ll send your payment on the preceding day that is not a Federal legal holiday.
For a schedule of benefit payment dates, see our payment calendar.
|Payment Dates for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Payments||SSI payments are usually dated and delivered on the first day of the month for which they are due. However, if the first falls on a Saturday, Sunday or Federal holiday, they are dated and delivered on the first day preceding the first of the month which is not a Saturday, Sunday or Federal holiday.
For a schedule of benefit payment dates, see our payment calendar.
|PIA (Primary Insurance Amount)||The monthly amount payable if you are a retired worker who begins receiving benefits at full retirement age or if you’re disabled and have never received a retirement benefit reduced for age.|
|Protective Filing Date||The date you first contact us about filing for benefits. It may be used to establish an earlier application date than when we receive your signed application.|
|QC (Quarter of Coverage)||See Credits, (Social Security Credits).|
|Reduction Months||Months beginning with the first month you’re entitled to reduced benefits up to, but not including, the month in which you reach full retirement age.|
|Representative Payee||If you receive Social Security benefits or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and become unable to handle your own financial affairs, we (after a careful investigation) appoint a relative, a friend, or an interested party to handle your Social Security matters.
Representative payees are required to maintain complete accounting records and periodically provide reports to Social Security. For additional information seeRepresentative Payee Program.
|Retirement Age – Full Benefits||Full retirement age was 65 for many years. However, beginning with the year 2000 (for workers and spouses born in 1938 or later, or widows or widowers born in 1940 or later), the retirement age increases gradually from age 65 until it reaches age 67 in the year 2022.
For additional information on full retirement ages and benefit amounts, see
|Retirement Age – Minimum||The minimum age for retirement—age 62 for workers, and age 60 for widows or widowers. You can choose a reduced benefit anytime before you reach full retirement age.|
|Retirement Earnings Test||If you receive monthly Social Security benefits before your full retirement age and work, your earnings from wages and/or self-employment cannot exceed a certain amount without reducing your monthly benefits. For more information, see How Work Affects Your Benefits (05-10069).|
|Retroactive Benefits (Back Pay)||Monthly benefits that you may be entitled to before the month you actually apply, if you meet the requirements.|
|Retirement Benefit||Money that is payable to you upon retirement if you have enough Social Security credits. For more information, seeRetirement, Retirement Benefits (05-10035) and Your Retirement Benefit: How It Is Figured (05-10070).|
|Self-employment Income||You are self-employed if you operate a trade, business or profession, either individually or as a partner, and have net earnings of $400 or more in a taxable year. For more information, see If You Are Self-Employed (05-10022).|
|Social Security||Social Security is based on a simple concept: While you work, you pay taxes into the Social Security system, and when you retire or become disabled, you, your spouse and your dependent children receive monthly benefits that are based on your reported earnings. Also, your survivors can collect benefits if you die. For more information read A Snapshot (05-10006).|
|Social Security Number (Social Security Card)||Your first and continuous link with Social Security is your nine-digit Social Security Number. It helps us to maintain an accurate record of your wages or self-employment earnings that are covered under the Social Security Act, and to monitor your record once you start getting Social Security benefits.
For more information, see Your Number and Card (05-10002).
|Social Security Office||You can call our toll-free telephone number, 1-800-772-1213, to receive Social Security services. Our TTY number is 1-800-325-0778. This toll-free telephone number service is available from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. any business day. All calls are confidential.
See our Social Security Office Locator for the address of your local office. In addition, many services are now available through the Internet
There is no charge for any of our services.
|Spouse||You are the spouse of the worker if, when he or she applied for benefits:
|SS-5||See Application for a Social Security Card.|
|Supplemental Security Income (SSI)||A federal supplemental income program funded by general tax revenues (not Social Security taxes). It helps aged, blind, and disabled people who have limited income and resources by providing monthly cash payments to meet basic needs for food, clothing, and shelter. For more information, see Supplemental Security Income (SSI).|
|Survivors Benefits||Benefits based on your record (if you should die) are paid to your:
An ex-spouse could also be eligible for a widow/widower’s benefit on your record.
A special one-time lump sum payment of $255 may be made to your spouse or minor children. For more information, see Survivors Benefits (05-10084).
|Wage Earner||A person who earns Social Security credits while working for wages or self-employment income. Sometimes referred to as the “Number Holder” or “Worker.”|
|Wages||All payment for services performed for an employer. Wages do not have to be cash. The cash value of all compensation paid to an employee in any form other than cash is also considered wages, unless the form of payment is specifically not covered under the Social Security Act.|
|Widow||You are the widow/widower of the worker if, at the time he or she died:
The minimum age for widows benefits is 60, or 50 if disabled.
|Work Credits||See Credits.|
|Worker||See Wage Earner.|
The Social Security Disability Benefits Center is a fantastic resource for Disability information, which includes explanations on how to apply, the stages of your application process, medical conditions, and various other resources to aid you in your process. The website can be visited by clicking this link.
