Seems like a lot of bad news on the Social Security Disability front.


Cases are taking longer and longer to decide in Central Illinois.

Of course, it is difficult enough to battle disability and pain and fight the government but it seems like it takes forever.

It was taking about 3 months for the initial review and another 3 months for the next level.

However, it is now taking about 6 months at the initial level, and another 6 months at the next level.

It was taking about 8 months to get a hearing.

Now it takes about 10 months for the hearing.

As a result some people are homeless, or have to move in with friends or relatives.

Social Security says the backlogs are because more people are filing for disability and there are not enough workers to process and review the cases.


At a recent congressional hearing several administrative law judges were being grilled for approving over 95 percent of the cases before them.

This is ridiculous of course.

That percentage of people cannot be disabled.

This involves only a small number of judges, but the problem is perception and politics.

The pressure is on the rank and file judge to reduce the percentage of approval ratings to show that they are not reckless and outside the mainstream.

The approval percentage nationwide has dropped from approximately 60 percent to the low 50s.

In Central Illinois the approval rate is the low 30s.

This is a dangerous trend for everyone applying for disability.

People who are applying for disability need to be aware of the trends and be ready to strengthen their cases.

Questions about your disability case? Feel free to contact Illinois Social Security Disability Attorney Dirk May with Williams and Swee at 309-827-4371.


Here are some very basic principles that you need to follow to be successful in your disability claim:

* Make sure that you go to the doctor. If you do not have medical treatment you will lose your case;

* Tell the doctor your problems and limitations. The Judge reads the medical records to determine how you are restricted due to your condition;

* Follow the doctor’s orders. Judge’s will punish you if you do not take your medications or if you fail to keep your appointments;

* Do not drink alcohol to excess. This is the quickest way to lose your case. Do not believe people who tell you that drunks get disability;

* Do not use street drugs. Social Security rules prohibit disability for drug users;

* If you have had an alcohol or drug problem you must stop using, and seek treatment. You can then testify that you have rehabilitated yourself;

* Make sure you get some good advice about what is going to happen during the Social Security Disability process.

It does not cost any upfront money to get an experienced Social Security Disability lawyer. You only pay a fee from your back benefits if you win your case. Feel free to contact Illinois Social Security Disability Attorney Dirk May with Williams and Swee at 309-827-4371.

It is disappointing to see a disability case denied on the basis of a mistake that you make. Especially if it is something you could have prevented.

Recently, I saw a case that did not turn out so well because of something the claimant wrote in response to a Social Security question early on in the case.

The question was about past work and the person responded that they had only lifted 20 pounds on a previous job.

At the hearing the claimant testified that they lifted 50 to 60 pounds at this particular job.

The Judge asked why they responded to the question shortly after the application was filed that they only lifted 20 pounds?

This left the Judge with task of deciding which of the Claimant’s statements to believe.

Better off not to put the Judge in this position and answer the question correctly the first time.

The reason that your past work is important is because the Social Security rules provide that if you can perform past relevant work you are not disabled.

The questionnaire that Social Security sends you seems innocent enough and it may be irritating to fill it out, but it is very important to answer it correctly.

Sometimes it can make the difference between winning and losing your case.

Questions about what Social Security is looking for? Feel free to contact Illinois Social Security Disability Attorney Dirk May at 309-827-4371.

This Little-Known Social Security Trap Could Leave You With No Benefits.

Click above to read.

This is a very important point that also applies to Social Security Disability. You must pay into the system 5 out of the last 10 years to be eligible for Social Security Disability. If you do not, then you cannot get payments even if you are unable to work. You must look to SSI at that point and many people are not eligible for SSI because of household income or assets they hold.

Your medical doctor can make or break your Social Security Disability case.

Some doctors will not fill out forms or write letters explaining your disability and how it limits you.

This does not mean you will lose your case if the doctor will not do these things.

However, if your doctor puts in your records that she questions your truthfulness or the extent of your limitations then you most likely will lose your disability case.

In other words, if the doctor does not believe you why should the Social Security Judge believe you are disabled.

Believe me, this does happen. I have seen records in which the doctor questions whether the patient can work, or if the patient is as bad off as they claim.

What can you do to avoid this?

Develop a working relationship with your doctor.

You do not have to tell them you are seeking disability or that you cannot work.

Some doctors misunderstand the process and what disability means. So you do not have to ask them to agree with you regarding the ultimate conclusion that you are disabled.

You need to make consistent appointments.

Follow treatment recommendations.

You also need to explain your symptoms, how often it happens, how long it lasts, and what you need to do to deal with the symptoms.

Be consistent in your explanations.

Do not expect the doctor to work on your behalf to get disability. Some doctors will do this but it is not the end of your case if they do not. The only thing you really need is detailed medical records explaining your conditions and limitations.

Above all be respectful to the doctor. This will go along way to laying the ground work for the type of medical records that will help your case.

Questions about your disability case? Feel free to contact Illinois Social Security Disability Attorney Dirk May at 309-827-4371.

Applying for Social Security Disability involves filling out a number of forms, both paper and online.

It also involves talking with Social Security employees who take notes and put them in your file.

The Social Security Judges will often look at these notes and reports and use them in making a decision in your case.

You may not understand why your answers are important or what the Judge is looking for, but your responses are very important.

The most important questions focus on the type of job you had and what you did at work all day long, and how your conditions limit your activities.

Make sure that you are very clear about what you did at work in the last 15 years.

You must make sure that Social Security understands if your work involved lifting throughout the day, or if it involved standing and walking most of the day, or if you were required to use your hands all day long.

If someone calls you from Social Security and asks about your work activities you should offer to provide them a written job description that you prepare. This makes sure that there is no misunderstanding.

Do not complete the written questions from Social Security until an experienced Social Security Disability lawyer has had a chance to review them with you.

I have seen Social Security employee notes and activities of daily living reports that are very damaging to a Claimant because of some misunderstanding about what Social Security is asking.

Questions about your disability claim? Feel free to call to Illinois Social Security Disability Attorney Dirk May at 309-827-4371.

Most people who apply for disability have more than one severe condition or impairment.

The reason that this is important is that different illnesses cause distinct limitations.

The most important thing you can learn about Social Security Disability is that it is all about the types of jobs you can perform.

If you are under 50 years of age and can perform any job found in the national economy in sufficient numbers, then you are not disabled according to Social Security standards.

The limitations from your conditions may be used to chip away, or erode the available job base. If the job base erodes enough then you may win your disability case.

For instance, if you suffer from depression and anxiety with severe symptoms you may be limited in your ability to be around people and co-workers and have reduced concentration, persistence and pace. This type of limitation may result in you not being able to work with the general public and have only superficial contact with co-workers and supervisors, and work only jobs that do not have any hourly production quotas.

This condition combined with a serious leg injury may cause you to be limited to a sedentary job.

The combination of the depression and anxiety and chronic leg injury may seriously erode the job base to only one or two occupations.

This may be enough to win your Social Security Disability case.

The important thing to remember is that you should tell your doctor about all your serious conditions and seek treatment for them as soon as possible.

Questions about your disability claim? Feel free to contact Illinois Social Security Disability Lawyer Dirk May at 309-827-4371.