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The Disability Claims Digest
Volume 5                                                                                                          Copyright 2008
In This Issue
Visit our Disability Forum
What is Ticket To Work Program?
What is an Unsuccessful Work Attempt (UWA)?
What is a Trial Work Period (TWP)?
The "Red Book"
Breaking News from Social Security
Can You Work and Receive SS Disability Benefits at the Same Time?
Let's Talk About Substantial Gainful Activity
What is a Continuing Disability Review (CDR)?
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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.
What is the Ticket to Work Program?

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This is a voluntary program run by Social Security to assist people who are applying for or receiving disability to return to the workforce.

Click this link for more information

What is an Unsuccessful Work Attempt (UWA)?

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SSR Ruling 84-25
What is a Trial Work Period
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The Red Book

A general reference tool to guide claimants on the many employment support provisions provided by the Social Security Administration

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Welcome to the fifth edition of our Disability Claims Digest. 

Our clients often times will approach us with questions about whether they are able to work while applying for or receiving Social Security disability or Supplemental Security Income.

How does the Social Security Administration evaluate whether or not a claimant has the ability to work when the person is receiving disability benefits and, in fact, has gone back to work in some capacity?

Does a claimant risk losing his/her benefits by the simple act of returning to work in any capacity?

What is an unsuccessful work attempt? 
What is substantial gainful activity?
What is a trial work period?
What is a continuing disability review?
How do all of these rules affect a claimant?

All of these questions will be addressed in this edition of our digest.

Many of the topics that we will discuss in our monthly digests are frequently asked questions by our clients, and we hope that the information we are sharing will help to clarify some of these complicated issues.

We warmly welcome the referral of anyone that you know who may need help with their Social Security disability claim.  If you have any questions or need help with the processing of your  disability claim or with applying for Medicaid, Medicare or welfare benefits, please do not hesitate to contact us.  We are here to help.

You can reach us at:



Please read on....

Please visit our website for more helpful information and guidance regarding the Social Security claims process.
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Breaking News from
the Social Security Administration...

Breaking News

Social Security hires 144 more Judges

       Economic stimulus package: how much money will you be receiving:  here is the official article from the IRS

Commissioner Astrue Commends President Bush for Fiscal Year 2009 Budget Request

Click here for full article


Can You Work and Receive Social Security Disability Benefits at The Same Time?

The answer is yes, under certain circumstances.  However, the guidelines regarding this issue are very definitive and it is important for claimants to have a complete understanding of this before heading out to work.

Please click the following link to review the return to work guidelines in more detail.

Let's Talk About Substantial Gainful Activity

SGA is defined as the amount a claimant can earn each month while simultaneously receiving disability benefits from Social Security.

Below is a link to the yearly chart with defined SGA levels.  For 2008, a person can actually earn up to $940 a month (if a person is not blind) or up to $1570 a month (if a person is blind) and still be able to collect their disability benefits. 

However, it is important to understand that by going back to work at any time, a claimant's earnings will be reported to Social Security.  This may very well raise a red flag and cause Social Security to investigate further.  There are several ways that they can do this. 

One is by sending the claimant what is called a "work activity report" and asking them to complete it.  This report requires the claimant to explain any and all work that they have done since they began to receive benefits (or since they applied for benefits), what the position is, the amount of money they are being paid, how many hours a week that they work and to list any accommodations extended by the employer that were necessary for the claimant to work.

Social Security may also conduct what is called a "Continuing Disability Review" (CDR).  See below for further information on CDRs.

What is a Continuing Disability Review (CDR)?

Disability Facts Cover PageA Continuing Disability Review (CDR) is conducted by Social Security after a claimant begins to receive disability benefits.  The CDR may occur 6 months, 1 year, 3 years, 7 years or even 10 years after a person has begun to receive their benefits.  This all depends upon a person's age, education, work experience and the nature and severity of the impairments that are preventing them from working.  For instance, with an older person who is 60 years old and has Multiple Sclerosis, which we know to be a progressive disease, a CDR may not be conducted for 10 years.  Where a young person who is 30 years old, who has severe back problems and underwent three back surgeries might have their claim reviewed after 1 year.

When a CDR is conducted, a notice is sent to the claimant.  Social Security will ask the claimant to update them with all of the treatment that has taken place since the claim was awarded, to provide all ongoing symptoms and complaints, information about the claimant's current activities of daily living, what problems the claimant is still having with hygiene, grooming, cooking, cleaning, yard work, laundry, shopping, driving and so froth.  They will also ask for the claimant's current medications and whether or not there are any side affects.  Social Security will also write to the claimant's current medical providers to get updated medical records.  Once they receive all of the documentation they need to conduct the CDR, they will decide whether or not the claimant is still disabled under the rules.

It is advisable that when a claimant receives a notice from Social Security that they are conducting a CDR, that they immediately contact an experienced disability representative to assist them with this process.  There is always the possibility that Social Security could terminate benefits based upon the evidence they gather during the CDR process.
From The President's
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We hope that the information in this edition of our Disability Digest will prove to be beneficial to you or someone you know that is applying for or receiving Social Security disability or Supplemental Security Income benefits.

It is our mission to help as many people as we can to make their way through the frustrating claims process.  We are here to help anyone who is on this journey.  In addition to excellent representation services, we provide all of our clients with guidance, words of comfort, compassion, encouragement and kindness.

If you know of anyone that may benefit from the information contained in our newsletter, please forward it along to them by using the link below.

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

Lisa S. Wagman, CP
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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.

Copyright 2007-2008 by Social Security Disability Benefit Consultants.
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