Are you unable to work because of a disability? Get the answers you need on Social Security Disability to protect your rights

Keefe Disability Law has compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions in response to the overwhelming number of people who need help with the Social Security Disability process in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island. If you are disabled and need help with disability benefits, read on to learn how to protect your legal rights.

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  • How do I prove my mental disorder is incapacitating enough to deserve disability?

    Over the past few months your depression and anxiety has become completely out of control.  You’ve suffered these disorders your entire life—or at least as long as you can remember—but you’ve always been able to keep them under control with medication and therapy. However, for some reason, you’ve been experiencing severe panic attacks at work lately, and you’ve called in seven times in the past three months because you couldn’t make yourself get out of bed. Your boss has already warned you that if there is one more issue, he’ll have to fire you.

    After talking to your therapist, you decided to apply for disability. However, after waiting several months for a reply, you were denied. The letter claimed that you didn’t provide substantial evidence to prove that your disorder keeps you from working.

    What does that even mean? What kind of evidence were you supposed to include? What are your options now?  

    Proving Your Claim

    According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, nearly 2.5 million mental disability claims are filed to the Social Security Administration (SSA) each year in the United States. However, many of these claims are denied due to the improper documentation and evidence pertaining to the severity of the claimant’s disorder. Considering that serious mental illnesses are just as entitled to disability payments as serious physical illnesses, properly filled out claims are essential. Otherwise, sufferers could wind up being denied their rightful benefits of up to $900 a month and receiving Medicare.

    The SSA recommends that before filing, you and your disability attorney verify the following information: documentation and evidence of your disorder’s work-related functional limitations. Providing this data will help you avoid timely delays and wrongful claim denials.

    Data needed includes:

    • Specific symptoms, signs, and laboratory findings to prove your disability exists.
    • Assessment of the severity and degree of limitations the disorder imposes on your daily activities, social functions, and concentration, as well as your ability to work.
    • Proof that these limitations have lasted, or are expected to last, for a continuous period of at least 12 months.
    • Analysis of impairments compared to normal sustainable anxiety issues.
    • Evidence of any physical dysfunction.
    • Documentation of degeneration or worsening of symptoms over time.
    • Medical testimonials verifying your disorder and the severity.
    • Witness statements and evaluations relating to deterioration of work.


    Collecting the above documentation and evidence can be frustrating. However, you don’t have to do it alone. Once you’re diagnosed with severe and debilitating anxiety, an experienced disability lawyer can help gather the necessary materials to help enhance your claim.

    Fighting Denial and Fear With Proper Representation

    Make sure your family and friends are aware of disability qualification guidelines to prevent needless claim denials and months of useless waiting. Click the media icons on this page to share this article via Facebook. You can also help by having them contact us directly to discuss any potential questions or concerns they may have about their disability claims.

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  • What is Spirometry and how will it affect my respiratory claim for disability?

    You had your first asthma attack when you were 12 years old. For a kid that age, it was the scariest thing in the world. It felt like all of the oxygen in your lungs suddenly disappeared, and no matter how hard you tried to gulp for air—you still couldn’t breathe. Since that day, you’ve kept an inhaler on you at all times and a nebulizer breathing machine stowed in your bathroom. Even on your wedding day, you had an inhaler tucked in your dress and the breathing machine in the hotel room. You try to be prepared at all times, but over the past few months the attacks have been getting worse.

    On several occasions, your husband has had to puff the medication into your mouth because the attack happened while you were sleeping, and you awoke in a panic. Your boss is getting increasingly annoyed with you because you’ve had to excuse yourself on more than one occasion to catch your breath. The emergency room staff practically knows you by name, and you don’t know what to do. It’s getting worse and you’re scared to leave the house.

    Your doctor suggested that you take a leave of absence from work, but your boss told you that if you did, you may not have a job to come back to. You have filed for disability benefits, but the application wanted proof of your ailment through medical documentation and test results. One of the tests it mentioned for respiratory issues was a spirometry test.

    What is a spirometry test and how do you get one?

    Measuring Your Lung Capacity Through Spirometry

    In order for the Social Security Administration (SSA) to decide whether or not you qualify for disability benefits you must be able to provide medical evidence to support your respiratory claim. One way of accomplishing this is to provide documentation taken from lung tests, specifically a spirometry test. If you’ve suffered from chronic asthma then you’ve probably taken a spirometry test, even if you didn’t know it by name.

