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Anxiety Disorders

You can be approved for Social Security Disability benefits for anxiety disorders in Minnesota. Anxiety itself can be normal under severe stress. However, anxiety disorders reflect the idea that it does not go away when it should and it reappears when it shouldn’t.

Anxiety disorders can take different forms. Some cause motor tension, hyperactivity, apprehensive expectation, or hypervigilance. Some involve a persistent, irrational fear of something that it you feel you must avoid it. Anxiety disorders can also prompt recurrent, severe panic attacks from intense fear. Another type of anxiety disorder is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). This is essentially when your mind repeatedly relives the stress of a traumatic event. Whatever form it takes, anxiety can stop whatever you are doing wherever you are.

Social Security evaluates your anxiety disorder based on how severe it is and how it affects your ability to work. Social Security disability rules require your anxiety disorder to be documented by medical evidence consisting of symptoms, signs, and in most cases, psychological testing. For this reason, it is extremely important that you treat for your anxiety disorder and maintain a “paper trail” for Social Security to evaluate. Ironically, our legal experience has found that anxiety disorders can cause our clients to avoid treatment. If this happens enough, we cannot prove the need for treatment that does not occur.

The severity of your anxiety condition will be measured by how your anxiety affects your activities of daily living, social functioning and concentration. Activities of daily living include things such as caring for yourself, shopping, cooking, cleaning, etc. Social functioning focuses on your ability to interact appropriately and effectively on a daily basis with other people. Concentration refers to your ability to keep your attention focused long enough to complete tasks usually found in work settings.

As with many conditions, anxiety disorders can vary over time. As a result, proper evaluation of a social security disability claim requires an evaluation of your longitudinal symptoms. Regular and consistent treatment patches these irregular seams into whole cloth.

Anxiety disorders in Social Security disability claims can be complex and difficult to understand. Call a Hoglund lawyer today for a free consultation regarding your specific conditions.

Arthritis or Joint Disorders

Social Security disability claims commonly involve arthritis or joint disorders. The Social Security Administration generally evaluates our clients with these problems by how severely the arthritis or joint disorder affects moving and using arms, hands, and legs. The Social Security Administration looks particularly at medical imaging studies of joint spaces showing abnormalities that, in turn, cause limitations of motion.

There are some arthritis impairments are more likely to allow an approval. Arthritis of a major weight-bearing joint such as a hip, knee, or ankle that also impacts your ability to walk effectively can allow an approval. Age is a factor as well.

Our lawyers at Hoglund Law Offices can also explain the significance of arthritic joint problems in both arms. Cases specifically involving an inability to use one or both hands together can be quite complicated to present to a Social Security judge. If you would like to talk to Hoglund Law Offices about helping you argue your Social Security claim in Minnesota, please call today.

Asthma

You can receive Social Security Disability Benefits for asthma in Minnesota. Social Security evaluates whether you have a diagnosis of asthma. If so, Social Security determines how severe it is. If you are struggling with asthma, our attorneys at Hoglund Law Offices have some recommendations to help you get approved. Some are below.

Tell your doctor about all your asthma symptoms.

Successful Social Security claims begin with accurate medical treatment notes. Your doctor can’t treat you for what you don’t tell him or her. Your doctor needs details about what symptoms you have and when you have them. For example, how often do you have attacks? How severe are they? How long do they last? Does medicine help? How long does it take to help? What kinds of things are you doing when these attacks occur? Did you need to call an ambulance or visit an ER for any of them? When?

Try to understand what brings on an asthma attack.

Judges ask this question at hearings. They also ask what you try to do to avoid them day-to-day. Common triggers of asthma attacks can be related to allergies to such things as pets, dust, and pollen. Other triggers include weather changes or physical exertion. Common sense tells you that if pets really cause problems, a judge will wonder why you might still have one.

Follow you doctor’s orders about treatment and medications.

Judges at hearings need to understand that you are going to doctors and following their treatment recommendations. If you are not, it is hard to distinguish how bad your asthma really should be. If you have trouble getting treatment or medications, keep trying your best. A judge may ask what you have tried to do, including going to free clinics, ER’s, and reapplying for state medical insurance if initially turned down.
In our legal experience, ER visits are always important for asthma emergencies, but they are not so good at recording the nature of your ongoing problems. If you do not avail yourself of available doctor appointments, a judge might assume that the ER visits result from poor compliance. We find that everyday compliance with treatment will ultimately be granted more weight than emergency room visits. For a case to be approved, do your best to get and stay as healthy as possible. This naturally lead to the next advice.

Don’t smoke.

Easier said than done. But if you have trouble breathing, a judge will assume you don’t smoke or at least cut down greatly on it. The essential trouble with smoking with asthma is that the judges at hearings sometimes cannot decide how healthier you would be without smoking. In other words, they may assume you would be better. Assumptions in any situation are not always scientific or fair, and detract from your limitations.

Get pulmonologist testing.

Specialists are generally held in higher regard by Social Security than general practitioners. This is the nature of medicine. Specialist treatment notes and opinions are usually more specific, and their treatment notes likely include a healthy dose of diagnostic testing.
Any pulmonary (breathing) testing, if you can get it, puts your asthma into a more objective light. Our attorneys at Hoglund Law Offices argue post-brochodilator FEV1 and FVC levels that may meet a definition, or listing, or disability. In our attorney’s experience, the SSA listing standards for approval through pulmonary function tests is unusually restrictive. We end up arguing that supportive test results comport with daily limitations on activities due to asthma exacerbations.

For any questions about getting professional help pursuing your Social Security Disability claim, just call Hoglund Law Offices for a free initial consultation.

Autoimmune Disease

Transcription:

Hi my name is Andrew Kinney and I’m an attorney at Hoglund law offices. I practice social security disability law for a living. I want to talk to you today about autoimmune diseases and how social security looks at them. In my experience, people with autoimmune diseases, for instance Lupis or HIV, or someone who has received a transplant already perhaps after a few years, there are problems with those who have immune disorders. They can be quite complicated, and quite frankly as an attorney in reviewing records, these are some of the more difficult cases I see.

The usual pattern that I see is someone is starting to treat, feels tired, talks to a primary care doctor and may be then referred to an endocrinologist or some specialists. There is some blood work done. There might be some negative lab work in some ways, but if you know you don’t feel well, and you are not sure you have immune issues talk to your doctor, but if you have an autoimmune problem and is confirmed usually we see laboratory tests that show that and people may see for instance a specialist, and in the particular kinds of problems you can have with again Lupis or HIV/AIDS there are unique problems that you will suffer from, and there are chronic problems.

What social security looks at is whether you have problems that will keep you out of work for a year and that would also keep you out of full time work. You may or may not be able to work part time. The trouble with autoimmune diseases is that they may wax and wane, but for the most part some of the symptoms you have, particularly fatigue, may not be easy to verify, but make sure you talk to your doctor about these symptoms. That is important, in fact, I tell my clients what’s most important is getting better, working with your doctors. As far as social security is concerned, they are looking at records, looking at your reports of problems, even subjective reports. They are evaluating the diagnoses doctors have, looking at lab results. They may see that there is a positive AIDS test but the real question social security looks at beyond what doctors are necessarily doing is, are you bad enough to social securities definition to be disabled. Social security has listings that define autoimmune disorders, and they have certain criteria that if you meet them you will be filed as disabled ideally at the first level. If you are denied, certainly appeal. But you do not need to be by definition, disabled. You also can be disabled because you have waxing and waning of autoimmune system issues, and for you, also know that if you know you can’t work, appeal. Do not give up.

For Lupis in particular, the waxing and waning elements of this and also the diagnoses, those are key components of making sure social security know how you are doing. Make sure to treat with doctors, make sure to report to doctors what is going on as I mentioned, make sure to take the medications the doctors request you take. If you have problems with medications certainly talk to your doctor. But what social security does not approve cases on is if someone who may have a legitimate diagnosis if they’re not caring for themselves with what’s available to them. Make sure to check that you are not a part of the problem, I guess, to state it bluntly.

With HIV, with AIDS becoming symptomatic, one of the things we see, and you would well know if you have a friend or relative or if you are suffering from this, is you can have chronic infections. A unique thing that social security looks at, is that you can have a chronic infection that in most people is not a big deal, a sinus infection is something that is easily remediable by antibiotics, but as an attorney when I argue these cases, a chronic sinusitis for someone with an immune deficiency for instance with HIV, that’s another problem that may by itself or other infections, those infections may be what’s called that listing level, and it may be bad enough to be approved. Know that if you have issues with an autoimmune disorder, and you are treating for them, and you don’t feel well, and you are talking to your doctors, and you can’t work, that may be when you need to apply for benefits.

If we can help you consider whether you need to apply for benefits now or soon or if we can help you appeal for benefits, at least up to a hearing, where you would be in front of a federal judge, feel free to call us now. We are at 1-800-850-7867, also feel free to go to our website. We have a medical library. We do our best to discuss how social security reviews your health, and that is Hoglundlaw.com. Thank you.

Back Injury

Disability claims based on an allegation of “back pain” are very common. In these claims, the question of disability typically depends on the degree of functional loss related to structural problems with the spine.

The severity of a claimant’s back pain cannot always be understood based solely on spinal abnormalities seen on plain X-rays, computerized tomographic images (CT), or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Despite this fact, there is a general correlation between objective spine abnormality findings and credible pain. This where our attorneys at Hoglund Law Offices come into play.

If your back problem is confirmed by imaging studies and is refractory to conservative treatments, you may be unable to work full-time. If so, you might be eligible for Social Security benefits in Minnesota. Please call the offices of Robert Hoglund today to find out more about how our attorneys can argue your claim for Social Security Disability and SSI benefits.

Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder of any form is a very serious and disruptive mental illness. You can receive Social Security disability benefits for bipolar disorder in Minnesota. There are symptoms that Social Security specifically looks for to evaluate the severity of your bipolar disorder. These symptoms include hyperactivity, pressured speech, flight of ideas, inflated self-esteem, decreased need for sleep, easy distractibility, involvement is high risk activities, or hallucinations, and/or paranoid thinking.

The frequency and severity of these episodes (otherwise known as “cycling”) are essential in Social Security’s determination process. Medical professionals need this information to diagnose and treat you. Ultimately, Social Security may decide if you are disabled from bipolar disorder based on how your symptoms impact your daily activities, social functioning, and concentration.

In our legal experience, the two most common reasons people with bipolar disorder can be denied are (1) if they fail to take medication as prescribed, and (2) if they are chemically dependent. Work with your physician mental health professional on these two and other issues that arise, and you will have a better chance of proving you cannot maintain full-time employment.

If you have any other questions about bipolar disorder, or any other disability, please feel free to contact us at Hoglund Law Offices for a free initial consultation.

