How Important are Medical Records in My Social Security Benefits Case?

Social Security will consider any existing medical records when deciding your claim. Your initial application to Social Security will indicate the date that you have alleged to be your Onset date of disability. For example, if you note that April 1, 2013 is the date when you became disabled and no longer able to work, social security will review medical records one year prior to the alleged onset date of April 1, 2013. Medical records that reflect ongoing treatment from this date will become the deciding factor for your claim. It is very important that your medical records reflect the condition(s) in which you are applying for benefits.

More often than not, social security will consider other conditions that may exacerbate your primary condition. An example of this would be of listing diabetes as a primary condition and the secondary condition listed as uncontrolled high blood pressure. Upon review, social security will consider the various treatments to control the high blood pressure. This consideration could weigh heavily on the outcome of your claim. Medical records that show a lack of treatment or diagnosis would surely result in a denial.

Lastly and most importantly, having a supportive doctor will increase your chances of a favorable decision. Social Security gives more weight to the opinion of your treating physician than that of a non-physician. So the rule of thumb is to make sure that you are detail in your description of symptoms that you may be experiencing from your condition(s).

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

View all author posts →


SSI without a Green Card

Certain immigrants may be eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), even though they have not yet obtained citizenship or a green card (lawful permanent residence).

8 U.S.C. section 1612(a)(2) provides, among other things, that the following individuals are not precluded from receiving SSI by reason of their status:

-A refugee under section 207 of the Immigration and Nationality Act [8 U.S.C. 1157];

-One who is granted asylum under section 208 of such Act [8 U.S.C. 1158];

-One whose deportation is withheld under section 243(h) of such Act [8 U.S.C. 1253] (as in effect immediately before the effective date of section 307 of division C of Public Law 104–208) or section 241(b)(3) of such Act [8 U.S.C. 1231(b)(3)] (as amended by section 305(a) of division C of Public Law 104–208);

-A Cuban and Haitian entrant (as defined in section 501(e) of the Refugee Education Assistance Act of 1980);

-An Amerasian immigrant pursuant to section 584 of the Foreign Operations, Export Financing, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 1988 (as contained in section 101(e) of Public Law 100–202 and amended by the 9th proviso under migration and refugee assistance in title II of the Foreign Operations, Export Financing, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 1989, Public Law 100–461, as amended).

However, eligibility under section 1612(a)(2) only applies for the first seven years after the above status becomes effective. Social Security must notify those receiving benefits of the date that his or her 7 year period ends, and the recipient may appeal the termination of benefits.

Eligibility for SSI involves several more medical and non-medical criteria, and any applicant should explore the opportunity to enlist the help of an experienced Social Security Disability attorney. For residency status issues, an immigration attorney should be consulted.

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

View all author posts →


How Will my Employer React to my Decision to File for Bankruptcy?

While it is difficult to say whether or not an employer, current or future, will react poorly to your bankruptcy, a few things are certain: You will not be fired. You will not be demoted. You will not be punished…at least you shouldn’t be.

The United States Bankruptcy Code forbids both public and private employers from discriminating and terminating employment based solely on the fact that you filed for bankruptcy. Note however, that if you have given your employer other reasons to dismiss you, such as excessive absences or poor performance, your bankruptcy will not protect you from getting the axe.

Further, if you are searching for a new job, do not be discouraged that a bankruptcy on your record will blow your chances at getting the position you want. Not only does the Bankruptcy Code shield you from termination and discrimination in an existing job, it may protect you when seeking out future employment.

If the position you are hoping to land is with a federal, state or local government agency the law states that the employer cannot turn you away just because of your history of bankruptcy. While private employers may refuse to hire you under such circumstances, do not despair. Depending on the responsibilities of the position for which you are applying, an employer may look favorably on your decision to file.

It is true that an employer managing a position in finance, accounting or the handling of cash will take a bankruptcy seriously. Nonetheless, a bankruptcy discharge may help with positions of high security clearances or those involving valuable merchandise. Employers may be concerned with the possibility of their employees accepting bribes or stealing company goods or stealing secrets to pay off the employee’s own personal debts. That being said, a decision to file bankruptcy is often seen as a responsible and proactive decision to solve a potentially damaging situation.

All things considered, it is possible that your bankruptcy goes unnoticed by your current employer. Generally, employers only learn of an employee’s bankruptcy if his wages are being garnished, if the employer is listed as a creditor or if the employee has a Chapter 13 plan deducting payments directly from his or her paystubs.

Before coming to the conclusion that filing bankruptcy will greatly damage your career, meet with one of our attorneys to discuss why bankruptcy could potentially help your career. In fact, here are individuals whose careers were not ruined by bankruptcy:

  1. Walt Disney
  2. Burt Reynolds
  3. Abraham Lincoln
  4. Michael Vick
  5. Larry King

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

View all author posts →


Can I get Money Garnished From me Back When I File for Bankruptcy?

For people living on a tight budget, a garnishment can be the difference between making ends meet and falling further into debt. If you are being garnished and you are considering bankruptcy, you should know that you may be able to recover money taken from you by your creditors, but the garnishment must meet certain requirements for you to get your money back.

First, the timing of the garnishment determines whether you can recover any of the money taken from you. If money was garnished from you before you file for bankruptcy, that money can only be recovered if it was taken within the immediate 90 day period before filing your case. For example, if you filed your bankruptcy case on November 1, 2014, you could recover money garnished up to 90 days before that date (August 3 to November 1). However, you could not recover any money taken earlier than that 90-day period (in our example, before August 3). Additionally, if your creditors continue to garnish any of your money after you file for bankruptcy, that money can be also recovered for you.

Second, the amount of the garnishment within the past 90 days can determine whether you can recover money taken from you by your creditors. The amount of money taken from you within the past 90 days must be $600 or more for you to be able to recover that money. If the amount taken from you is less than $600 total in the past 90 days, you will unfortunately not be able to recover that money in bankruptcy. (But, note that if your creditors continue to garnish money from you after you file for bankruptcy, any amount that they take after you file can be recovered for you).

