October 2009


Several people have asked me if Social Security ever conducts surveillance on people applying for disability?

I know insurance companies video tape people who are claiming workers’ compensation injuries and private disability benefits.

But I have never heard of Social Security video taping people who are applying for disability benefits.

Once a person is found disabled there have been investigations involving whether the person is working a job without reporting income. The law allows a person to work part-time, however all earnings must be reported. Under the table payments, and hiding income is fraudulent and may subject you to criminal sanctions.

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Some things about Social Security Disability hearings are very complicated.

Other things are common sense.

Today’s post will focus on basic straight forward ideas, but they are very important.

Look the Judge in the eye when she questions you, and when you testify. It shows you are interested and that you are trustworthy.

Speak up. The Judge needs to hear your answer, and the proceeding is being recorded.

Be early. The hearing office wants you to be at least 30 minutes early. Judges want the cases to start on time. If the case starts late make sure it is the Judge who caused the delay, and not you. I have seen cases lost before the first question because the claimant was late for the trial. It is not fair, but it is human nature to be upset if you are kept waiting. Remember to take into account traffic and an unfamiliar area.

If the Judge invites you to make a final statement keep it short. You have talked for the last 45 minutes. A long speech will not win your case, but it could lose it.

Questions about these tips? Call Illinois Social Security Lawyer Dirk May at 309-827-4371.

Some people will complain that drug addicts and drunks can get Social Security Disability so why can’t I get approved.

The truth is that a number of years ago the law was changed so the those with drug and alcohol problems can no longer form the basis for getting approved for Social Security Disability.

You can get approved for the consequences of drug and alcohol use.

For example, liver damage, mental illness or other physical results.

If you experience any of these problems and are seeking Social Security Disability benefits please call me, Illinois Social Security Lawyer Dirk May, at 309-827-4371.

The Administrative Law Judge is the person who will decide whether or not you are disabled and entitled to Social Security Disability benefits.

The whole process of applying for Social Security Disability, being sick and in pain, and waiting for your hearing is frustrating and demeaning at times.

But the Judge is not the one to blame.

In other words do not get angry with the Judge. It is human nature to try to help someone who has a pleasant attitude. If you answer the questions the Judge asks to the best of your ability then you will go a long way toward helping yourself.

I have seen witness who battle the Judge, and get angry with the Judge. This has never worked for them.

I would be glad to discuss with you what is going to happen in your Social Security Disability hearing. Call me, Attorney Dirk May, at 309-827-4371.

Your date of last insurance is very important in Social Security Disability.

Social Security is an insurance program. In other words you must pay into Social Security to be eligible.

For example, if you work for a University in Illinois or you are an Illinois public school teacher you do not pay into Social Security. If you become disabled you may not be able to collect if you do not have enough quarters paid in. There are exception, of course. Such as someone who works a second job that contributes to Social Security.

To be eligible for Social Security disability your disability must have started before your date of last insurance.

You can find out your date of last insurance by calling your local Social Security office.

In the event your date of last insurance has lapsed you will only be eligible for SSI. The problem with SSI is that you are only eligible for approximately $670 per month, and most other income and assets reduce the amount you can receive.