Cancer

Transcription:

Hi, my name is Andrew Kinney. I’m an attorney at Hoglund law offices. I practice exclusively in the area of social security disability law. I also help people with supplemental security income cases, commonly known as SSI.

Today, I wanted to talk in this video about cancer. Cancer is a very serious diagnosis no doubt. There are different forms of cancer, absolutely know that treating cancer is the most paramount thing that you can do and in particular with an oncologist would be ideal. As an attorney handling people, handling cases rather, with people with cancer, one of the things I notice is that there usually is a time frame where it is not detected and then is detected and is treated, but cancer treatment itself can be disabling. Chemotherapy can cause side effects, which we are glad that you don’t have the cancer, but they have legitimate side effects that are verifiable. So just know that if you are diagnosed with cancer, and you can’t work full time, and you know its going to last a year or at least you expect it might, you should consider applying for social security disability or supplemental security income benefits.

Cancer is something that you need to make sure you treat for, that is fairly obvious. Another element of cancer though that’s important is cancer can come and go, so in situations where someone say has leukemia or perhaps is in remission, it isn’t so easy to tell when you are ready to work or not. In my opinion, the best person to talk to about whether you should go back to work and whether you should work full time or part time is your own doctor, ideally your oncologist, or maybe a doctor that knows you best. The reason is this, even if the cancer itself that you have may be in remission, there is still a question of fatigue, there is still the question of the residuals of any of the cancer treatment that you’ve had. Those things, talk to your doctor about those as well as anything else because the decision whether you can work full time or part time or anything at all comes down to, how do you feel each day.

Social security looks at cancer under listings or definitions of disability, they are available to be able to review. One of the things that I would do though is, is know that you take care of the cancer, but you can apply before you’ve undergone treatment. You certainly can apply after treatment. Social security can pay up to one year back from the date of a disability insurance application. One way or the other, if you are unable to work and you are expected to be more than a year, apply, and we can help with that. Feel free to call us at 855-780-4357.

If you’ve been denied in the lower level and perhaps you are approaching a social security hearing with a federal judge, that’s an ideal time, in my opinion, to have help of an attorney. I had a hearing recently with a cancer patient who initially was approved but then later denied because cancer was stable, that lower state agency decision made no sense what so ever. So know that a hearing, if you are denied with cancer, a hearing is the time that you can have reasonable minds look at the records, look at the progress, look at the symptoms and pull it all together. So, if you are denied at the lower level with cancer and perhaps are in some form of remission, talk to an attorney about whether a social security hearing would be right for you, but by all means get better, and the goal is to avoid needing benefits if at all possible. But with situations where you are unable to work for a year, this is what this is for. Hopefully this video helped. Thank you very much.

Chemical Dependency

Chemical dependency (CD) can cause you to lose your Social Security Disability benefits claim in Minnesota. Why? Social Security can decide that your chemical dependency causes your disability.

We see 3 kinds of chemical dependency: Addiction to alcohol, illegal drugs, or prescribed medications. Below is the Listing, or Social Security definition, of chemical dependency:

The required level of severity for these disorders is met when the requirements in any of the following (A through I) are satisfied.

  1. Organic mental disorders. Evaluate under 12.02.
  2. Depressive syndrome. Evaluate under 12.04.
  3. Anxiety disorders. Evaluate under 12.06.
  4. Personality disorders. Evaluate under 12.08.
  5. Peripheral neuropathies. Evaluate under 11.14.
  6. Liver damage. Evaluate under 5.05.
  7. Gastritis. Evaluate under 5.00.
  8. Pancreatitis. Evaluate under 5.08.
  9. Seizures. Evaluate under 11.02 or 11.03.

As you can see, if you have a chemical dependency and it causes one of these other problems, you may lose your claim for benefits.

What can you do about chemical dependency? Get professional help now. Addictions of any kind can destroy your health. Our clients who have gone to get professional help for their chemical dependency have strengthened their Social Security claims. We can usually make better arguments. Why? They are more believable, and the proof of underlying disability is clearer.

Chemical dependency is a very difficult problem. Not feeling well does not make it any easier to face. Getting help is a first step to getting out of this hole. If you have a social security benefits claim, it is important that Social Security focuses on the truth of your underlying medical problems. Eliminating chemical dependency can not only help you, but it can also help your claim for benefits.

If you want legal help with an application or an appeal for Social Security benefits, please call Hoglund Law Offices for a free initial consultation.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

If you have trouble sleeping or you wake up feeling like you never slept at all, you could have the impairment of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, or CFS. No specific pathology or etiology has been established for CFS. It is a real condition, and it can be disabling. If you are unable to work full-time because of the symptoms of fatigue, you may be approved for Social Security benefits in Minnesota.

In order to be considered disabled, the very first step is to be diagnosed by a medical professional. A diagnosis can be based on persistent and reproducible muscle tenderness. In our legal experience, CFS can be confirmed when other possible diagnoses have been eliminated by your treating doctor.

Among the many regulations, there is also a specific ruling that Social Security must follow at the hearing level with a federal judge.

If you have been diagnosed or you believe you have CFS and you cannot function day-to-day, please contact the Hoglund Law Offices to find out more about whether you may have a claim for Social Security Disability benefits.

Chronic Liver Disease

You can be approved for Social Security disability benefits in Ohio due to symptoms associated with chronic liver disease, including hepatitis and cirrhosis.  In our legal experience, your eligibility turns on your symptoms, not the diagnosis alone.  Claimants approved for benefits due to chronic liver disease can be extremely sick.  Some of our clients face being on a transplant list before Social Security acknowledges their true level of disability.  Our Hoglund Lawyers, however, can change this.  We can effectively argue the cumulative impact of subjective symptoms under some circumstances.

In our legal experience, Social Security’s defined standards for liver disease can pose difficult, but not insurmountable, hurdles.  Social Security first evaluates your liver disease based on whether you are defined as disabled under its rules.  These rules are called listings.  If you do not qualify under the listings for chronic liver disease, you can also be approved in Ohio based on your general inability to work full-time for 1 year or more.  Your functional limitations are called your “residual functional capacity.”

Examples of disabling symptoms and conditions caused by chronic liver disease which may cause disability are:

  • Hemorrhaging from esophageal, gastric, or ectopic varices or from portal hypertensive gastropathy requiring hospitalization for transfusion of at least 2 units of blood.
  • Ascites or hydrothorax not attributable to other causes.
  • Spontaneous bacterial peritonitis.
  • Hepatorenal syndrome.
  • Hepatopulmonary syndrome.
  • Intrapulmonary arteriovenous shunting.
  • Hepatic encephalopathy.
  • End stage liver disease.
  • Liver transplant.

Our clients with chronic liver disease can have very severe subjective symptoms, such as feeling extremely weak, fatigued and nauseous. Our Hoglund Lawyers evaluate the elements of listings 5.05 and 5.09.  We also can ask treating physicians to clarify the elements of their diagnosis and treatment.

We advise claimants with chronic liver disease to strictly follow their physician’s advice.  This invariably includes avoiding alcohol and letting their treating physicians know about any kind of bleeding issues.

Legal and medical issues that arise in Social Security disability cases can be extremely complex, especially involving chronic liver disease.  Only licensed lawyers can give you professional legal advice.  If you want professional legal advice on your situation, please feel free to call Hoglund Law Offices today for a free consultation.

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

A person may apply for social security Disability benefits based on the physical impairment of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) (sometimes CRPS is referred as Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy or RDS).  Although CRPS is not covered under any Social Security listed impairment, we have represented many clients who have received benefits due to CRPS.  The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke has defined CRPS as “a chronic pain condition that is believed to be the result of dysfunction in the central or peripheral nervous systems.”

CRPS most often affects one of the arms, legs, hands, or feet.  Often the pain spreads to include the entire arm or leg.  CRPS can be precipitated by injury or surgery.  At times, there can be no known reason for the onset of CRPS.  At this point, the etiological origin is essentially unknown.  CRPS can be diagnosed when one’s pain is out of proportion to the severity of the documented clinical or objective findings.  However, usually more is needed for a valid diagnosis of CRPS for Social Security purposes.  Other clinically documented symptoms include:  Swelling; osteoporosis; involuntary movements of the affected region of the initial injury; changes in skin color, skin temperature, sweating; and abnormal hair or nail growth.

These signs of CRPS are known to come and go.  It is common for someone to have severe symptoms of CRPS for a few months and then a reduction of symptoms for a few months.  Just because the signs are reduced or gone for a period of time does not mean that the person does not still suffer from CRPS.  However, it is important to maintain continual treatment with a medical provider.  When treatment records document persistent limiting pain in an area where one or more of these abnormal symptoms have been documented, it can reasonably be determined that CRPS is present.

One who suffers from CRPS may have significant limitations that could potentially result in receiving Social Security Disability on that basis.  Although there is no listing for CRPS, the Social Security Administration has issues a ruling on CRPS that provides guidance.  Social Security Ruling 03-2p notes that CRPS is a chronic pain syndrome most often resulting from trauma to a single extremity.  It can also result from diseases, surgery, or injury affecting other parts of the body.  Even a minor injury can trigger CRPS.  The precipitating injury may be so minor that the individual does not even recall sustaining an injury.  Other potential precipitants suggested by the medical literature include, but are not limited to, surgical procedures, drug exposure, stroke with hemiplegia, and cervical spondylosis.

Although some of this is repetitive to what was mentioned earlier, it is important to note that the Social Security Administration has made a ruling regarding CRPS and subjective complaints along with objective findings should be taken very seriously with regards to a disability claim.

Once CRPS has been established, the Social Security Administration will next determine what one’s residual functional capacity is relating to their ability to work.  In determining the RFC, the evaluator should consider all of the symptoms in deciding how they may affect the claimant’s ability to function.  Careful consideration should be given to the effects of pain and its treatment on the claimant’s capacity to do sustained work-related physical and mental activities in a competitive work setting on a regular and continuing basis.

In determining the RFC the most important evidence will be the treatment notes from the claimant’s treating physician.  However, many times treatment notes are written only document the signs and symptoms one is suffering from.  They are not usually written with regard to one’s workability or ability to handle work related functions.  At Hoglund Law Offices, we have devised RFC forms specifically formatted for Social Security purposes for a doctor to fill out.  These RFC forms, filled out with the support of a health professional, can be instrumental in winning a claim.  Even if an RFC form is not filled out, an experienced attorney can use their knowledge of the specific requirements needed to win a claim and apply it to doctors’ notes and other evidence to prove a person should be eligible for Social Security Disability.

