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What to Look For In A Social Security Disability Attorney

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What to Look For In A Social Security Disability Attorney

February 24th, 2017 by

Dealing with the whole court system when fighting for disability insurance is a battle of paperwork and court appearances, and you need someone in your corner fighting for you. Therefore, hiring the right Disability Lawyer will increase your odds of receiving those oh-so-important benefits. You are already dealing with so much that you need a lawyer to simplify the process. But, not all lawyers are created equal. When deciding on your representation, you may want to consider these factors before settling on a lawyer:

What to Look For In A Social Security Disability Attorney

1. What is your experience level?
You of course want an experienced lawyer that is not only aware of all the necessary rules and regulations but how to go around those regulations as well. These things are difficult to teach and can only be picked up with enough experience. Moreover, you should consider asking them about how much experience they have about your specific disability. For this, you may want to shop around before making the final choice.

2. Are you Accredited?
You don’t want just anyone representing you. You want someone who is trained in this field. Therefore, you want someone with the proper accreditation. Ask him or her for his or her credentials. If they refuse, they may not have the proper credits and should not be considered.

3. What is your success rate?
Of course, every situation is different, but knowing that your potential lawyer has some victories under his or her belt should be on the list of factors you are considering. If you have to pick between the lawyer with numerous wins versus numerous loses, you should probably go with the one with the higher success rate.

4. What are your rates and fees?
Obviously, this one is very important to consider. You should also ask what kind of services go into this price such as showing up to court with you, completing paperwork, etc. Don’t assume anything and get in writing to protect yourself.

5, Can I talk to previous clients or read reviews?
Your lawyer can sound like the perfect fit, but then, when you talk to the clients he or she has previously “helped” they may say something to the contrary. Speak to a couple of people, especially if their situation is similar to yours. If your potential candidate doesn’t give you a chance to reach out to them, then he or she may be hiding something. Google and other online entities have taken to publishing reviews online, so make sure to check some out before you choose your attorney.

5 Questions to Ask Your VA Disability Attorney in Ohio

February 6th, 2017 by

Whenever you have to deal with the judicial system, it is always prudent to go into such a process with support. It is nerve-wracking enough to be in front of professionals and a judge. You don’t need that stress especially when you are already dealing with an injury or disability. Therefore, this is where a VA Certified Veterans Disability Lawyer comes in handy.

5 Questions to Ask Your VA Disability Attorney in Ohio

An attorney can help you navigate the legal system to ensure you get what is due to you. While an attorney cannot speed up the VA’s decision, it can help diminish the headaches and obstacles on the way. With so many rules, regulations, and formalities, having a lawyer who is knowledgeable in VA law will be a great asset.

While you may not necessarily need a lawyer when first applying for benefits, using a veteran’s service organization to assist you with the application if need be, you may want to consider at least consulting one if you were to get denied and are considering filing an appeal. But, finding the right lawyer is crucial. Therefore, before you settle on a VA lawyer, make sure to ask the prospects these five questions:

1. Are you VA-accredited?
Lawyers are not-one-size-fits-all. Law is a vast universe of regulations and branches; therefore, having a lawyer who is trained and knowledgeable specifically in Veteran’s law. Not all benefit regulations are universal either, so to get the best results, a VA-accredited attorney is your best choice. You maybe even consider asking for documentation of the accreditation. If he or she is reluctant to show you, that may be cause for suspicion.

2. How long have you been practicing veteran’s law?
You want someone who is experienced to get you the benefits you deserve. He or she will have some tricks up his or her sleeve that is only developed through years of practice and performance. Furthermore, experience will allow the attorney to predict whether or not it is worth pursuing an appeal to help you save some money if it wouldn’t be helpful to get an expensive lawyer.

3. When did you last attend a veteran’s law training?
This question will allow you to judge how up-to-date your prospective attorney on the law. Because laws are ever-changing, it is important for your lawyer to put their pride aside and admit they may not know everything there is to know. Therefore, making sure the lawyer you hire knows that correct updates is vital.

4. How long have you been practicing in this area?
Along with experience in VA law, you should ask how long your prospective lawyer has been practicing in the area. If they have been in Ohio for a while, they may have more knowledge of the judges you may be dealing with. Finding an attorney who has that inside scoop can be helpful.

