A quick way to evaluate your case

People often call and want a very quick, short answer to the question: "Do I qualify."  Sometimes, they are talking about financially - as in, "is there a program at all.  Sometimes, they are talking about their medical problems.  PROGRAM QUALIFICATIONS:  If you are either very poor; or made at least $5000 per year in each of the 5 years prior to the time you had to stop working (or both), there is a program for you.  LEGAL ISSUES cause the most trouble for most people: 1) A legal rule has to do with age: If you are under 50, it will be harder. 2) A legal rule has to do with how long the medical condition has or will last. It needs to be 12 months or more. 3) An important legal rule is about your past work.  How physically demanding was it?  Did you have to stand and walk 6 or more hours per day?  If you did, it will be easier to prove disability. 4) The single biggest factor is whether your treating physician will support you.  Ask your doctor if s/he thinks you can go back to work. Also ask your doctor if s/he will give a statement about how well you function.  If your treating doctor says you can go back to work, you should go and try.  If your doctor says s/he thinks you should not go back to work, but s/he will not write a statement about why you cannot physically function well enough, it will be very difficult to prove. Your treating doctor's statements are the bridge between the raw medical records and the opinions that let the judge decide whether you can function well enough to go back to work.  Obviously, this is not everything you need to know, but those are the basic things I will look at before looking at anything else when someone wants to know "do I qualify."

There are many factors other than how long you can sit, stand, walk, lift and carry that prevent people from being able to work.  "Vocational Experts" testify about these. Some people have to be very close to a bathroom all the time and need unscheduled breaks.  Some people have problems seeing anything smaller than a 50 cent piece, but their vision is other wise Ok to drive etc.  Some people have terrible skin conditions on their hands that make it very painful to use their hands on a regular basis.  Some people are required by their doctor to raise their feet to waist level.  Some need to take rest breaks while laying down.  A vocational expert will tell the judge that no employer will hire someone with any of those issues. Therefore, even if they can stand for two hours, they still are not employable.  Your doctor needs to explain this to the Judge.

 

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