Many people who suffer from RSDS suffer from an inability to functionally use an arm or leg.  This can result in serious deficits in trying to obtain work.  Furthermore, the pain somebody can have while suffering from RSDS can affect their ability to concentrate as well as persist enough to perform the job in a satisfactory manner.  If this is true for you or somebody you know, Social Security Disability is an option.

Most Social Security disability cases are extremely complex; this is usually true regarding CRPS.  An experienced Social Security Attorney can help by offering the proper medical and legal advice, working with the Social Security Administration to ensure they understand how CRPS is affecting the claimant’s workability, and advancing winning legal arguments to help that person obtain Disability Benefits.  Call Hoglund, Chwialkowski, and Mrozik today for a free consultation.

Congestive Heart Failure

For those applying for Social Security disability benefits, congestive heart failure (CHF) is, in our experience, one of the more debilitating impairments one can have.  According to one expert, up to 5 million people per year suffer from CHF.  The questions we have for those applying for Social Security disability is:  (1) Do you have this diagnosis, (2) who diagnosed you, (3) how did you get diagnosed (testing), and (4) how long might you have it?

It is important to follow through immediately with medical care for all coronary issues, particularly if you just started having them.  Shortness of breath, fatigue, chest pain, and other symptoms can (but not always) be cardiac-related.  It is also important to keep in close contact with your doctors regarding medications and possible medication changes.

When our lawyers at Hoglund Law Offices review cardiac claims, we are usually dealing with clients who already have a diagnosis of CHF and have had ongoing symptoms such as chest pain or swelling in the legs (edema).  We then look to see if it was diagnosed by a cardiologis.  With medical records from a cardiologist, we look to see what medical tests were done to verify the diagnosis.  Some measures of heart failure, such as ejection fraction, are mentioned in the Social Security “listings”, or definitions of disability.  There are ejection fractions which, if they persist long enough, can be disabling by definition.  Stress tests and other testing specific to heart function also help us argue that full-time work at any exertional level is not possible – the medical standard of the Social Security Disability Insurance Program.

Our lawyers also look for other measures of ability to function that support disability in CHF cases.

What is important in CHF claims is how long your condition may last.  If your heart function improves within 1 year, your treating physician may release you to work.  This would be good news for you.  Keep in mind, though, that CHF is serious enough that unless it measurably resolves from the point of your first diagnosis, you may wish to apply for Social Security Disability benefits while you keep treating with specialists and wait for improvement.  You may apply if your health keeps you from being able to work or keeps you from earning gross monthly amounts below the level Social Security calls “substantial gainful activity.”  Ask our lawyers about how being over age 50 improves your chances of approval.

If you have questions about applying for or appealing a Social Security Disability benefits claim, please call Hoglund Law Offices today.

Crohn’s Disease

Crohn’s disease is an immune system disorder that inflames the digestive tract.  It can affect any part of the digestive tract, but it most commonly involves the small and large intestines.

The nature and extent of Crohn’s disease symptoms depend on where it arises – particularly with flare-ups.  Symptoms include fever, abdominal pain, diarrhea, fever, fatigue, weight loss, and abscesses.  The inflammatory process of Crohn’s disease can ultimately invade other organ systems, causing problems such as arthritis, eye inflammation, and sores on the skin.

There is currently no cure.  Medication, lifestyle changes, and sometimes surgical intervention can treat the symptoms.  Medical literature acknowledges that despite the best treatment, flare-ups can still occur.  In our experience, it is important to treat with a gastroenterologist to establish the medical evidence of the unique expression of Crohn’s Disease in your life.  Consistent treatment by a knowledgeable medical specialist improves the chances of approval for Social Security Disability benefits.

Social security disability claimants in Minnesota may qualify for benefits if the frequency of flare-ups and the severity of symptoms eliminate the possibility of full-time work.  Arguing Crohn’s disease claims can be complex – particularly given variability of symptoms.

If you would like a free initial consultation by professional lawyers (not “advocates” or “representatives”), call Hoglund Law Offices today.

Cystic Fibrosis

Cystic fibrosis is a chronic, genetic disease that causes thick, sticky mucus to build up in the lungs and the digestive tract.  The most common symptom, difficulty breathing, is caused by frequent infections in the lungs.  Other life threatening complications can arise in the digestive tract due, in part, to the inability to generate digestive enzymes.

Cystic fibrosis is progressive and can be deadly. There is currently no cure.  However, medical advances have significantly increased the life expectancy for those suffering from the disease.  Treatments vary and are catered to what each person needs.  It is important to consistently treat with a specialist or group of specialists to prevent and control symptoms.

Social Security Disability claimants in Minnesota may qualify for benefits as a result of cystic fibrosis.  Whether you qualify for benefits depends on the frequency of infection and the severity of symptoms.  Claims based on cystic fibrosis can be complex and difficult to predict.  For example:

  • How much evidence is enough?
  • How can physicians help with my claim?
  • What is a hearing with a judge like?
  • What legal training should a lawyer have?

If you have any of these or other questions, please feel free to call Hoglund Law Offices today.  We are a professional law firm, and we help people with Social Security Disability and SSI claims every day.

Depression

Mental health issues such as depression can strike you deeply, leaving you unable to function.  If you have this level of depression that is expected to last a year or more, you can receive Social Security Disability benefits in Minnesota.

The Social Security Administration evaluates the severity of depression in line with the typical clinical symptoms.  To meet or equal Social Security’s defined standards, you must have 4 or more of the following symptoms consistently documented in your medical records over time:

  • Anhedonia,
  • Appetite disturbance,
  • Sleep disturbance,
  • Psychomotor agitation or retardation,
  • Decreased energy,
  • Feelings of guilt or worthlessness,
  • Difficulty concentrating or thinking,
  • Thoughts of suicide, or
  • Hallucinations or paranoid thinking.

Social Security not only verifies that you have a depression diagnosis and some of these symptoms, but it also determines your symptoms impact your daily functioning.  Social Security examines your day-to-day activities, your social functioning, and your ability to complete tasks at a reasonable pace.

If you are considering an attorney, realize that not all representation is alike.  Non-attorneys can do well representing people before the Social Security Administration, but anyone can claim to be an “advocate” without any education or training.  Only a licensed attorney can give legal advice.  Seek a licensed attorney with experience handling Social Security hearings.

At Hoglund Law Offices, our attorneys focus on representing Social Security claimants.  Some of the legal questions our clients ask include:

  • What will a judge ask me at the hearing?
  • Are there any special laws or rulings in my favor?
  • How does my medical evidence compare with others who have been approved before the same judge?

Arguing Social Security claims before the federal government can be difficult.  For answers to these and any other legal questions, please feel free to contact Hoglund Law Offices today for a free initial consultation.  We want to help.

Diabetes

At Hoglund Law Offices, our lawyers represent many claimants with diabetic complications get approved for Social Security benefits. Diabetes can be a very serious disease with multiple complications that can affect a wide range of body systems.

As with any claim for social security disability benefits, it is imperative that you treat regularly with a doctor, and follow their recommendations. Lab reports are going to be important to show fluctuating blood sugar levels despite a regular course of treatment. Testing for neuropathy may also be essential in proving one’s disability. If you have been experiencing numbness, weakness, and pain and have not been diagnosed with neuropathy, it is extremely important that you bring this to your doctor’s attention. Specific testing needs to be conducted to confirm the diagnosis.

If your diabetes does not meet or equal Social Security’s specific criteria for being found disabled, your symptoms may still cause significant functional limitations which may prove you are unable to work. An individual may have difficulty walking, standing, or may need to elevate their legs throughout the day. Numbness in one’s hands may impair your ability to write, type, and use small objects. Vision problems may prevent an individual from reading, using a computer, seeing small objects, or avoiding hazards in a work environment. These functional limitations, alone or in combination, may be enough to prove that no work would exist in the national economy.

Contact Hoglund Law Offices today so that we can assess your disability claim.

Transcription:

Hi, my name is Andrew Kinney and I’m an attorney with Hoglund Law. I practice Social Security Disability Law and also Supplemental Security Income Law. One of the things i wanted to talk to today is, as of this filming, something that happened about a week ago. Social Security has changed one of its laws and it may raise some questions about whether you can be approved based on this law. Social Security has definitions of disability that describe what sort of elements you need to meet the criteria for certain kinds of problems. Halo back problem to meet what’s called a listing would need to meet certain elements.

What Social Security has recently done as of June of 2011 is remove the diabetes listing, so this certainly causes concerns and the American Diabetic Association is one of the groups that had not wanted this to happen, but despite that the law has changed. So, what does it mean? One thing it does not mean: It does not mean you cannot be approved of Social Security benefits, do not believe that. One of the things in my practice at Social Security hearings in particular, I’ve noticed that when someone has diabetes I generally look for side effects of diabetes, for instance is someone has neuropathy of their toes or their hands or they have other problems like retinopathy. Diabetes as people that have it well know, can affect other parts of the body. Generally what I would argue in hearings isn’t necessarily diabetes listing anyway. What I would argue is the symptoms from diabetes that despite regular insulin and regular care have still risen, so don’t worry about that.

As far as with Social Security and going to a hearing, one of the things that happen is that Social Security, at the first two lower levels –state agency levels — they make decisions too. There’s an application, reconsideration, and then a hearing level. It’s at the hearing level that you generally see more of the attorney work. At Hoglund Law Offices, we help people apply, we help people appeal, and we help people in any stage. Generally we consider where they are and their chances of approval. If you have questions about diabetes or you have questions about getting approved of Social Security benefits, feel free to call our office at 1-800-850-7867. You can also visit our website at HoglundLaw.com. Thank you very much.

Digestive Problems

Transcription:

Hi my name is Andrew Kinney, and I’m an attorney with Hoglund Law Offices. I do Social Security Disability Law and SSI Law for a living. I’m doing this video log today to explain how to get benefits based on digestive problems. I’m being general here because there are a lot of particular things that can be wrong. But the basic idea is: how does social security review these kinds of problems?

One of the things people do when they have digestive problems is certainly go to a doctor, that goes without saying, but some problems, in my legal experience, some of the problems are harder to understand the cause than others. If someone has diverticulitis, that sometimes can come and go, people in my experience know that it is going on because there are a lot of symptoms. But there are some other problems that may be a little more subtle. Irritable bowel syndrome might be an example of that. Some people might have some of that, and some people can have it affect them daily.

There are also chronic digestive issues like Crohns disease. Some of my first cases involved that. It is a complicated problem and can have chronic implications. The question is through all this, how bad is it and how would it affect your ability to work full time? So I’m going to talk a little about that.

