November 21, 2018

RE-OPENING A SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY CASE THAT WAS CLOSED

Consider the case of an application for Social Security benefits filed by a parent or guardian on behalf of a minor or mentally incompetent person. The initial application is turned down several times on separate occasions. The claimant, who was not represented by an experience Social Security Disability attorney, did not file for reconsideration on any application within the 60 day appeal period.

Four years pass and a new application is filed; the claimant for the first time is represented by an attorney. The Social Security Administration (SSA) denies the application, taking the position that the administrative determination more than four years old could not be reopened, that the prior decisions are final and they bar the claim.

WHEN HIRING AN ATTORNEY CAN CHANGE THE INEVITABLE

But this time around, the claimant has an attorney by his side. The Court of Appeals overruled and reversed the SSA decision.  The Court decided that the claimant did not have the mental competence necessary to request review of the original appeal and ruled that the Social Security Administration must reopen the prior determination and issue a revised determination. This is how experienced Social Security Disability attorneys can make the difference in their client’s lives.

What to look for when selecting a Social Security Disability Attorney.

Social Security Disability law is complex. The experienced attorneys at Hoffman, Larin and Agnetti, PA offer a free consultation so that you can learn your rights. There are no fees for representation before the Social Security Administration in disability claims, unless we win. We have offices throughout south Florida in Dade, Broward and Monroe Counties for your convenience.

SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY AND THE JOBS THAT NO LONGER EXIST

 

The Social Security Administration pays social security disability benefits “only if his physical or mental impairment or impairments are of such severity that he/she is unable to do his previous work and cannot………engage in any other kind of substantial gainful work which exists in the national economy.”

Work which exists in the national economy” means “work which exists in significant numbers either in the region where such individual lives or in several regions of the country.”

What happens if you are able to return to your previous work, but your old job no longer exists in ‘significant numbers in the national economy’? Or doesn’t exist at all?

WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN SOCIAL SECURITY TELLS YOU TO TAKE A JOB THAT DOESN’T EXIST?

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Social Security and Alcoholism

The Social Security Administration (SSA) will not find you to be disabled if alcoholism or drug addiction is a contributing factor material to the determination of whether you are disabled.

This means that even if you are disabled, SSA will decide whether you would be able to work if you stopped using drugs and alcohol.

To reach a finding of disability, the SSA will evaluate which of your current physical and mental limitations, would remain if you stopped using drugs or alcohol and whether those non-drug and alcohol related conditions meet the social security requirements for disability.

Interestingly, SSA does not care whether your other disabling condition resulted from alcohol or drug addiction. So, for example, if you have disabling cirrhosis of the liver which was caused by drinking, the issue is whether cirrhosis of the liver would continue to be disabling if you stopped drinking now. If it is disabling, you are entitled to disability benefits even though the cirrhosis was the result of alcoholism. [Read more…]