Third, it is only worth recovering money garnished from you if you are able to protect that amount of money as an asset in your case. Whether you can protect the money you recover depends upon the value of other property that you own and that you want to protect in bankruptcy. It can be a complex question, but your bankruptcy attorney will be able to walk you through what property can be protected when you file for bankruptcy.

Finally, garnishments are only worth recovering if the garnishment is from a type of debt that can be discharged in bankruptcy. Certain debts cannot be discharged in bankruptcy (you will still owe these debts after your bankruptcy). Debts such as student loans, alimony, child support, and recent tax debt, will remain after bankruptcy. There will not be any point in recovering a garnishment for one of these types of debt, as you will still owe that debt after bankruptcy.

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

View all author posts →


Pancreatitis and Disability

Pancreatitis, or inflammation of the pancreas, is a condition that may either be acute, having a short and severe episode, or chronic, with frequent flare-ups. The main symptoms are abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting. Because of the pancreatitis, someone might also have unexplained weight loss, or may develop diabetes. For most people, these episodes are manageable, but for others, it may be so severe as to interfere with their daily functioning and result in a permanent disability.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) does not have specific rules or listings for pancreatitis. It is evaluated on how the symptoms from the disease affect your daily activities. Social Security Ruling 14-3p sets out guidelines to how they evaluate disorders similar to pancreatitis. First, they will consider the medical evidence that supports the diagnosis. Next, they will consider the effect your disease has on your body, and whether those symptoms meet a Listing for disability. For example, if your pancreatitis has caused you to lose weight, your weight loss may be evaluated to see if you meet Listing 5.08, and if the SSA finds your condition meets those guidelines, you may be found disabled. If they don’t find your condition meets a Listing, then they evaluate the combined effect of the condition and the effect it has on your physical activities and your limitations because of it.

Of course, a condition like pancreatitis affects everyone differently, and your symptoms may be different from others. If you have other conditions in addition to the pancreatitis, those conditions will be evaluated in a similar way for SSA to find how it affects you and your daily functioning.

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

View all author posts →


Transferability of Job Skills

An important part of the Social Security Disability analysis arises, especially if the claimant is over 50, as to whether the person has obtained skills from his or her prior work that could transfer into an easier, less demanding job. SSR 82-41 explains the concepts of “skills” and “transferability of skills” and clarifies how these concepts are used.

Skill is defined as knowledge of a work activity which requires the exercise of significant judgment that goes beyond the carrying out of simple job duties and is acquired through performance of an occupation which is above the unskilled level (requires more than 30 days to learn). It is practical and familiar knowledge of the principles and processes of an art, science or trade, combined with the ability to apply them in practice in a proper and approved manner. This includes activities like making precise measurements, reading blueprints, and setting up and operating complex machinery. A skill gives a person a special advantage over unskilled workers in the labor market.

Transferability is defined as applying work skills which a person has demonstrated in vocationally relevant past jobs to meet the requirements of other skilled or semiskilled jobs. Transferability is distinct from the usage of skills recent learned in school which may serve as a basis for direct entry into skilled work.

SSR 82-41 also explains the difference between a “skill” and a “trait” explaining that the qualities of “alertness,” “coordination and dexterity with the use of hands or feet for the rapid performance of repetitive work tasks” are traits and not skills. “It is the acquired capacity to perform the work activities with facility (rather than the traits themselves) that gives rise to potentially transferable skills.

Finally, SSR 82-41 specifically provides that the ALJ set forth findings of fact regarding the issue of transferability of skills. SSR 82-41 states “When the issue of skills and their transferability must be decided, the adjudicator or ALJ is required to make certain findings of fact and include them in the written decision. Findings should be supported with appropriate documentation. When a finding is made that a claimant has transferable skills, the acquired work skills must be identified, and specific occupations to which the acquired work skills are transferable must be cited in the State agency’s determination or ALJ’s decision. Evidence that these specific skills or semiskilled jobs exist in significant numbers in the national economy should be included (the regulation take administrative notice only of the existence of unskilled sedentary, light, and medium jobs in the national economy).

Transferability of skills is an important part of the disability analysis and can potentially lead to a denial. It is the last step in the disability analysis to decide whether someone should be determined Disabled. Vocational expert testimony is extremely important and can seem to vary based off who is testifying. Having an experienced attorney represent you who knows the regulations and the right questions to ask during cross examination can potentially make the difference between winning or losing a claim for benefits.

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

View all author posts →


Failure to Follow Perscribed Treatment

From time to time the issue of whether the claimant failed to follow prescribed treatment becomes the focal point. 20 CFR 404.1530 states “an individual who would otherwise be found to be under a disability, but who fails without justifiable causes to follow treatment prescribed by a treating source which the Social Security Administration determines can be expected to restore the individual’s ability to work, cannot by virtue of such ‘failure’ be found to be under a disability.” SSR 82-59 further expands on this definition declaring that the SSA may make a determination that an individual has failed to follow prescribed treatment only where all of the following conditions exist:

1. The evidence establishes that the individual’s impairment precludes engaging in any substantial gainful activity (SGA) or, in the case of a disabled widow(er) that the impairment meets or equals the Listing of Impairments in Appendix 1 of Regulations No. 4, Subpart P; and

2. The impairment has lasted or is expected to last for 12 continuous months from onset of disability or is expected to result in death; and

3. Treatment which is clearly expected to restore capacity to engage in any SGA (or gainful activity, as appropriate) has been prescribed by a treating source; and

4. The evidence of record discloses that there has been refusal to follow prescribed treatment.

A few things here are important to note. First off, the treatment must be prescribed by the treating source. The treating source must be a medical professional who attends to the claimant’s medical needs on a regular basis. Thus, a doctor the SSA sends the claimant to for a consultative examination cannot determine a claimant to be denied for failure to follow prescribed treatment. In addition, the prescribed treatment must be expected to restore the ability to work. In a recent case I had, I got the doctor to testify that even if the claimant gave up smoking, her heart and lung condition would not improve enough to restore her ability to work.