Social security looks at medical evidence. It looks specifically, in the case of digestive problems, not only at your treatment records, but it look to see if doctors have requested procedures. Perhaps they do colonoscopies; perhaps they are doing abdominal ultrasounds. There are a lot of different things doctors need to do, and you need to make sure doctors can understand what is going on. So make sure to do them. There are also procedures that you can choose to do. Certainly make decisions on your doctor’s advice but social security is looking to confirm 1) a diagnosis and 2) the objective findings supporting that diagnosis. Social security looks at the records, and from those two elements, they are deciding how you are limited from those problems.

So what I’m trying to convey here is, you are limited, as you well know from day to day from digestive issues, how limited are you. That is what is important to talk to your doctor about. Some people have digestive problems and can work full time, and some have digestive issues and can work some. Sometimes people have digestive problems that worsen over time. All that matters, what is important for you to know right now, is at some point when you know you are unable to work due to these problems, talk to your doctor about that.

Certainly if you could use our help, you can call the number below. But what’s important first is deciding with you doctor, “am I making my problems worse by working?” “Have I changed my diet enough,” if that’s what your doctor asks. Is there something I can do otherwise to control this? Work with your doctor on these things.

As far as an attorney, and in doing what I do, I am looking at the medical evidence to see what sorts of things doctors have recommended. Is there a gastroenterologist involved, a specialist in digestive problems that can help a lot, especially if there is a problem in finding a diagnosis?

Hopefully this was helpful today. If you have questions about getting benefits based on digestive issues or just general questions about getting benefits, we want to be of help to you, feel free go to our website at Hoglundlaw.com. We have a medical library, we also discuss the law and legal standards, there is a lot of stuff out there but we are trying to make it clear and concise for you. We help thousands of clients currently and we want to be able to help you if you need it. If you have an immediate concern and would like to call, feel free to talk to us, we are at 1-800-850-7867. Hopefully this video was helpful, and take care.

Fibromyalgia

Transcription:

Hi, my name is Andrew Kinney. I’m a Social Security Attorney. I practice law at Hoglund Law offices. Today I’m going to talk about Fibromyalgia.

Having represented disability claimants for almost 20 years, fibromyalgia cases can be one of the most difficult. That doesn’t mean we don’t help people with fibromyalgia. What it does mean is that there are certain levels of proof that are different than traditional cases. Some cases, for instance, if there is a lower back problem, you can get an MRI and verify why there is lower leg pain. You can see, objectively, what is wrong. In fibromyalgia cases there are objective ways to diagnose it but Social Security doesn’t always acknowledge it, at least in my experience.

If you have fibromyalgia it is important that you regularly treat with a doctor. Another good tip is if you regularly treat with a doctor; make sure to talk with your doctor about the diagnosis. You may define that you are being diagnosed with myalgia which although perhaps accurate isn’t as specific as fibromyalgia.

Another good idea, is to consider seeing a specialist. Rheumatologists, in my experience, tend to have the best ways of diagnosing and confirming fibromyalgia. They also have ways to do lab tests to confirm what you don’t have. Some people with fibromyalgia, including a recent hearing I had, have a lot of other autoimmune issues. So there can be some overlay, making descriptions and diagnosis of your conditions even more difficult.

Generally if you have fibromyalgia you should expect to go to a hearing, and when you go to a hearing, you’re laying out in front of a federal judge what symptoms you have and how bad they are because ultimately the question is: How do you function? That doesn’t always convey well with medical records.

If you have more questions about fibromyalgia you can go to our website at www.HoglundLaw.com or call the number on the lower screen and we can talk with you about it.”


Fibromyalgia is a condition that includes symptoms of both fatigue and varying widespread musculoskeletal pain. It is considered a chronic condition. The only way to firmly diagnose fibromyalgia is through a trigger point examination. Typically this is done by a Rheumatologist, but it can also be done by any physician.

Fibromyalgia is not an impairment “listed” by the Social Security Administration. This does not mean that Fibromyalgia is not disabling. It just means that Social Security does not offer guidance on exactly how to evaluate fibromyalgia. In fact, fibromyalgia’s severity can be very different among different people. Fibromyalgia can be difficult to prove. For these reasons, it can be hard to win a Social Security disability claim with fibromyalgia as the only diagnosis.

If you are making a claim for Social Security disability, one important factor is to get the fibromyalgia treated and diagnosed by a Rheumatologist. The Social Security Administration will give the diagnosis and treatment more weight if it comes from a Rheumatologist. Fibromyalgia and depression often occur together. A claim for Social Security disability can be made stronger with treatment for depression by a Psychologist or Psychiatrist. Our Hoglund Lawyers find that arguing fibromyalgia claims can be difficult and complex. If you have disabling fibromyalgia and need to make a claim for Social Security disability benefits, call today for a free consultation with a Hoglund Lawyer.

Heart Problems

Transcription:

Hi, my name is Andrew Kinney. I’m an attorney at Hoglund Law Offices.  I practice Social Security Disability law and Supplemental Security Income law, more easily known as SSI.  Today, I wanted to talk about heart and circulation issues and how you can be approved for benefits based on those.

I will start with heart issues.  Heart issues, as you can very well guess, are very serious issues. Your doctor needs to track symptoms that you have, and we are not just talking about heart attack symptoms or chest pains, but of course if you have those symptoms it is important to get care right away.

Social Security is evaluating heart problems of any number of subcategories.  So you could have congestive heart failure; you could have valve issues.  What is interesting about how Social Security works is that they have definitions of disability for heart problems or cardiac problems.  Those definitions are very specific, but there are broad ranges of problems that those definitions or listings cover.

For heart problems, if you are anticipating that you are going to be unable to work for more than three months or even hold a full time job, you need to start considering whether you want to apply for Social Security disability or SSI benefits.  Here is why.  Social Security requires certain levels of medical evidence.  So in terms of heart conditions, it is not only important that you get care, especially emergency care if you have heart issues, but ongoing, if you have feet swelling, if you do actually have chest pains, or if you are extremely fatigued, or if there is any dis-colorization of any of your limbs.  Any of those sort of things, your doctor is going to track symptoms that may have a heart connection.

There are three main things to do with a heart problem.  That would be: to treat for your problems, test for your problems and take medication for your problems, three basic things that help with your health.  But these things also make sure that you prove also how bad your problem is.  The testing, in particular the objective testing, for instance, an injection fraction number, these are numbers and test results that are objective, and Social Security abides by them and tracks them.  Make sure of course to treat for heart problems, but you specifically need to consider that if you don’t regularly treat for heart problems, then you are at risk for your health, but you are also at risk for not proving that you have the problems when you get to a hearing with a judge.  It is harder for me as an attorney to argue cases when we don’t have regular evidence so make sure to do your best to get health insurance, but also make sure to take care of yourself.

The other thing that I wanted to talk about, which is a somewhat related topic, is circulatory problems.  Some people have problems with dis-colorization of their legs, they swell. It may not be kidney related, but it may be deep vein thrombosis or other problems where they don’t have adequate circulation to either their arms or legs, I generally see in my experience, legs.  What you will notice when you talk to doctors is you will have dis-colorization or edema or swelling, and these issues may be painful. They also may occur daily, things you would notice.  So what doctors do with these situations is that they treat for them, and they track them.  You track those changes.  Social Security looks for diagnoses of these particular problems.  For instance vein stasis would involve either a dis-colorization of browning of your lower legs and ankles, and they would also look for swelling.

But there are different forms of problems with circulation that can be tested through studies. Those tests and also medical examinations can verify what you have, hopefully to get better, but at least to confirm what you have by the time you meet with a Social Security judge.  With heart problems or circulatory problems, you do not need to be 50 to be approved for benefits, but if you are 50 the standards ease up.  You need to prove when you are over 50 or you will be over 50 by the time you get to a hearing in a few years.  You need to prove when you are over 50 that you are limited to sit-down work, and you can’t return to your past work.  Standards ease up. Keep in mind you do not need to be 50, but if you are and have trouble being on your feet, you need to consider Social Security benefits.

If you have more questions about disability we have a medical library, the legal take on the medical conditions, or the ones we traditionally help, contact us at HoglundLaw.com.  We are also doing our best to give you information about the law and how the law applies to situations where you cannot work and you need Social Security benefits.  Feel free to visit our website.  If you have questions about applying or you have an appeal and you need to get one in, we do all that, and we help thousands of people currently.  Feel free to call 1-800-850-7867 and we can help you out.  Thank you

Heart Transplants

You can receive Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security Income Benefits if you are not currently working (as defined by Social Security’s standards) and you meet the medical criteria for benefits. Social Security’s medical criteria allow you to receive Social Security Disability or SSI benefits for 1 year after receiving a heart transplant under “listing” 4.09. After this year, Social Security may evaluate your condition.


Myth #1: You need a transplant before you can apply for Social Security Disability and SSI benefits.

False. While it is true that those who have had a heart transplant in Minnesota can receive benefits, you do not need to wait until you have the transplant before applying for benefits. In our experience, most people undergoing a heart transplant have already been sick and unable to work for a long period of time.


Myth #2: You need to stop working entirely before applying for Social Security benefits.

False. Social Security allows you to apply for benefits as long as you are earning less than a set amount per month, called “substantial gainful activity” (SGA). Health problems leading to a heart transplant can keep you from working full-time. Depending on your hours and gross pay, you may apply in the first month your gross monthly earnings fall below SGA. For the annual SGA level, click here: http://www.ssa.gov/oact/cola/sga.html


Myth #3: You should give up applying for benefits for heart problems if you are denied at the first level.

False. Unless you and your doctor really think your health is good enough to earn above Social Security’s monthly SGA level (see above), heart complications that may lead to a transplant, such as fatigue and particular kinds of swelling, can absolutely allow an eventual approval for benefits. You just have to keep appealing.

Who makes these early denials? State agencies make the first two decisions in your claim before you can meet a judge. Many of their decisions can be quite short-sighted and set up for failure, as national hearing-level overturn rates reveal. For example, regulations require state agencies to ask your treating doctor for an opinion about your condition. They find loop-holes to avoid this. Also, some state agencies who make the first two decisions for SSA routinely monitor their approvals and review up to half of them. In this hostile environment, your appeals that get to a hearing are your only reasonable response. At Hoglund Law Offices, our licensed lawyers and staff help you apply and appeal your Social Security disability claim. Only licensed lawyers are at hearings.


Myth #4: My decision to apply for Social Security benefits for heart problems has nothing to do with my doctor.

False. In our experience, you should discuss your ability to work with your doctor. If your medical limitations from chronic heart disease don’t allow you to work above SGA (see above), or if you are over 50 and can’t return to your past work (when special rules apply), you should apply and plan to appeal any denials.

Talking with your doctor about your work limitations offers a two-fold benefit. First, if your doctor thinks you can work, this medical advice can help you continue earning an income without unduly risking health complications. Second, if your doctor thinks you cannot work, or can no longer work over time, your medical limitations should be reasonably clear in your medical record. In this latter situation, the Social Security administrative law judge (ALJ) at your hearing should have enough medical evidence about your limitations over time to give you a fair chance of approval — especially if you ultimately undergo a heart transplant.

