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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  • I have severe rheumatoid arthritis in my hands, hips, and knees. I have a lot of pain and it’s hard for me to walk. I can no longer work. I applied for SSDI and I was denied. Why?

    Almost 70 percent of applications for Social Security disability benefits are denied. But, this doesn’t mean that 70 percent of disability applicants aren’t eligible for SSI or SSDI. Most denials occur because applicants do not adequately prove to the Social Security Administration (SSA) that the symptoms of their disability are severe enough to prevent them from working at a “substantial and gainful” level.

    To be employed at a “substantial and gainful” level, applicants must earn more than $1,040 a month (or $1,740 if blind). Anyone who earns more than this amount is not eligible for SSI/SSDI benefits, regardless of disability.

    The SSA is very concerned with how your disability affects your ability to function both at work and in daily life. More than half of all adults over the age of 40 have from some form of arthritis, but most are still able to work. A diagnosis is not enough. Your doctor needs to document your level of pain and the amount of disability in each affected joint. Your medical records should include your limitations. Are you unable to stand for long periods of time? Are you unable to walk without a cane? Are you unable to dress yourself? These details are necessary to prove your level of disability.

    You must also be able to show that your symptoms are not likely to improve for a period of 12 months or more. This may sound easy. After all, there is no cure for arthritis. However, there are ways to relieve your symptoms. You must show that your symptoms are severe enough to prevent you from working despite following your doctor’s prescribed treatment plan. If you aren’t taking your medications and following your doctor’s orders, your Social Security claim may be denied.

    Denied disability? If you are unable to work and believe that you qualify for SSI/SSDI, you have the right to appeal your denial. Let our Boston disability law attorneys help you get the documentation you need to get the benefits you have earned. To learn more, request a free copy of our book titled Unlocking the Mystery – The Essential Guide for Navigating the Social Security Disability Claims Process, or contact Keefe Disability Law at 888-904-6847.

  • I have autism. Can I apply for SSI or SSDI?

    Autism is listed in the Social Security Administration’s Blue Book of qualifying conditions. To receive disability benefits for autism, you must meet certain medical requirements.

    • You must not be working. If you earn more than $1,000 a month, you will not qualify for disability benefits.
    • Your autism must be severe enough to limit your ability to work for pay.
    • You must meet certain requirements listed on the Social Security Administration’s list of disabilities under section 12.10 Autistic disorder and other pervasive developmental disorders, including medical documentation of your diagnosis showing:
    1. Difficulties in social interaction
    2. Difficulties in verbal and nonverbal communication and in imaginative activity
    3. Restricted range of activities and interests
    4. Any episodes of decompensation
    • You must have documentation that demonstrates how these symptoms restrict your activities of daily living, social functioning, ability to maintain concentration, persistence, or pace

    Many young adults with autism qualify for SSI. If you received SSI for autism as a child, you will need to reapply on your 18th birthday. If you did not receive SSI as a child because your family’s income was too high, you will be able to apply based on your assets once you turn 18.

    Most people with autism do not qualify for SSDI. To apply for SSDI, you must have held a job for a significant period in the past. Since autism is present at birth, having a work history would make it hard to prove that your autism affects your ability to work.

    Getting the documentation you need to support an SSI or SSDI claim can be a challenge. Most people are rejected the first time they apply for disability benefits. Don’t give up. Get the facts in Massachusetts disability lawyer John Keefe’s book Unlocking the Mystery – The Essential Guide for Navigating the Social Security Disability Claims Process or contact Keefe Disability Law at 888-904-6847.

  • I recently learned that I have schizophrenia. My boss said I can no longer do my job and suggested that I apply for SSDI. Can schizophrenia keep me from getting a job?

    Schizophrenia is a lifelong psychological disorder that generally manifests in early adulthood. The symptoms of schizophrenia vary from person to person, but can include:

    • Hallucinations
    • Delusions
    • Paranoia
    • Odd ways of speaking
    • Strange behavior
    • Lack of emotional expression
    • Disorganized behavior
    • Loss of interest in everyday activities
    • Difficulties with cognitive function, including problems with memory, thought, and speech

    Some symptoms can make it difficult to keep a job because they make employers, co-workers and customers uncomfortable. Other symptoms, such as loss of memory, can make it difficult to do a job effectively, even if you did that job for many years before the onset of your schizophrenia. Paranoia, delusions, and hallucinations can sometimes make it very difficult, if not impossible, for a person with schizophrenia to function in the outside world.

    Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a benefit that is administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA). SSDI is available only when a person becomes disabled and is no longer able to work for pay. SSDI is available for those with physical or mental disabilities.

    If you are suffering from schizophrenia and have lost your job or you’re experiencing difficulty finding a job because of your symptoms, you might qualify for SSDI for schizophrenia. However, the application process can be overwhelming. Don’t despair. Help is available. The Social Security disability attorneys at Keefe Disability Law can help you with the SSDI application process. To learn more, contact Keefe Disability Law at 888-904-6847 and ask to schedule a free consultation.

  • I am applying for SSDI for a mental illness and have been asked to see a psychologist for a mental examination. What should I do to prepare?

    To approve your application for SSDI, the Social Security Administration must be able to show that you have a disability and that the disability is preventing you from being able to work for pay. If your medical records are incomplete or there just isn’t enough information about your disability in your medical record, the SSA will send you to an independent doctor for additional testing.

    You know that you have a problem. You may have listed the symptoms of your mental illness on your application, but you need medical documentation. Whether you saw a doctor in the past but it’s been more than 60 days since you’ve sought treatment, or you never had treatment because of a lack of insurance, the purpose of the examination is to obtain the medical documentation necessary to determine whether you have a disability and to inform the Social Security Administration about your current mental state. Without a recent medical evaluation, your case cannot be decided.

    A mental examination is a one-time visit with a psychologist or psychiatrist. There is no cost to you. The SSA pays all expenses related to the examination.

    There are three possible types of examinations:

    1. IQ testing or memory testing: This type of testing is used for learning disabilities, organic brain disorders, brain injuries, and mental retardation.
    2. Psychiatric testing: Psychiatric testing is often used to evaluate an applicant for personality and mood disorders, including schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
    3. Mental status examination: This test is used to evaluate the mental condition of those suffering from depression, anxiety, or panic attacks.

    During the examination, be honest and give the test your best effort. If you are dishonest or try to fake a disability, the doctor is required report his suspicions to the SSA.

    After the examination, the doctor who performed the test will have 10 days to send the results to the SSA. The doctor’s report will contain information about your ability to follow directions and remember instructions and your ability to deal with coworkers, supervisors, and the stress of work.

    Do you have additional questions about applying for SSDI for a mental disability? Request a free copy of disability attorney John Keefe’s book, The Five Most Frequently Asked Questions About Social Security Disability or contact Keefe Disability Law at 888-904-6847.

  • I recently had a heart attack. I don’t know if I’ll be able to return to work. Could I qualify for Social Security disability?

    The answer will depend on your situation. Many people have heart attacks and then make complete recoveries that allow them to continue working for many years. Others sustain a large amount of heart damage that permanently affects their ability to care for themselves. A heart attack alone does not guarantee eligibility for benefits under the Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) or supplemental security income (SSI) programs.

    To be considered disabled by the Social Security Administration, an individual must be unable to perform work activity for at least 12 months because of a medically determinable impairment.

    If your heart attack has caused little damage, you are unlikely to qualify for Social Security disability. However, if it has left you with physical restrictions or limitations that affect your ability to work, then you might qualify for disability benefits.

    To receive SSDI or SSI benefits for a heart attack, those limitations must be expected to last at least one year, and they must prevent you from working at any job that you have had in the past or any other job as determined by your age, education, and work history.

    Because of modern technology, most people make strong recoveries after heart attacks. However, if your heart attack was caused by an underlying medical condition, you may have a valid claim. To apply for Social Security disability benefits, you will need medical documentation of your heart attack and your response to at least three months of follow-up care.

    Do you have additional questions? Find answers in Boston disability attorney John Keefe’s book The Five Most Frequently Asked Questions About Social Security Disability. To discuss your claim with a Social Security disability lawyer, contact Keefe Disability Law at 888-904-6847.

  • I live in Boston and have had to stop working because of the disabling effects of degenerative disk disease. I’ve heard that back surgery is not always helpful. How can I know if surgery is right for me?