    The Mayo Clinic defines spirometry as the first and most commonly done lung function test to determine how well your lungs work while inhaling and exhaling. It measures the capacity and time it takes for you to move air in and out of your lungs. The procedure consists of you breathing into a mouthpiece which is attached to a recording device. The device (the actual spirometer) will then record the variations of each breath and measure 10 different lung function values to determine the severity of your respiratory issue. These value functions include:

    • Forced vital capacity (FVC) – Measurement of the amount of air you can exhale after you inhale as deeply as possible.
    • Forced expiratory volume (FEV) – Measurement of the amount of air you can forcibly exhale in one continuous breath. An average person should be able to exhale between 80 – 100 percent in one second. However, those who suffer respiratory problems could take longer to fully exhale. Depending on how much you exhale, the FEV will be determined at one second (FEV1), two seconds (FEV2), or three seconds (FEV3).
    • Forced expiratory flow (FEF) – Measurement of air speed and percent of your FVC—25 percent, 50 percent, or 75 percent—halfway through your exhale.
    • Peak expiratory flow (PEF) – Measurement of how much air you can exhale when you try your hardest.
    • Maximum voluntary ventilation (MVV) – Measurement of the greatest amount of air you can breathe in and out during the span of one minute.
    • Slow vital capacity (SVC) – Measurement of the amount of air you can slowly exhale after you inhale as deep as possible.
    • Total lung capacity (TLC) – Measurement of the amount of air in your lungs after you inhale as deeply as possible.
    • Functional residual capacity (FRC) – Measurement of the amount of air in your lungs at the end of a normal exhaled breath.
    • Residual volume (RV) – Measurement of the amount of air in your lungs after you have exhaled completely. This procedure is generally done by having you breathe in helium or nitrogen gas and then seeing how much is exhaled.
    • Expiratory reserve volume (ERV) – Measurement of the difference between the amount of air in your lungs after a normal exhale (FRC) and the amount after you exhale with force (RV).

    Get the Test to Get the Approval

    In order to improve your odds for approval of your disability claim, ask your doctor to perform a spirometry test and make sure you get a copy of the results. The more information you give to the Social Security board, the better your odds of getting the disability you deserve.

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  • What types of musculoskeletal disorders can qualify for disability?

    According to the Center for Disease Control, nearly 130 million people are seen by medical professionals for some sort of musculoskeletal disorder (MSD) every year. Although many of these MSDs are minor sprains and injuries, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that 20 percent of them are severe enough to qualify for at least partial disability.

    Types of Musculoskeletal Disorders That Are Eligible for Disability

    Even though the Social Security Administration considers MSDs as potentially qualifying individuals for disability benefits, it still makes determinations based on severity, function loss, and ailment type on a case-by-case basis. Simple sprains, for example, aren’t considered severe enough to warrant disability. However, more severe disorders—like muscular dystrophy—rightfully qualify for benefits. Therefore, the SSA has created a classification system for MSD types to help determine severity. This system includes the following MSD types for disability consideration:

    • Joint problems. Your joints are essential for proper mobility, and—depending on your job—essential to properly perform your duties. If you’re unable to move your joints without severe pain, you may be unable to work. No one should be forced to work through pain, so the Social Security Administration accepts certain types of joint problems for disability consideration. Some of these include: osteoarthritis, degenerative joint disease, hip fractures or degenerative hip disease, bursitis, and shoulder problems.
    • Problems affecting muscles. Muscles throughout your body help control movement, support bones, and hold weight. When a muscle is injured, deteriorates, or is otherwise impaired, mobility and strength can be severely affected. These effects can cause you to be unable to physically perform a job, thus making you eligible for disability benefits. Some muscle problems included in the Social Security musculoskeletal category are carpal tunnel syndrome, torn ligaments, sciatica, muscular dystrophy, hiatal hernia, third degree burns that affect nerves, and spinal cord injuries.
    • Problems affecting your bones. It’s obvious that your skeletal system is the supporting framework for your entire body. It preserves your structural integrity as well as provides stability and protection for your muscles, organs, and tissues. However, if your bones are somehow damaged, weakened, or otherwise injured, mobility and body function can be severely affected, causing excruciating pain. Therefore, severe bone injuries and disorders can qualify you for partial or complete disability as a result of debilitating pain and your inability to move. Recognized bone problems include: avascular necrosis, bone spurs, broken limbs, amputations, coccyx (tailbone) damage, and clubbed foot.

    Taking the Confusion Out of Filing

    Once you’ve been diagnosed with a debilitating injury and can no longer physically work, filing for disability quickly becomes your best option for a stable future. Unfortunately disability claims can be confusing, stressful, and scary (if denied), and that is the last thing you need when dealing with an ailment.

    Let us help take the confusion and worry out of your claim. Our experience, knowledge, and fortitude will not only help you understand your rights and options, but also help encourage your claim through the SSA process faster than if you filed alone. Call today for a free consultation and see how our representation is right for you.

    Know someone who is having a rough time getting their disability claim benefits? Please, feel free to share this page with her via email, Facebook, or Twitter. You can also recommend us to your friends, family and coworkers on Google Plus. It’s our job to help our clients get the support and justice they need; so let us help your loved ones get what they deserve. Click the media icons on this page to instantly show your support.