If the SSA determines the treatment was prescribed by a treating source and it would be expected to restore the ability to work, it must then give the claimant the chance to offer an explanation as to why they did not follow the prescribed treatment. The SSA’s then determines whether the given explanation was “justifiable”. SSR 82-59 provides a list of possible justifiable explanations. A few, but not all, examples include: If treatment is contrary to religious belief (with documentation of membership to the religious affiliation along with statements from the church authorities), the inability to afford prescribed treatment and there are no community resources available (all possible resources should be explored and documented by the claimant), another treating source advises against the treatment prescribed by another source, the treatment involves a high degree of risk or amputation. These are but a few examples.

Failure to follow prescribed treatment can be a devastating reason for a denial. The SSA has determined the claimant cannot work yet they get denied benefits and insurance. It is very helpful to have an experienced attorney during the lengthy process in order to advise the claimant about the proper actions to take when a doctor offers treatment as well as possible community resources available to the claimant so they can follow the prescribed treatment. At the hearing, or in a brief, it is again helpful to have an experienced attorney who has an understanding of the federal regulations in order to rebut the SSA’s denial or contemplation of denying a person for failure to follow prescribed treatment. With proper counsel and advocacy from an experienced attorney, a claimant can avoid being denied due to failure to follow prescribed treatment.

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

View all author posts →


Will I have to speak at my disability hearing?

An administrative hearing is held if the claimant is denied Social Security Disability benefits at the Initial and Reconsideration levels.  The hearing is held at a local Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR) and is presided over by an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ).  The hearing is statistically the best opportunity to get approved for disability benefits.

Many claimants wonder, “Do I have speak to the judge myself, or will my attorney do all the talking?”

The answer is that you should fully expect to talk to the ALJ.  One of the reasons the hearing is the best opportunity to get approved is because the ALJ has an opportunity to meet you and get your perspective before making a decision on your case.  At previous administrative levels, the adjudicators never meet the claimant.  At the hearing, the claimant is face to face with the person making the decision, giving them the opportunity to ask any questions they have about the case.

Do not worry.  You will not be asked to present legal theories or define complicated medical terms.  That is for your attorney to deal with.  The ALJ will most likely ask you questions about your day to day activities, trying to get an understanding on how your medical impairments limit your daily life.  He/She might also ask you to describe your symptoms and how they affect your physical and mental abilities.  Your answers will help the ALJ make a more accurate decision.  Your attorney will also have a chance to ask you questions that he/she wants emphasize regarding your disabilities.

The best advice to give to a claimant is simple: be honest.  The ALJ will get your testimony at the hearing and then review your medical records in light of the new testimony.  If what you say at the hearing makes sense with what is in the medical records, your testimony can go a long way toward a favorable decision.

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

View all author posts →


Compassionate Allowance Diseases: Sandhoff Disease

The Social Security Administration established the Compassionate Allowances program in an attempt to expedite cases where individuals have medical conditions that are very severe and would qualify under one of the listings. However, not all diseases are met under a specific listing, but still may be approved under the CAL.

Sandhoff disease is a rare inherited disorder that progressively destroys nerve cells (neurons) in the brain and spinal cord.[1] There is no cure for Sandhoff disease.  Treatment includes supportive care for symptoms, such as medications to control seizures and nutritional and respiratory support.[2] Onset of this disease can occur at any age. Adult/Late-onset Sandhoff disease typically presents in adolescence or adulthood, and symptoms may include: Progressive muscle weakness, clumsiness and gait disturbances, speech and swallowing difficulties, urinary incontinence, and psychosis.[3]

Sandhoff disease may be evaluated under Listing 110.08B under catastrophic congenital abnormality or disease. SSA suggests genetic testing for a mutation in the HEXB gene, and a clinical description of the physical and developmental features for approval.[4] If definitive genetic testing is not available, the results of other laboratory studies such as enzyme assays, molecular cell analysis, and tissue biopsy can be substituted.[5]

 

[1] https://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/condition/sandhoff-disease

[2] Bley AE, et al. Natural History of Infantile GM2 Gangliosidosis. Pediatrics 2011;128;e1233

[3] Delnooz, CCS et al. New cases of adult-onset Sandhoff disease with a cerebellar or lower motor neuron phenotype. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 2010; 81:968-972

[4] https://secure.ssa.gov/apps10/poms.nsf/lnx/0423022295

[5] Id.

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

View all author posts →


Left Ventricular Ejection Fraction and Its Role in an Administrative Hearing

Lefmaging (MRI), computerized tomography (CT) or by a nuclear medical scan.2

There are numerous symptoms that could notify a doctor to order one of these tests-including, but not limited to: shortness of breath, persistent coughing, a build-up of fluid (edema), fatigue, and/or chest pain.3 These symptoms also play an impact on a social security disability claim. For example, a person with shortness of breath may have difficulty walking long distances or have difficulty lifting. An administrative law judge analyzes a person’s case by reviewing all the medical data, which would include both a person’s symptoms and also the objective evidence (i.e. an echocardiogram).

In determining if a person is disabled, an administrative law judge reviews the “Listing of Impairments” and compares the medical evidence with the listings. For a person with a low left ventricular ejection fraction, the administrative law judge will compare the claimant’s percentage to what is discussed in the listings. The judge will review the listings under section 4.00: Cardiovascular System. In section 4.02 it discusses if a person has severe ejection fraction of 30% or lower and has one of three: persistent symptoms of heart failure, three or more separate episodes of acute congestive heart failure within 12 months, or an inability to perform a stress test at 5 METs or less due various reasons.4 If an administrative law judge finds that all criteria are met in the listing, a favorable decision is granted.

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

View all author posts →


Should I Cash Out My Retirement Account to Pay Off Debt?

Taking withdrawals from an IRA before you’re retired is something you should do only as a last resort. There are a few reasons why.

If you withdraw money from a traditional IRA before you turn 59 ½, you must pay a 10% tax penalty in most cases, in addition to regular income taxes. Plus, the IRA withdrawal would be taxed as regular income, and could possibly push you into a higher tax bracket, costing you even more.

Though the federal government allow you to withdraw contributions from a Roth IRA without incurring a penalty, you will owe a penalty (and taxes) if you withdraw the earnings on those contributions.