    In most cases, back surgery is not recommended for your condition. Many times degenerative disk disease can be treated nonsurgically. Treatments include medications, heat and cold therapy, and physical therapy. But, since you say you are unable to work, you have probably already tried these things.

    Mayo Clinic suggests that back surgery may be indicated if:

    • Your disks are bulging and causing pain (not all do).
    • You have a herniated disk, which can sometimes be repaired.
    • You’ve had an injury to your spine, such as a fracture, that makes your spine unstable.
    • Osteoporosis has damaged your spine.
    • Your condition is compressing the spinal nerves and your leg is severely numb and/or painful.
    • You’ve tried everything else and nothing has helped.

    If you and your doctor do decide to move forward with surgical intervention, several types are available. The most common types do one of the following:

    • Remove bone portions to widen the spinal area.
    • Remove gel in ruptured disks, in an attempt to relieve pain and nerve pressure.
    • Remove a whole disk and fuse vertebrae together.

    If you have considered applying for Massachusetts Social Security disability benefits and would like a free consultation on your case, please contact our Boston disability specialists at Keefe Disability Law. Simply fill out the confidential contact form on this page, or call us toll free at 888-904-6847.

  • I live in Boston and have received a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis. I often find myself wondering, “Why me?” What causes this disease?

    The causes of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are not fully understood. While methods of diagnosis make it possible to identify this disease early on and begin treatment right away, the actual reasons for it remain elusive.

    Most people with RA do not pass it on to their children, nor do they inherit it, but genes do play some role in the condition and some people with RA have a family history of the disease.

    Researchers are looking for genetic answers to your question and think that one or more genes could be responsible for increasing your body’s tendency to allow the immune system to affect your joints.

    Even though your genes do not actually cause you to get RA, it is possible that they can increase your susceptibility to certain viruses and bacteria. It is believed that these environmental factors can trigger your body’s immune system, causing it to attack your joints. 

    While research continues, there are some factors that appear to increase the risk of developing RA. For instance, women are between two and three times more likely than men to develop the disease. Age is also a factor, as RA most often begins between the ages of 40 and 60. There is also some correlation between smoking and the risk for RA. 

    No matter what has caused your RA, you should definitely begin treatment right away, as this disease is chronic (ongoing). The sooner you begin treating it, the better your outcome is likely to be.

    The Boston SSA disability specialists at Keefe Disability Law can help you if your condition worsens and you need to apply for Massachusetts SSA disability benefits.

  • I applied for Massachusetts Social Security disability benefits over a month ago, but have heard nothing. How long will it take for them to make a decision?

    We really do wish we had a simple answer to your question. However, there are so many variables and complexities in the SSA disability determination process, there is no such thing as a simple answer.

    According to the SSA disability website, a decision on your claim will take three to five months. The site says a number of variables factor into how long it takes to decide, including:

    • The type of disability you suffer. 
    • The length of time it takes to obtain your medical evidence. 
    • The possibility of sending you for an independent medical examination.
    • Whether your claim is selected randomly for an internal review.

    That said, there are many stumbling blocks and obstacles embedded in this seemingly simple list of variables. So, if you have questions about the process or need someone to look into your case, the SSA disability specialists at Keefe Disability Law can help. We offer: 

    • A free case consultation. Just call us, toll free, at 888-904-6847 or fill in the confidential form on this page to get your questions answered—free.
    • Free special reports to help you understand your case, including: The Five Most Frequently Asked Questions About Social Security Disability, Seven Costly Mistakes That Can Ruin Your Social Security Disability Claim, and Unlocking the Mystery — The Essential Guide for Navigating the Social Security Disability Claims Process. Order one or all absolutely free today.

  • I was in a Boston car accident and suffered a severe traumatic brain injury. What kinds of therapy are offered to help me once I get out of the hospital?

    Your medical team will assess your injuries and symptoms and then come up with a treatment plan to help you achieve the best recovery possible. There are many types of brain injury therapies available to you. Which ones you will use depends on what you need in terms of your injury.

