Pain is a very important factor in a Social Security Disability case.

The reason is that it limits many things you can at home and in a work setting.

The problem is that pain is very difficult to prove and measure.

Most doctors will tell you that there really is no way to test whether pain is present and measure the extent of your pain.

Some objective tests will show that there are reasons a person may be in pain.

Such as an xray that shows broken bones, or an MRI that shows a herniated disc pressing on a nerve, or a nerve test showing neuropathy or radicular pain.

However, pain may exist without any of these indicators.

You are entitled to testify about your pain and how it affects your concentration and ability to function, however, it helps to have supporting documentation.

This may include letters from families and friend describing how you appear to be in pain and what it keeps you from doing.

You might also have your doctor explain in a letter that it is reasonable for you to experience pain and the reasons for this.

A pain diary may also be helpful.

This is basically a journal or notebook describing the type of pain you have each day and what you were able to do or not do as a result of the pain.

Questions about the best way to explain your problems to Social Security? Feel free to contact Illinois Social Security Disability Lawyer Dirk May at 309-827-4371.


The Challenge of Helping the Uninsured Find Coverage –

Click above to read.

Watch for information. Many people who do not have health insurance or cannot get a medical card should be able to obtain coverage after the start of 2014. This will be crucial for people applying Social Security Disability.

Social Security Disability cases take a long time.

It often takes at least 16 months to get your hearing.

So you have to be committed and ready to go the distance.

This means keep on trying no matter what.

You must get into to see Doctors and go to the doctor consistently.

This is, of course, not that easy to do especially if you have no insurance or medical card.

You must tell your doctor about your problems and limitations at your appointments.

You must also ask your doctor to help you detail your conditions and limitations for Social Security Disability. Many doctors do not want to get involved.

You must go to the Social Security Doctor appointments or Social Security will deny you.

You must also get your medical records to Social Security Administration.

When you are denied at any level you must appeal. If you do not appeal then you will have to start over.

Even if you are denied at the hearing you should appeal to the Appeals Council.

If you are denied by the Appeals Council you should reapply. In some cases you should appeal to Federal Court.

The alternative is to give up, or try to work again.

Of course, filing for Social Security Disability is demeaning and a great trial.

That is why having a lawyer is helpful.

Your lawyer can point why things are happening, and help you stay on course, and encourage you not to give up.

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

Yesterday I posted an article regarding Congressional hearings looking into the Social Security Disability process.

Some Congress people were complaining about high approval ratings from the Social Security disability Judges, also known as ALJs.

A little over 10 percent of the Judges have approved 75 percent of the cases coming before them.

That has raised some eyebrows in Congress.

Not to worry for those of us who live in Central Illinois.

There is nothing close to that approval rating from the Judges in the Peoria, Illinois ODAR office.

The website I found that tabulated statistics through early June 2013 shows the following approval rates:

ALJ Wilson 31%
ALJ Sarsfield 37%
ALJ Wood 32%
ALJ Rickert 51%
ALJ Thompson 27%
ALJ Flebbe 21%
ALJ Welsch 26%
ALJ Schwartz 39%

This may explain why some of my clients ask me why there are so many people walking around who have been found disabled and they look like they could work.

First of all, Social Security Disability is not based on looks. It is based on medical evidence.

Second, we tend to judge ourselves less severely than someone else.

Finally, the other people probably had one of those 75 percent approval Judges.

It really is a crazy system that produces such a wide variation in outcomes.

Peoria, Illinois is fairly conservative with an overall approval rate of 34 percent, and the Evanston, Illinois hearing office has a 56 percent approval rating.

What is your experience with your ALJ?

Questions about the best way to prepare for your Social Security Disability hearing? Feel free to contact Illinois Social Security Disability Lawyer Dirk May at 309-827-4371.

(4) Social Security Disability Blog.

Click above to read.

Facebook page with answers to questions.
It may be a little overwhelming at first, but looks it contains some helpful information.

There a number of choices in who you can have represent you in your Social Security Disability case.

You can represent your self.

You can use a law firm who advertises nationally.

These firms are usually in California or New York.

Or you can use a firm who employs representatives who are not lawyers.

There is really no reason to use someone who is not a lawyer.

The fee is the same whether you use a lawyer or representative so you might as well use an experienced Social Security Disability lawyer.

The problem with large firms from New York or California is that their lawyers have little contact with hearing offices in Illinois.

They do not know the judges or what the judges expect.

They also do not know many of the doctors you treat with.

The advantages of local Social Security Disability lawyer is that they see the same judges frequently.

The local lawyer understands what they look for in proving a disability case.

The local lawyer understands why the judges ask certain questions.

The local attorney also knows the vocational experts and how they answer questions crucial to your case.

Your local attorney is also more available to you than some lawyer on the east or west coast.

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

There are two different Social Security Disability programs.

They are called Social Security Disability Insurance (“SSDI”) or Title II, and SSI or Supplemental Security Income.

You must have worked enough quarters in five of the last ten years to be eligible for Social Security Disability.

The advantage of SSDI is that you can work part time and have unlimited assets without reducing your Social Security benefits.

SSI is an income and asset sensitive program. In other words, your SSI benefits are reduced for your income or household income and if you have too many assets then your SSI can be stopped.

When you apply for disability you are asked if you want to apply for SSI.

In most cases you will want to say yes.

There is no penalty to you if apply for SSI and then later are not eligible.

There may be a penalty to you if do not apply for SSI at the time of your application.

For example, if you would have benefited from SSI after being found disabled and did not apply at the time of application then you will lose some benefits.

It could make a difference because Social Security Law says that you cannot be paid regular Social Security Disability benefits for the first 5 months after your onset of disability.

However, you are entitled to SSI for 4 of the first 5 months.

This is the reason you should apply for SSI at the time of your application.

Need help with your Social Security Disability application? Feel free to contact Illinois Social Security Disability Attorney Dirk May at 309-827-4371.