In addition, money you take out of an IRA cannot be replaced, since you would still be restricted to yearly contribution limits for future years. So even if you withdraw only a small amount, factor in the years of compounding interest you would be forgoing, and that small withdrawal could end up costing you a small fortune in your golden years.

In both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcies, IRAs, 401(k)s, and most retirement accounts are protected. This means you have the possibility of discharging your debt while still having a nest egg for your retirement. Before you cash out your accounts to pay off debt, set up an appointment with Hoglund Law Office where an experienced bankruptcy attorney will meet with you to discuss the possibility of bankruptcy as a viable option rather than losing the money you’ve worked hard to set aside for retirement.

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

View all author posts →


Utility Services and Bankruptcy

Many people who file bankruptcy are behind on their utility bills. Some are being threatened with a utility shut off in the near future. If this is the situation you are in, the good news is that filing a bankruptcy case can stop a person’s utilities from being shut off. In addition, public utilities cannot refuse to provide or cancel service because you have filed a bankruptcy case.

In a chapter 7 bankruptcy case, most types of unsecured debt will be discharged, or wiped out, through the bankruptcy. Utility bills are considered an unsecured debt, and as a result, will be discharged along with a person’s other debts.

However, this doesn’t mean that you will not have to pay utility services after you file your bankruptcy case. The bankruptcy will not discharge current or future utility bills. In addition, a utility company can require you to pay a deposit for future service. If your utilities had been disconnected, the service provider can also charge you a reconnect fee. If you fail to make utility bill payments after your bankruptcy case is filed, your utilities will eventually be shut off.

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

View all author posts →


What Happens to Secured Debts after Bankruptcy?

A “secured debt” is any type of debt that you obtain by agreeing to give the lender an interest in some type of property in exchange for the loan (also commonly referred to as collateral). The most common types of secured debts include car loans and mortgages.

Many people wonder if they will still owe secured debts after filing bankruptcy. The answer to this is yes and no. Filing bankruptcy gets rid of your legal obligation to repay the debt, meaning that the creditor can’t sue you to get paid. However, the creditor can still take bank their collateral if you don’t pay the debt. This means that if you don’t pay for your mortgage or car loan, the lender can’t sue you, but they can repossess your car or foreclose on your home.

For this reason, if you want to keep property that you pledged as security for a debt, it is important that you continue to make payments for it during and after your bankruptcy case. Some lenders may also require you to sign paperwork agreeing to be legally responsible for the debt after the bankruptcy (called a “reaffirmation agreement”). If you have any questions about how your secured debts will be treated after filing bankruptcy, speak to your bankruptcy attorney about it.

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

View all author posts →


Things you might want to Know About a Social Security VTC Hearing

A Social Security hearing can be stressful enough, without adding pieces that you might not understand! So let’s see if we can explain what a VTC hearing is? How a VTC hearing is different than a non VTC hearing? What you need to do when you receive your VTC notice and what most people are concerned with, will it speed up how long you have to wait for a hearing?

VTC stands for video teleconferencing. It means that the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) for your hearing will not be in the same location as you. This allows more hearing to be scheduled in your area by borrowing Judges from other areas that might not have as many hearing scheduled.

The Judge will be live on a monitor. You and your representative will be able to communicate with the Judge in real time and the Judge will be able to see what is happening at your location as well. Also any experts that are needed for your hearing, could be at either location.

You will receive a VTC letter from Social Security when you reach the hearing level of your claim. This letter is to notify you that your hearing might be done by video teleconference. The letter does not mean you will have a video teleconference hearing! If you are totally against having your hearing done by video teleconference, then you will need to complete the form that came along with the letter and return it to Social Security within the 30 day time frame. If you have a good reason for not getting it back in the 30 day time frame, Social Security may give you a 30 day extension.

By being willing to have your hearing done by video teleconference, your hearing could possibly be scheduled sooner than the National average waiting period. At this time, the National average time frame at the hearing level is 16-18 months for your hearing to be scheduled. This letter is not a guarantee that you will be scheduled sooner but, it leaves all the options open.

So as you can see, the video teleconference hearing is not must different than a regular hearing. The Judge and possibly the experts are at a different location than you and your representative. As for the letter, if you are not against a video teleconference hearing, then just put the VTC letter with the other paperwork that you received from Social Security. You only need to respond if you do not want a VTC hearing. In conclusion, by being willing to have a hearing done by VTC; you are giving yourself the most options to have your hearing scheduled sooner if it is possible. Hopefully this helps to lessen the stress due to the unknown aspects of the VTC hearing versus the non-video teleconference hearing.

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

View all author posts →


Why Should I Complete Physical Therapy?

Physical therapy is designed to help an individual rebuild or strength their injured body part. Physical therapy is also designed to help individual decrease joint stiffness. Physical therapy may be painful in order to help individuals to get better. This article will cover reasons why individuals should complete a round of physical therapy.

One of the best reasons to complete physical therapy is because the physical therapy may increase the range of motion of a joint. This increased range of motion of a joint will help with the pain. In addition, along with increased range of motion, the individual is likely to have less stiffness.

Another reason to complete physical therapy is to learn different techniques that will help relieve pain. If an individual is having back pain, one of the techniques that physical therapy teaches you is on how to stretch the muscles. The stretching of the muscles and to what degree is all part of physical therapy. By completing the round of physical therapy, an individual will have a better understanding on what they are able and not able to do.

Another reason to complete physical therapy is to learn different ways on completing task. This is especially important on back pain. Individuals with back pain are retaught on how to lift without engaging the back muscles and instead use the legs to lift. The more an individual learns on how to lift, the less likely the individual will reinjure the back.

In conclusion, it is important to complete physical therapy. Even though the physical therapy may be painful, the usefulness of physical therapy out weights the pain. In addition, regular physical therapy gets easier for individuals and becomes less painful as time continues. In other words, the first days of physical therapy are the worst days and then it typically gets better as the stiffness leaves the joint.

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

View all author posts →


How will Filing Bankruptcy Affect my Credit?