    Here are some of the most common therapies available to patients with a TBI:

    • Physical therapy: A physical therapist understands how the body and brain relate to each other and how to repair damaged connections between the two through relearning movement, balance, and other physical skills. 
    • Speech therapy: A speech and language pathologist deals with improving communication skills if they have been affected by a TBI. 
    • Cognitive therapy. This form of therapy, which focuses on increasing your alertness and ability to pay attention if they have been affected, could begin while you are still in the hospital.
    • Psychological therapy: Sometimes a psychologist or neuropsychologist is recommended to help with your emotional well-being. The stresses of a TBI can put tremendous pressure on your relationships and mental state. 
    • Occupational therapy: Experts in this field can help you to recover and practice the skills you use in everyday life. 
    • Therapeutic recreation: A recreational therapist might be assigned to your case to help you find fun and stimulating leisure activities to participate in.

    In addition to the above therapy alternatives, you might also be offered a vocational counselor, a traumatic brain injury nurse specialist, and/or a social worker or case manager to help you. 

    If you find, as time goes by, that you will be unable to return to work for the foreseeable future, you might want to consider applying for Massachusetts Social Security disability benefits to see you through the rough times. 

    Contact the Boston area SSA disability specialists at Keefe Disability Law to see what we can do for you. Our toll-free number is 888-904-6847. We offer free case evaluations, so call today.

  • I was treated for a traumatic brain injury I sustained in a serious Boston car accident and went back to work a month later. Now, I am having a lot of trouble just getting from day to day and had to take leave from my job. What do I have to prove to get Massachusetts Social Security disability benefits?

    The SSA requires a great deal of medical evidence to approve your claim for Massachusetts Social Security disability benefits. When it comes to a TBI, the severity of your mental disability will be determined in four areas:

    • Activities of daily living. This includes activities such as shopping, paying bills, cooking, grooming and other self-care, and maintaining a home—things you normally do from day to day. 
    • Social functioning. Your ability to “interact independently, appropriately, effectively, and on a sustained basis” with other people is referred to as social functioning. Many TBIs interfere with social functioning.
    • Concentration, persistence, or pace. This, basically, is a determination of how well you can remain focused and attentive to tasks that might be required of you at your job. 
    • Episodes of decompensation. This refers to periods in which the signs and symptoms of your condition worsen and you experience difficulty functioning in any of the three areas mentioned above. 

    In addition, the SSA will require extensive documentation to approve your claim. To collect all of this evidence and prove that you are unable to work, you may want to consider contacting a Massachusetts Social Security disability lawyer

    At Keefe Disability Law, we can walk you through the process of applying for Social Security disability benefits and answer your questions. Call us today, toll free, at 888-904-6847 or fill out the simple form on this page for a free case review. 

  • I was recently diagnosed with a chronic form of leukemia. I understand that the treatment can take a long time and am wondering about applying for Social Security disability benefits. What can I expect in the treatment, and should I apply now?

    As New England Social Security disability specialists, we always urge our clients to begin the application process as soon as they possibly can. Approval can take months, and many initial claims are denied the first time around.

    You are correct in assuming that the treatment for your leukemia can be lengthy. If you are in early-stage chronic lymphocytic leukemia, you might not begin treatment for a while. Your doctors will closely monitor you for signs of progression of the disease.

    However, if you have reached the intermediate or advanced stages, your treatment will probably be immediate and aggressive. Most patients with leukemia will be given chemotherapy, which can be debilitating during its course.

    In addition, you may be treated with radiation therapy, targeted therapy, biological therapy, and even a stem cell transplant. Each, of course, has its own timeline and recovery period.

    While some patients continue treatment indefinitely, some receive the “all clear” to go back to work at the end of the treatment period. Either way, months and even sometimes years will pass as the leukemia battle is waged and you will be unable to work.

    For these reasons, we urge you to start educating yourself now about your disease and the possible outcomes. We also suggest that you begin the SSA disability application process now.

    Keefe Disability Law has helped many people with their New England SSA disability applications and appeals. Give us a call toll free at 888-904-6847 to discuss your options. We also offer a free report, “The Five Most Frequently Asked Questions about Social Security Disability.” Order yours today by clicking the sidebar link on this page.

  • I have suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder ever since I returned from Iraq a year ago. I am now out of the military and am trying to work, but my symptoms often get in the way. Should I tell my employer that I have PTSD, or will I get fired if I do?

