December 2009


A belated Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

I know it is a tough time of year for those who are suffering through illness and disability and waiting for the government to do something.

But I found a nice book with a collection of writings from the 19th Century English Pastor Charles Spurgeon. I like this brief excerpt: If He remembers even the sparrows, will He forget one of His children? “Cast your burden on the Lord and He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved.” (Psalm 55:22)

One important factor in most Social Security Disability cases is explaining your pain to the Administrative Law Judge.

You can break it down into different areas such as:

What is is like? Do you ache? Is it a shooting pain?

Where is it? Does your back pain run down your leg? What parts of your body are affected?

How often does your pain occur, and how long does the pain last?

What aggravates or causes your pain? What is your best position for dealing with the pain?

How does your pain limit you? How does it affect your sitting, standing, walking and lifting? Does it reduce your daily activities?

How do your medications deal with the pain? Do you have any side effects from the medications, such as fatigue or loss of concentration?

What is a bad pain day like? On average how many bad pain days do you have in a week?

The more descriptive and concrete you can be, the better so the Social Security Judge will understand exactly what you are dealing with on a daily basis.

I spend much of my time helping people get their Social Security Disability Benefits they have paid for.

Depression and other mental health conditions are often very disabling.

Social Security recognizes mental conditions alone, and in combination with physical problems, as grounds for finding someone disabled.

Medical evidence is very important in Social Security Disability cases. In mental health cases this means it is crucial that you see a psychiatrist and counselor. You must treat on a regular basis, and take your medications as prescribed.

The basic standard for deciding whether you are disabled is whether your illness keeps you from working full time. The Social Security Judge will focus on limitations caused by your condition. Such as reduced productivity due to lack of concentration, fatigue, inability to follow instructions and carry out daily activities.

Other important factors are hospitalizations, side effects from medications, and the opinions of your psychiatrists and counselors.

Please feel free to contact me, Bloomington, Illinois Social Security Attorney Dirk May, to discuss to best way to present your mental health case to the Social Security Administration.

Some people have told me that their Social Security Office told them not to bother to appeal because they will just be denied.

Does this make sense?

Well, we know what the result will be if you do not appeal your denial for Social Security Disability benefits. You will lose and have to start over.

It takes long enough to go through the Social Security Disability process so you do not want to start over. You will also lose out on potential back benefits if you do not appeal.

I have also heard of people being told they do not need a lawyer. It is true that you do not need a lawyer to apply for benefits and go to the Disability hearing. However, the benefits outweigh the negatives.

Using a lawyer shows Social Security you are serious. Using a lawyer costs no up front fees. You only pay fees on back benefits. Based on the potential for Social Security Disability benefits for the rest of your life it is certainly worth it to have an experienced lawyer help you with your case.