If you have legal questions about your Social Security disability or SSI claim, it is important to get legal advice from a law firm that understands your particular situation. Please feel free to contact Hoglund Law Offices today at 1-855-780-4357

Hepatitis

Hepatitis is a liver condition that affects both children and adults.  Depending on the severity of your symptoms, you may be able to get Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income benefits.  Our team of attorneys at Hoglund Law Offices has advised our clients on thousands of Social Security claims.  To help you understand the benefits of calling us, we offer some of the legal advice we give our clients below.

  • Make sure that you are communicating clearly with your primary health care provider about the severity of your symptoms

Proper foundation for a claim for Social Security Disability claim begins with true and accurate information.  When your doctor asks about details about your condition, be prepared at your visit to give details about what you experience and how often and severe these symptoms are.  Common symptoms of Hepatitis can include fatigue, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, pain, jaundice, and dehydration.

  • Visit a hepatologist (liver specialist) when possible and get the proper testing to diagnose the severity of your condition

Medical opinions from a specialist are generally given the greatest weight in appeals and Social Security Disability hearings.  In addition to having a greater insight/education than a typical general practitioner, a hepatologist will be able to provide testing that can be used to give an idea how severe your liver condition is.  Several tests are available for this, but the most widely used test detects antibody counts associated with viral loads.

  • Abstain from alcohol and street drugs

Hepatitis can arise from long-term alcohol abuse.  It can also aggravate existing hepatitis.  If you are ingesting alcohol, non-prescribed medications and/or street drugs, you will likely be considered non-compliant in your treatment.  Although Social Security can take sobriety into consideration, it can also blame your disabling symptoms on your ongoing behavior.  This can cause denials.

  • Maintain regular treatment and compliance

Applicants seeking Social Security Disability need to have a complete and thorough record of their condition and treatment.  Maintaining compliance with medications and regular doctor visits will show Social Security’s decisionmakers a roadmap of your condition and its varying levels of severity.  A complete record will account for times when your condition may have slipped into a range where an award of benefits is warranted thereafter.

  • Understand that your diagnosis may change

Even with proper treatment and compliance, it is possible that Hepatitis can lead to liver failure.  In the event of liver failure, a liver transplant may be the next course of treatment.  For the purposes of Social Security Disability, this condition is evaluated under a different standard than Hepatitis and should be reevaluated by your attorney if this occurs.
For any questions about hepatitis and how this condition affects your eligibility for Social Security Disability, feel free to contact Hoglund Law Offices today.

HIV and AIDS

If you are sick enough from HIV or AIDS, you may be able to receive Social Security disability benefits in Minnesota. There are essentially two ways to be found disabled under the government’s guidelines. You either meet or equal a “listing”, or your combined symptoms are severe enough to make you unable to work full-time for 1 year or more.

HIV may begin with relatively few or no symptoms but progress as your body cannot fight infections. “Opportunistic” infections, and other health problems from HIV and AIDS, may be serious enough to lead to hospitalization:

  • Bacterial, fungal, protozoan, or viral infections
  • Malignant neoplasms
  • Conditions of the skin or mucus membrane that don’t respond to treatment
  • Blood abnormalities
  • Neurological abnormalities
  • HIV wasting syndrome
  • Diarrhea lasting 1 month or more and requiring IV hydration or IV alimentation or tube feeding
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Nephropathy
  • Sepsis
  • Meningitis
  • Pneumonia
  • Septic arthritis
  • Endocarditis
  • Chronic Sinusitis

Social Security also considers complications from HIV and AIDS-related conditions which may not lead to hospitalization but will severely impact your daily activities, ability to interact with others, and your ability to concentrate for at least 1 year or more.

If you, a friend, or a loved one cannot work due to HIV or AIDS, you may wish to hire our team of Hoglund Lawyers. If you do, our lawyers will give you legal advice about the following:

  • What kind of medical treatment allows us to argue your true level of functioning over time?
  • How do you treat to avoid Social Security blaming you for your symptoms?
  • How can an attorney help you before a federal judge at a hearing?

Most Social Security disability cases can be complex, especially involving HIV and AIDS. If you would like a licensed attorney rather than a generic “advocate or representative” to be on your side, call Hoglund, Chwialkowski, and Mrozik today for a free initial consultation.

Transcription:

Hi, my name is Andrew Kinney. I’m an attorney at Hoglund Law offices and I practice Social Security Disability Law for a living. Today I wanted to address a difficult topic. HIV or AIDS.

It’s a very difficult diagnosis to get. What is good news though is that in recent years, medication has helped avoid symptoms from these diseases. Social Security Disability, the program that I’m involved in proves that someone is unable to work for a period of a year or more, or is expected to be unable to work for medical reasons for a year or more. The question in HIV or AIDS cases comes down to this: What symptoms do you have? Fatigue, although hard to quantify, is very important to make sure to mention to your doctor. Also if there are chronic infections associated with HIV and AIDS, that, when they are not resolved in a short period of time can build up over time and can allow an approval for social security benefits on that basis.

So if you get the idea a diagnosis is not enough for social security. It’s a diagnosis that’s medically determinable in this case some tests, but it’s also the function limitations you suffer from day in day out. Now there can be periods where you have better days and worse days. Ultimately, the question comes down to this: are you unable to work for a period of a year or more? If you’re able to do a little work, social security will evaluate whether you’re currently working or not. As of 2011, the standard is: Are you making $1000 or more a month for 3 months in a row?

If you find that you are still able to work with HIV or AIDS but you are unable to keep a full time job, that’s the time to consider whether you will apply for social security disability. What’s also fine is to talk to your doctor about how much you should work and when you should work. The reason is this: When you’re approving your case in front of social security, judges in particular are evaluating what your doctor is going to say. If you’re working until you can’t and you’re also discussing with your doctor your ability to work, that is reflected in the medical record. So, I might see a medical record that says talked with my patient, I recommended my patient only work part-time due to fatigue and chronic sinusoids.

All sorts of Comments in the record mean your doctor is caring for you, your doctor knows you’re trying your best, your doctor knows the extent of your symptoms, but the judge in turn would know what you can and can’t do. The medical standard for social security is your inability to work full time. If that’s the case you may consider applying for social security benefits. If you have more questions about HIV or AIDS we have a medical disability library on our website at www.HoglundLaw.com. You can also just call our office about general questions about how we might be able to help you. Thank you.

Ischemic Heart Disease

Ischemic heart disease symptoms can cause pain and fatigue.  This, in turn, can keep you from working full-time.  If true, you may be approved for Social Security Disability benefits in Minnesota.

Another name for ischemic heart disease is myocardial ischemia.  Damage happens from restricted blood to the heart.  In the same way, coronary artery disease can restrict blood supply.

Keep in mind that a diagnosis does not guarantee an approval.  Social Security needs to evaluate the progress of your treatment.

Below are some of the common legal questions our attorneys get about Social Security disability benefits claims involving heart disease:

How do I make sure Social Security knows how severe my symptoms are? 

Treat regularly.  Testing, specialist appointments, and blood work can help Social Security track your functioning over time.  This allows our attorneys to argue the truth of your disability.

What happens if I don’t follow up with my treatment? 

Follow your doctor’s orders, including trying to stop personal habits such as smoking.  Compliance has legal ramifications.

How does taking my medications help my Social Security claim?

You can note when you do take certain kinds of particular medications.   In our legal experience, nitroglycerin is one of them.  Your medical record can help your physician know that you are doing your best to take your medications.  If so, this will diminish attempts by Social Security to discredit you.

Social Security Disability claim, just like medicine, can be complicated.  Please feel free to call Hoglund Law Offices to learn more about how our team of attorneys helps many people just like you.

Kidney Transplant

You can receive Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security Income Benefits if you are not currently working (as defined by Social Security’s standards) and you meet the medical criteria for benefits. Social Security’s medical criteria allow you to receive Social Security Disability or SSI benefits for 1 year after receiving a kidney transplant under “listing” 6.02B. After this year, Social Security may evaluate your condition.


Myth #1: You need a transplant before you can apply for Social Security Disability and SSI benefits.

False. While it is true that those who have had a kidney transplant in Minnesota can receive benefits, you do not need to wait until you have the transplant before applying for benefits. In our experience, most people undergoing a kidney transplant have already been sick and unable to work for a long period of time.


Myth #2: You need to stop working entirely before applying for Social Security benefits.

False. Social Security allows you to apply for benefits as long as you are earning less than a set amount per month, called “substantial gainful activity” (SGA). Health problems leading to a kidney transplant can keep you from working full-time. Depending on your hours and gross pay, you may apply in the first month your gross monthly earnings fall below SGA. For the annual SGA level, click here: http://www.ssa.gov/oact/cola/sga.html


Myth #3: You should give up applying for benefits for kidney problems if you are denied at the first level.

False. Unless you and your doctor really think your health is good enough to earn above Social Security’s monthly SGA level (see above), kidney complications that may lead to a transplant, such as fatigue and particular kinds of swelling, can absolutely allow an eventual approval for benefits. You just have to keep appealing.

Who makes these early denials? State agencies make the first two decisions in your claim before you can meet a judge. Many of their decisions can be quite short-sighted and set up for failure, as national hearing-level overturn rates reveal. For example, regulations require state agencies to ask your treating doctor for an opinion about your condition. They find loop-holes to avoid this. Also, some state agencies who make the first two decisions for SSA routinely monitor their approvals and review up to half of them. In this hostile environment, your appeals that get to a hearing are your only reasonable response. At Hoglund Law Offices, our licensed lawyers and staff help you apply and appeal your Social Security disability claim. Only licensed lawyers are at hearings.


Myth #4: My decision to apply for Social Security benefits for kidney problems has nothing to do with my doctor.

False. In our experience, you should discuss your ability to work with your doctor. If your medical limitations from chronic kidney disease don’t allow you to work above SGA (see above), or if you are over 50 and can’t return to your past work (when special rules apply), you should apply and plan to appeal any denials.

Talking with your doctor about your work limitations offers a two-fold benefit. First, if your doctor thinks you can work, this medical advice can help you continue earning an income without unduly risking health complications. Second, if your doctor thinks you cannot work, or can no longer work over time, your medical limitations should be reasonably clear in your medical record. In this latter situation, the Social Security administrative law judge (ALJ) at your hearing should have enough medical evidence about your limitations over time to give you a fair chance of approval — especially if you ultimately undergo a kidney transplant.

If you have legal questions about your Social Security disability or SSI claim, it is important to get legal advice from a law firm that understands your particular situation. Please feel free to contact Hoglund Law Offices today at 1-855-780-4357.