    Let us begin by saying that you are not required by law to report any disability, including PTSD, to your employer. But if you do, you cannot be fired for sharing this information about yourself. 

    If you do choose to share your condition, you may be given special consideration, and many employers provide accommodations for workers to help them be more successful on the job. 

    In fact, if you can continue to work, the National Council on Disability has found that you and others like you actually benefit from working. Employment allows war-related PTSD sufferers to adjust better, have a better self-concept, and rehabilitate more quickly. 

    That said, you might find any or all of the following challenges in employment. You may:

    • Have trouble with memory and/or concentration
    • Be more disorganized than normal
    • Be tired because of sleep problems
    • Have problems relating to co-workers

    A supportive employer is usually happy to make accommodations for you, which might include:

    • Flexible work schedules and/or job sharing
    • Scheduled breaks to avoid becoming too tired or overwhelmed
    • Aids such as checklists, timers, and tape recorders to help you remember your tasks and complete them on time
    • Mentoring by a co-worker or retired worker
    • Understanding and offering a listening ear when you need it
    • Encouraging you to continue treatment, even if it interferes with your work hours
    • Being realistic about your strengths and limitations and encouraging you

    Sometimes, however, a victim of PTSD will find him or herself unable to continue to work and earn a living. If this happens, Massachusetts Social Security disability benefits can provide an answer. Call Keefe Disability Law to explore the option of applying for SSA disability benefits. We can provide a free consultation and help clear up any questions you have.

  • I was bitten by a tick in Massachusetts a month ago and since then have been feeling unwell. Do I have Lyme disease? What should I do?

    Just because you were bitten does not mean you have Lyme disease, and the fact that you are feeling bad may or may not be related to your bite.

    First, the tick had to be a blacklegged tick, the only kind that transmits the bacteria to humans and causes the disease. Also, most commonly, the tick must have remained attached to your skin for more than 24 hours to infect you.

    Because you live in Massachusetts, one of the 12 states with the most cases of Lyme disease, you do have cause for concern. You do not mention your symptoms, but a rash, aching muscles or joints, a fever, fatigue, chills, headache, and swollen lymph nodes are common Lyme disease symptoms.

    We suggest that you see a medical professional as soon as possible. Because the disease is more successfully treated in the early stages, you should not delay a visit to the doctor. He or she can diagnose your condition using several different methods.

    In addition to a physical examination, your doctor will likely ask you questions about your medical history. Because Lyme disease shares many of the nonspecific symptoms of other conditions like viral infections, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, and depression, it is important to get an accurate diagnosis. 

    It is also important to know that the blacklegged tick can also spread other diseases at the same time it transmits Lyme disease.

    The bottom line is to seek medical attention before you do anything else to avoid becoming so sick you cannot participate in your normal life activities including work. And, if you do become disabled, don’t wait to contact a Massachusetts SSA disability lawyer to discover your options.

    At Keefe Disability Law, we have helped many people apply for New England SSA disability benefits successfully. Call us today toll free at 888-904-6847 with any questions you have.

  • What should I do if I was denied SSD benefits for my osteoporosis?

    Osteoporosis can cause disability and in your case, it has. A broken hip is a very serious injury and, of course, you are living with the possibility of other broken bones.

    As a Rhode Island disability attorney, I see many New England disability application denials. And nothing is much more frustrating than this when you really need the financial help these benefits can provide.

    Usually, you have about 60 days to appeal a denial and you do not mention how long it has been since you received your determination letter. So, you have two scenarios open to you, both of which may cause you to become discouraged.

    • If the time for an appeal has lapsed, you can file a new application with the information about your current medical condition included.
    • If you still have time to appeal, do so right away! We work on appeals every day and know exactly what the Social Security Administration expects in order to approve your request.

    Call Keefe Disability Law toll free today at 888-904-6847 for a free disability case consultation. Or, simply fill out the confidential form on this page and we will contact you. We also urge you to order a FREE copy of our special report, Five Most Frequently Asked Questions about Social Security Disability.

    Don’t get discouraged. We can help.

  • I have been diagnosed with coronary heart disease. Is there anything I can do to improve my condition and avoid having to apply for New England SSA disability benefits?

