Midwest Disability, P.A. Midwest Disability, P.A. Midwest Disability, P.A.

supplemental security income (ssi) Archives

Using the Internet to Adjudicate Disability Claims

In this day and age, the Internet has become a ubiquitous and practical source of information for any investigator or finder of fact. When adjudicating a claim, however, an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) may not rely upon information obtained from the Internet or social media sites, whether from a computer or smartphone (Hallex I-2-5-69). Although the Internet has proven useful as a general source, any researcher should exercise caution when evaluating the credibility and veracity of information obtained from the Internet.

Borderline Age Situations

In deciding whether an applicant meets the qualifications for disability benefits, Social Security Administration will apply a five-step process known as sequential evaluation. The final step in the process considers vocational factors (age, education, and past work experience) along with the claimant's residual functional capacity, to see if the individual can make an adjustment to other work. Where enough vocational factors are favorably present, the medical-vocational guidelines ("grid rules") at Appendix 2 to 20 CFR 404.1569 should warrant disability for individuals who have reached a certain age bracket. Essentially, the rules lean toward a finding of disability for elder claimants with limited education and/or no transferable skills.

Dignity and Respect

As early social welfare systems focused on means-tested assistance programs, individuals who received government benefits were often stigmatized. Even today, there are those who deem Social Security as money wasted on the indolent and irresponsible, and those asking to receive their benefits are sometimes viewed with loathing and contempt. Yet, our Congress was clear in defining the Social Security program. "Social Security is not a handout; it is not charity; it is not relief. It is an earned right based upon the contributions and earnings of the individual. As an earned right, the individual is eligible to receive his benefit in dignity and self-respect."

MIDWEST DISABILITY office locationS

Midwest Disability, P.A.
408 Northdale Boulevard Northwest
Coon Rapids, MN 55448
Toll Free: 888-351-0427
Fax:763-862-7521
Coon Rapids Law Office Map

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