Many people wonder how filing bankruptcy will affect their credit. The truth is that there is not a clear answer to this question. Most people who file bankruptcy are already behind on their bills and often have bad credit as a result. In these circumstances, it is hard to say if filing bankruptcy will make things worse.

The fact that a person has filed bankruptcy can appear on his or her credit report for a period of 10 years after the date the case was filed. However, this doesn’t mean that a person who files for bankruptcy will be unable to obtain credit for 10 years! Because bankruptcy wipes out all of a person’s old debts, he or she may actually be in a better position to pay new lenders after the bankruptcy. As a result, some lenders are willing to extend credit to a person who has filed a bankruptcy soon after the case is discharged. However, the interest rates and fees may be high, so a person who has filed bankruptcy should be careful not to take on debt he or she can’t pay.

After filing bankruptcy, debts discharged in the bankruptcy should be listed as having a zero balance on the filer’s credit report. Debts that are incorrectly reported as having a balance will negatively affect a person’s credit so it is important to check your credit report after filing bankruptcy. Any errors should be reported to the credit reporting agency.

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

View all author posts →


Keeping a Seizure History or Diary

If you are filing a claim for Social Security Disability benefits based on a Seizure Disorder, the main question that arises when analyzing the claim is the frequency of seizures occurring. Some claimants will go to the Emergency Room for certain seizures, but not for every seizure that occurs. Therefore, medical records do not always tell the complete story. One thing that you can do for yourself that may have a positive impact on your claim is by keeping a seizure diary. Make sure to document the dates and times that you experienced a seizure, if the seizure was witnessed by another person, if you lost consciousness, how long the seizure lasted for, and how you felt after experiencing the seizure. Also, be sure to note how long it took for you to “recover” from the seizure (such as having to lie down and sleep for two hours). The more thorough your entries are, the more helpful your seizure diary can be. Seizure diaries, in addition to your medical records, can help clarify how often you are experiencing seizures, how often the seizures last for, and how you have felt after you experience a seizure. This can be helpful information not only for yourself, but your attorney, and ultimately an Administrative Law Judge that is deciding your case.

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

View all author posts →


Why is a Medical Expert at my Hearing?

There is a possibility that a medical expert will be present at your hearing. This medical expert is present as a neutral expert, and will be assisting in helping the Administrative Law Judge understand the medical diagnosis and conditions outlined in your medical records. This will be a doctor that has not examined you before, and will be basing their opinions solely on the review of your medical records. This is why it is important to notify your attorney of all medical clinics and hospital visits you have had in the relevant time period at question, so that your medical records are up to date for the medical expert to review.

The medical expert will be providing testimony whether in their opinion your conditions either meet or equal Social Security’s medical criteria (“The Listings of Impairments”) for being found disabled. If the medical expert finds that you do not necessarily meet or equal a listing, the expert will identify any functional limitations that they deem necessary in a work-setting based on their review of the medical records. At the hearing your attorney will have the opportunity to cross-examine the medical expert to further determine work-related limitations.

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

View all author posts →


Medical Debts and Bankruptcy

Overwhelmed with medical debt? If you have incurred medical debt due to illness or having medical procedures without insurance, a Chapter 7 bankruptcy can help you get rid of your debt. Many people are mistaken in thinking they are only able to file bankruptcy on consumer debts such as credit cards or unsecured loans, but medical debts are also included in bankruptcy.

Medical debts can be tantamount to credit card debt for a lot of people and many hospitals and clinics pursue these debts vigorously.In Minnesota, hospitals and clinics are able to collect medical debt from both spouses even if the debt is only incurred by one spouse, which can create issues if your family members have medical issues. Bankruptcy can help you avoid harassment, lawsuits and garnishments and bank levies on behalf of hospitals and clinics.

Many times, people suffering from illnesses or medical debts will be out of work and unable to keep up with their hospital bills and regular living expenses. Hoglund law can help! Please schedule a free consultation with one of our experience bankruptcy attorneys to discuss how we can help you through a medical bankruptcy.

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

View all author posts →


Stopping Lawsuits, Garnishments and Bank Levies

When a person doesn’t earn enough money to cover his or her expenses, life can be stressful enough. Unfortunately, this financial stress can become overwhelming when one or more of an individual’s creditors threaten to take legal action to collect money from a debtor.

For example, credit card companies and medical providers often bring civil lawsuits against debtors who do not pay their bills. Once a creditor obtains a judgment against a debtor, the creditor can begin garnishing the debtor’s wages or seizing money the debtor has in his or her bank accounts. This can have serious negative consequences for some debtors, who may not be able to afford to put food on the table or pay their monthly rent if all of the money in their bank account is suddenly seized.

Fortunately, bankruptcy can offer relief for people who are being threatened with lawsuits, garnishments or bank levies by creditors. Once a person files a bankruptcy petition, an automatic stay goes into effect. The automatic stay prohibits creditors from taking any further action to collect debts from the petitioner for the duration of the bankruptcy proceeding. As a result, creditors must immediately stop from garnishing a person’s wages or seizing his or her bank accounts.

In addition to stopping wage garnishments and bank levies, the automatic stay can benefit debtors in many other ways, such as by delaying evictions or utility shut-offs, stopping repossessions and can even be used to prevent a home foreclosure in certain circumstances. If you have questions about whether the automatic stay could help you, contact a local bankruptcy attorney.

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

View all author posts →


Social Security Benefits cut off for Nazi Holocaust Perpetrators

In October 2014, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY) and Congressman Leonard Lance (R-NJ) announced their support of a bill to terminate the Social Security benefits along with any other federal benefits of Nazi war criminals. The No Social Security for Nazis Act was introduced to Congress by Congressman Sam Jonson (R-TX), in mid-November. It was passed by the House of Representatives December 2, 2014 and the Senate on December 4, 2014, unanimously by both. The President signed it into law December 18, 2014.

The Act closes a loophole allowing Nazi Holocaust perpetrators to collect millions in Social Security benefits. The loophole existed because rather than going through formal deportation proceedings which would cut off federal benefits, they voluntarily renounced their citizenship in a settlement with the Attorney General related to participating in Nazi persecution. Before this act, US law mandated a “final order of deportation” before federal benefits were terminated.