    Although your diagnosis is frightening and can lead to disability, there are many things you can do to slow the rate at which your coronary heart disease progresses. 

    Atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, leads to many serious heart problems. But the good news is that you can slow, stop, or even reversing the narrowing of your arteries by making major changes in your lifestyle choices. While doing this is not easy, if you are motivated enough, you can avoid becoming dependent on other people and the government to go on living. 

    Here are some suggestions from the Mayo Clinic:

    • Stop smoking. The nicotine in cigarettes constricts the blood vessels in your body, forcing your heart to work much harder than it needs to. In addition, carbon monoxide damages blood vessels and cuts the amount of oxygen in your blood.
    • Control your blood pressure. You should have regular blood pressure checks. Hypertension and the risk for heart attacks are very closely related.
    • Keep your cholesterol levels low.
    • Control your diabetes.
    • Exercise regularly. We all know the benefits of exercise, but do not always take advantage of this cost free way to avoid many serious diseases. Mayo Clinic recommends 30 to 60 minutes a day, with your doctor’s permission.
    • Eat healthy foods. This is another way to avoid many health problems and to lose weight. Obesity can lead to heart disease and diabetes. A heart healthy diet will include fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
    • Keep stress managed. Deep breathing, muscle relaxation, and exercise can all help you maintain a healthy mental attitude and reduce the damaging physical effects of stress.

    Because 9.5 percent of all Social Security Administration disability benefits went to disabled workers suffering from circulatory system diseases in 2010, the risk of being unable to work are very real. But by making changes in how you live your life, you may avoid becoming one of those disability cases.

    If you do need help with New England SSA disability questions, call a disability lawyer in Rhode Island to get them answered. Keefe Disability Law has helped many people just like you. Call us toll free today at 888-904-6847 to get the facts.

  • If I have an angina attack, does that mean I am about to have a heart attack?

    When you have an episode of angina, it means that one of the muscles in your heart is temporarily not getting enough blood. Usually, this happens when you are exercising or going up a set of stairs. While you should never be complacent about chest pain, angina itself is not a heart attack.


    Angina does, however, mean that you are suffering from coronary artery disease and being aware of the symptoms and feelings of your stable angina episodes will help you to recognize if something more serious is going on. 


    A heart attack is different from angina and means that the blood flow to some part of your heart is suddenly cut off. While symptoms can vary greatly among people, with a heart attack, the chest pain lasts longer, is more severe, and previously prescribed medications do not help.


    If you have angina, you are at a greater risk of heart attack than those who don’t. Also, the risk of a heart attack increases if your angina patterns change.  If your episodes become longer, happen without any exercise, or are more frequent, you need to seek medical attention immediately.


    Knowing your condition and having it treated are the best precautions against heart attack. And if you are having trouble working, or have had to quit your job, you may want to consider applying for disability in Massachusetts.


    Contact Keefe Disability Law in the Boston area for advice and help with your disability needs. You can reach our Massachusetts disability benefit attorneys toll-free at 888-904-6847 or fill out the confidential form online for a quick response.

  • I was recently injured at work in Boston and expect to be disabled for at least the next year. Is there anything I can do to improve my chances of getting my SSA disability claim approved?

    Yes, there are definitely ways to improve your chances of being approved for SSA disability benefits. In theory, the Social Security Administration maintains the disability program to help people just like you. But, as we hear on the news and from friends, this program is cumbersome, and applicants often wait long periods of time to be approved.

    In order to help yourself, you might consider the following suggestions:

    • Don’t wait another minute to apply. Because it may take some time to get your case approved, you need to get into the system just as soon as possible.
    • Be absolutely honest and complete about the condition(s) that disable(s) you. Some people are embarrassed to mention psychiatric problems or learning disabilities. This is a mistake, as the SSA disability program will consider more than one condition in making a determination. For instance, if you suffer from depression and have a spinal cord injury, both conditions will be taken into consideration.
    • Most important, get some help. Hiring an attorney either to help you apply or to work through the appeals process will give you the edge. You do not understand the complicated workings of the system, but an experienced disability attorney does. 

    The Massachusetts disability attorneys at Keefe Disability Law have the reputation, experience and perseverance to take you through the entire SSA disability process. Call us today toll free at 888-904-6847 to schedule a free case consultation. Or, you can simply fill out the form on this page and we will contact you within 24 hours. 

