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Category Archives: Social Security Disability (SSD)

Musculoskeletal Connective Tissue Disorders Are The Leading Cause Of Social Security Disability Awards

Malignant Neoplastic Diseases

According to the Social Security annual statistical report on the Social Security program benefits were awarded to 960,260 disabled workers in 2012.

The most common impairment was musculoskeletal system and connective tissue diseases which represented 35.4% of all disability awards. Mental disorders comprised 18%, circulatory system 10.6%, neoplasms 9.5%, nervous system and sensory organs 8.0% and all other impairments 18.5%.

Malignant Neoplastic Diseases

The Social Security Administration doesn’t always make it easy for those who are disabled to get the Social Security disability benefits that they deserve.

If you suffer from a herniated disk or failed back surgery, you may be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits. Contact musculoskeletal impairment attorney, Nancy Cavey, today who can help you get the disability benefits you deserve. See the SSA’s listing on MALIGNANT NEOPLASTIC DISEASE.

Surviving Spouse Social Security Benefits For Same Sex Couples

social security disability same sex couple

The Social Security Administration (SSA) issued rules on December 16, 2003 authorizing the processing and payment of some surviving spouse lump sum death benefits for same sex married couples.

SSA has also begun to process claims for the spouses of retired workers, if the couple is married and domiciled in a state that recognizes same sex marriages.

social security disability same sex couple

There is the question of what happens if the couple was married in the state that recognizes same sex marriage but the wage earner lived in a state that didn’t recognize same sex marriage. We’ll keep you advised once the Social Security Administration addresses this issue. See the SSA information about BENEFITS FOR SURVIVING SPOUSES AND LUMP SUM DEATH PAYMENT.

If you or a loved one needed more information about this specific issue, please give us a call today to discuss your options for your Social Security disability benefits at 727-894-3188.


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.

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;
• 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.

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.

Don’t Destroy Your Social Security Disability Claim By Failing to Accurately Complete the Work History Report

Work history Social Security disability

When you apply for Social Security Disability benefits the Social Security Administration is going to send you a form called the Work History Report form (SSA-3369-BK)

Unfortunately, many Social Security Disability applicants don’t do a complete job of filling out the form which can result in the denial of your claim.

Work history Social Security disability

The Work History Report form is interested in the jobs that you have held in the last 15 years. You need to describe how many hours and days you worked in a typical work week.

While completing a work history form you should ask yourself what part of the work that you are not able to do. Do that for each job you’ve held.

The estimate of your hours and pay can be important and can make a difference as to whether or not that job counts as past relevant work.

Does the work that was actually performed have a mandatory requirement that you work over time or more than eight hours in a shift? It’s important that your job hours, duties and responsibilities be described in detail.

If you have worked less than six months at any job, that may be helpful to show that you unsuccessfully attempted to work.

The work history form will also have certain questions about your skills and the physical requirements, the psychical requirements must be as accurate as possible, particularly standing and lifting.

Some jobs that you have performed may have required you to do activities occasionally and not every day, you should list the maximum requirements of the job and indicate the frequency that you performed that job.

The work history form doesn’t do a very good job asking about the mental requirements of your job. It may ask you about your skills and supervision requirements but it doesn’t ask much about mental tasks. In filling out the work history form, you should ask your self what mental task you can’t perform and consider adding an addendum in the remarks section about the mental requirements. They may include:

1. Job stress
2. How often you interacted with coworkers, supervisors or the general public
3. The number of scheduled breaks you were allowed during full time work
4. Your employers tolerance for tardiness, unscheduled breaks or unscheduled absences
5. The degree of attention or concentration required to perform the work task
6. Any tasks that required or relied on concentration
7. Type of instructions that you were required to remember, understand, and perform
8. Time requirements or production requirements
9. How long were you required to sit at one time without a break
10. Any tasks that required your undivided attention and concentration

Filling out the work history form properly can make the difference between your disability benefits. You can learn more about your rights to Social Security Disability benefits and the Social Security Disability claims process by calling Social Security Disability attorney Nancy Cavey today at 727.894.3188.

Student Loan Discharge and Social Security Disability Benefits


The United States Department of Education has issued final regulations to remit a “total and permanent disability” (TPD) discharge based on a bar Social Security Notice of Award for Social Security Disability Insurance (or SSDI) 77freg6608 (November 1st, 2012).

Federal student loan borrowers can have their debt discharged if they have a total and permanent disability and the Notice of Award on it’s own will now suffice as proof of the borrowers TPD.

If you do receive a discharge on this basis, you will be subject to a three year discharge review by the Department of Education and if SSA finds that you are no longer disabled, a loan repayment obligation will be reinstituted.

This regulation will be in effect July 1st, 2013.

How to File a Request for Reconsideration of Your Denied Social Security Disability Clam?

social security reconsideration request

The Social Security Administration doesn’t make it easy for those who are disabled to get the Social Security Disability benefits that they deserve. You may have received a notice from the Social Security Administration denying your initial application for benefits that includes information on how to appeal a decision. You must appeal the writing within 60 days on the date that you receive the notice.

social security reconsideration request

Starting the Appeal. You can begin your appeal in several ways:

1. You can call your local Social Security field office and tell them you want to appeal the decision denying your benefits. They will send you the paper work to complete and tell you where to mail it once you fill it out.
2. You can complete the request for reconsideration and adult disability function form and return it to the Social Security Administration by mail, certified mail return receipt requested.

How long does it take to get a decision on the request for reconsideration? Your initial application was decided by the Disability Determinations Services (DDS) and, unfortunately, the request for reconsideration goes back to that same state agency that denied you initially. Your case will be reviewed by a medical consultant and examined at DDS and you will probably get a decision within 21 to 60 days.

Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for request for reconsiderations to be denied! Don’t give up. The denial letter of a request for reconsideration will tell you that you have the right to request a hearing in front of the Administrative Law Judge. You will have 60 days in which to file that request or, otherwise, you will have start all over.

Getting representation for filing your request for reconsideration. While some people handle their own Social Security Disability appeal, over 80% of claimants use a representative or disability attorney when they appeal their request for reconsideration or a request for a hearing. If it was ever a time to get an attorney, it’s now!

Finding the right Social Security Disability attorney for you. It’s important that you find the Social Security Disability attorney that has experience with the kind of medical problems that cause your inability to work and an attorney who has many years of experience in handling Social Security Disability cases. You don’t want to take a chance on a young, inexperienced attorney who knows nothing about the Social Security Disability claim’s process.

Getting help from Nancy Cavey. Tampa Bay Social Security Disability attorney Nancy Cavey has written the go to guide about the Social Security Disability claims process Your Rights to Social Security Disability Benefits. She wants you to learn about the Social Security Disability claim’s processes so that you learn why it’s so important to have an attorney represent you in one of the most important claims that you can make in your life.

You can contact the Law Offices of Nancy Cavey at 727.894.3188 to schedule a complimentary 30 minute consultation.