Gardberg & Kemmerly, P.C. Attorneys at Law

Social Security Disability Archives

Can I be denied disability because I didn't do what my doctor said?

There is a lot that goes into filing for disability and it seems there are always new rules for denying claims. I want to discuss a new ruling regarding following prescribed treatment. SSR 18-3p went into effect October 29, 2018 and will apply to any decision after that date. This ruling state that someone can be denied benefits if he or she fails to follow prescribed treatment without good cause and that treatment would be expected to restore his or her ability to work.

Right to representation for claiming SSD benefits - Part II

The previous blog post discussed the selection and appointment of a representative for dealing with the Social Security Administration. The SSA describes this as the claimant's right to representation for claiming SSD benefits. The post also discussed how the representation fee is determined as well as the two different methods that claimants and representatives may choose. This post will help readers in Mobile, Alabama to understand how they can make the representative payment approved by the SSA.

Right to representation for claiming SSD benefits - Part I

Many people in Mobile and nearby areas in Alabama may agree that, despite the guidelines provided by the Social Security Administration, filing a claim for Social Security disability benefits is often challenging, especially for those who are severely disabled. The SSA acknowledges this difficulty and, therefore, it grants SSD benefits claimants the right to representation when it comes to dealings with the SSA.

Adult Children With Disabilities

Adults with disabilities who have never worked may be eligible to receive Supplemental Security Income, as long as he or she meets the income requirements for SSI.  They cannot have more than $2,000 in personal property or income (or $3,000 if married) and any monthly household income must be below a certain threshold. 

Substitution of Parties

Given the lengthy process of applying and receiving Social Security benefits and the severity of many Claimants' illnesses, it is sadly not uncommon for a Social Security disability Claimant to die during the pendency of the process. However, if a Social Security disability applicant dies before being approved for benefits, it may be possible for a family member of the Claimant to receive any benefits owed to the deceased Claimant. The rules concerning substitution of parties in the case of a deceased Claimant depend on the type of disability claim filed.

CHANGES MAY BE ON THE HORIZON FOR RESIDENTS OF PUERTO RICO

Presently, residents of Puerto Rico are only able to draw under the Disability Insurance Benefits (DIB) or Title II program for Social Security, and are not able to draw under the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program. This is due to the fact the Social Security Act excludes Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory, from the SSI benefits program. However, these rules may be changing soon which would greatly help disabled residents of Puerto Rico who have been unable to work. Similarly, most children's claims for disability fall under the SSI program. This would vastly expand the number of Puerto Rican children who are allowed to receive disability benefits.

Biestek v. Berryhill

The United States Supreme Court has affirmed the 6th Circuit's decision in the case of Biestek v. Berryhill. In a 6 to 3 decision, the United States Supreme Court found that "a vocational expert's refusal to provide private market-survey data upon the applicant's request does not categorically preclude the testimony from counting as 'substantial evidence.'" Justice Elena Kagan wrote the majority opinion. The Supreme Court in its decision refused to adopt a categorical rule as had been done in the 7th Circuit. The Supreme Court further explained that there must be a case-by-case basis when determining whether the vocational expert's testimony can qualify as substantial evidence. In applying a case-by-case basis, the vocational expert's testimony as well as the rest of the administrative record must be taken into account. The Court stated that in some cases, the refusal to disclose data taken into consideration with other short comings would prevent the court from finding that 'a reasonable mind' could accept the expert's testimony. However, in this specific case, the refusal of a vocational expert to provide private market-survey data did not preclude the Administrative Law Judge from accepting the vocational expert's testimony as substantial evidence.

AVOIDING PITFALLS BEFORE A HEARING

I want to discuss some things people need to know before they get a Social Security hearing. I have worked in Social Security law for almost 19 years now and I can tell you there is a lot of information that is needed before having a hearing date and here are some things to remember.  

Can a noncitizen obtain a Social Security number?

Alabama, and the rest of the United States, is home to immigrants from all over the world who come here to make a decent living. As time passes, many of these people may face financial challenges owing to a number of reasons. In due course, they may require financial support in the form of Social Security Retirement income, Social Security Disability income or Supplemental Security income.

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