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    Mistakes Social Security Judges Can Make On Your Social Security Claim

    Last updated 4 months ago

    A startling number of Social Security disability applications are denied the first time—as many as 70%. Fortunately, many of the applications that do not go through the first time are approved after being analyzed by an administrative law judge. However, some Social Security disability appeals are denied again at this stage. While many of these denials are for legitimate reasons, some are a result of one or more of the following mistakes made by an administrative law judge. 

    Failing to Consider a Physician’s Opinion
    As you prepare for your appeal, you will have your doctor fill out a special form that outlines the nature of your disability and how it limits your work opportunities. Under normal circumstances, an administrative law judge should give that form considerable weight as he makes his decision. If a judge denies an appeal without giving a physician’s opinion sufficient weight, it could be grounds for another appeal.

    Ruling without Sufficient Evidence
    Evidence should be the basis of any decision made by any judge—whether he’s ruling on a criminal case or a disability benefits appeal. If an administrative law judge denies your appeal and discredits your doctor’s notes or other pieces of crucial information, his decision must be backed up with compelling evidence. If it isn’t, consider having a Social Security lawyer help you with another appeal. 

    Misinterpreting Testimony
    In addition to misreading or ignoring a physician’s notes, a judge may misinterpret your testimony or that of a vocational expert. For example, a judge may place an inappropriate emphasis on a vocational expert’s answer to a hypothetical question. This can be very problematic if the premise of the hypothetical question is even slightly different than your circumstances.

    If you suspect that your recent Social Security disability appeal was mishandled in any way, consult Todd M. Berk, Esq. Our Philadelphia legal team can significantly increase the chances of a successful appeal. Call (267) 439-4943 or visit our website to learn more.

    How the SSA Evaluates Mental Illness Disability Claims

    Last updated 4 months ago

    One of the Social Security Administration’s main functions is to provide funds to people who are unable to make a living through their normal work. The SSA doesn’t just provide disability benefits to those who are physically disabled; they also help support people with mental disabilities. However, cases involving mental illness are often complicated.

    The SSA provides benefits for people with mental illnesses, but applicants must first prove that their illness is so severe that it prevents them from holding down a full-time job. The SSA measures an individual’s eligibility for benefits by whether or not they can work at the substantial gainful activity (SGA) level, which is defined as earning $1,070 a month for a whole year. Individuals with one of the mental disorders listed on the SSA’s “Listing of Impairments” may have an easier time receiving benefits.

    If you or someone you love has a mental disability that makes it impossible to keep a full-time job, call Todd M. Berk, Esq. at (267) 439-4943. If you live in or near Philadelphia, our Social Security law firm can help you navigate the complicated Social Security application process. 

    How Are Social Security Disability Back Payments Calculated?

    Last updated 4 months ago

    The process of applying for Social Security disability benefits is often long and fraught with appeals. For this reason, the Social Security Administration offers up to 12 months of back pay for applicants who must wait for benefits to matriculate.

    This video can help explain how the SSA handles back payments. To calculate the number of payments you will receive, count the number of full calendar months from the date of your injury to when you expect to receive your first check, then subtract that total by five months. It’s important to note that the SSA doesn’t pay for the first five months of disability.

    For help making sense of Social Security disability benefits, call Todd M. Berk, Esq. at (267) 439-4943. Mr. Berk has been helping PA residents obtain crucial benefits for more than 30 years.

    Debunking Myths about Social Security Disability Insurance

    Last updated 5 months ago

    If you have a disability that makes it impossible for you to work full time, you may be eligible for Social Security disability benefits. If you’re interested in applying for benefits, you should consider learning as much as you can about the process. Like many people in this country, you may have a few inaccurate ideas about the disability process. Read on to learn the truth behind a few common myths.   

    Myth: All Initial Applications Are Denied
    While it’s true that many Social Security applications are denied the first time around—as many as 70%—thousands of applications go through without a problem. The Social Security Administration gets a lot of disability applications, and their initial screening process is a way to deter would-be defrauders. If you get denied the first time, consider having a Social Security attorney help you with the appeal process.

    Myth: Benefits Are Distributed Immediately Upon Approval
    Once you receive a notification that you’ve been approved for benefits, you might expect to find a check in the mail within a few days. However, the Social Security Administration doesn’t distribute benefits until after a five-month waiting period from the date that applicants are first considered disabled. It’s important to remember that these are full calendar months, and that partial months don’t count toward the waiting period.

    Myth: Only People Who Don’t Work Can Receive Benefits
    You might assume that only people who are too disabled to work are eligible for disability benefits. However, people who work part time are also able to obtain benefits so long as their disability prevents them from working full time. If you have what you might consider a minor disability, ask your attorney if you’re eligible to receive disability benefits.

    Todd M. Berk, Esq. of Philadelphia will gladly help you prepare your Social Security application so you have a greater chance of getting approved the first time. Don’t let a lack of funds make life uncomfortable—call (267) 439-4943 to speak with a skilled and experienced Social Security attorney.

    Tallying the Total Costs Incurred In the Wake of a Personal Injury

    Last updated 5 months ago

    Costly accidents happen every day. But when you’re injured due to the carelessness or recklessness of another person, that individual can be held liable for your losses. If you slip and fall on another person’s property, are involved in a car accident or pedestrian accident, or you’ve experienced the devastation of a misdiagnosis, you could be eligible to file a personal injury lawsuit. Your personal injury lawyer can help you recover compensation for economic and non-economic losses.

    Economic Damages
    All of your verifiable monetary losses are referred to as economic damages. For example, you might lose wages because you were unable to work in the wake of your injuries. Your injury lawyer can recover damages for past wage loss and the loss of your future earning capacity, if you are expected to remain temporarily or permanently disabled. You might also recover damages for the loss of your personal property or property damage. For example, you may have had to pay for car repairs after a vehicular accident. You may have suffered the total loss of your car and the loss of valuables within the car. Your injury attorney can sue for compensation for your medical expenses, both past and future. These can include the cost of surgery, ongoing rehabilitative care, and pharmaceutical expenses.

    Non-Economic Damages
    In addition to recovering compensation for monetary losses, your injury attorney can help you obtain non-economic damages. These are intangible damages, such as compensation for your pain and suffering following a serious injury. You might sue for emotional distress and loss of enjoyment of life. If a loved one also suffered as a result of the negligence of another person, you could sue for loss of consortium, society, and companionship.

    The personal injury lawyers at the office of Todd M. Berk, Esq. understand the devastation that can be caused by the carelessness of another’s actions or negligence. Call (267) 439-4943 to learn how our Philadelphia injury lawyers can help you obtain compensatory damages for your losses. We also handle claims involving matters of Social Security, disability, and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

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