  • I have bills to pay now! If I decide to file a disability claim, how long will it take to get the first payment?

    You were diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease last summer and since then, your world has basically been falling apart. Between treatment, medications, and medical bills, you’re bank account is quickly becoming depleted. In addition to that, the shaking has gotten worse over the past six months, and it has gotten harder and harder for you to do your job properly.

    You desperately need your paycheck, so you try to control your tremors as best you can. However, lately it hasn’t been going that well. Your family is constantly suggesting that you apply for disability, but with the number of bills coming in, you don’t think you can afford to quit your job and wait for the benefits.

    If you file for disability, will it really take years to receive the benefits?

    Do You Have the Time to Wait for Benefits?

    The entire process of filing, getting approved, and eventually receiving your benefits can be long and frustrating. According to the Disability Determination Service, normal claims can take at least six months to determine. The decision process to determine whether your condition even qualifies for disability can take several months alone. If you’re approved, and the judge agrees that your condition is severe enough to qualify, it could take several additional months for your claim to pass through eligibility standards.

    However, although the timeframe may seem daunting, there are ways to speed up the outcome. Having experienced legal representation to argue your case can be an important asset. When you have representation, the timeframes are drastically reduced, as seen below:


    It generally at least three months for processing a claim. The majority of claims filed by applicants without representation are denied. If the applicant requests reconsideration of a rejected claim, that typically requires at least three months longer. An Appeals Court hearing could take an additional 18 months to schedule, with another two to six months before the decision is rendered. Even if the decision is favorable at this point, it can take 18 to 24 months longer for the appeal to be processed before the first benefit check arrives. The total potential time to receive benefits: two to five years


    Even individuals with legal representation can expect to wait three months for processing their initial claim. The majority of claims filed by applicants with representation are approved. It may take an addition six months of processing before monthly benefits begin, but the recipient can expect to be paid for any back benefits he is owed. Total time under this best-case scenario: under one year.

    If the claim was one of the minority that is denied despite legal representation, it can take up to six months for reconsideration and Appeals Court hearing; another three months for the decision to be rendered; and 12 months for processing and receiving benefits. The total waiting period for benefits: the majority is approved and received within nine months, while refuted claims are generally settled within two years.

    Don’t Waste Your Time

    When you physically can’t work to support yourself and family due to a debilitating disease, Social Security disability is your best option for sustainability. Once you’ve made the decision to apply, your best option for timely success is representation from an experienced disability lawyer. Don’t waste time filing yourself or taking your chances with inexperienced attorneys. Call us today for a free consultation and let us convince you why we’re the right choice. Our 20-plus years of experience will work to make sure that you can give up your job with a clear conscience.

    Call now to begin the process and get your benefits that much sooner. You deserve it!

    Need more information on disability claims? We don’t blame you! Social Security can be an extremely frustrating system to understand. Learn more about the intricacies of SS and disability by requesting our book, Five Most Frequently Asked Questions About Social Security Disability. Don’t allow confusion to affect your benefit rights. The download is free, but the knowledge you will learn is priceless.

  • What can I do to secure my fibromyalgia disability claim?

    You’ve been living with excruciating pain for most of your adult life. However, over the past few months, the pain has worsened to the point where you can barely get out of bed, let alone go to work. Your doctor has diagnosed you with fibromyalgia and has attempted several different treatments to get you back on your feet. Unfortunately, none of them are working that well. As a result, your employer has decided to “let you go” for missing too many days of work.

    Now, medical bills, rent, and living expenses are piling up and you’re not sure what to do about them. Your family suggested that you apply for disability, but you’re not sure if your disorder is covered by Social Security.

    What can you do? Will your claim be denied if you file? How can you ensure your claim is solid enough for approval?

    Strengthening Your Claim

    Due to the lack of proper research into the causes and consequences of fibromyalgia, the Social Security Administration (SSA) doesn’t have a specific disability listing for the disorder. As such, filing a claim solely based on having fibromyalgia can prove to be difficult. However, although no specific listing exists, the SSA has recently published a ruling for administrative law judges—the judges who determine disability acceptance)—to help determine and assess fibromyalgia claims on a case-by-case basis.

    Although this publication has drastically increased the number of approved fibromyalgia claims, many suffers are still being declined benefits. To help ensure that your claim receives the proper attention it deserves, make sure you have the following items included in your case.

    • Accurate medical reports. For disability approval, the severity of your disorder must be proven.
    • Documentation of severity. Merely claiming that you have the disorder isn’t enough. You must have documented proof showing how badly the disorder is affecting your everyday life, and how it keeps you from working.
    • Signed documentation from a rheumatologist (specialized doctor in joint and tissue pain). The SSA is more inclined to discuss a fibromyalgia claim if the disorder has been verified by a specialist.
    • A straightforward explanation of how your case qualifies for disability. Personal accounts of pain and inabilities can help shed light on why you need disability benefits as a result of being unable to work.
    • Legal representation. An experienced disability attorney can increase your chances of approval, not only by arguing on your behalf, but also by clearly stating your case to the judge as well as gathering the necessary documentation you need.

