May 2009


This blog has talked much about the Social Security Disability case backlogs resulting in 2.5 year waits for a hearing.

Another Social Security idea to speed up cases is to have Video trials.

This means that the Administrative Law Judge will be in one location, and you will be at another site.

The ALJ will question you over a closed circuit television hook up.

This allows Judges from different parts of the country to hold hearings.

In theory this allows cases to be heard faster since Judges with smaller case loads can conduct a trial sooner. The problem is that the case still has to be prepared. So staff has to get to the case ready.

There are several reasons not to like Video trials with random ALJs.

One, you do not know the Judge. It is important to know the Judge and understand what she looks for in the case.

Two, it is more impersonal than a face to face hearing. The ALJ sees you and hears you, but it is not the same as being in front of the judge.

I am not convinced video trials will speed up cases to any great extent.

Questions about what happens at a Social Security Disability trial please call me, Attorney Dirk May at 309-827-4371.

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Now is the time to file for Social Security Disability if you are not working.

Why?

Because it takes time to get to the hearing stage. Anywhere from 1 1/2 to 2 years from the time you file.

You should hire a lawyer to represent you right away also.

Why?

Because it shows Social Security you mean business.

Your lawyer is only paid if you win. Your lawyer is only paid from back benefits, never from your monthly check. The fee is also limited to 25% of the back benefits or $6,000 whichever is the lower amount.

Questions about when to file for Social Security Disability, or when you need a lawyer, call me, Attorney Dirk May, at 309-827-4371.

Some people ask me about using the national law firms for their Social Security Disability cases.

I tell them not to bother.

The national firms do not pay for the costs up front. They make you pay for your own records. Every time you order records for your case to supply to Social Security you will have to pay for them. Most local attorneys will pay for your records and charge you when the case is over.

The national law firms do not know the local Administrative Law Judges. This is very important. Your lawyer should know the judge and what she expects. There is no way these firms out of large cities know the judges.

The national law firms screen cases to look for the easiest ones. If you
work on the simple cases you do not always know how to win the difficult cases. You should look for a lawyer experienced in all kinds Social Security Disability cases.

Questions about Social Security Disability? Contact me, Attorney Dirk May, at 309-827-4371.

I do not know how many times people tell me about others they know who are on Social Security Disability and who are not that bad off.

The basic point to their story is that I should be found disabled because I am much worse off than the other people I know.

My response is that all is not as it appears.

In other words, we cannot see the disabled person’s medical records. We do not know what their work background or educational history. Just because you cannot see the disability does not mean it does not exist. Think of pain, fatigue, mental illness.

Another big difference is age. For instance, the other day a younger person told me that he had waited 6 months for a decision and he knew someone who was 52 years old who was found disabled within 2 months. Once you are 50 years old the requirements to be found disabled are much different than if you are under 50 years of age.

The other thing that appears unfair is that different people who review the cases come to different conclusions. That is life. The reviewers are supposed to use the same standards but human bias always enters in.

The bottom line is that the system is messed up. It takes too long for Social Security to make a decision. It is frustrating but we have to adapt to the long waits or change them.

Any ideas about ways to speed up Social Security Disability decisions? Call me, Attorney Dirk May, at 309-827-4371.