Liver Transplants

You can receive Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security Income Benefits if you are not currently working (as defined by Social Security’s standards) and you meet the medical criteria for benefits. Social Security’s medical criteria allow you to receive Social Security Disability or SSI benefits for 1 year after receiving a liver transplant under “listing” 5.09. After this year, Social Security may evaluate your condition.


Myth #1: You need a transplant before you can apply for Social Security Disability and SSI benefits.

False. While it is true that those who have had a liver transplant in Minnesota can receive benefits, you do not need to wait until you have the transplant before applying for benefits. In our experience, most people undergoing a liver transplant have already been sick and unable to work for a long period of time.


Myth #2: You need to stop working entirely before applying for Social Security benefits.

False. Social Security allows you to apply for benefits as long as you are earning less than a set amount per month, called “substantial gainful activity” (SGA). Health problems leading to a liver transplant can keep you from working full-time. Depending on your hours and gross pay, you may apply in the first month your gross monthly earnings fall below SGA. For the annual SGA level, click here: http://www.ssa.gov/oact/cola/sga.html


Myth #3: You should give up applying for benefits for liver problems if you are denied at the first level.

False. Unless you and your doctor really think your health is good enough to earn above Social Security’s monthly SGA level (see above), liver complications that may lead to a transplant, such as fatigue and particular kinds of swelling, can absolutely allow an eventual approval for benefits. You just have to keep appealing.

Who makes these early denials? State agencies make the first two decisions in your claim before you can meet a judge. Many of their decisions can be quite short-sighted and set up for failure, as national hearing-level overturn rates reveal. For example, regulations require state agencies to ask your treating doctor for an opinion about your condition. They find loop-holes to avoid this. Also, some state agencies who make the first two decisions for SSA routinely monitor their approvals and review up to half of them. In this hostile environment, your appeals that get to a hearing are your only reasonable response. At Hoglund Law Offices, our licensed lawyers and staff help you apply and appeal your Social Security disability claim. Only licensed lawyers are at hearings.


Myth #4: My decision to apply for Social Security benefits for liver problems has nothing to do with my doctor.

False. In our experience, you should discuss your ability to work with your doctor. If your medical limitations from chronic liver disease don’t allow you to work above SGA (see above), or if you are over 50 and can’t return to your past work (when special rules apply), you should apply and plan to appeal any denials.

Talking with your doctor about your work limitations offers a two-fold benefit. First, if your doctor thinks you can work, this medical advice can help you continue earning an income without unduly risking health complications. Second, if your doctor thinks you cannot work, or can no longer work over time, your medical limitations should be reasonably clear in your medical record. In this latter situation, the Social Security administrative law judge (ALJ) at your hearing should have enough medical evidence about your limitations over time to give you a fair chance of approval — especially if you ultimately undergo a liver transplant.

If you have legal questions about your Social Security disability or SSI claim, it is important to get legal advice from a law firm that understands your particular situation. Please feel free to contact Hoglund Law Offices today at 1-855-780-4357.

Low IQ, Borderline Intellectual

Transcription:

Hi my name is Andrew Kinney. I do Social Security Law at Hoglund Law Offices. Today, I wanted to talk about consultative exams or “CE’s” as they’re called.
If you have a pending Social Security Case and you get a letter in the mail that says you need to appear in a consultative exam, I want to explain what that is, why that is, when social security orders it, who pays for it, and what the result is perhaps if you don’t go.

Social Security regulations require social security to get information on a physical or mental impairment if they don’t believe the current medical information gives them enough information to make a decision about whether you’re disabled. So, let’s say you apply for social security disability benefits and haven’t had much care for depression and you have chronic pain. What you would see perhaps at the first level when you apply is a letter in the mail that social security would pay for you to meet with a one-time evaluator. A psychologist usually, that would be able to ask you questions about your situation and in a limited way to make a diagnosis and also give advice about your ability to concentrate and things like that.

What you have with consultative examinations is it’s a good thing. And Social Security is trying to get information that they don’t otherwise have. One of the drawbacks, though, is that that at times Social Security does have enough information but yet they order a consultative examination anyways. So, what I tell my clients that it’s always important to go to a consultative exam, even if you know that doctor doesn’t know you and doesn’t know much about you. And the reason is this: If social security thinks it’s important enough to order a consultative exam and you don’t go, that may, itself, be a cause for a denial. So, with that in mind, it’s not a good idea to decide on your own not to go on purpose because it may result in a denial, and you don’t want that.

A good piece of advice about consultative exams is that its best to always have ongoing treatment for things you know you have a problem with. If you have something like depression or anxiety or in the physical realm if you have chronic back problems or some other sort of problems it’s always good to have doctors that you treat with, that you trust to evaluate you, and perhaps like at Hoglund Law offices, get a statement from the doctor to lay out your restrictions. Those will carry more weight with the social security judge eventually. In summary, with consultative exams, or consults what social security does is that their trying to get more information about you that could possibly improve you, so be honest and upfront and on time.

If you have further questions about consultative exams or Social Security Disability in general you can feel free to call our offices at 1-800-850-7867 or you can go online at www.HoglundLaw.com as well, thank you.

Lung Disease

Different types of lung problems can keep you from working full-time.  Lung problems include asthma, cystic fibrosis, pneumoconiosis, bronchiectasis, chronic lung infections, emphysema, pulmonary vascular hypertension, and sleep-related breathing disorders.

Whatever your diagnosis, lung problems can cause shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing, excessive mucus production, bloody mucus, and chest pain.  Our attorneys at Hoglund Law Offices encourage our clients to seek treatment from lung specialists, also known as pulmonologists.  Specialists and others not only diagnose you, but they also do tests that objectively measure your pulmonary functions.  Social Security uses these tests to evaluate whether you meet their set standards of disability.

Social Security needs to know if your lung problems will keep you from working for one year or more.  As attorneys, our Hoglund Lawyers make legal argument based on your medical record.  What do we look for?  We need testing results, but we also need to know how you are functioning over time.  Your doctor can talk with you about how important pulmonary functioning studies can be for your treatment.  He or she can also talk with you about how often you should have these tests.

Sometimes Social Security cannot separate symptoms of your lung disease from habits such as smoking.  Our attorneys can discuss with you how we address this issue with Social Security judges.  In our legal experience, it is important to follow your doctor’s orders, but it is also important to tell your doctor when you can’t.  As for smoking, your doctor may have different options to try to cut down or quit.  Raise these concerns with your doctor.

Navigating through a Social Security disability claim can be difficult and complex.  Call a Hoglund Lawyer today at Hoglund Law Offices for a free consultation.

Lupus

Lupus is an autoimmune disease that can impact almost any part of your body.  Although lupus can be treated, there is no cure.  Lupus causes your immune system to attack your body’s cells and tissues, causing inflammation and tissue damage.

Common symptoms of lupus include fever, general discomfort or uneasiness, joint pains, fatigue, muscle pain, and loss of cognitive abilities.  Lupus symptoms can place great limitations on your daily living activities and social functioning.  Because these symptoms are both widespread and common in other diseases, lupus can be easily overlooked or misdiagnosed.

If you have a diagnosis of lupus, and your symptoms keep you from working full-time, you may be eligible for Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.

Our attorneys at Hoglund Law Offices recommend that you see a particular kind of medical specialist to perform tests and document your lupus symptoms.  Autoimmune diseases can be difficult to diagnose and treat, so the medical record evidence is very important when proving your impairments to Social Security judges at hearings.

Call a Hoglund lawyer today for a free consultation if you are thinking about filing for Social Security disability due to lupus.  Although disability claims can be complex and difficult to understand, we will gladly assess your claim and discuss your options.  Hoglund Law Offices:  Help is around the corner.

Mental Disorders

Many of our clients have some form of mental impairment.  If this condition lasts a year or more you are more likely to be eligible for Disability benefits.  Combined with a physical impairment, mental impairments can interrupt your day to day life.  Things like depression, schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s, and anxiety can affect your ability to care for yourself, work, or even leave your home.  The Social Security Administration likes to see your mental health problems diagnosed and treated by a mental health professional.

Transcription:

Hi, my name is Andrew Kinney, and I’m an attorney at Hoglund Law offices. I practice exclusively in the area of Social Security disability and Supplemental Security Income law or SSI law. Today I wanted to talk about mental health problems and how Social Security reviews them, and whether you can be approved based on mental health problems.

Many people have some form of mental health issues, sometimes due to chronic pain, sometimes due to a genetic predisposition, and sometimes due to an event in their lives, but overall, for whatever the cause, Social Security looks to see if you are treating and getting help, and perhaps taking medications for the problem, for example, depression, bipolar disorder, either one or two, anxiety disorder, panic disorder, you may have agoraphobia as an element of that. Social Security also looks to see if there is an element of chemical dependency in any of those. I will talk a little bit of that now.

The big idea here to keep in mind is that Social Security looks at the mental health problems the same way they look at physical problems. It is just there is less objective evidence as for say a low back problem. A low back problem you can get an MRI, and you can see there is a herniated disk. But just because you can’t measure it with an imaging study doesn’t mean that depression isn’t just as disabling. The question is, how are you disabled with it? Some people work with depression, or bipolar, or anxiety disorder; some people can’t work. The question is severity, so keep in mind that it’s best to try to get better the best you can, and you can use your primary care doctor or get perhaps a psychiatrist. Use a psychologist to be able to get better. Take medications, but work with your doctor about side effects. Make sure that if you do have side effects that you talk to your doctor about perhaps switching medications. I’m a lawyer here, and I see some people stopping medications without talking to their doctor. So what is important for Social Security to know is that you are doing your best to get better.

With that in mind, Social Security reviews mental health issues, and I would include someone with low IQ in this, if you have mental health issues that affect your ability to work fulltime consider applying for Social Security benefits, especially if you have a good work history. The reason is this, at some juncture, mental health problems are disabling and what is the drawing line between when you are disabled and when you are not. It isn’t always so clear. Even if you are denied at the first level and even the second level, those state agency denials in my opinion are quite poor. Make sure if you know you can’t work, and you have legitimate diagnosed impairments, and you are doing the best to care for them, and taking your medications or having other people help you get your medications, make sure to get to a Social Security hearing.

If an attorney can help you, similar to what we do, the more the better, because if you don’t feel very well you may not be inclined to advocate on your own behalf. So keep these things in mind, and I’m glad that I can offer this video. Hopefully it impressed on you that if you are denied or don’t think that you can get approved for Social Security based on mental health problems then that is inaccurate. It is a question of degree, and the only way Social Security knows how bad they are is if you treat for them.

