January 2010

Chronic back conditions are a source of much pain and discomfort.

If you have had back surgery or multiple surgeries you may have a good case for Social Security Disability.

The main thing Social Security looks at is the limitations of your condition.

For example, does your back pain keep you from lifting to a great extent, or do you have spend most of the day seated or laying down?

Does your back pain affect your concentration?

Do your pain medications make you tired and groggy?

Continuing treatment with a pain management doctor also documents your chronic back condition.

Questions about your back problems and Social Security Disability? Please feel free to call me, Dirk May, at 309-827-4371.


You can get Social Security Disability if you suffer headaches.

Most cases involve multiple problems such as headaches, chronic back pain and fibromyalgia. And the Social Security Judge will look at all the conditions to determine whether you are disabled.

However, there are some cases where people with severe headaches can win their cases without any other health issues.

You will need medical treatment with specialists, records showing multiple emergency visits for your headaches, and a list of your headache medications.

The main area Social Security Disability Judges look at are your limitations. So you should keep track of the number of days a week you have headaches, how long they last, and how your medications affect your energy and concentration levels.

Questions about headaches or other health problems that may qualify you for Social Security Disability? Please feel free to call me to discuss.

What is up with all the Social Security denials?

It is really not unusual to be denied by the Social Security Administration for your disability application. The key is to keep trying.

Someone in Springfield, Illinois sits in their office and reviews your records, and denies your claim.

If you accept the denial and do not appeal you will have to start over again.

If you appeal, your file will be sent back to Springfield, Illinois for someone else to review it. Everyone has a different view so they may approve you.

If you are denied again, you must appeal again so an Administrative Law Judge will listen to your testimony and review your medical records. Many times the Judge will have a different view from Springfield and approve your Social Security Disability claim.

Even if you are denied by the Administrative Law Judge you can reapply for disability benefits. Once again I have seen many clients approved when they reapply.

You cannot give up.

Call me to represent you in your Social Security Disability case in Bloomington, Peoria, Pontiac, Springfield, Champaign or Decatur, Illinois.

Many times I am asked this question. It is human nature to want to know. But, truthfully I cannot tell you.

The more I represent people in Social Security Disability the more surprised I am by outcomes.

I could tell you stories of people who are tragically disabled who are denied for one reason or another.

I can also tell you about people found disabled that somewhat surprise me.

The best thing I can tell you is that this is a people business. In other words, the Judges who decide the Social Security Disability cases are human and they have some discretion in their decision making. They do not go down a strict check list.

As one Social Security Judge told me, it is his job to make sure that Social Security pays the people who are entitled to benefits. This is much different than another Judge who might say his job is to make sure that Social Security benefits are not paid to undeserving claimants.

The Social Security Judges are much more inclined to listen to with a empathetic ear to those who are straightforward, who are balanced in their testimony, who are likeable, and who are descriptive. For example, everyone has a good and bad days. What are they like and how often do you have good days. Vague answers do not help the Judge. Concrete examples do help him understand what is happening at home. The hearing is a serious matter, but a slight sense of humor does not hurt. If you are extreme in your testimony some judges think you are exaggerating, or complaining excessively.

Your testimony is extremely important in a Social Security Disability hearing.

Please feel free to contact me to discuss what happens at a Social Security Disability hearing. I cover the Bloomington, Peoria, Pontiac, Springfield, and Champaign, Illinois areas.

Predictions are a dangerous game, especially when it involves the Social Security Administration, but here goes.

* Filing for Social Security Disability will not get any easier. You can file online now, but it still takes a lot of time and it is frustrating to go through all the steps.

* Social Security will not speed up the decision making process. More people are filing for Social Security Disability, less workers are available so it will still take several months at the initial decision making levels.

* Social Security Disability hearings will not be scheduled any faster. The Peoria-Bloomington Illinois region reduced its waiting time to close to 12-15 months after the hearing request in 2009. I do not see this time coming down significantly. There are too many cases pending and the judges and their staffs can only do so much.

* It will not be any easier to get Social Security Disability. You will still have to show you cannot work your past jobs, and if you are under 50 years of age you must prove you cannot work any job. The law has not changed and will not change in 2010.

Questions about Social Security Disability? I will be glad to talk with you. I am a Social Security Disability Lawyer who helps people in Peoria, Bloomington, Springfield, Pontiac, and Champaign, Illinois. Please feel free to call me at 309-827-4371. Ask for Dirk.