    Improving Your Chances for Approval

    Before filing your disability claim for severe fibromyalgia, contact us first. We’ll make sure that you have all the necessary documentation, requirements, knowledge, and confidence to ensure increased odds of approval. We know how to argue your case, and we won’t rest until you get the benefits you deserve. Call now for a free consultation and review of your claim. We’re waiting to help you!

    Share this page on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus to help spread the word about fibromyalgia disability rights. Your friends and loved ones may need this information, too. Help them find it by clicking the media icons to share instantly. Don’t allow your loved ones to needlessly work in excruciating pain; let them know that they have other options. You’ll be glad you did.

  • I just had spinal fusion surgery. Now I’m worried something might go wrong during recovery. What are the top risks of spinal fusion surgery and how can I avoid them?

    Like any major surgery, spinal fusion surgery comes with a few risks. In spite of these risks, this type of surgery can also change your life for the better. Staying vigilant and aware of what could go wrong is the best way to avoid anything from happening following your surgery.

    Common Risks of a Spinal Fusion Surgery

    Back surgeries come with inherent challenges during recovery. These go beyond the immediate risks you face when going under anesthesia. Here are some of the most common risks associated with spinal fusion surgeries:

    • Infection in the incision
    • Infection in the vertebrae bone
    • Spinal nerve damage
    • Instability in other parts of your spine
    • Degeneration of the bone below or above the fused vertebrae

    Although these risks can happen and cause you further pain after your surgery, they are not common enough to avoid having a spinal fusion surgery. If you are worried about something going wrong, it is important that you talk to your doctor. Attend all of your regular follow-up appointments and follow all treatment plans.

    If something does go wrong, you might qualify to receive Social Security disability benefits until you make a full recovery. While this will not remedy the pain you experience, it might help to know that you have a financial backup plan available.

    Before you go into surgery, we encourage you to print this article and take it to your doctor. Talk to him or her about these risks and get detailed instructions about what you can do to be on the lookout for them after your surgery.

  • I received a heart transplant 11 months ago and have had a few complications with the medication. I’ve had SSDI for my heart transplant for a year, but the benefits run out soon. What can I do?

    Getting a heart transplant is a major procedure. The Social Security Administration (SSA) recognizes how important it is that you make a full recovery, which is why it automatically approves heart transplant recipients to receive Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) for the first year. Now that your first year is coming to an end, you must reapply by showing the SSA how the complications will stop you from being able to return to work.

    Complications Due to Medication After a Heart Transplant

    In the first year following a heart transplant, you are placed on certain medications to help your new organ adapt to your body. These medications are essential to your recovery, but they can sometimes lead to other health problems. Some of the most common health problems may qualify you to receive SSDI under other disability listings:

    • Kidney damage (Listing 6.02)
    • Thin bones, which may cause bone fractures (Listing 1.06 and 1.07)
    • High blood pressure (Listing 4.02 or 4.04)
    • Diabetes (Listing 9.00)
    • Cancer, especially skin cancer or non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (listing 13.03 or 13.05)


    To know if you qualify to receive benefits after your first year of having a heart transplant, you must determine if you are eligible. By looking at each of these listings and talking to a Social Security disability lawyer in Massachusetts, you will know whether you are able to apply to extend how long you receive SSDI benefits.

    If you found this helpful, we encourage you to share it with anyone else that you know who recently received a heart transplant.

  • I’m scared! I just found out that I have arteriosclerosis and I need to apply for Social Security disability in Boston. Will I be approved?

    Arteriosclerosis, also known as the “hardening of the arteries.” occurs when calcium builds up in the artery walls causing them to get thicker and stiffer. It happens to some people as they age. After your doctor told you that you have arteriosclerosis, it’s normal that you’re concerned about what will happen next.

    Getting Disability Benefits for Arteriosclerosis

    If your doctor recommended that you apply for SSDI in Boston because of arteriosclerosis, you have probably experienced some sort of health condition that has made it difficult for you to work. In order for the Social Security Administration (SSA) to approve your application, you must show that you cannot perform physical or sedentary work.

    To be approved, you must have at least one of the following symptoms:

    • You must have chest discomfort triggered by stress or physical activity.
    • You must have pain or discomfort in other parts of your body, such as your arms or legs.
    • You must get short of breath when you exert yourself.
    • You must have experienced a coronary artery spasm at rest.

    To show the SSA that you have one of these symptoms, you must submit a wealth of evidence with your application. For example, you must show that you had an abnormal stress test and abnormal imaging results. Include these results with your application. You must also have a note from your doctor that describes how your condition impacts your ability to work.