According to the Associated Press, since 1979, 38 of 66 suspects removed from the United States kept their Social Security benefits. While the Justice Department denies using the tactic to expel Nazi perpetrators from the US, the AP reported that it was likely used that way. The perpetrators benefits would continue if they signed a settlement agreement with the Justice Department or fled before deportation proceeding were completed. They would be expelled quickly to a country that could prosecute them for their crimes. https://goo.gl/xEFB3F

The Act also, ensures that Nazi war criminals cannot receive spousal benefits, due to a marriage to a Social Security beneficiary. A spouse may receive benefits, even if he or she has not worked, if the person is at least 62 years of age and you are receiving or are eligible for retirement or disability benefits. https://goo.gl/Sa3CBp

The Attorney General must certify to the Ways and Means Committee and the Finance Committee of Congress that Social Security has been notified of all those that this criteria. The Commissioner of Social Security Administration must certify to the Ways and Means and Finance Committees that benefits were terminated. You can see the full Act here: https://goo.gl/cC5RbS

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

View all author posts →


Social Security Disability and Cystic Fibrosis

Recently, I represented a 10-year-old girl diagnosed with cystic fibrosis. According to the Mayo Clinic, cystic fibrosis is a “life-threatening disorder that causes severe damage to the lungs and digestive system…it affects the cells that produce the mucus, sweat, and digestive juices.”1 My client battled with breathing, producing phlegm, maintaining her weight, and staying healthy among other symptoms. In addition, she requires numerous daily breathing treatments that take her out of the classroom and away from her studies. Her condition and symptoms could result in her being found disabled.

In my client’s claim, and in all claims, Social Security will look at the medical evidence to determine the impairments and the severity of the impairments. There are three arguments that could be made for my client: one, she meet’s listing 103.04 (Cystic Fibrosis Listing), which is that she meets the very specific criteria to be approved; two, that is she is markedly impaired under at least two of six domains; or three, she is extremely impaired in one domain.

Since my client’s medical evidence did not support the required evidence of a listing, we argued that she marked in two domains. Specifically, we argued she was marked in domains two: attending and completing tasks and six: health and physical well-being. In domain two, the child is out of the classroom three times a day receiving breathing treatments. In addition, whenever she has an breathing attack and required further treatment she again is outside the classroom; this occurs at least one or two more times a week. The client is unable to participate in any physical activities and is not learning in those settings. She is continually falling behind in her school work due to nurse visits, not being able to participate, and absences. In domain six, this child had numerous visits to the school nurse, she has been to the emergency room countless times, had pneumonia in the last six months and in the period of her filing date had three hospitalizations. The doctors were concerned with her ability to thrive and grow. The medical records did strongly reflect this child’s struggle with her health.

Due to the severity cystic fibrosis has on a child’s life, seeking disability is warranted.

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

View all author posts →


Social Security Consultative Examinations. What is the Purpose?

When you filed a claim for Social Security Disability did you think that you might have to see one of Social Security’s doctors? Well many people have asked just that question and have been surprised by the array of answers that have come from this simple question. I will address the reasons that you might be asked to go to a consultative exam. Just a side note, Social Security Consultative exams (CE) come in two flavors. The physical CE and the psychological CE.

Some people have asked, why they would need to see a Social Security doctor if Social Security already has their medical records. Does that mean that they do not believe my doctor? Usually if they have asked you to go to a physical consultative exam, it is more than likely that they needed further medical assistance in making a decision on your claim. It could be that the medical records were not clear enough to make a decision. You can help here! By letting your doctor know at each visit what is still ailing you. Along with what has gotten better or worse pertaining to your disabilities. Like painting a picture of your disability, if you will. It is not that Social Security does not believe your doctor, it has more to do with the medical records they received from your doctor not being a clear picture of the disability you have claimed.

Another question that arises often when it comes to Consultative Exams is why a claimant might be asked to go to a Psychological CE when the disabilities they are claiming are all physical? Some of the reasons that Social Security psychological CE may be requested of the claimant are if one of the medications you are currently taking is usually prescribed for a psychological ailment. Or if you have memory issues, have suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI), or if there is mention in your medical records that you suffer from anxiety. This is not a complete list of reasons for a psychological exam to be requested of you but, you can get an idea of why it might happen to you.

If you have wondered if you must to go to this exam and if so, who is paying for it? The answer to the first part is that it is in your best interest to go to the exams that Social Security requests you to attend and if Social Security has requested that you go, then they will be picking up the tab for the exam. It should also be noted that, just because you have gone an exam that Social Security requested you still need to continue treatment with your own doctors throughout the Social Security process. The Social Security doctors are for further clarification of your disabilities. Where your doctor’s are for continuous treatment of those disabilities.

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

View all author posts →


Psychogenic Non-epileptic Seizures (PNES) or Psuedo-seizures

Often times, patients or clients are misdiagnosed with seizures, when really they are experiencing manifestations of psychological distress. Epileptic seizures are caused by abnormal brain electrical charges. The PNES attacks look a lot like epileptic seizures. Patients suffering from PNES attacks may experience seizure like activity:

* Convulsions

* Falling

* Shaking

* Temporary loss of attention

* Staring

Physicians often become suspect of the possible misdiagnosis when frequency, duration, triggers, and movements are unusual in comparison to the neurological examinations. It is important to note that EEGs (electroencephalograms) are helpful in diagnosing epilepsy but they often come back normal even in patients with proven epilepsy. The most reliable way to test for PNES is to do an EEG with video monitoring. Through analysis of the video and EEG recording, analysis can be made with near certainty.

PNES or pseudo-seizures are a type of Somatoform Disorder called Conversion Disorder. After patients are diagnosed, they should be referred to a psychiatrist for continuing care. PNES is treatable and should not be concerned about the stigma that comes with mental illness.