  • I live and work in Boston and have been diagnosed with COPD. I want to keep working and I heard that exercise was good for me, but it seems like it will just cause more shortness of breath. Is this true?

    Absolutely not. There is a myth that COPD patients should stay still and calm to avoid breathing problems. But the truth is that exercise will actually help you to breath better, in addition to helping your heart and lungs to function at their best. 

    Here are a few of the benefits of exercise for COPD patients:

    • Your energy level, strength, resistance to infection and bone strength all increase.
    • You will get a better night’s sleep and find it easier to relax.
    • You will experience less shortness of breath.
    • Risk factors for heart disease will decrease.
    • Your blood pressure and blood sugar levels will decrease.
    • There will be fewer side effects of the medications you take for COPD, including steroids.
    • You will find that your mood is elevated, and if you suffer from depression, those symptoms will lessen.

    However, before you begin an exercise program, you should talk to your doctor to help choose what is the best and safest for you. He or she may recommend a pulmonary rehabilitation program, which combines education, exercise, counseling and nutrition to help you with your endurance and strength. In the meantime, talking with our SSA disability benefit specialists could help ease your financial burden while you make these important health decisions.

    At Keefe Disability Law, we meet many people like you who want to do the best things they can to slow the progress of COPD and live life as fully as possible. And, as Social Security disability lawyers, we can help you with your financial decisions if you decide to apply for New England SSA disability benefits. Just give us a call toll free at 888-904-6847 to speak to a specialist.

  • I was diagnosed with COPD several years ago and have continued to work at my job ever since. But, my health problems are growing and I am increasingly disabled. How difficult is it applying for disability in Massachusetts?

    You have asked an excellent question. While applying for Massachusetts Social Security Administration (SSA) disability benefits can be done online, the amount of information and paperwork you must provide can be difficult to handle.

    The SSA lists four steps in the application process:

    • Step One: Review the “Adult Disability Checklist.” This is a list of the information you will need to provide for the SSA to make a decision. It includes two lists: one for the disability application and the other for the disability report (medical information).
    • Step Two: Fill out the “Disability Benefit Application.” This online application form requires a great number of facts about your family, business and work information that should be collected ahead of time.
    • Step Three: Fill out the “Adult Disability Report.” This report requires detailed medical records that establish dates, doctors and treatments – everything related to your disease and its history.
    • Step Four: Complete the “Authorization to Disclose Information to the Social Security Administration.” This gives the SSA permission to look at your personal information and to request more if needed. 

    The SSA will also accept your application in person at your local Social Security office or even apply by phone. 

    But, what you need to know is that this process most often results in long waiting periods and for most applicants, denial at the first attempt. 

    If you feel that you would like help when you first apply for disability benefits, Keefe Disability Law has helped many people like you find their way through the process. Call us toll free today at 888-904-6847 to get your questions answered. 

  • I have a son with Down syndrome who is about to turn 18. He has always worked hard in school and now wants to work at a job and get his own apartment in Boston. Can he find a job and is there any financial help for him to achieve his goals?

    You should be proud of the job you have done raising your son. It sounds like he has a great attitude and plenty of support from his family. In short, the answer to your question is yes. Many people with Down syndrome are successfully employed all over the country, although they may not be able to work full-time and often receive low wages for their efforts. 

    For these reasons, the Social Security Administration (SSA) disability program offers two types of assistance for citizens with Down syndrome: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). As a disability lawyer in Massachusetts, John Keefe represents claimants for both types of assistance.

    SSDI provides benefits to disabled workers all over the country. Applicants for SSDI must be at least 18 years of age and be able to prove their disability through medical records.

    SSI is a special government program for disabled workers who are in extreme financial need. Your son, depending on his current and future earnings, might qualify for either of these two government assistance programs.

    In order to get started applying for New England disability with and for your son, your best bet is to contact a specialist in disability law. With over 70% of all initial SSA disability applications being denied and some cases dragging on for over two-and-a-half years, a lawyer can smooth the road and make sure you avoid mistakes that could slow the process for you and your son.

    Call Keefe Disability Law today toll free at 888-904-6847 to find out what we can do for you.