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The Disability Claims Digest
Volume 2                                                                                                          Copyright 2007
In This Issue
What is a "Representative Payee"
Visit Our Disability Forum
Paying Taxes on Disability Benefits
Saving on Medical Record Copy Costs
How to Speak Social Security's Language
Help With Medicare Prescription Drug Plan Costs
Breaking News from SSA
Determining Your Chances for Winning a Claim?
How Does SSA Determine a Claim?
LTD Benefits and Social Security
We represent Social Security disability claimants locally, regionally and nationally.
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Quick Links

American Disability Association

The National Spinal Cord Injury Association

Cystic Fibrosis Foundation

Learning Disabilities Association of America

International Center for Disability Resources on the Internet

National Parkinson's Foundation

Americans with Disabilities Act

Muscular Dystrophy Association

United Cerebral Palsy

National Organization on Disability

National Multiple Sclerosis Society

What is a "Represen-
tative Payee

Click Here

Our Disability Forum
Please visit our disability forum where you can  post a question, respond to a post or share any of your thoughts and experiences with us and others that are on the same journey.
Paying Taxes on Disability Benefits

Tidbit #1
Save on Medical Record Copy Costs

Tid Bit #2

Many states have implemented rules that require medical providers to charge a small nominal fee for medically indigent individuals who are applying for Federal disability benefits.

For example, Michigan and Connecticut require one free copy of medical records be provided to a medically indigent person.

Illinois sets the cap for record copy fees to $20 for a medically indigent person.

If you are able to show proof of medical indigence, most medical providers will charge a nominal fee or provide records for free. 

Please click below to review a state-by-state guideline prepared by Georgetown University.

Record Copy Laws

Glossary of Social Security Terms

Tid Bit #3

Below is a link to terms and abbreviations used by Social Security


Help With Medicare Prescription Drug Plan Costs
Tid Bit #4

If you qualify financially, you  may be able to waive the cost of your Medicare premiums every month while receiving disability benefits.

Click here for more information:

Join Our Mailing List

Welcome to the second edition of our Disability Claims Digest. 

In this edition, we will be sharing with you some invaluable information and resource links relating to disability and the disability claims process.


There is so much information out there on the internet regarding the subject of disability claims that it can be quite overwhelming.  It is our desire to ease your research burden by helping you to find the information you are seeking, to understand the information once you find it, and to learn how to act on that information to your benefit.
If someone you know is filing for disability, it is our hope that you will share this newsletter with them.  Please look for a link at the bottom of our newsletter which will allow you to forward it along.

We are here to answer any questions you may have regarding the disability claims process.  Please feel free to email us or call us with any questions.



Please read on....

Breaking News from
the Social Security Administration...

Breaking News

The country's first baby boomer Kathleen Casey-Kirschling just filed for Social Security retirement benefits.


The annual Cost of Living Increase, which is effective 12/07, is 2.3% for those receiving Social Security and Supplemental Security Income benefits.  This increase is based on the Consumer Price Index from the third quarter of 2006 through the third quarter of 2007.

The monthly Medicare premium will increase from $93.50 to $96.40 as of 12/07.


How do I know what my chances are for successfully winning benefits?

Blue arrow upIt is most advisable and extremely beneficial to speak with a knowledgeable disability representative to properly evaluate the severity of your medical condition(s) as well as other important facts such as your age, your education level, your work experience and other important variables.  A disability representative can assess your chances for successfully winning benefits and can advise you how to proceed from there.

It is helpful to have a representative on board from the beginning of your claim, however, if your claim has already been denied, you may appoint a representative at any time during the claims process.

Keep in mind that statistics show that the chances for approval of disability benefits are greatly increased with the services of a skilled and trained professional.

How is a claim determined?

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Social Security uses a "Sequential Analysis" approach when determining a claim.  The 6 steps of this analysis are as follows:

1.  Is there a medically determinable impairment?

2.  Is the impairment severe?

3.  Will it last at least 12 months?

4.  Does it meet or equal the listings?

5.  Can the claimant do past work?

6.  Can the claimant do other work?

In order to be successful with a disability claim, claimants must prove that their condition is severe under Social Security's definition of severe. A claimant must also prove that the severe impairment has already lasted or will last at least 12 months, that they cannot perform any of their past work and, most importantly, that they cannot perform any other work in the general economy.