5. Will you represent me all the way through the process?
It’s good to make these terms clear for both parties even if it seems like you both are on the same page. Perhaps drawing up a contract will help protect both of you during the process.

How a Lawyer Can Help If You Are Denied Social Security Disability Benefits

February 1st, 2017 by

When sending in their applications for Social Security disability benefits, many people feel hopeful and optimistic at first. After all, SSDI or SSI can mean the difference between having a reliable source of income to tide you over while you recover, or not being able to pay for the basic necessities of life because your disability prevents you from working.

How a Lawyer Can Help If You Are Denied Social Security Disability Benefits

Unfortunately, this optimism ends in disappointment more often than not – 67% of initial disability claims are denied by the SSA, which can strike a devastating blow to your hopes for the future. However, it’s important to remember in cases like this that there are still ways you can proceed in order to get the support you deserve – and attorneys are there to make sure that you do not lose hope.

There are several ways that a lawyer can help if you are denied Social Security disability benefits, starting with filing an immediate Request for Reconsideration to have your case reviewed again by a different SSA agent, which may result in a different outcome. Moreover, an attorney will not just utilize the same strategies used before, but will work to understand why your application was initially denied so that you can craft a more convincing case.

If your initial appeal is denied, an attorney will help move the process forward by requesting a hearing before a judge, who will then make a decision after hearing arguments from your lawyer on the merits of your claim. It will be up to your attorney to collect evidence and argue your case in court, which can prove invaluable when you don’t have knowledge of the legal system, or don’t have the time or energy to deal with the evidence and documentation process.

Finally, your lawyer will continue to fight for you at all levels of the appeals process, which escalates to a Court of Appeals if you believe that the decision made in your court hearing was unjust. If this does not work and you have a strong enough case to prove that you were discriminated against in some way when the decision was made, your attorney can file a lawsuit against the SSA in federal court, which is extreme but may end up being the step you need to take.

SSDI and Fluid Overload Syndrome

January 24th, 2017 by

Fluid overload syndrome, also known as hypervolemia, is a condition in which excess fluid builds up in the body. The fluid, comprising mostly water and sodium, accumulates in the body’s tissues. This may causing symptoms such as bloating, weight gain, and swelling of the arms, hands, face and abdomen.

SSDI and Fluid Overload Syndrome

With this condition, the body must contend with an abnormally high level of sodium. Usually, excess sodium is eliminated from the body by urination. In the case of hypervolemia, the salt is not eliminated. This can cause an unquenchable thirst, which leads to more fluid in the body, more salt and water retention, and more work for the heart and lungs.

If left untreated, this fluid may make its way into the lungs’ empty air spaces, a condition which is also known as pulmonary edema. Shortness of breath, coughing and fatigue, urinary problems and even confusion can result. Eventually, the heart will not be able to work hard enough to pump the excess fluid through the body. Therefore, the amount of oxygen that can circulate through the blood and organs is drastically reduced. Most often, this condition leads to chronic heart failure.

A variety of causes can lead to fluid overload syndrome. Among them are excess salt intake, pre-existing heart or kidney disorders, cirrhosis of the liver, chemotherapy, excess stress and malnutrition caused from a low intake of protein.

In order to receive Social Security Disability Benefits (SSDI), the Social Security Administration needs to see the results of a medical examination that proves symptoms of fluid overflow syndrome. The agency looks for things such as excessive chest and/or abdomen fluid, hypertension, shortness of breath and fatigue.

The agency also requires evidence that proves the validity of the diagnosis and symptoms. This means reports of clinical visits, treatments and your response to them, lab records and the like. The information and evidence you submit should cover a period of at least 90 days. If you have any, submit any findings for a kidney or a bone biopsy. Report the results from an estimated glomerular filtration rate, which is a reading of your kidneys’ ability to filter liquids.

You can find more information on SSDI requirements for this syndrome here. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is also a good resource for a more thorough description of the fluid overload syndrome. Further, the Akron/Cleveland corridor has some of the finest doctors and specialists in the country. To find one, check out the websites of the Cleveland Clinic, MetroHealth and UH Hospitals.

