June 2007

The waiting time for Social Security Disability hearings continues to increase. Congress is trying to reduce the backlog. The problem is money and the lack of staff. However, 43 United States Senators have recently written to Senate Appropriaters asking for an additional $731 million to deal with the backlog of disability cases. Unfortunately, even this amount is not expected to reduce the wait for a hearing by much.

You may want to contact your United States Senators and Congressperson to encourage them to do all they can to fund more employees for Social Security and reduce the waiting time for a disability hearing.


Disability and serious injuries have to rank with death of a loved one, divorce, and job loss in terms of stress and pain. In the middle of it all it is almost impossible to see any hope or future good to come out of this. That is when we need someone to lift us up and walk with us. This could be family and friends or a word from someone. Don’t close up. Let others know what you are going through. Give them the opportunity to help. Another resource I like is The Word for Today, a fine little devotional. You can learn about it at www.bobgass.com . For instance, The Word for Today’s take on adversity is that it seems to benefit us in ways comfort and ease never can. We just have to struggle on through to the other side of adversity.

I also represent people in Workers Compensation cases. When you are filing for Social Security disability you must tell your lawyer if you have a Workers Compensation claim. The reason is that a Workers Compensation settlement may reduce your social security disability benefits. The Social Security Act requires your benefits to be offset unless the settlement contract contains specific language the Social Security Administration will acknowledge. Your Workers Compensation lawyer should know the language that needs to be included. You will lose money if the correct language is not used.

Please call me if you have any questions about the language that is needed. Since I represent people in both Workers Compensation cases and Social Security disability, I know the language that Social Security will accept without penalizing you.

You may have heard of the book, Blink. It is about the power of first impressions.

When you have your Social Security Disability hearing, you have two chances at first impressions before the judge. Your job is to make the most of these impressions.

First, your medical records. The judge will have reviewed them before your hearing. Every time you go to the doctor you need to explain all your problems and symptoms clearly and in detail. It will show up in your doctors’ records and follow you to the hearing.

Second, your testimony. When you testify you should focus on your story. What you have to live with every day. The hearing is not the time to appear brave, angry or flippant. You must present the judge with a clear and compelling picture of your disease, pain and limitations.

Please call me to discuss how you can best tell your story to the Social Security judge. Call Dirk May at 309-827-4371. Serving Peoria, Bloomington, Springfield, Champaign and Central Illinois for your Social Security Disability needs.

Everyone has a different motivation. Ask a lawyer why he does what he does and one will tell you it is for the money. Another will say their father was a lawyer so they wanted to be a lawyer too. Yet another will say they fell into it and they think it is too late to do anything else.

For me, I enjoy helping people work through the circumstances life has presented them, and I like to solve problems. Even when we do not prevail we learn something together. Going through the Social Security disability process is a great struggle but together we can turn it into something that helps in the long term.

What’s your story?

If you live in Central Illinois, please call, Dirk May at 309-827-4371, and let me know if you need help with your Social Security Disability case.

The reality is you will not be found disabled for your Social Security case unless you receive medical treatment on a regular basis. For many people it is very difficult to get this treatment without health insurance. Some communities in Central Illinois are fortunate enough to have free health clinics. For example, in Bloomington, Illinois  Bromenn Hospital runs 2 clinics for those without insurance. You should check also into this possibility if you live in Springfield, Peoria or Champaign. In addition, some smaller cities in Illinois have a rural clinic if you are uninsured.

Another possibility for healthcare is through the state of Illinois. Check out the state website at http://health.illinois.gov/ . The State has several programs: All Kids, Medicaid, CHIP and programs for prescriptions. Some communities also run a prescription assistance program.

Please call me if you are having problems finding healthcare; I have a free report available. I represent many people in Bloomington, Champaign, Springfield, Lincoln, Peoria, Pontiac and Decatur, Illinois who are trying to obtain Social Security disability and I would be glad to discuss ways to help you.

Call Dirk May, Attorney at Law, 309-827-4371 

Who is the person that makes the decision whether you are disabled or not? At your hearing an Administrative Law Judge will question you and the vocational expert. The Administrative Law Judge is a full time employee of the Social Security Administration. She is a lawyer who has some type of trial experience. They do not necessarily have a background in Social Security Disability law but they are trained by the Administration. Therefore, they know the rules and law and over time develop expertise.

Remember, the judge does multiple hearings in a week and has a staff of attorneys who help them write their decisions. The judges have seen your file- medical records- so the hearing is your chance to put a human face on your case. You must explain your condition and symptoms as clearly and in as much detail as possible. Above all you must be honest. The judge sees many cases and develops a gut reaction to people testifying. If she thinks you are hiding something or lying, you will lose.

Be prepared to testify in your hearing is one of the most important parts of your disability case.

Please feel free to call me, Dirk May, at 309-827-4371 to discuss your hearing and testimony. I represent clients in Peoria, Bloomington, Springfield, and Champaign and all of Central Illinois in Social Security Disability hearings.