    Another important piece of your application is your personal experience with arteriosclerosis. Keep a journal to document how this condition affects you on-the-job both in desk work and in manual labor.

    Did you find this interesting? We encourage you to share this article on Facebook. You never know who might be suffering from a heart condition and could benefit from knowing how to receive Social Security disability.

  • I’m fairly new to the workforce but an accident has left me permanently disabled. How much time do I need to have put in at work in order to qualify for Social Security disability insurance in Massachusetts?

    When it comes to applying and qualifying for Social Security disability insurance (SSDI), there are many factors that are taken into consideration. Your time in the workplace is one of them.

    The first thing you must do is check whether or not you qualify under the Social Security Administration (SSA) disability listing. Some people who are permanently disabled are still able to perform other job functions, such as sedentary work. If you are, you may continue to work and cannot receive SSDI.

    The Role Length of Time in the Workforce Plays in Your Massachusetts SSDI Application

    The SSA uses a credit system to determine whether or not you qualify for SSDI. The longer you spend in the workforce, the more credits you earn. Credits are earned from annual income. That income can come from either annual wages or self-employment.

    Here are a few more important facts about how the credit system works:

    • Each year, you can earn as many as four credits. One credit is the equivalent of $1,200 of income. Under the current system, once you’ve earned over $4,800 in one year, you’ve earned the maximum number of credits available for that year.
    • Usually you need at least 40 credits to apply. Twenty of these credits must have been earned over the past 10 years to qualify.
    • Younger people may qualify with fewer credits. The SSA knows that disabilities sometimes happen before enough credits have been earned. That’s why some younger people may not need as many credits. For example, if you’re under 24 years old, you only need six credits earned over a three-year period. People aged 24 to 31 only need twelve credits over the past six years.


    The credit system gets very confusing. If you’re still not sure whether or not you qualify based on your years in the workforce, we encourage you to reach out to our Boston Social Security disability lawyers for more guidance on your specific case.

  • After my hip replacement surgery, I applied for SSDI in New Hampshire. They denied me because I did not meet the joint surgery listing. I’m worried! Is there anything I can do?

    Yes. After going through something as grueling and painful as a hip injury and hip replacement surgery, it’s heartbreaking to be denied. The financial support from the Social Security Administration (SSA) may be your last resort when it comes to getting the support you need after such a difficult experience. Getting approved can mean the difference between recovering quickly and suffering for years to come.

    What to Do After Being Denied SSDI in New Hampshire After a Hip Replacement

    The SSA requires that you demonstrate a few things when applying for SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance) benefits after hip replacement surgery in New Hampshire. These include showing that you are unable to walk effectively and will not be able to walk effectively for at least a year. Walking effectively means the following:

    • You don’t need a cane, walker, or crutches to get around.
    • You can walk a block on an uneven surface at a reasonable speed.
    • You can climb down a flight of stairs using only one handrail at a reasonable speed.
    • You don’t need help traveling to and from work.
    • You can walk extended distances on your own at a reasonable speed, such as through the grocery store or on your usual errands.

    If you can’t meet all these criteria but were still denied, you should appeal. However, even if you can say YES to each of these criteria, there are options available to you.

    The SSA provides an alternative to meeting their stringent listings. This alternative, called the Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) form, allows you to show the specific ways your injury has limited your ability to work. This should include how you are limited in doing sedentary work as well as manual labor.

    Filing these forms is not easy, which is why we encourage you to speak to the relevant professionals about it before submitting your request. Talk to your doctor about getting a detailed note about your condition, and then reach out to a New Hampshire Social Security disability lawyer at Keefe Disability Law to go over your application prior to submission. This will save you tremendous hassle and worry as you reapply.

  • I just found out that I have Ehlers-Danlos syndrome and will probably have to eventually go on Social Security disability. I’ve heard it’s hard to get. Can you tell me what kind of symptoms will qualify me?

    When it comes to qualifying for Social Security disability insurance (SSDI), the application process is not always easy. Even though you know how difficult it is for you to work, the Social Security Administration (SSA) requires extensive amounts of evidence and the proper paperwork to approve your application.

    With Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, qualifying for SSDI in Boston can be a challenge. The SSA has not created a specific listing or category for this disease. In addition, because it is a genetic syndrome, you cannot qualify for SSDI based on the arthritis listing, even if arthritis is one of your symptoms.

    Qualifying Symptoms for Boston SSDI Benefits for Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome

    To qualify, you must have severe symptoms from Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. These symptoms can include:

    • Severe joint pain or joint dislocation
    • Skin damage and infections
    • Difficulty healing wounds
    • Back pain
    • Foot problems, including flat feet
    • Loss of some or all vision
    • Rupturing of the eyeball
    • Rupturing of a major artery or arteries in the organs or intestines


    Each of these symptoms can greatly limit your ability to work either in a physical or sedentary position.

