Social Security Disability

How We Can Help You

Simplify the process of getting the benefits you deserve

At Storer & Steen, we understand that the process of applying for disability and Social Security benefits is overwhelming and often unsuccessful when you attempt this on your own – especially when you’re already stressed and hurting physically, psychologically and financially. This is why we are here: we take care of everything from your initial application or appeal all the way to your hearing.

Disability Application Assistance

To help you obtain the most out of your disability benefits, you need a partner you can trust to help you avoid errors and to properly complete the application process. This is what we do - the sooner in the process you call us, the sooner you can pass on the complexities and confusion associated with filing for disability.  Call Storer & Steen today at 208-323-0024  to evaluate discuss your case in detail.  We provide free phone and in-person consultations.  If necessary, we can meet with you in your home.  There is never an attorney fee unless we obtain compensation for you.

At the office of Storer & Steen, we only receive a fee if you win your case – so you have nothing to lose. We are at your side every step of the way.  Matt Steen has personally done over 3,000 SSDI hearings.  No one n Idaho has had more experience than Mtt in this regard. 

Disability Appeals Assistance

If your claim has been denied by Social Security, you need to be aware that you have a strict time limit to file an appeal.  The appeal process can be long and tedious. We are here to help simplify your appeal and get you back on the road to physical and financial recovery.

If you already have a Social Security hearing scheduled, you are strongly advised to obtain legal representation before the hearing in order to prepare testimony, minimize risk, question witnesses and cross-examine medical and vocational experts.

Some common misconceptions about Social Security Disability include:

You are not allowed to work if you are applying for Social Security benefits.

People often assume they are not allowed to work at all when applying for Social Security Disability benefits. This is not true. You can file for disability benefits while you are still working, but only if your monthly gross earned income is below the annual substantial gainful activity (SGA) level for that year. In 2012, the SGA level is considered to be $1,010.00 of gross earnings.

The Social Security Administration denies everyone on their first application.

It is true that the Social Security Administration denies many, if not most, of the submitted claims. However, it is also true that you can win your case on your first application.  You are most likely to achieve success the first time if you know what you are doing or you  work with someone who does. Storer & Steen has handled hundreds of SSDI and SSI disability claims. With a clear understanding of exactly how to make a disability claim successful, you can trust that we will guide you every step of the way through the disability claim process.

If you are young, you cannot win a disability case.

Unfortunately, people in their 20s and 30s mistakenly believe that they cannot win an SSDI or SSI claim. This is not true. If you have a work history, and if you have a disability that will prevent you from working for one year or longer, you may be eligible for disability benefits regardless of your age.

Do not delay applying for Social Security Disability and/or Supplemental Security Income benefits that you may be entitled to receive just because you have a misconception about who can qualify.  Call Storer & Steen for an evaluation of your status today to see if you are eligible.

Call Storer & Steen today at 208-323-0024 to evaluate your case in detail.  We provide free phone and in-person consultations.  If necessary, we can meet with you in your home.  There is never an attorney fee unless we obtain compensation for you.

Below are some of the most frequently asked questions (FAQs) I've gotten from clients over the years concerning the Social Security disability process followed by my honest, no nonsense responses.  In fact, you probably won't find a more honest opinion anywhere else.

"Can I be found disabled for  . . . " 

 

People ask me all the time if they can be found disabled for a certain illness or impairment. The short answer is absolutely; you can be found disabled for just about anything, as long as that condition imposes serious limitations on your ability to perform work related activities such as sitting, standing, lifting, carrying, walking, remembering, understanding, etc.The nature of the impairment doesn't matter as much as the of the impairment.

 

But a word of caution concerning cases with mental impairments: they are very difficult to win.Anyone who tells you differently either hasn't done enough of them to know or is afraid to tell you.It doesn't matter if it's bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, autism, anxiety, PTSD, ADHD, you name it, they're very difficult to win.In order to win based solely on mental health impairments (with few exceptions) you have to prove you're incapable of performing even the simplest of mental tasks: think potato sorting at Simplot or light janitorial work.And if your main limitation is you "can't be around people," rest assured a vocational expert will find plenty of jobs that have no public interaction and only occasional contact with coworkers and supervisors.I don't mean to sound so discouraging, but it's the hard truth.It is absolutely possible to win a disability case based on mental impairments, but it has to be a very strong case to prevail.

 

"What do I need to strengthen my case?

This is a good question, and it's one that should be asked at the beginning of the process.  First of all, there's no "silver bullet" to getting disability.  People are awarded disability not because they have a certain document or magic words from their doctor, but because their impairments are severe and the objective evidence corroborates their complaints.  Objective evidence is tests like x-rays, MRI's, CT scans, spirometry tests, EMG's, etc.  Anyone can tell a Social Security judge they hurt from head to toe, but if there is no objective evidence to back up the complaints, it will avail the claimant but little. 

There is also no set number of doctor visits that are necessary to prove disability, but obviously a lack of treatment will not be convincing to whoever is reviewing your case, but it an agency employed doctor at the initial level, or a judge.  It does help to have an opinion from your doctor that you are unable to work.  Social Security is supposed to give your doctor's opinion controlling weight assuming their opinion is adequately supported by the objective evidence.  But remember, there's no silver bullet, and Social Security can, and often does, disagree with claimant doctors. 

Also, and this cannot be stressed enough, remember to completely fill out and return in a timely manner any and all forms Social Security sends you.  The easiest way to be denied is due to "failure to cooperate."  Pay attention to those forms and don't put them off!

"Will my age affect my case?"

It just might, for better or for worse.  As you can imagine, it is generally harder for a person in his or her twenties to be awarded disability versus a person in his or her late 50's.   In applying for disability the claimant is basically asking to be removed from the work force because his or her impairments are so severe that they preclude any full time work.  With few exceptions, someone under 50 must prove that there are essentially no jobs in the regional or national economy he or she could perform full time, while someone over 50 years old in many cases has a substantially lower hurdle to clear. 

That being said, I have won cases for teenagers, 20 somethings, 30 somethings, and so on.  Again, the most important factor is the severity of the impairment.

"Is there such a thing as partial disability?"

I get this question all the time from people who frankly probably know their conditions don't arise to the point of disability, but are truly in need of health insurance or some financial assistance until they're able to find work.  Unfortunately, Social Security disability is all or nothing; you're either able to perform full time work or you're not.  Social Security should not be confused with the State Department of Health and Welfare.  Social Security is only concerned with evaluating your ability to work and whether or not you're disabled under their rules.

"Is there a government conspiracy to deny me Social Security benefits?"

No.  It's completely understandable that people might feel that way, though.  It can be a long and frustrating process.  In my years of handling Social Security disability claims I've come to know dozens of employees of Social Security.  I have scratched my head at their decisions many times, I've even raised my voice at a judge once or twice, but most folks at Social Security are level headed and fair. 

What you need is someone who's been through the process enough times that he or she knows what to expect and how to handle it. 

 

Call Storer & Steen at (208) 323-0024 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your potential case. 

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