I mentioned chemical dependency, some people we see, particularly in my experience with anxiety disorder and bipolar, I see chemical dependency issues arise. With that in mind, Social Security will discount how bad your mental health issue is if they think the chemical dependency is exacerbating the mental illness. Another element I’ve learned as an attorney is that the psychologist experts at hearings will testify that your mental illness is worse because let’s say alcohol or drugs is reducing the effectiveness of your medication. So if you catch what I’m saying, it is definitely healthier to talk to your doctor about any dependency. What in particular you need to know is that Social Security will look at chemical dependency as perhaps a factor, very negatively in your claim, and it can, in the case of mental illness, cause Social Security to deny your claim.

So by all means, get the help that you need. I wrote a blog on chemical dependency at Hoglundlaw.com under the Social Security area to talk about these issues in more detail. If you have questions about mental conditions in general feel free to go to Hoglundlaw.com. We have done our best to explain impairments, and explain what you need to do. If you would like our help, we don’t charge unless you are approved. We help people apply, and we help people appeal. Keep in mind we want to help, but certainly you need to shop and know that you are getting people you can trust and know what they are doing. Feel free to call us if you wish at 1-800-850-7867. Thank you.

Multiple Sclerosis

Generally, the Social Security Disability program evaluates your Multiple Sclerosis based on the limitations that cause you disorganization of motor functions.  This specifically includes persistent problems you may have with your legs, hands, and arms.  Furthermore, the SSA looks at problems and complications associated with your memory and concentration.  This can include depression and anxiety related to your MS.  In our experience at Hoglund Law Offices, we argue how MS has caused demonstrable fatigue.

In our legal experience, the best way to document your MS symptoms is to receive regular work-ups and ongoing treatment from a neurologist.  At your appointment with your neurologist, make sure he or she conducts a physical exam.  Furthermore, you need to thoroughly explain the difficulties you are having with your motor functions with your neurologist.  Doctors take notes.  The level of detail in these notes will document the complications and complaints you are having with your MS.  Regardless of any condition you have, it is always important to receive regular medical treatment from your doctor.  Every doctor visit you have creates a paper trail for the Social Security Administration to determine if your condition is getting better, staying the same, or getting worse.

Our Hoglund Lawyers in Minnesota recommend that you also report any changing complications from your MS to your neurologist.  Your neurologist will likely be able to refer you to another doctor that specializes in, for example, vision or in mental health practice areas.  As for mental health in particular, the proper specialist will be able to run tests to determine if you are having any problems with your memory and concentration.  You should receive treatment from a psychiatrist or psychologist for any ongoing problems with depression and anxiety.  Our Hoglund Lawyers can point out how a psychiatrist and psychologist may be able to pinpoint and document specific issues in a way that is uniquely different than your primary care physician or neurologist.

Fatigue is a complication associated with MS.  You may experience an especially tiring fatigue after a short period of exercise, a walk, or routine household chores.  Report this kind fatigue to your neurologist.  Additionally, ask your neurologist to conduct test to measure how easily your become fatigued.  Your neurologist may be able to conduct a stress test or other tests to document how easily you become fatigued.  From a legal standpoint, fatigue must be documented in some way – ideally by your neurologist.  Keeping a daily journal regarding your activity and the fatigue associated with the activity could be helpful not only to lend credibility to your Social Security claim, but could also help your neurologist effectively treat you symptoms.

If you have any questions about how to apply or appeal your Social Security Disability claim, please feel free to call Hoglund Law Offices for a free initial consultation.

Multiple Sclerosis Video

Transcription:

“Hi, I’m attorney Michael Riley. I’m a hearing attorney at the law offices of Robert Hoglund. Today I’d like to discuss with you Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and the questions I get from clients regarding this. I have written a blog about this at www.Hoglundlaw.com, so if you want you can take a look at it there.

Generally, there are six questions that my clients have when it comes to MS. First, what are the requirements. If I have MS, how do I qualify for social security disability benefits? Well, social security reviews MS under the listing 11.09. For social security disability, you either prove that someone is unable to work or you prove that they meet the requirements of the listing.

There are three requirements for the listing of MS. The first is disorder of motor function. The second is a visual or mental impairment. The third is reproducible fatigue. To meet the first requirement, disorder of motor function, you are going to want to talk to your doctor and explain to your doctor exactly what you are going through. Disorder of motor function has to do with your inability to get around, inability to use your feet, or inability to use your arms. But you are going to want to discuss this with your doctor. The most important thing is that you explain and that you not be a complainer . The second requirement is a visual or mental impairment. You are going to want to see a specialist for this, an ophthalmologist obviously for the vision and a psychiatrist or psychologist for a mental impairment and discuss this with them. The third is reproducible fatigue. You are going to want to discuss and treat this with a neurologist. You are going to want to talk to them about the problems you are having and they will be able to conduct tests such as a stress test to show that you are having difficulty with fatigue. A neurologist will be able to help you with that.

If you don’t directly meet the requirements of the listing, it is possible to equal the listing, which means that you may be close enough. Social Security Administration might be able to gather more information such as activities of your daily life to determine if you are close enough to the requirements but you don’t exactly meet the requirements.

Next, what if you are working part time? A lot of our clients have MS and they are unable to put in the extra hours, this is possible too. Again you will want to discuss with your doctor about this, but the fatigue and the problems with this may prohibit you from working on a full time basis. Under social security rules we are trying to prove that you are only able to work on a part time basis, but this is something to talk to your doctor about.

If you have any additional questions about this you can review more information at Hoglundlaw.com. You can further review the blog that I wrote on the website. Just keep in mind that at Hoglund Law we want to make the social security process as easy and as less frustrating as we possibly can for you. Thank you.”

Nervous System Problems

Transcription:

Hi I’m Andrew Kinney, and I’m an attorney at Hoglund Law Offices. I practice exclusively in the area of Social Security disability and SSI law. I help people that can’t work and the problem will last a year or more. I help them get social security benefits to survive.

Today, I wanted to talk about brain and nervous system issues. Specifically MS, Chronic Regional Pain syndrome, Parkinsons, and Alzheimers would be another example. There are chronic conditions involving the brain and nervous system that affect your ability to work. They are serious, and certainly a neurologist is a good person to have a good relationship with. The treatments for this vary; sometimes there is more treatment than others for these conditions. But the main idea is that social security looks at these conditions with a particular eye to the symptoms that you have, not just the diagnosis.

Take MS for example; if someone is diagnosed with MS, Multiple Sclerosis, they might be diagnosed before they are very symptomatic. Usually in my legal experience, the MS is symptomatic enough to prompt an MRI, and the MRI will reveal the white matter lesions that would confirm a diagnosis. But just keep in mind a diagnosis of Parkinsons, MS, or Alzheimers is a start. Work as long as you can, and work with your doctor to understand how long you should work. A question for your doctor is: is working at this point with my diagnosis going to make me worse? There is a point at which you should stop working. That is where you and your doctor can work together about that.

If you have brain and nervous issues, one of the other problems is documentation, sometimes is, if someone has, say memory loss, it is something that is best discussed with your doctor. But you are entitled a hearing to discuss your memory loss. I find very effective, at times psychologists can help measure memory loss, particularly with neuropsychological testing. So talk to your primary care doctor or your neurologist or whatever professional you deal with is: is there specific testing to help me understand how things currently are? You may not wish to know how bad they are, but Social Security is going to require you to objectively measure them and show them before these are allowed to be considered for benefits.

The Chronic Regional Pain syndrome is a separate problem. It is a chronic problem; it is a difficult problem. I have had cases recently with people with this. It also is called Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy. One of the major areas there is that the injury despite all objective signs still causes pain. The same phenomenon occurs if someone has an amputation and they feel pain where the limb was. As an attorney, one of the things that I look for in Complex Regional Pain syndrome or Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy is: what have doctors said and what have the doctors objectively confirmed? Those diagnoses can be confirmed. They may not completely understand the dynamics of it, but the diagnosis has criteria. When Social Security sees that your doctors have verified the criteria supporting the diagnosis, that not only helps you get good treatment, but it helps Social Security know that the problems that you have are serious enough to affect your daily life.

Hopefully discussing these brain and nervous system problems, I’m being general there, hopefully discussing these impairments helps you understand that Social Security is looking for objective evidence of not only the diagnosis but of how you are affected functionally. If you have more questions about applying for benefits or when you should apply for benefits please feel free to visit our website at Hoglundlaw.com. We also have an 800 number where we are happy to talk with people who are still working but are contemplating not working and applying for benefits or if you are appealing for benefits please feel free to call our offices. We don’t charge unless someone is approved. Our number is 855-780-4357. Thank you.

Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s Disease can cause severe limitations in your ability to move and get around. You may also have difficulties starting and continuing activities. Additionally, Parkinson’s Disease may cause tremors that complicate your ability to walk, balance, and move around. All these symptoms are important when Social Security evaluates disability.

Consistent medical treatment is important for any Social Security Disability claim. It is especially important in cases regarding Parkinson’s Disease. Neurologist treatment will not only help confirm the diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease, but it will help confirm the physical limitations directly associated with its progress.

As with any Social Security Disability claim, proper documentation by regular medical treatment can help support an approval of the claim. The Social Security Disability program reviews Parkinson’s Disease by deciding how severe the condition is, how it affects your ability to start and continue activities. This is why you should express any concerns you are having with your neurologist. Physical examinations can be improved with input from you. Our Hoglund Lawyers note that keeping a journal of the day-to-day problems you are having helps make sure that details are not forgotten during medical appointments.

Social Security Disability also looks at how Parkinson’s Disease affects two of your extremities. If your legs are involved, make sure to discuss with your doctor whether a cane or walker would be helpful. Do not be embarrassed to ask your doctor for a prescription if necessary for any devices that might improve your quality of life.

If you have any questions about applying or appealing your Social Security Disability claim, please call Hoglund Law Offices today for a free initial consultation.

Residual Functional Capacity

Transcription:

Hi, my name is Andrew Kinney, and I practice Social Security disability law at Hoglund law offices. Today I wanted to talk about residual functional capacity, code word RFC. Now, this word is very important in social security disability claims. For clients we help, and we help a lot of them, we try to prove that they have a medical problem that keeps them from working fulltime.

How does RFC or residual functional capacity come into play? Well, I will explain it by an example: if you are diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and at that point you have a confirming MRI with white matter shown, at that point you might think that I should stop working and apply for social security benefits. One of the first questions we might ask is: what functional limitations do you have from MS. For instance, what symptoms do you have? Maybe you aren’t coordinated or are extremely fatigued. What I’m getting at is this: it’s not just a diagnosis that can establish that you are disabled. You need a medical diagnosis established by a doctor, but you also need restrictions, limitations from that diagnosis, symptoms.

