Free Consumer Reports

  • Long Term Disability Guide

    Robbed of Your Peace of Mind? Your Guide to Long Term Disability Benefits

    View Details

  • Hiring a Great Long Term Disability Attorney

    The Key To Hiring The Right Long Term Disability Attorney

    View Details

  • #

    The Smart Long Term Disability Guide For Preparing Your Statement and Field Visit

    View Details

  • Social Security Disability Guide

    Your Rights To Social Security Disability Benefits - Your Guide to Getting Benefits Now

    View Details

Category Archives: Blog - Page 2

SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY BENEFITS AND ACUTE LEUKEMIA

Leukemia social security disability

If you’ve been diagnosed with acute leukemia you may be entitled to Social Security disability benefits. The Social Security Administration uses a 5 Step sequential evaluation to determine if you are entitled to Social Security disability benefits.

Leukemia social security disability

How does the Social Security Administration decide if I qualify for disability benefits for leukemia?

The Social Security Administration will consider whether or not your leukemia is severe enough to meet a listing at Step 3 of the sequential evaluation process. There is a medical listing 3.06A for acute leukemia. The Social Security Administration will want to see a pathology report documenting the results of a bone marrow biopsy. If you meet or equal a listing because of the leukemia you are considered disabled at Step 3 and will be awarded your benefits.

Leukemia and Steps 4 and 5 of the sequential evaluation process

If your leukemia does not meet a listing, the Social Security Administration will determine your residual functional capacity to determine whether or not you qualify for benefits at Step 4 and 5 of the sequential evaluation process.

What is residual functional capacity?

Residual functional capacity is the work that you might still be able to do despite your leukemia. Residual functional capacity forms for leukemia should be given to your physician to complete to document your physical restrictions and limitations.

Step 4 and Leukemia

At Step 4 of the 5 Step sequential evaluation the Social Security Administration will determine if you are able to return to the lightest job you’ve held in the last 15 years. It’s important to develop physical requirements of your former occupations and explain why you physically can’t handle the job duties. If you are successful in establishing you meet Step 4, the burden of proof will then shift to the Social Security Administration at Step 5.

Step 5 and Leukemia

The Social Security Administration will have to show at Step 5 that there are other jobs in the national economy that you can do based on your age, education, skills and your level of physical functioning.

The symptoms of leukemia can include fatigue, weakness and even bone pain. The treatment of acute leukemia also involves chemotherapy. Unfortunately, there are many side effects from chemotherapy. These can include tingling and numbness of your fingers and toes, fatigue and even diahrea. When your physician completes a residual functional capacity form it’s important that those symptoms be developed so that you can prove that there isn’t another job that exists in the national economy based on your restrictions and limitations.

Getting the Social Security disability benefits you deserve

The Social Security Administration doesn’t always make it easy for those who are disabled from leukemia to get the Social Security disability benefits they deserve. It’s important that you have an experienced leukemia Social Security disability attorney who can work with you and your physician to develop the residual functional capacity form.

Getting you doctor’s medical opinion about what you can still do is crucial to winning your Social Security disability claim. But, just as important, is your testimony establishing the functional problems you have as a result of fatigue, bone pain and the lingering side effects of your treatment.

If your Social Security disability claim for leukemia has been denied, contact Social Security attorney Nancy Cavey who can help you get the Social Security disability benefits you deserve in Tampa Bay. Call today for a free no obligation consultation at 727-894-3188.

How Developing Your Exertional and Non-exertional Limitations Can Help You Win Your Long Term Disability Claim

non exertional limitations

Many long term disability carriers will deny policyholder’s claims on the basis that there isn’t an objective basis for any physical restrictions and limitations and/or there is no causal relationship between those restrictions and limitations and your inability to your own occupation or any occupation.

It’s crucial that you develop both the exertional and non-exertional limitations that affect your ability to your own or any occupation.

Exertional limitations for Long Term Disability Claims

Exertional limitations affect your ability to do the physical demands of the job. Most exertional limitations are strength related and they affect your ability to:

• Sit;
• Stand;

• Walk;
• Lift;
• Carry;
• Push; and
• Pull.