How to Get Disability for Cancer Treated by Bone Marrow Transplant

January 9th, 2017 by

If you are recovering from cancer treatment or you currently have cancer, you may qualify for benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA). Since there are so many forms of cancer, and it affects people differently, disability benefits are evaluated based on multiple factors. The SSA listings evaluate all cancers, or malignant neoplastic diseases, except those associated with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection.

What is Considered During Evaluation?

When the SSA evaluates cancer, there are a few factors that are considered. First, the origin of the cancer is determined. Next, the extent of involvement is weighed. Then, they evaluate the duration, frequency, and response to anticancer therapy and treatment. Finally, any effects of post-therapeutic residuals are researched.

In relation to cancer treated by bone marrow transplants, this criteria is applied and evaluated based on this specific type of cancer. There are two types of transplantation: allogeneic transplantation and autologous transplantation. If you received bone marrow through allogeneic transplantation, you may qualify for disability until at least 12 months from the date of the treatment. However, in the case of autologous transplantation, you can qualify for disability at least 12 months from the date of the first treatment under the treatment plan that includes a transplant. With either case, you are then evaluated according to the impairment criteria for the affected body system.

Cancer Listings evaluated by the SSA

What Evidence is Needed?

When applying for disability benefits, certain evidence is required. To obtain benefits for cancer, medical evidence that specifies the type, extent, and site of the primary, recurrent, or metastatic lesion must be presented. In addition, for operative procedures, an operative note and pathology note are required. If these documents are not supplied, a summary of hospitalization or other medical reports will be accepted. These documents should include details of the findings during surgery as well as any pathological findings. Also, if there is any recurrence, persistence, or progression in response to therapy, that evidence should be presented.

Hospitals and Treatment Facilities

Here is a list of hospitals and treatment centers in the Cleveland and Akron areas where individuals can be evaluated and receive treatment:

Cleveland Clinic
UH Hospitals (University Hospitals – Cleveland, Ohio)
Metro Health

Getting Approved For Thyroid Gland Disorders

December 12th, 2016 by

When it comes to Social Security Disability Insurance, there are some instances in which endocrine disorders are covered. Endocrine disorders are defined as a medical condition that causes a hormonal imbalance. According to SSA.gov, these cases are evaluated under the listings for other body systems as seen below.

Social Security Benefits

Pituitary Gland Disorders
Pituitary gland disorders disrupt hormone production and also the normal functions in other endocrine glands. The effects of this will vary depending on the hormones involved. As an example, if the pituitary function affects water and electrolytes in the kidney, then the effects are going to be evaluated under recurrent dehydration.

Thyroid Gland Disorders
Thyroid gland disorders affect both the nervous system and the normal metabolism of your body. Thyroid changes in your blood pressure and heart rate that cause cardiac dysfunction are evaluated under 4.00, weight loss related changes are evaluated under 5.00, strokes are evaluated under 11.00 and cognitive limitations or anxiety is evaluated under 12.00.

Parathyroid Gland Disorders
These gland disorders affect the calcium levels in various parts of your body and they are evaluated under a variety of different areas. Osteoporosis and fractures are evaluated under 1.00, abnormal calcium levels in the blood that causes cataracts are evaluated under 2.00, kidney failure is under 6.00 and low blood calcium levels are under 11.00.

Adrenal Gland Disorders
This gland disorder affects bone calcium levels, metabolism and mental state to name a few. Like the previously mentioned disorders, this is also evaluated under a couple different levels as well. Osteoporosis with fractures that prohibit the ability to walk is evaluated under 1.00, worsened heart failure is under 4.00, adrenal related weight loss is under 5.00 and mood disorders are evaluated under 12.00

If you are looking for treatment in the Cleveland or Akron area, there are several treatment centers around that can help. In the Cleveland area, the Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit medical center located on 100th Street in Cleveland. For those looking for an additional facility, University Hospitals is one of the leading health-care centers and has locations throughout Northeast Ohio. Lastly, MetroHealth is located in Cleveland and prides themselves on being an integrated health system. For those seeking treatment, the three places listed above can offer the most assistance to individuals.