The most important thing with anyone applying for Social Security Benefits with this (or any) condition is well documented treatment. If you are not sure if you suffer from PNES or physical epilepsy, continue to treat for epilepsy but seek help from a mental health professional. Talk to your doctor about your concerns. Document any seizure like activity in a seizure diary. Track when the episodes happen, how often, and what symptoms or activities occur in this diary. Treating with specialists, using a seizure diary, and following any recommended treatment plans by your doctors, are all important steps in proving your disability claim.

We can help you with these questions and more. Please contact us at Hoglund, Chwialkowski, and Mrozik law office to discuss your Social Security Claim possibilities further.

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

View all author posts →


Overpayments and Social Security

Social Security overpayment. How does it happen and what can you can do about it? There are things that will be your responsibility even after your claim is approved but, we will discuss that a little later. So how can you be overpaid you ask? It is true that Social Security is a Federal Agency and they have access to your employment history or earnings if you will. Well, there are other things that may play into how your income is determined by Social Security. Let’s look at one possible scenario.

You have been approved for Supplemental Security Income more commonly known as SSI. This is a needs based program. Which means that it is based on income and assets. Assets are things that you own like a car, cabin or savings bonds to name just a few. So now let’s add to that, that your family helps you out by paying your rent and utilities and you didn’t let Social Security know that. Social Security is not privy to items that you are receiving from family and/or others if you do not make them aware of them. But under Social Security rules, your family’s assistance with rent and utilities is considered a gift or as Social Security calls it an in-kind payment and looked at as unearned income and counts toward your total income when calculating your SSI payments. Your total income can only be up to a certain amount gross (meaning before taxes are taken out) to qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

Now take into account, that Social Security may only review your claim every three years or so. You guessed it, you now may have an overpayment issue with Social Security because during their claim review the fact that your family has been helping out has now come to light. Now Social Security has to refigure what you should have been getting paid and the overpayment will need to be paid back. If the amount of in-kind monies take you over the total income threshold allow by Social Security for an extended period of time, your benefit might be stopped altogether once the overpayment has been taken care of.

Remember that there are many different scenarios that might end in a person being over paid. Before you panic, first make sure that you were truly overpaid. Social Security can make errors too. Then even if you were overpaid, there are ways that you can get the overpayment waived. Social Security should be able to get you the information on how to appeal or try to get a waiver for your overpayment or here is a link that might be of assistance. https://www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/EN-05-10098.pdf

I want to leave you with this thought. If you are receiving benefits from Social Security that are need based (SSI) you need to remember that you are responsible to let Social Security know if there are changes in monies you receive. Since they might count toward your total income and thus may cause your payment amount to change. This will help you in not being overpaid and wondering how you are going to repay the money. If you are in doubt whether Social Security needs to know about it or you just do not understand something that Social Security sends you, ask them to explain or contact an attorney to get assistance. Overpayments add up quickly and can become overwhelming to deal with along with your disability.

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

View all author posts →


Bankruptcy and Household Size and Income

When filing a bankruptcy, your household size is important. The number of individuals living in your household can have an impact on what type of bankruptcy for which you qualify. One of the determining factors for whether an individual will qualify for a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13 is your household income. If your household income is over a certain amount for your household size, you may not qualify for a Chapter 7.

The median income for your state is determined by household size. For example in Minnesota the median income for a household size of one is $48,876, but for two people it is $64,454. Making sure everyone in your household is accounted for is essential in your bankruptcy case. It is very important to let your attorney know about all individuals who are residing in your home. For example, you will want to let your attorney know if an elderly parent lives with you. Also you should inform your attorney about any children who are college students who live with you for at least the summer months. Making sure your attorney has the right information can have a great impact on how your case proceeds.

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

View all author posts →


What Should my Doctor Know About my Social Security Disability Case?

There are certain things that your doctor(s) can do to help possibly facilitate a better outcome in your Social Security disability case. Here are a few suggestions as to what you need to do make sure your doctor knows how to better assist you with your claim. Social Security is looking for certain information within your medical records and on the forms or statements that your doctor fills out on your behalf.
In Social Security’s eyes, your doctor needs to document your functional limitations in your medical records. These records will be the most important evidence in your case. Having it writing as to what you can and cannot do is very important. So your part is to be honest as to what has changed with your disabilities and how it affects your daily life, even if it seems to you to be no big deal. The little changes can add up. Social Security is looking for your doctor’s assessment of how you can do basic tasks. If your doctor is a specialist in his or her field and is willing to fill out a Residual Functional Capacity form (RFC) that might add weight to your medical records.
Your doctor(s) may also write a medical statement letter on your behalf discussing your disabilities. You can have more than one doctor write a medical statement for you. If your doctors are reluctant to assist you in your claim, find out why and try to address their concerns. There might be a good reason why you doctor(s) might not be willing to write something on your behalf.
You have a part in how Social Security looks at your claim as well. You need to be compliant with what your doctor suggests you to do in the treatment of your disabilities. If you are non-compliant or just do not seek medical help for your impairments then, Social Security might believe that you are not credible and your claim could be in jeopardy. So following the doctor’s orders is better for your claim in the long run.
So, both you and your doctors have things that you can do to give your claim the best chance of a positive outcome. Your doctor(s) can fill out the Residual Functional Capacity RFC form or write a medical statement letter. Most important, is your doctors need to be thorough when documenting your disabilities and how they have changed your daily living abilities, and what you might no longer be able to do in your medical records. You can best assist your claim by following the doctor’s orders and/or seeking ongoing medical treatment for your disabilities if you are not treating.

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

View all author posts →


Why Does The Judge Care If I Have Children

The vast majority of social security disability cases are awarded or denied by the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) reviewing and then determining if the claimant is credible. This is especially true if the medical impairments alleged by the claimant do not meet or equal the severity required by the Social Security Administration (SSA). Unfortunately, the ALJ is the first person in the social security disability process that actually meets the claimant to access their credibility and determine if the claimant is unable to work. Therefore, the average claimant waits two to three for an informal Administrative Hearing with the ALJ. As discussed above, the ALJ has to decide if he or she believes the claimant can work or not. For this reason, almost all judges at the Administrative Hearing will ask the claimant if they have children. The ALJ ask if the claimant has children for the following reasons:

• Being a stay at home parent can be difficult. Children require meal preparation and possible transportation to and from school. Additionally, younger children have to dressed, bathed, and changed. Children need to be picked up and watched throughout the day. The responsibilities of taking care of children is very similar to full-time work. The ALJ wants to understand why you cannot work. If you are taking care of your children without any help, the ALJ might think you can work.