The long term disability carrier will use your exertional limitations to categorize your residual functional capacity using the Dictionary of Occupational Titles and Definitions for work levels:

• Sedentary;
• Light;
• Medium;
• Heavy; or
• Heavy work.

If your physician says that you are capable of doing sedentary work, the long term disability carrier will immediately deny your benefits.

If you can’t carry more than 10 pounds on a regular basis or never lift more than 20 pounds, you will have a residual functional capacity for light work. If you can do light work, you can do sedentary work. That means you’ll lose your claim for long term disability benefits.

Non-exertional limitations for Long Term Disability Claims

Many long term disability carriers ignore non-exertional limitations that affect your ability to do non-strength work related work activities.

Examples of non-exertional limitations include difficulty doing the following tasks:

• Manipulative restrictions and limitations.

If you have difficulty using your fingers or hands to manipulate, reach or handle objects, you `have manipulative restrictions and limitations that can limit your ability to engage in repetitive activities with your hands.

• Postural restrictions.

If your doctor has restricted your stooping, climbing, crawling or crouching, those postural restrictions and limitations can also erode your ability to do sedentary work.

• Visual and communicative restrictions.

If you have difficulty seeing, speaking or hearing as a result of your disabling medical condition, you’ll have visual and communicative restrictions that will limit your ability to do sedentary work.

• Psychological limitations.

You may have difficulty functioning because of nervousness, anxiety or depression. You may have difficulty paying attention and concentrating or understanding and remembering detailed instructions. These psychiatric restrictions and limitations can reduce your ability to do sedentary work.

Non-exertional limitations can also be caused by pain or side effects of medication. If you or a loved one needs help with a Long Term Disability claim, please don’t wait to contact us today. Often waiting to file for long term disability can prolong the process. Call 727-894-3188 today.

What Every Social Security Disability Applicant Must Know About Non-Exertional Limitations

non exertional limitations

In evaluating your claim for Social Security disability benefits, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will consider how your exertional and non-exertional limitations affect your ability to work.
Residual functional capacity forms.

non exertional limitations

Residual functional capacity forms (RFC) are detailed reports your physician completes that discusses how your impairments impact your ability to perform work related activities. The Social Security Administration has never told you about these forms! Your doctor probably doesn’t have one in their office.

Having a properly completed residual functional capacity form is crucial to winning your Social Security disability claim.

Exertional limitations

Many Social Security disability applicants have exertional limitations that impact their ability to do the physical demands of the job. Exertional limitations are strength related and can affect your ability to:

• Sit;
• Stand;
Walk;
• Lift;
• Carry; and
• Pull.

Just as important as these exertional limitations are non-exertional impairments.

Non-exertional limitations

What are non-exertional limitations? They are functional limitations that affect your ability to do non-strength work related activities. Examples of non-exertional limitations include:

• Difficulty using fingers and hands to manipulate, reach or handle objects (manipulative restrictions);
• Stooping, climbing, crawling or crouching (postural restrictions);
• Seeing, speaking or hearing (visual and communication restrictions);
• Functioning because of nervousness, anxiety or depression;
• Paying attention or concentrating;

• Understanding or remembering detailed instructions; and
• Being around noise, dust or hot and cold temperature.

Non-exertional limitations caused by pain can also be caused by pain or can result from mental illness.

The combination of exertional and non-exertional impairments

The Social Security Administration will combine your exertional and non-exertional impairments to determine your level of physical functioning. It’s crucial that your physician complete a winning residual functional capacity form documenting your exertional and non-exertional impairments.

When the Social Security Administration looks at Step 5 of the 5 Step sequential evaluation to determine whether there are less demanding jobs that you can perform, having non-exertional restrictions can rule out jobs. So, for example, it’s not unusual for vocational evaluators to testify in Social Security hearings at Step 5 that there are sedentary jobs you might be capable of doing. However, non-exertional limitations such as problems using your fingers or hands to manipulate, reach or handle objects can eliminate sedentary jobs such as assembly work and ticket taker.