SSDI and Hematological Disorders

December 8th, 2016 by

The Social Security Administration evaluates several different hematological disorders: non-malignant (non-cancerous) disorders like anemias, thrombosis, and bone marrow failure, as well as malignant (cancerous) disorders, such as leukemia, lymphoma, and multiple myeloma, for SSA benefits. Disorders that involve premature red blood cell destruction (hemolytic anemias like sickle cell anemia or thalassemia) can be acquired diseases or congenital. Other hemolytic disorders that involve abnormal hemoglobin structure, cell membrane or enzymes are also included in this classification. Blood disorders related to autoimmune disease (lupus, for example) are included, as are blood disorders caused by heart valves. Clotting and bleeding disorders, such as hemophilia, von Willebrand disease, and thrombocytopenia, are examples of diseases evaluated by the SSA for benefits.

SSDI and Hematological Disorders

A lab test showing the abnormality is required. For example, plasma clotting factor tests showing a Protein C, Protein S, or Factor V Leiden abnormality would be needed to demonstrate a clotting disorder.

You will need the following documentation:

● A laboratory report signed by the doctor and showing evidence of the disorder.

● If the lab test itself is not signed, you need to have a doctor’s signed letter or report stating that you have sickle cell disorder.

● If a lab test is not present, SSA requires a diagnosis report from the physician stating that he/she ran the appropriate test(s), according to standard clinical practice, to diagnose your disorder.

The SSA will look at how your ability to function is impacted, and will also look at complications stemming from the disease. The will assess your ability to “function independently, appropriately, effectively, and on a sustained basis in a work setting.” You must have drastic physical and/or mental limitations in one of these areas: activities of daily living, social functioning, or deficiencies in concentration. The limitations can be caused by the disease itself, symptoms, or treatment and side effects.

SSA will also look at any hospitalizations that have resulted from your disorder, and the hospital stays do not all have to be for the same complication; they will consider hospitalizations resulting from three different complications of the disorder, such as infection, heart attack, or organ failure.

If you don’t already have medical care, consider the hematology experts at the Cleveland Clinic.

How to Get Disability for Parathyroid Gland Disorders

November 16th, 2016 by

Some individuals may believe that they are only able to receive social security disability payments if they happen to be visibly disabled, such as a condition that causes you to be in a wheelchair or being legally blind, but that’s not the case. One such condition that is not readily apparent that can qualify you to receive social security disability is parathyroid gland disorders.

How to Get Disability for Parathyroid Gland Disorders

What is Parathyroid Gland Disorders

Parathyroid gland disorder is an endocrine disorder, and your endocrine system is the one that handles the hormone levels in your body. This disorder has an impact on the level of calcium that is found within your body, and it can either be too high or too low. Your bones aren’t the only part of your body that requires calcium as it’s necessary to for your blood, muscles, nerves, and other tissues. This disorder can lead to osteoporosis and bone fractures in the case of not having enough calcium in the system to having too much calcium which can cause cataracts, kidney failure, muscle spasms and tetany. These impairments can lead to being unable to work, and if your parathyroid gland disorder falls within the particular levels as noted by the social security administration, you can start the documentation process while being treated.

Where Can Parathyroid Gland Disorders Be Treated in Northeastern Ohio

There are a number of excellent facilities available in Northeastern Ohio where you can receive the treatment you need for your disorder, and start the paperwork process necessary to qualify for social security disability. The Cleveland Clinic has satellite facilities around Northeastern Ohio to help prevent you from having to always travel downtown to be seen by your chosen physician. University Hospitals is another large hospital system in the area that provides top-notch care. A final large hospital system in the Cleveland area includes the Metrohealth Hospital System. Akron General is available down in the Akron region along with the Summa Health System. Contact your choice of provider based on your location, insurance, specialty, and whether or not they are taking new patients. Documentation is your friend when it comes to social security.

Social security disability can be a difficult road for anyone. Suffers of parathyroid gland disorders are just as worthy as others in being eligible for disability. Sometimes it can be prudent to get an expert in your corner that has dealt with many other similar cases to your own to get the insight you need in handling your approval process as smoothly as possible. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you.

How to Get Disability Benefits for Endocrine Disorders

November 7th, 2016 by

The Social Security Administration (SSA) offers benefits for a range of categories that qualify as disabilities. One of those categories is endocrine disorders, which cause hormonal imbalance in the major glands, including the pituitary, thyroid, pancreas, parathyroid, and adrenal. These medical conditions cause certain glands to function abnormally—producing either too little or too much of a specific hormone—which causes various complications for your body.