    When you’re at a point when you need to apply, talk to your doctor as well as your Boston Social Security disability lawyer. Both of these professionals will help you put together your application in a way that shows the SSA what it needs to see to approve you for SSDI.

    Do you know someone who was recently diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome? We encourage you to pass this article on to her so it can help her while applying for SSDI in Boston.

  • I broke my ankle pretty badly and can’t do most of the tasks I’m responsible for at work. I applied for Social Security disability in Boston but was denied. What can I do?

    It is not easy to get Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) benefits for a broken ankle. That’s because the range of severity in broken ankles varies so greatly. While someone might not have a very severe break in his or her ankle, you could have permanent damage as a result of one mishap.

    Since the Social Security Administration (SSA) denied your application for SSDI in Boston for a broken ankle, you will need to verify that you meet the criteria put in place for broken bones, and then appeal your denial.

    Do You Qualify for SSDI in Boston for a Broken Ankle?

    In order to show that your broken bone is severe enough to prevent you from working, there are a few things you need to provide:

    • An X-ray to show that your bone will not heal. The radiograph should show that the two main broken areas are not fused back together, even after the healing process is over.
    • A physical exam that determines your bone is not healing properly. This exam is performed by your doctor and requires that he confirm that he can feel that the bones have not healed properly.
    • Inability to walk normally. This must last for at least 12 months.


    If you meet one of these criteria, you can submit an appeal. The appeal process is difficult and requires strict and detail proof of your disability.

    Because each case is so different and the appeal process is so stringent, it is important that you work with a Social Security disability lawyer in Boston when planning your appeal. This will help ensure that you submit all of the necessary paperwork so that you maximize your chances at receiving an approval.

    To start your appeal process, send us a note by using the contact form on this page. We will review your information and get in touch to provide you the best next steps for your unique situation.

  • I am having a really hard time working! My dizziness and other symptoms from A-fib are getting so bad it’s hard for me to do much. Help!

    Any time something prevents your heart from functioning normally, you risk side effects and complications. Atrial fibrillation, called “A-fib” for short, impacts your heart rhythm. If your doctor has diagnosed you with A-fib, the upper chambers of your heart might not be pumping blood as they are supposed to.

    Symptoms of A-fib

    Although the majority of the time people do not experience many symptoms of A-fib, some cases can cause individuals grief. Here are some of the most common symptoms you could feel as a result of your A-fib.

    • Dizziness
    • Palpitations
    • Fainting
    • Chest pain
    • Fatigue
    • Difficulty with heavy manual labor


    If you experience any of these symptoms, your doctor should give you medication to help. If that still does not work, you might need to use a pacemaker to keep your heart rhythm regulated.

    Getting SSDI With A-fib

    If your treatment works to control the symptoms of A-fib, you will not qualify for Social Security disability insurance (SSDI). However, if you have other symptoms that go beyond what the medication or a pacemaker can treat, you might qualify to receive SSDI. When applying, you would most likely have to apply under the disability listing for arrhythmias. This is how the Social Security Administration (SSA) evaluates abnormal fibrillation.

    Because of how complicated this condition is when it comes to receiving SSDI, it is important that you work with a Social Security disability attorney on your application. This will increase the chances that you will be approved and get the money you need. Fill out the contact form on this page and we will be in touch soon with more information.

  • I have a severe back injury that continues to get worse over time. My doctors can’t pinpoint the cause of it. Can I still get SSDI in Rhode Island for back pain?

    Back pain is one of the most common reasons people are unable to continue their jobs. From the moans and groans you make when getting up out of your chair after sitting for a long period of time, to the excruciating pain you feel anytime you lift something heavy, back pain is no laughing matter.

    Understanding Back Pain

    Your back is filled with small ligaments and tendons that hold your body together. When something goes wrong and your bones or muscles weaken, the pain you feel could limit your ability to perform the same tasks you once were responsible in your job.

    One of the most common reasons people give for missing work is back pain. It is not a condition to take lightly. However, the Social Security Administration (SSA) requires that you have a specific diagnosis for why you are in pain.

    Here are some of the top causes of back pain that may impact your ability to work:

    • Nerve root irritation that carries the signal from your brain to your legs and arms
    • Strained back muscles
    • Injured joints, ligaments, or bones
    • Degenerative disc disease
    • Injured vertebrae


    These injuries are often caused by strain on your muscles and ligaments, which can make it difficult to pinpoint a specific triggering incident. Regardless, your doctor should give you a diagnosis of why you are in such pain. This diagnosis will then determine whether you qualify for SSDI in Rhode Island.

    If you need more help with your specific application and symptoms, contact our office for a free consultation. We will go through your case and give you suggestions on how you can increase your chances of being approved.

  • Help! I recently lost a lot of my vision and now I’m considered legally blind. I’m no longer able to work. How do I show my vision loss on my Social Security disability application so I can get approved?