Oftentimes, Social Security will only obtain a portion of the medical records that they are told about.  Therefore, they will not have all of the evidence before them to make an educated and informed decision.

They will also have a vocational expert review the claim paying particular attention to a claimant's age, education level and past work experience.  This is reviewed by the expert to determine whether a claimant can perform any of their past work or any other work.

Another phase of the review process involves a review of the evidence by Social Security's in-house medical team.  This is done to determine whether or not an impairment is severe under their rules.

Social Security may also send claimants to outside physicians and/or psychologists which they hire to conduct an examination and evaluation.  These physicians usually do not have the benefit of a claimant's medical records and are asked to make an objective assessment of the claimant's impairments.  A report is rendered by the doctor to Social Security which then becomes evidence.

Once these tasks are completed, a determination is made and a letter is generated advising the outcome of the claim.
Long Term Disability Benefits and Social Security - What you need to know.

Disability form & calculator

Short and long term private disability insurance policies can provide additional income to individuals who are unable to work due to an illness or injury.

Private disability insurance can be purchased by an individual, a company, an organization or governmental entity.

Only some states provide short term disability insurance for individuals who will temporarily be out of work due to an unfortunate illness or injury (usually six months or less). 

If the state that you reside in does not provide for short term disability insurance, it may be necessary for you to consider purchasing such a policy.

A private long term disability policy will usually pay 60% of your gross income should you become unable to work.  But policies offer a variety of benefits so you need to research this carefully and choose the right policy for you.

For more information concerning long and short term disability policies, please visit the link below:

The long term disability claims process does not usually take as long as a Social Security disability claim.  Interestingly, the long term disability carriers usually do not impose as strict a criteria as Social Security when deciding whether to award a claim.

Once you begin to receive private disability benefits the amount they pay should include the base amount due from the LTD carrier plus what they estimate to be the amount of your Social Security disability payment.   This, of course, depends upon the policy language.

Additionally, the LTD carrier will require you to sign a promissory agreement that you will immediately file for Social Security disability.  The reason for this is that they do not want to have to pay the additional estimated amount to you for longer then necessary.

The Social Security disability claim may take many months if not a year or two to process.  During this time, the LTD carrier will be paying you their base monthly benefit plus the estimated Social Security monthly benefit.  Once you win your Social Security claim and you receive your back benefits, the LTD carrier will issue you an overpayment letter.  They will be requesting that you reimburse them for any months that you received both Social Security disability benefits
and the estimated amount of Social Security benefits that they fronted to you.

For example, if the LTD carrier paid you $3,000 per month and $1,500 of that was the estimated Social Security payment, you would then have to pay back $1,500 per month for each and every month that you actually did receive Social Security benefits.

Interestingly, the recent laws regarding the LTD carrier's request for reimbursement of the overpayment have been ever changing.  There are many situations where you may or may not need to pay back the LTD carrier.  If you do find yourself in this situation, it is advisable to consult with an attorney who is current with Long Term Disability and ERISA laws.

Here are some helpful articles that address many of the LTD/ERISA issues that face claimants today:

From The President's
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Thank you for taking the time to review the contents of our newsletter.  Many of the links that we have provided are also quite informative and we hope that you are able to benefit from these excellent sources.

If you would like for us to perform a free assessment of your chances for successfully winning benefits, you can either call us or complete our free questionnaire by visiting our website.

Until next time, take care and be well.
Sincerely yours,

Lisa S. Wagman, CP
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Our free case assessment allows us to quickly evaluate your claim. Just click on the link below to complete our disability information form.  We will contact you within 24-48 hours with our assessment.


Social Security Disability Benefit Consultants is a subdivision of Premier Legal Services, LLC.  We are independent benefit consultants authorized by law to represent claimants before the Social Security Administration from the initial application to the Appeals Council level.  We are in no way affiliated with the Social Security Administration directly.

We do not provide any legal advice.  Our newsletter is a general service that provides legal information.  We are not a law firm.  The information contained in this newsletter is general legal information and should not be construed as legal advice to be applied to any specific factual information.  We do not endorse any content provided by any linked sites, nor do we assume any responsibility for the interpretation or application of any information originating from such content.