The Government Account Office or GAO announces : “The public is three (3) times more likely to receive SSA benefits when they have a representative”.
I often get calls asking about whether someone should use an attorney or an advocate. My short answer is “there is no difference.” Attorneys and Advocates both represent claimants the same way and have the same authority. One major difference is that most Advocates have not gone to law school. Many, like myself, have been Paralegals for many years. I have been a Paralegal for 40 years and 25 years as an Advocate.
If someone… Continue reading
The rules and regulations for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Insurance Income (SSI) both use different age groups to determine disability. Social Security Administration (SSA) looks at your residual functioning capacity (RFC) along with past work history and educational background to determine if you will meet the requirements of being disabled. Being older helps an individual who is seeking disability benefits!
If your medical condition causes severe enough impairments to prevent you from maintaining gainful employment but does not meet the listing of any of the conditions that appear in the SSA’s Bluebook, you may still be found… Continue reading
ASK THE ADVOCATE: I am a 54-year-old woman with Arnold Chiari malformation. I worked as a medical assistant for more than 20 years. In 2016 I was forced to leave my job at the hospital because I kept falling and losing my balance. I have headaches almost every day. There are no medications to help me. The hospital said I was too big of a risk.
I applied for Social Security Disability Insurance. They say I can return to work as a medical assistant. How can that be? Please help!
ADVOCATE: Chiari malformation is a condition in which… Continue reading
ASK THE ADVOCATE: I am a 57-year-old woman with Multiple Sclerosis. MS forced me to stop working 7 years ago but I was able to manage my symptoms most of the time. I have had MS since I was in my late 20’s. Right now, I have cramping, difficulty walking, inability to rapidly change motions, involuntary movements, muscle paralysis, muscle rigidity, muscle weakness, problems with coordination, stiff muscles, clumsiness, muscle spasms, and sometimes overactive reflexes. There are times I have to use a walker or a wheelchair. I take medications, but I am losing my mobility.
I applied for… Continue reading
ASK THE ADVOCATE: My son is a high functioning autistic adult, 25 years old. He has tried to get jobs, but once employers talk to him, they immediately see that he not capable of working and tends to get confused. He is also a client of Kern Regional Center and receives services through them. We want him to be more self-sufficient and be able to live a somewhat normal life. We are very worried about what will happen to him when my husband and I are no longer able to care for him. He has never lived on his own.… Continue reading
ASK THE ADVOCATE: I am a 60-year-old female with Lupus. I was a bookkeeper for many years and was forced to retire. Primarily, I found that I could not work due to muscle and joint pain, sometimes with swelling, a constant low-grade fever of 99 degrees or more and sensitivity to light, especially office lighting. Can I qualify for benefits? I am too young to collect early retirement benefits and I only get a small retirement from my employer.
ANSWER: Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) or lupus is an inflammatory auto-immune disorder that can affect any body part or only… Continue reading
ASK THE ADVOCATE: Last summer my kids and I went camping in the mountains. I thought we were careful about ticks, but unfortunately, I found several in our clothing when we got back and one bit me! A few weeks later I started have severe headaches and neck stiffness. I also developed severe pain and swelling in my knees. I finally went to the doctor to discover I have Lyme disease. Now I am unable to work because I am having problems concentrating and focusing. Would I qualify for benefits even if I am young (age 35)?
ANSWER:… Continue reading
Historically known as Manic Depressive Disorder, Bipolar Disorder is a mental illness characterized by cyclic mania, or periods of extreme euphoria followed by bouts of severe depression. This mental disorder is not a mood disorder alone but a category of several mood disorders. It is a condition that is prevalent in both men and women.
Signs of the depressive phase of this mental illness include persistent feelings of hopelessness, anxiety, anger, guilt, sadness, isolation, fatigue, irritability, lack of motivation, chronic pain, morbid suicidal ideation, self-loathing and depersonalization. In severe cases, individuals suffering from this disorder can even become psychotic.… Continue reading
ASK THE ADVOCATE:
I have Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS), Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS), and Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (MCAS). POTS, EDS, and MCAS are so unheard of many doctors have no idea what to do. I have been to so many doctors…sigh.
On a good day, my fingers, ankles, and hips will pop out of joint a couple of times a day. If I bump my foot on a bed frame, I might have enormous bruises since my skin is so thin. The POTS causes my blood pressure to go down especially when I stand. I also have cognitive… Continue reading
Pituitary gland disorders are a result of a malfunction of the pituitary gland, a tiny but vital gland that releases the hormones responsible for directing many other glands and body processes. A pituitary gland disorder occurs when the pituitary gland produces either too much or too little of a particular hormone.
The pituitary gland is responsible for producing growth hormone, necessary for growth in children, maintenance of body tissues in adults, and distribution of fat. It also produces a hormone known as ACTH that causes the adrenal gland to release cortisol, a hormone that signals the body to react to… Continue reading