    No one can see what you see. As advanced as modern medicine has become, there are still limitations to how much a machine, test, or doctor can understand how you view the world. When it comes to convincing the Social Security Administration (SSA) that your vision impairment is so severe that it makes it difficult for you to work, it is difficult to know what you can show to help the person reviewing your application see the world through your eyes.

    In spite of this, the SSA has a few items that they use to help try to understand how severe your visual impairment is and how it impacts your life.

    What to Include in Your Application for SSDI in Boston

    Here are a few items that you must submit on your application to increase your chances of being approved:

    • An exam by an ophthalmologist or optometrist. This exam will measure your visual acuity. Based on your exam, your doctor will rate how well they think you can see. This rating plays a significant role in determining whether you qualify to receive SSDI.
    • A peripheral vision exam. This test is done without help of eyeglasses or contact lenses. In it, you will be asked to read letters from a chart. The results of this show the SSA the extent of your vision loss.
    • A visual evoked response test. If the SSA believes your loss is not as severe as you say it is, you might have to undergo extra testing. During a visual evoked response test, your brainwave responses will be matched to visual stimuli. This test is not common, but if you have undergone the test, submitting the results might help improve your chances at being approved.
    • Any diagnoses. If you were diagnosed with an eye disease, such as cataracts, macular degeneration, or other types of diseases, you should include that in your application. This will help the SSA agent reviewing your application get a good feel for your medical history and what you have been through in terms of visual impairments in the past.


    The goal of your application is to help the person deciding whether you are approved or denied see the world through your eyes. By submitting all of your tests and medical diagnoses, you will paint a clearer picture of your health. Doing so makes it easier for the reviewer to understand the extent to which your vision loss impacts your ability to work.

    For more information about applying for and receiving SSDI in Boston for vision loss, we encourage you to read the related articles on this page.

  • I was recently diagnosed with a mood disorder. My symptoms can be pretty severe, but I’m not sure if I should apply under the schizoaffective disorder listing. Can you help?

    The Social Security Administration (SSA) makes the application process for SSDI in New England very difficult. They require you to meet specific listings. However, no two people have the same exact symptoms, job, work situation, or reaction to treatments. With that in mind, it is no wonder you are confused about which listing you should apply under.

    The first step in understanding how to apply is to determine what your symptoms are. By writing these down, you will have a clearer idea of which listing you meet, and how to fill out your application.

    Symptoms of a Schizoaffective Disorder

    The following are some of the most common symptoms of mood disorders that are considered disabling by the SSA. These are the symptoms that stand in the way of you performing your job to the best of your abilities.

    • Disorganized communication
    • Rapid speech that is difficult for others to understand
    • Extreme paranoia where you worry others might try to hurt you
    • Delusions of special messages hidden in various places
    • Difficulty focusing or remembering important details
    • Hallucinations
    • Severe mood swings
    • Trouble sleeping or concentrating on a regular basis

    Applying for Social Security disability insurance in New England is a tedious process. It is one that many people struggle with. Don’t forget that if you get denied the first time, you are not alone. Working with a lawyer can minimize your risk of being denied and help you get the benefits you need on your application.

    We encourage you to read our book, The Five Most Frequently Asked Questions about Social Security Disability, to help guide you during the application process even further. If you need any extra help, we are always available to answer questions and work with you to help you get the benefits you deserve.

  • I’m scared! The Social Security Administration denied my application for SSDI in Watertown because of my past work history. What can I do?

    Sometimes the Social Security Administration (SSA) will deny your application if they feel you are capable of doing work elsewhere. Often this is decided upon based on your past work history. Although someone will most likely testify at your hearing after a denial that you can do another job based on your past work history, there are ways around this.

    What to Expect at Your Disability Hearing in Boston

    When you go to your disability hearing before an administrative law judge, he will have the list of past jobs that you’ve held over the last 15 years. During your hearing, the judge will review each of your past jobs and ask you about them. Based on your answers, the judge will determine whether you are capable of holding another job, or if you qualify to receive Social Security disability.

    As you describe your past work experience, here are a few of the most important items to include that can help your case:

    • How long you spent learning the job, including any specialized training you needed
    • How long you held the position
    • Your specific job title
    • Whether you managed other people
    • The physical requirements of the job, including the use of any special equipment
    • The mental requirements, including if you worked with the public
    • Whether you were able to sit, stand, or walk whenever you needed to
    • How many hours you worked each week
    • Whether your employer offered you any special accommodations
    • Why you left the job


    Each of these answers will shed light on what your work experience was really like during each of your past jobs. Using your answers, the judge will determine whether or not you can perform similar jobs in the future.

    Having a lawyer by your side throughout the hearing is a smart idea. If you’re worried about your hearing, let us be there to support you. With our experience in these hearings, we know what will help, and what could hurt your case. Contact us today to schedule your pre-hearing appointment with a Boston Social Security disability lawyer.

