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Dallas SSDI attorneysA colleague of mine once shared an anecdote about a recent disability case of his that had gone terribly, terribly wrong. The evidence was strong, the judge was fair, and the client's testimony was compelling. The problem? When asked if there was anything else he wanted to share with the judge, the client responded, 'Your honor, if I could work, I would. In fact, I've looked everywhere for work, but I just can't find anything.'

This beautifully illustrates one of the cardinal rules of good advocacy-never ask a question you don't know the answer to. But for purposes of Social Security disability, it also illustrates just how counterintuitive the disability process can be. As this blog explains, disability law often entails more than meets the eye.

By any other measure, looking for work should be helpful to a disability case. After all, doesn't it suggest that the person is genuinely striving to become self-sufficient and avoid dependency on governmental benefits? Well, to a judge, it suggests something very different. In our experience, most judges assume that a disabled person simply knows deep down that he is disabled. Based on this logic, the judge assumes that a person who is looking for work must not believe he is disabled. Interestingly, despite this assumption, The Social Security Administration actually encourages disability recipients to try to return to work through the Ticket to Work program and The Plan to Achieve Self-Support program. Nevertheless, disability judges routinely hold this against claimants who may truly be unable to hold a job.

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Why won't you take my SSDI/SSI case?

Posted on in Uncategorized

Dallas SSDI attorneysEvery month, we are contacted by potential clients all across the nation asking if we can help them with their SSDI/SSI case. We strive to be as selective as possible in taking only the strongest cases up to the federal government. As a result, this means we cannot take every case and we unfortunately have to turn down a large number of potential clients. This inevitably raises a question: 'why won't you take my case?' In this post, we want to discuss some of the more common issues we encounter and give you an idea how we decide whether a case meets our standards for representation.

We first want to stress, however, that our callers are some of the most sincere, deserving individuals, many of whom are suffering terminal and lifelong illnesses that legitimately keep them from working. Unfortunately, not every deserving case is possible to prove in court. As attorneys, we are ethically bound to only take only the cases we reasonably believe will be meritorious. We, therefore, are selective not only by choice, but also by duty.

Also bear in mind that this post is intended only to address the most common issues we see, and none of these factors may be relevant to your case. Every SSDI/SSI case is unique, and deciding whether to take a case involves a careful review of a constellation of different factors.

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Dallas SSDI attorneysJust how long do Social Security disability applicants have to wait to appeal their denied claims? According to an alarming report from the Associated Press, as long as two years in some states.

The AP's investigation found that Miami had the longest SSDI waits nationwide, with an average wait of 22 months to see an administrative judge following a claim denial. Brooklyn, Spokane, Fort Myers weren't much better with 20-month waits. Nationally, the average wait to appeal an SSDI denial is 16 months.

These long waits can have devastating effects on applicants who are in desperate need of relief and medical attention. Unable to work and lacking the support they need, many must rely on loved ones to support them until they get to see a judge and make their case for benefits. Others find themselves without crucial medication or insufficient or intermittent medical treatment that leaves them suffering.

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Dallas SSDI attorneysAfter months of debate by lawmakers over the future of Social Security Disability Insurance program, the program has been restored with funds that will keep it solvent until 2022. That replenishment comes with President Obama's signing a new federal budget earlier this month that reallocates some federal money to the SSDI program, but also comes with caveats to quell the concerns of the program's opponents.

As MetroNews reports, much of the SSDI debate had been drowned out over other national fiscal concerns, namely the debt ceiling and a possible government shutdown. However, many eyes were on a possible SSDI fix since, earlier this year, SSDI Trustees reported an "urgent threat of reserve depletion." Congress conservatives had opposed to saving the program with Social Security retirement funds, which had been the source of numerous SSDI restorations in the past.

In the new federal budget, however, that is basically how the depleted SSDI program will be replenished-money will once again be shifted from the Social Security retirement fund to the SSDI account. The plan also calls for .57% of the 12.4% payroll tax from 2016 to 2018.

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Dallas SSDI attorneysIn report last month from the Social Security trustees, officials confirmed what many economists, lawmakers, and advocates have been predicting for some time: without action from Congress, the Social Security Disability program will be depleted by the end of 2016. The depletion would result in a 19% cut in benefits for the nearly 11 million Americans who depend on them.

AsThe Washington Post reports, the Social Security trustees called for quick action to maintain the program's solvency. "Social Security's Disability Insurance (DI) Trust Fund now faces an urgent threat of reserve depletion," the new report stated, "requiring prompt corrective action by lawmakers if sudden reductions or interruptions in benefit payments are to be avoided."

For the last 25 years, whenever there has been a looming threat of SSDI depletion, Congress has agreed to replenish the program with funds from the much more robust Social Security retirement program. This year, however, Republicans are taking a hard line against this method and are demanding a new, long-term solution to keep the program funded.

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