Getting help with your RFC

Having your physician complete the RFC is crucial and having an attorney assist you in developing the right residual functional capacity form is key to winning your case. If you have non-exertional limitations that prevent you from working, contact Tampa Bay Social Security disability attorney, Nancy Cavey, who can help you get the Social Security disability benefits you deserve.

Your Plan for Long Term Disability Benefits and a Functional Capacity Evaluation

functional capacity evaluation disability

One of the best ways to establish your functional restrictions and limitations is a functional capacity evaluation. However, all to often, long term disability carriers use functional capacity evaluations as a basis to deny claims.

functional capacity evaluation disability

Many long term disability carriers will deny claims on the basis there is no objective basis for the physical restrictions and limitations assigned by your physician. The long term disability carrier will request a functional capacity evaluation to determine the validity of your subjective complaints and prove you can work.

What is a functional capacity evaluation?

A functional capacity evaluation is a 3 to 5 hour comprehensive evaluation used to determine your current physical ability to sit, stand, walk, lift and carry. Your mobility, strength, endurance, sensation, hand function and gross/fine motor coordination will also be evaluated. Part of the testing will determine your consistency of effort and, long term disability carriers can deny claims on the basis that you failed to give full effort during the course of the functional capacity evaluation.

Test for malingering During The Functional Capacity Evaluation

The functional capacity evaluator will perform a Waddell’s test. The Waddell’s test is a group of signs that are part of a physical examination and are divided into 5 groups:

1. Regional disturbance;
2. Distraction;
3. Simulation;
4. Tenderness; and
5. Overreaction.

For example, in the simulation test the evaluator will press down on your head. If you complain of back pain while the functional capacity examiner is pressing down on your neck, that’s a sign of a non-organic response. If you have 3 or more positive signs on the Waddell’s testing, it’s positive for symptom magnification. The long term disability carrier will accuse you of exaggerating your symptoms.

The functional capacity evaluator will also be looking for inappropriate description of symptoms which can include:

• Whole leg pain;
• Whole leg numbness;
• Whole leg giving out;
• Tailbone pain; and
• The failure of medical treatment and no pain free periods.

Psychometrics testing in the FCE

You may be given a battery of psychometric testing to assess your perceived pain and disability. The lack of consistent findings can suggest a non-organic influence that has more to do with illness behavior than physical disease. The testing can include:

• Ransford pain drawing;
• Numeric pain rating scale;
• McGill pain questionnaire;
• Dallas pain rating questionnaire;
• Waddell’s testing; and
• Oswestry pain questionnaire.

As a long term disability attorney, I seriously question whether the psychometric testing is a legitimate part of a functional capacity evaluation and would suggest that you refuse to take any psychometric testing. You should, fully, otherwise cooperate with the functional capacity evaluation.

Getting the long term disability benefits you deserve

If you’ve been scheduled for a functional capacity evaluation, you are, most likely, being set up for a claims denial.

You should first check your policy to see if whether or not the long term disability carrier even has the right to a functional capacity evaluation. If the policy doesn’t allow for the functional capacity evaluation, I would strongly recommend that before going you consult with a long term disability attorney and see if they agree with you. You shouldn’t subject yourself to testing that is not permitted under the long term disability policy.

If you’ve been scheduled for a functional capacity evaluation, it’s time to contact long term disability attorney, Nancy Cavey, who will help determine the best course of action for you.

Contact her today at 727-894-3188 for a no obligation consultation about your rights to long term disability benefits.

How Your Doctor Can Help You Win Your Long Term Disability Claim

Doctor Long Term Disability Claim

The long term disability carrier will send your doctor a physician disability form to complete which asks questions about your physical restrictions and limitations. Unfortunately, there is no routine form and many of the forms are designed so that your physician will ultimately opine that you’re capable of sedentary work. Why? The long term disability carrier wants to deny your claim.

Doctor Long Term Disability Claim

If the form that your doctor has been sent by the long term disability carrier simply doesn’t address all of your restrictions and limitations, have your doctor document on the form what, in fact, your restrictions and limitations are as a result of your medical condition.