• The ALJ will want to know what sort of help the mother or father are receiving for taking care of their children. This is especially true for single parents. So do not be surprised if the ALJ asks you this question. The ALJ is just assuming that if the mother or father cannot work then they are unable to take care of their children solely on their own. If you have friends, family members or neighbors come over to help you with your children make sure you tell the ALJ.

• The ALJ wants to know if the claimant had any children since the claimant applied for disability or since the claimant alleges they become unable to work. Again, the ALJ is trying to determine credibility and if the claimant cannot work. If the claimant states that they cannot work and then has a child in the process of applying for disability benefits it could create suspicion to the ALJ that the claimant is not credible. This is true because the average person is not going to have a child when they know that they cannot work and pay for the care of the child.

• The ALJ is also concerned with how being pregnant affects the claimant’s ability to take prescribed medications. For example, some medications cannot be taken when the mother is pregnant. However, the SSA reviews and determines if the claimant can work with proper medical treatment and when the claimant is taking all prescribed medications. Therefore, the ALJ may believe that a pregnant mother could work if she was able to take all of her medications on a regular basis.

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

View all author posts →


How Does my Social Security Attorney Prepare me for my Hearing?

So, you have a hearing in the near future for Social Security Benefits and you wonder, what your attorney will do to prepare you for this big event. We at Hoglund Law office, understand the importance of having an attorney at your hearing and making sure you make the most of the event that you have been waiting so long for. I can’t promise that attorneys outside of our office will do the same, I wish they did so all clients had the best representation, but I will explain how our attorneys prepare our clients.

In the months leading up to the hearing, our staff conduct periodic updates of your medical treatment so we can gather all the relevant medical information to have for the judge. We have a team of paralegals and attorneys working on every case, so no one attorney’s case load becomes overwhelming or unmanageable. This system of representation also allows us to make sure there is always a prepared attorney at your hearing. A hearing attorney will be assigned to your case in the months leading up to the hearing as well.

In the final weeks and days before your hearing, your hearing attorney will review all the medical records gathered about your case. We will look for the best possible case for you. After the attorney has reviewed your information thoroughly, the attorney will call you to prepare you for your hearing. This usually happens in the last few days before the hearing. This phone call serves as a reminder of your hearing and an opportunity for you to ask questions about the hearing. The attorney will explain where the hearing is, how to get there if you don’t know, who the judge is and what to expect the day of the hearing. We remind our clients to be to the hearing location one hour before the hearing we can meet in person and discuss the case more thoroughly. The attorney will also have questions for you about your medical information and your case history that are important for your case. The attorney will also explain who will be at the hearing besides the judge and what to expect from those witnesses. There will be a hearing monitor, a vocational expert, and in some cases a medical expert.

They day of the hearing, the attorney will meet you at the hearing location. The attorney will go cover what kinds of questions the judge is likely to ask and what is important and not important to the case. The attorney will ask you if there is any information you brought that you want to share and will remind you of hearing office policies. If at any time you have question about your case or what to do in the hearing, you should ask.

It is important to remember that the hearing in front of the Administrative Law Judge is your chance for Social Security to meet you and evaluate your case in person. You want to be prepared and calm. The attorney will do the same. If you have a hearing coming up that you have questions about, please call our office at 855-513-4357 or do a free evaluation of your case. We want to help you with your upcoming hearing for Social Security Benefits.

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

View all author posts →


I suffer from Toxic Megacolon. Can I get Social Security Benefits?

As with any condition or disability, the answer is, it depends. Each condition and situation is different and so the severity, treatment, and complicating factors compared to the rules of Social Security are how your eligibility is defined.

Toxic Megacolon is a complication of inflammatory bowel disease. Inflammatory bowel disease can include ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease or other infections of the colon. Toxic Megacolon is different from other kinds of megacolon like pseudo-obstruction, acute colonic ileus, or congenital colonic dilation because they occur without infection or inflammation.

The best way to prevent toxic megacolon is by treating the diseases that causes the inflammation (colitis or Crohn’s). If the diseases are not treated regularly with medication and medical observation, complications may develop including dilation of the colon. You may develop abdominal pain, distention, or tenderness along with fever, rapid heart rate, or shock.

Toxic Megacolon is evaluated for Social Security Benefits under the Listings for the corresponding Inflammatory Bowel diseases which cause the complication, 5.00 Digestive System – Adult, 5.06 Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). https://www.ssa.gov/disability/professionals/bluebook/5.00-Digestive-Adult.htm

To determine eligibility for Social Security, you must have medical documentation to support your claim. For this condition, this includes endoscopy, biopsy, medical imaging, or surgical findings which show you have had an obstruction requiring hospitalization or surgery two times in six months. The events must have been 60 days apart at a minimum. Otherwise, if you have not had surgeries or hospitalizations, two of the following within the same consecutive 6-month period:

B. Two of the following despite continuing treatment as prescribed and occurring within the same consecutive 6-month period:

  • Anemia
  • Low serum albumin
  • Clinically documented tender abdominal mass palpable on physical examination with pain or cramping not controlled by prescribed narcotic pain medications
  • Perineal disease with a draining abscess or fistula, with pain that is not completely controlled by prescribed narcotic medication
  • Involuntary weight loss of at least 10 percent from baseline
  • Need for supplemental daily enteral nutrition via a gastrostomy or daily parenteral nutrition via a central venous catheter.

Taken together this information will be used to evaluate the severity of your condition. If it is found that you meet the listing, you must also show that you meet the non-medical requirements for Social Security benefits. If you meet both the medical and non-medical requirements for Social Security, you may be eligible for benefits. For further information call our office or go to the Social Security Administration’s website at SSA.gov.

Please call our office at 855-513-4357 for a free evaluation and speak with one of our experienced Social Security Attorneys.

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

View all author posts →