How to Get Disability Benefits for Endocrine Disorders

How are Endocrine Disorders Evaluated?

The SSA evaluates impairments caused by endocrine disorders based on the affected body systems. As stated above, these disorders affect the major glands of the endocrine system. Your evaluation depends on what hormones and body systems are affected.

Pituitary gland disorders can disrupt hormone production and normal functioning of some of the other glands and body systems. The effects vary depending on which hormones are impaired. Thyroid gland disorders affect the sympathetic nervous system and often throw metabolism off balance. Having a thyroid disorder can cause extreme weight loss, changes in blood pressure, and heart arrhythmias. Parathyroid gland disorders attack calcium levels in bone, blood, nerves, muscle, and other body tissues, which can lead to osteoporosis, kidney failure, and muscle spasms. Adrenal gland disorders cause changes in bone calcium levels, blood pressure, metabolism and mental status. Heart failure, weight loss, and mood disorders can often be related to these disorders. Pancreatic gland disorders disrupt the production of insulin, as well as several other hormones, that regulate metabolism and digestion. The most common pancreatic disorder is diabetes mellitus.

To find out if your impairment meets the criteria for benefits, click here. If your disability does not meet or medically equal the requirements of any of the listings, you may or may not qualify.

Requirements

There are certain requirements you must provide in order to be considered for disability benefits. First, you are responsible for supplying medical evidence that proves you have an impairment and states the severity of the impairment in order to determine your disability status. This medical evidence can be obtained from your doctor or medical professional that has treated your condition. Second, if further evidence is needed, a consultative examination must be arranged. The source of treatment needs to fill out a report, and you should also give evidence of any symptoms you experience that are related to the disorder.

Hospitals and Treatment Facilities

If you have diabetes mellitus, you should contact a medical professional immediately to start receiving disability benefits. Here is a list of hospitals and treatment centers in the Cleveland and Akron areas where individuals can be evaluated and receive treatment:

Cleveland Clinic
UH Hospitals (University Hospitals – Cleveland, Ohio)
Metro Health

SSDI and Hemolytic Anemias

November 1st, 2016 by

Anemia conditions can be mild or severe, and the Social Security Administration looks closely at the severity of medical symptoms that negatively impact red blood cells. Some anemia conditions are so crippling that hospitalization and special medical treatment is the only way to get relief. Hemolytic anemia falls into this category. If you’ve been diagnosed with hemolytic anemia, and your condition is so acute that it makes holding down a job difficult, or impossible, you may be eligible for SSDI benefits.

SSDI and Hemolytic Anemias - linerlegal.com

How do you qualify?

In order to evaluate your need for benefits, SSA requires a laboratory report from a reputable doctor as proof that you indeed have hemolytic anemia.

Medical Reports

There are two types of medical laboratory reports that are accepted by SSA as evidence of your condition. The first type of report shows a positive test for hemolytic anemia, which is a common hematological disorder. The report is signed by a physician. You can also turn in an unsigned lab test report that shows conclusively that you have the disorder. 

When no official hematological report is available you have a third option. You can ask your doctor to write a physician report that includes a definitive diagnosis of hemolytic anemia. A simple statement isn’t enough to be persuasive. This report must state that you’ve had the appropriate lab tests, and those tests provide absolute proof that you have this type of hematological disorder. If the doctor isn’t able to use a lab test, another type of acceptable proof must back up the diagnosis stated in the report.

If you are between doctors, SSA makes every effort to gain access to lab tests taken previously. However, they won’t pay for test results that are expensive, complex or invasive.

Deeper Evaluation

The agency evaluates hemolytic anemia arising from inherited disorders including sickle cell disease, spherocytosis, thalassemia and systemic lupus. Since complications vary so much, SSA allows for all sorts of complications when patients are hospitalized. They also accept hemoglobin measurements taken during acute episodes, instead of making you give measurements when you’re pain free.

Consideration of Symptoms

Common symptoms you may feel during the worst episodes are fatigue, malaise and various levels of pain. To be considered for SSDI these symptoms must directly correlate with your lab test results. The agency considers the severity of symptoms, and how your symptoms impact your ability to function on a daily basis. Whether you are currently undergoing treatment for your condition, or correctly following treatment, is not a factor in its decision to award benefits.