The Definition of Disability

Before you have your physician complete the form, get out your policy and look at the definition of disability. Many times the definition of disability includes an inability to do the “material and substantial duties of your own occupation as performed in the national economy.” You will want to get a description of your occupational duties and provide that to your physician outlining for them the material and substantial duties of your occupation. You want to make sure that your doctor understands the standard of disability before completing the RFC forms.

Getting The Help You Need for Long Term Disability

Using a combination of exertional and non-exertional impairments can be crucial to winning your long term disability claim. You should contact an experienced long term disability attorney, such as Nancy Cavey to help develop the exertional and non-exertional impairments that can help win your claim.

It is crucial that you and your physician understand the standard of disability and the proof needed to get the benefits you need. Contact long term disability attorney, Nancy Cavey, who can help you get the benefits you need regardless of where you live in the United States. She has written to go to guide for Long Term Disability – Get it Here!

Long Term Disability Claims For Leukemia

Leukemia is a form of cancer of the bone marrow that can cause fatigue, weakness and bone pain. If you have a long term disability policy through your employer or you purchased one on your own, you may be entitled to long term disability benefits if your physician has told you that you are unable to work.

leukemia long term disability attorney

Acute Leukemia

There are over 10,000 cases of acute leukemia (acute myelocytic leukemia or AML) diagnosed yearly in the United States. One third of the patients have a mutation of the FLT3 gene which produces abnormal enzymes that drive the production of leukemic cells. Experimental drugs are under development but, unfortunately, there are many toxic side effects of drugs used to treat acute leukemia. Those side effects can include tingling and numbness of the hands and feet, chronic fatigue and even diahrea.

Getting the long term disability benefits you deserve if you suffer from Leukemia

Many long term disability claims for leukemia are denied on the basis that there is no objective basis for restrictions or limitations and no causal relationship between your restrictions and your ability to do your own or any occupation.

Long term disability carriers routinely ignore the fatigue, weakness and side effects of the medication in evaluating disability claims. Once treatment has ended, many long term disability carriers think you are “cured.”

If your claim for long term disability benefits as a result of leukemia has been denied, contact leukemia attorney, Nancy Cavey, today who can help you get the long term disability benefits you deserve at 727-894-3188. We specialize in disease related disability claims.

How Does the Government Shutdown Affect My Disability Claim?

government shutdown social security disability claim

Many have wondered how the Government Shutdown will affect their disability claims. While, the shutdown will limit the services the Social Security Administration (SSA) will offer, the good news is they will continue to make payments with no change in payment dates. So, if you have already received an award, you don’t have to worry about that money continuing to come to you.

government shutdown social security disability claim

The SSA will remain open for the following functions:

  • Applications for benefits
  • Requesting an appeal
  • Changing your address or direct deposit information
  • Accepting reports of death
  • Verifying or changing your citizenship
  • Replacing lost or missing Social Security Payment
  • Issuing a critical payment
  • Changing a representative payee
  • Processing a change in your living arrangement or income (SSI only)
  • The hearing office will remain open
  • All on line services will remain open

This means the Social Security claims process is just fine. While the situation is subject to change due to the congressional stalemate on budget and debt negotiations, our office continues to work with the Social Security Administration on our client’s claims and we do not foresee any problems.

So, If you are a current client or are thinking of applying for social security disability, the shutdown will not affect you. Feel free to call us should you wish to pursue a claim for social security disability benefits.

What Proof Does SSA Require to Establish a Medically Determinable Impairment of Fibromyalgia?

SSA has issued Social Security Ruling SSR-12-2p for the evaluation of fibromyalgia in disability claims. Nancy Cavey, fibromyalgia disability attorney hopes that this ruling will result in a proper evaluation of fibromyalgia by Administrative Law Judge’s.

Fibromyalgia will be considered a medically determinable impairment when it is established by appropriate medical evidence.

Under SSR-12-2p a claimant who alleges disability cased on fibromyalgia must:

1. Be diagnosed by a licensed physician (medical or osteopathic doctor).
2. The doctor must have reviewed the person’s medical history and conducted a physical examination.
3. The medical records must document the claimant’s symptoms over time.
4. The diagnosis must be consistent with the evidence in the record.
5. It must satisfy the evidence criteria required either by 1990 American College of Rheumatology (ACR) Criteria for the classification of fibromyalgia or the 2010 America College of Rheumatology Preliminary Diagnostic Criteria.

