July 2009

Social Security Disability is based on whether the Judge (ALJ) thinks you are able to work any job-if you are under 50 years of age.

It is not about whether you can do some job you have done before.

Social Security does not have to actually find you a job.

There do not have to be any job openings in your area.

It can be a minimum wage job. No matter what you earned in the past.

You will have to show that cannot do a simple sit down job- such as a order taker or surveillance system monitor.

Usually this means you must prove overwhelming pain related to an objective medical condition, along with side effects from medications.

Or proof that your condition permanently keeps you from lifting 10 pounds or over, or your walking, standing and sitting is extremely limited.

Some mental conditions can also keep you from performing even the simplest jobs.

More questions about what it means to be disabled according to Social Security? Call Illinois Social Security Attorney Dirk May at 309-827-4371.


1. Be 50 years old or older. The older you are the easier it is to win. The rules are less strict when you hit 50 years of age. You can win your Social Security Disability case if you are under 50 years old, but you must prove you cannot do any job.

2. Go to your doctors and tell them about all your problems. Social Security Disability is all about the medical.

3. Know your judge. Each ALJ (the judge) is a person. They have their own likes and dislikes.

4. Stay away from drugs and alcohol. You will most likely be denied if you have a drug or alcohol problem.

5. Know what to ask the Vocational Expert. They can make or break your case.

Questions about how to win your case? Call Illinois Social Security Disability Lawyer, Dirk May, at 309-827-4371.

The number of Social Security Disability filings has increased approximately 20% nationwide over the last year.

The downturn in the economy certainly has influenced this, but the filings vary widely by state.

For instance, in Illinois the increase has only been 6.9%. In Florida and Tennessee the increases have been over 20%. West Virginia has only had a 1.7% increase.

On another subject, the one time stimulus payment of $250 available to most Social Security and SSI beneficiaries are still going to be paid to people who are found disabled after May 2009.

The issue of working while waiting for your Social Security Disability hearing is very difficult.

Everyone has to live and the wait is too long, but each judge has a different perspective on whether the part time job you are doing could translate into full time work.

There is no bright line, or case that guides the judges and says you cannot take into part-time work into account when deciding whether a person is disabled.

The other problem is that you do not know who your judge will be until it is too late. A Social Security Attorney who is familiar with the judges in your area can usually tell you how they will react to part-time work. However, you cannot change ALJs.

The other part of the puzzle is the type of job you work. If you work a heavy lifting job, then you will most likely be denied. If you work around people, and complain of depression and fear of being around others then it does not fit the pattern of your complaints.

I realize this does not provide crystal clear guidance, but you must think very carefully before you attempt to work part-time while waiting for your Social Security Disability hearing.

Social Security Disability cases in Central Illinois are definitely moving faster than last year this time.

Social Security has hired more Administrative Law Judges and staff, and they are pushing cases to hearing faster.

It appears that it is taking 1.5 years to 2 years from applying to hearing for people from Peoria, Pontiac, Bloomington, Springfield, Decatur and Champaign, Illinois.

This is good news because when you are disabled and cannot work the faster the decision the better.

Hopefully, the time to hearing will drop even more.

What is your experience? Let me, Attorney Dirk May, know at 309-827-4371.

Happy Fourth of July!