  • I’m worried! I applied for Social Security disability in Boston for my scoliosis, but was denied. How can this happen, and what can I do?

    Being approved or denied Social Security disability for scoliosis depends on the severity of your symptoms. Some people with scoliosis only experience mild symptoms, while others have a more severe case that significantly limits their ability to work or perform daily tasks. To qualify, you must have a more severe case, and you must show how your scoliosis impacts your ability to work.

    If your case of scoliosis is severe and prevents you from working, you may be able to appeal your denial. To understand if this is the right decision for you, it is important to know what the Social Security Administration considers qualifying symptoms of scoliosis.

    How to Qualify for Social Security Disability for Scoliosis

    Before you submit your appeal, you’ll need to be sure that you can show that you have at least one of the following:

    • Pain, muscle weakness, or limitations in your mobility from a nerve root compression.
    • Severe pain, especially when you sit in the same position for a long period of time, due to inflammation of the membrane that surrounds your spine.
    • Chronic weakness or pain from narrowing of the spine


    If you have any of those symptoms, and you were still denied Social Security disability, you may be able to appeal.

    When you file your appeal, it is critical that you submit all evidence that shows specifically how your disability limits you from working. This means that you must show all imaging tests, detailed descriptions by your doctor of physical exams, and any records that show the treatment you’ve tried, and what you’re currently doing to limit your symptoms.

    Filing an appeal is not an easy process. If you’d like more information about what it takes to improve your chances of being approved, we encourage you to download our free report with the top asked questions about Social Security disability. If you still have questions, or would like more help, please reach out to us at any time during your appeals process.

  • I suffer from lupus and struggle to find a job I can do. I applied for Social Security disability in Boston, but was denied. What can I do?

    The Social Security Administration (SSA) has a complex listing for lupus. In order to qualify under its listing, you must show that you have very specific symptoms, such as fever, exhaustion, malaise, and weight loss, while also showing how these symptoms limit your ability to function in the workplace. If you were denied Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits in Boston for lupus, chances are your application was missing one of the criteria the SSA needs to see to approve you.

    Medical Evidence to Submit in Your Appeal for SSDI in Boston for Lupus

    Although you were denied, you still have an opportunity to receive the support you need. Many people are denied in their initial application. When you appeal, you must submit medical evidence that shows you have been correctly diagnosed with lupus, and that you meet the specific criteria put in place by the SSA.

    The SSA uses the guidelines put in place by the American College of Rheumatology when making their determination. Therefore, according to current criteria for lupus, you must show that you have at least four of the following:

    • Renal disorder
    • Neurologic disorder
    • Hematologic disorder
    • Immunologic disorder
    • Malar rash
    • Discoid rash
    • Photosensitivity
    • Oral Ulcers
    • Arthritis
    • Sersitis
    • Antinuclear antibody

    When submitting your appeal, you must prove that you have these four symptoms through medical evidence, such as from blood tests, doctor notes, imaging tests, and more.

    Because the process is so tedious and the SSA requires very specific criteria be met before approving someone for SSDI for lupus, we highly recommend you seek help from a skilled Boston SSDI lawyer who knows what the SSA is looking for and can help. Call us toll-free at 888-904-6847 to learn more about how we can help with your appeal process.

  • I just had major surgery on my knee. There were a few complications during the procedure and I’m no longer able to walk. This has significantly limited my ability to work. I applied for SSDI in Boston for my reconstructive surgery, but was denied. They said I need to be able to show that I am not able to walk effectively. What does that mean?

    The Social Security Administration (SSA) places strict guidelines on each of their disability listings. For people who have had reconstructive surgery on a weight-bearing joint, such as you had on your knee, the SSA needs to see that the surgery did not properly repair the damage. You must also show the extent to which you are still limited even after trying to repair the damage to your joint.

    Showing Your Inability to Walk Effectively

    In your appeal, you must show that you cannot walk effectively. This essentially means that the SSA wants to see that you have a disability that limits you in your job. Some of the ways that you may be considered unable to walk effectively include:

    • Using some system of support to get around, such as a walker, or two crutches.
    • You are forced to walk at an unreasonably slow pace to perform daily tasks, such as grocery shopping.
    • You have difficulty walking on uneven surfaces at a reasonable pace.
    • You are limited in how many stairs you can climb and how quickly you can climb with the help of a handrail.
    • You require assistance in getting to and from work.

    Guidelines like these may seem straightforward, but demonstrating them to the SSA in a way that will allow you to be approved for SSDI in Boston for reconstructive surgery is not easy.

    Working with a skilled SSDI lawyer in Boston can help. By putting the experience with and the knowledge of the Social Security system to work on your appeal, you can increase your opportunity to be approved. Let us know if you meet these criteria and would like help filing your appeal by filling out the contact form on this page.