Another example might be AIDS. If you have AIDS, it is a disease that we luckily have medication for, and there is another video on that particular topic. If you have problems with AIDS, let’s say chronic infections, that’s what social security uses to evaluate whether you are disabled, not just confirming laboratory work, but how you are limited day to day. Do you have encephalopathy? Do you have chronic sinusitis or any other chronic infections that perhaps lead to hospitalization?

So, if you can get the point of today, social security looks at your ability to function in addition to what is wrong with you. They have to consider everything together. Your residual function capacity is physical and mental limitations pooled together. If you have chronic low back problems and you have depression, both of those affect you differently, but your ability to function on a physical and mental level are impacted. Those both have to be considered in the residual functional capacity.

The goal of social security is to decide: could you work a fulltime job? We try to argue that the residual functional capacity does not allow you to work a fulltime job. If you have more questions about residual functional capacity or just questions about social security in general, please feel free to call our office at 1-800-850-7867. You can also go to our website at Hoglundlaw.com. And finally, like I mentioned, we have different videos on different subjects, sometimes that is a little bit easier to read than our disability library, but however you want to learn it, we want to help you. Thank you.

Respiratory Problems

Transcription:

Hi, my name is Andrew Kinney, and I practice Social Security disability law at Hoglund law offices. Today I wanted to talk about residual functional capacity, code word RFC. Now, this word is very important in social security disability claims. For clients we help, and we help a lot of them, we try to prove that they have a medical problem that keeps them from working fulltime.

How does RFC or residual functional capacity come into play? Well, I will explain it by an example: if you are diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and at that point you have a confirming MRI with white matter shown, at that point you might think that I should stop working and apply for social security benefits. One of the first questions we might ask is: what functional limitations do you have from MS. For instance, what symptoms do you have? Maybe you aren’t coordinated or are extremely fatigued. What I’m getting at is this: it’s not just a diagnosis that can establish that you are disabled. You need a medical diagnosis established by a doctor, but you also need restrictions, limitations from that diagnosis, symptoms.

Another example might be AIDS. If you have AIDS, it is a disease that we luckily have medication for, and there is another video on that particular topic. If you have problems with AIDS, let’s say chronic infections, that’s what social security uses to evaluate whether you are disabled, not just confirming laboratory work, but how you are limited day to day. Do you have encephalopathy? Do you have chronic sinusitis or any other chronic infections that perhaps lead to hospitalization?

So, if you can get the point of today, social security looks at your ability to function in addition to what is wrong with you. They have to consider everything together. Your residual function capacity is physical and mental limitations pooled together. If you have chronic low back problems and you have depression, both of those affect you differently, but your ability to function on a physical and mental level are impacted. Those both have to be considered in the residual functional capacity.

The goal of social security is to decide: could you work a fulltime job? We try to argue that the residual functional capacity does not allow you to work a fulltime job. If you have more questions about residual functional capacity or just questions about social security in general, please feel free to call our office at 1-800-850-7867. You can also go to our website at Hoglundlaw.com. And finally, like I mentioned, we have different videos on different subjects, sometimes that is a little bit easier to read than our disability library, but however you want to learn it, we want to help you. Thank you.

Schizophrenia

Social Security can approve people for disability benefits based on Schizophrenia.  Social Security defines Schizophrenia under the “listed” impairment 12.03.

A diagnosis is not enough under listing 12.03.  Our client’s treatment records must show that he or she suffers from:  1) delusions or hallucinations; or 2) disorganized or catatonic behavior; or 3) a pattern of incoherent or illogical thinking; or 4) emotional isolation and withdrawal from social interaction.

Our clients may need to prove “marked” limitations in particular areas.  “Marked” is ill-defined. Having two life areas of marked limitations can be difficult.

Doctor’s records are not always sufficient to prove disability.  They write their notes in order to best understand, help, and treat the patient, not to prove the legal requirements for disability.  That’s where our Hoglund Lawyers can help.

At Hoglund Law Offices, we have inquiries for doctors to complete that allow us to successfully argue 12.03 claims.  Legal experience makes a difference.

For those suffering from schizophrenia, we counsel our clients to regularly treat with a psychiatrist and psychologist/therapist.  If you cannot get help from a mental health professional, it is still important to get medication through a primary care provider or nurse practitioner whenever possible.  Lack of finances and insurance, however, can be a problem.

We also tell our clients to take their medications as prescribed.  Failing to do this can lose a disability claim.  Doctors check blood work to verify there are therapeutic medication levels in your system.  Also, keep in mind that any chemical dependency issues can also lead to a denial of benefits.  Therefore, it is imperative to stay clean and sober when applying for disability benefits.

A disability claim is an important event in your life.  Our experienced Social Security attorneys at Hoglund Law Offices can offer legal advice that non-attorneys cannot.  We advance legal arguments to help get you approved for benefits.  Only a licensed lawyer at a law firm can give you legal advice.  Call Hoglund, Chwialkowski, and Mrozik today for a free initial consultation.

Soft Tissue Damage

Our lawyers at Hoglund Law Offices have represented many clients with soft tissue damage.  These injuries, when serious, can keep you out of full-time work for over a year or more.  If so, the Social Security Administration allows you to receive disability benefits for your soft tissue injuries (e.g. burns).  First, however, you need to meet certain qualifications.

Soft tissue injuries is a general category used by Social Security to describe complications from serious injuries to all parts of your body, including arms, legs, trunk, and face.  Social Security evaluates whether you are under “continuing surgical management,” which just means surgery in some form is ongoing.

You need to expect serious limitations that will last one year.  So, even if you get better over a year later (which can happen in soft tissue injury claims), you can still receive benefits retroactively for the year you were unable to work.  This is called a “closed period of benefits”.  An attorney at Hoglund Law Offices can explain details about how this works.

If you would like a team of experienced attorneys helping you prove your disability, please call Hoglund Law offices today.  We’ll be happy to talk with you.

Substance Abuse

Transcription:

Hi, my name is Andrew Kinney. I’m an attorney at Hoglund law offices. I practice social security disability law. I also help people with supplemental security income, otherwise known as SSI. Today I wanted to talk about substance abuse and social security claims.

One of the things we learn when people first call our office is, is whether they have a chemical dependency problem. The reason we ask is this, sometimes chemical dependency can destroy your social security claim. I will explain. If someone has major depressive disorder but they also have a chemical addiction to either alcohol or illegal drugs or even prescription drugs, one of the problems is that social security looks at that underlying addiction and tries to blame the symptoms on the underlying addiction that you have. So in other words, social security tries to blame how bad your depression is on the substance abuse rather than the depression.

The legal term for this in social security parlance is “materiality.” Materiality means that social security has found that the chemical dependency is material or a cause to how bad your problems are. Generally it is mental illness where this comes in to play most often, in my experience.

What do you do about chemical dependency problems? Well, there is a lot of advice that you should get from a doctor or a chemical dependency counselor. That is beyond my expertise, but what I can say is that you need to get any help possible from a health care profession to intervene and help stop your addiction. The reason is, if you can stop your addiction early on, you have a greater chance, a much greater chance to proving along the line that you are not chemically addicted and that you are in turn, disabled.

If you have further questions about chemical dependency and how it affects your social security case feel free to Google us at ‘Hoglund law chemical dependency.’ You will find a lot of hits on our blog about chemical dependency. If you have questions about a pending social security claim or think you might want to apply for a claim, please feel free to call us at 1-800-850-7867. We will be happy to talk with you. Thank you

Traumatic Brain Injury

Transcription:

Hi, my name is Andrew Kinney. I’m an attorney at Hoglund law offices. I practice exclusively in the area of social security disability and supplemental security income law, otherwise known as SSI. Today I wanted to talk to you about traumatic brain injuries. How does social security review them? How is someone approved based on having traumatic brain injuries? That is what I want to talk about.

There can be different causes of traumatic brain injury. Certainly car accidents are common, but there can be other things that can happen, such as falls and things like that. There also are variations of brain injury. For instance, post concussion syndrome is more understood now than ten years ago. You can be approved based on a traumatic brain injury, otherwise known as TBI. Here are the things that social security looks for in my experience. Social security certainly needs evidence of the actual event. Or at least if it happened a while ago it is good to try to get evidence of the actual event. It usually would start with an ER record and perhaps billed into hospitalization. If that was more recently, that will be understood to be the problem and social security will get those records at the first two levels.

There are times when a brain injury is more remote in time. If at all possible, ask social security at the first two levels to get it for you or your attorney’s office to get those older records. Why? It lends credence to what happened; it gives the severity of what happened. If someone had to relearn how to talk and walk, that is important to know. There are cognitive difficulties that can happen from traumatic brain injuries. In other words, it can affect personality, it can give them headaches, it can affect their ability to process information, and all these things are important. One crucial thing that I’ve seen in traumatic brain injury cases that absolutely will help social security understand how bad things are is neuropsychological testing. Sometimes that happens within a month or two of an actual brain injury. So that’s another reason if a brain injury happened a while ago, say five or so years ago, to make sure to order those records because there might have been testing that someone forgot about, particularly if the person who had the brain injury doesn’t remember the testing. But the testing itself can measure specific short and long-term memory and any other cognitive deficits. Those deficits are objective and very important, especially at a social security hearing.

So if you have a traumatic brain injury, and you have some problems as the result of that, the question that social security ultimately has is, are they bad enough that they keep you from working fulltime and they are expected to last a year. In my experience for traumatic brain injury, the duration isn’t always the question, it is the severity. In particular, how do we measure changes in personality or perhaps technically a change in IQ. That is what a neuropsychological test is for. Also meeting with occupational therapy, physical therapy and doing the things you can do to recover from your traumatic brain injury is ideal. But if the recovery isn’t working out, and you can’t return to fulltime work, keep in mind that you should probably apply for social security disability benefits. You also could be considered for supplemental security income based on need. But you need to consider that, or if you have a loved one that has a traumatic brain injury, they may not know how to help themselves. Help them out, and help get help for them.

We help people with traumatic brain injuries and other kinds of injuries. Feel free to go to Hoglundlaw.com. To learn more about us, see other videos about the different medical impairments, and other parts of social security including date last insured, which is another element that comes into play in these cases. If you want to call, feel free to call our number at 1-800-850-7867. We are here to help; we don’t charge unless you are approved. We help thousands of people. We currently help thousands of people. We are very happy to help you. We want to talk first, you evaluate the experience that we have, make a good decision, and don’t do anything before you sign the bottom line until you know what kind of outfit you have. You want to hire an attorney that is licensed, ideally in the State that you are in, and the reason is, in my opinion, you want to ask what the hearing level is like in your particular region. The only way you are going to be able to ask that is to have people that work in that region. Keep these things in mind. If we can help you, let us know. Hopefully this video helped, and good luck in your recovery.