It’s important you are medical records reflect ongoing medical evaluations and treatment from an acceptable medical sources including psychologist, gastroenterologists, internists and pain management providers. And also non-medical sources such as friends and family to provide statements about the persons ability to function day to day and over time.

The key to winning your claim for Social Security Disability for fibromyalgia is to make sure that you provide a history of your symptoms and treatment to the adjudicator and the consultative examines. If your claim for fibromyalgia has been denied, contact fibromyalgia denied attorney Nancy Cavey who has written the go to book about Social Security disability claims, call her for a free consultation.

Social Security Ruling on Fibromyalgia

Those diagnosed with fibromyalgia had a difficult battle proving that they are entitled to Social Security Disability benefits because of the lack of objective medical findings. Over the years the Social Security Administration’s position has evolved and in 1999, SSA issued Social Security ruling (SSR (99-2p)) that provided that claimants with fibromyalgia could be evaluated under the criteria for chronic fatigue syndrome. Despite this directive, ALJ has continued to deny claims based on fibromyalgia finding that Social Security Disability applicants were not credible when there was no medical diagnoses or that the claimants occasional daily activities conflicted with their allegations of pain. SSR 99-2p provides that fibromyalgia should be consider a medically determinable impairment and that the judge should consider the same at the beginning of the onset of his decision making process.

Despite this finding, ALJ’s have been reluctant to find fibromyalgia as a severe impairment and award benefits; this has resulted in a delay in justice while they appeal their cases.

Finally, a long way has come and SSA has issued SSA ruling SSR-12-2p on the evaluation of fibromyalgia and disability claimants.

This ruling states that “fibromyalgia will be medically determinable impairment when it is established by appropriate medical evidence and can be the basis for the finding of disability”. As a result, once fibromyalgia is established as a medically determinable impairment, by establishing a “1. History of wide spread pain; 2. Repeated manifestation of six or more fibromyalgia symptoms, signs or recurring conditions, especially a manifestation of pain, cognitive or memory problems, waking unrefreshed, depression, anxiety disorder or irritable bowel syndrome; and 3. Evidence that other disorders that could cause these repeated manifestations of symptoms, signs or co-occurring conditions were excluded”. The claimant then has been required to prove that the fibromyalgia limits their functional abilities to preclude them from performing any “substantial gainful activity”.

If your claim for fibromyalgia has been denied, contact fibromyalgia denied attorney Nancy Cavey call her for a free consultation about your disability needs.

What Happens After Your ERISA Law Suit has been Filed?

You purchased a long term disability policy to provide you with peace of mind. But, when you least can afford it, your disability carrier has denied your benefits and has rejected your appeal.

Your next and only recourse is to higher a long term disability attorney to sue your long term disability carrier. Your attorney will file what is called a complaint which outlines the facts of your case and why you are entitled to benefits. There generally is no activity for 60 to 90 days after a claim is filed. Why? The complaint is filed and then served on a defendant who, in turn, has to “answer” the complaint within 20 days after the lawsuit is filed.

There “answer” is nothing more than the formal denial of the allegations of the complaint.

After the answer is filed, the court will issue a scheduling conference order directing the attorneys to confer about the scheduling of events in your case including, taking depositions, disclosing experts, filing motions, mediation, pretrial and trial.

The scheduling conference takes place about two to three months after the law suit is filed and establishes a time table for the parties to complete the discovery, conduct mediation and have a trial date.

Each court has there own local rules. These dates might vary depending on where you live. In any event, it may seem that nothing is happening until the scheduling conference. And, quite frankly, that’s incorrect. Many ERISA long term disability attorneys are drafting what’s called interrogatories and requests to produce which they can file as soon as the scheduling conference order is issued.

You can learn more about the ERISA mediation process by contacting ERISA disability attorney Nancy Cavey who can help you with your claim regardless of where you live in the United States.