Help, the government is taking my disability check away!

             Three issues are on my mind today.
The first: About 57 million or 1 in 5 Americans live with disabilities, and about 38 million or 1 in 10 have a severe disability. The Social Security disability programs provide vital support to only those with the most significant disabilities—about 14 million children and working-age adults. Most people who apply for benefits are denied, and only about 40 percent of applicants are awarded benefits under the strict Social Security definition of disability—even after all stages of appeal.

If you’re part of the 40 %’ers under the age of 50 and receiving disability benefits get ready for a review every three years or so. The procedure of taking away your livelihood is called cessation of benefits.
Cessation of benefits cases usual start with a review of your medical records. I always tell my clients to make sure they get medical treatment. I feel that when SSA pulls your medical records and they don‘t find regular medical treatment, then, a cessation of benefits review begins shortly thereafter. When that happens, make sure you read the fine print. You only have 10 days to appeal the cessation of benefits to keep your check coming in. If you don’t, then well, the check ain’t in the mail.

Next you’ll have a hearing at your local SSA office with a senior staff worker. You can expect to get another cessation of benefits letter after that and you’ll need to appeal that decision to an Administrative Law judge.

 I recommend getting a lawyer early on. You’re in a fight with the government just like you did when you were first approved, way back when.

The 2nd, Folks under the age of 50 are considered younger individuals. The rules for receiving disability change at 50, and 55 plus. I know you might not feel young at 48, but to the government you are.  I recommend going to your local state Rehab office to see if vocational retraining is available within your medical profile prior to filing for benefits. Judges are starting to ask my clients under the age of 50 whether they went to the rehab office or not. I think they’re looking to see if claimants are availing themselves of alternatives to disability. The following are websites for state Rehab offices in areas I practice.

              Finally, I’m seeing a lot of face book ads that promote applying for disability without leaving the comfort of your home. Wow! Yeeehawww! That sounds great, but hold on cowboy. Applying with a national company and not meeting your lawyer at the start is like signing up for the Alamo. It’s important to meet the person who’ll handle your case so an effective strategy can be developed. If not, then you’ll be talking to a case worker who’s never tried a case in their life and you probably won’t even get a lawyer for your trial. Yep Hoss, non-attorney representatives are the norm for national firms.

Knowledge is power and you have the right to meet with the person who’s going to try your case right from the beginning. As John Wayne once said, “life’s tough, it’s even tougher if you’re stupid.” Don’t be stupid. I’m riding into the sunset now, until next time partner, Cliff


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