Here we have an excerpt regarding the Initial Application Stage:
Social Security Disability: The Initial Application Stage
The initial stage of the Social Security Disability process involves the initial filing of your Social Security Disability application and the Social Security Administration’s review of your initial claim. In this stage of the process you will be filling out your application and providing the SSA with the documentation necessary to process your claim for Social Security Disability benefits. The Social Security office will then send your file to be reviewed for approval or denial based on the information provided in your application.
Applying for Social Security Disability Benefits
You can file your application for Social Security Disability online, over the phone or at your local Social Security office. You will be required to answer questions pertaining to your disability and your work history and will likely have to fill out a detailed Activities of Daily Living Questionnaire. It is important to prepare as much as possible before you apply to have the best chance of getting approved. Your medical records will need to be provided to the Social Security examiner and you may be asked to undergo a consultative exam. There must be evidence that your disability will last twelve months or longer in order to qualify for disability benefits.
When applying for disability benefits, you will be required to provide the Social Security office with certain personal information. It is helpful to have this information ready when completing your application for Social Security Disability benefits. Some of the personal information and documentation needed to complete your application include your social security number, your birth or baptismal certificate, the contact information for your doctors and the dates of your visits, the names and dosages of the medications you are taking, a complete history of your medical records, a copy of your most recent W-2 and a detailed work history.
Evaluating Your Claim for Social Security Disability Benefits
Once you have submitted your application, the Social Security office will check to see whether or not you have worked enough to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits and whether your current employment status disqualifies you from receiving disability benefits. If you meet the necessary criteria, the Social Security office will send your application to the Disability Determination Services department for a full review. It is this department that will be making the actual decision as to whether or not your disability claim is approved.
The Disability Determination Services office will review the information and medical records you have provided with your application for disability benefits. If the examiner reviewing your case does not have enough medical documentation to prove your disability, he or she may require you to attend a consultative exam. In some cases, more than one consultative exam may be requested.
After the Disability Determination Services have received all of the information needed to process your claim the employees with gather to evaluate the information within your file and will make a decision based on that information. They will approve or deny your claim based on the medical evidence provided, whether or not your specific disability is included in the Social Security Listing of Impairments, if you are able to perform the work you were doing prior to your disability and whether or not you are capable of performing any type of work at all.
Once the SSA approves or denies your claim they will send you a letter notifying you of the decision. If you are approved for benefits, your letter will state the amount of your monthly benefits and when those benefits will begin. If your application was not approved, the letter will explain why you were denied Social Security Disability benefits and what you need to do if you want to appeal the decision.
The Disability Determination Services only approves approximately 37 percent of the initial Social Security Disability applications received by the SSA. The remaining 63 percent of applicants are denied benefits. Many of those denied applicants go on to appeal the decision made by the Disability Determination Services. Hired a qualified disability lawyer will improve chances of being approved at the initial stage.
The Application Processing Time-Frame
It normally takes between three to six months for a Social Security Disability applicant to receive a decision on their initial application. The exception to this rule is those applicants who qualify for Social Security’s Compassionate Allowance program. The Compassionate Allowance program helps people with severe disabilities get approved for Social Security Disability benefits more quickly. If you have one of the disabilities listed under the Compassionate Allowance program, your initial application may be processed in as little as twenty days.
Vocational Rehabilitation is a state program whose purpose is to help unemployed
and/or disabled persons find jobs. Typically, an unemployed or disabled person meets with a
Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor. The Counselor looks at a person’s education, skills, and
job history and then comes up with a plan that will help that person get back into the work
force. Sometimes, in order to put together a plan, the Counselor will have the person take
some tests, such as job interest tests, aptitude tests, IQ tests, and/or psychological tests.
The plan may include job placement at lighter jobs or at less skilled jobs. The plan may
include educational opportunities such as learning a new trade, obtaining a GED, or college
classes. Usually, if the plan recommends further education, the state will pay for that
education. Also, if the plan recommends accommodations such as equipment to help the
disabled person work, the state will pay for that equipment.
If you go through Vocational Rehabilitation and they find you a job and you like the
job, you may not need Social Security Disability benefits.
If you go through Vocational Rehabilitation and they cannot find you a job, then the
fact they could not find you a job will help prove disability in your Social Security Disability
As a result, I recommend that you go through Vocational Rehabilitation. The
Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor often meets with people in their county of residence.
Website for Indiana www.in.gov/fssa
Website for Ohio www.ood.ohio.gov/Core-Services/BVR
FORBES DISABILITY GROUP, PO Box 374, Angola, Indiana 46703 Tel: (260) 665-1002
.pdf available here: Vocational Rehabilitation
This document, from the Social Security Administration, offers a great foundation for the understanding of what the Appeals Process is and how it works.
From the time you first file for Social Security Disability benefits, it is very important that you keep a log of all your medical activity!
This log should include all your Doctor visits, ER visits, Hospital stays, Urgent Care visits, Physical Therapy visits, and changes in medications, conditions, and diagnoses. Names, addresses, and phone numbers of all your medical providers are also required so we and Social Security can contact them and request your medical records. This information helps us to complete Disability Reports. A Disability Report is required by Social Security each time your case is appealed to the next level. Remember–Medical information makes your case stronger!