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Frequent Questions

Why Choose Rabin & Associates?

At Jeffrey A. Rabin & Associates, Ltd., we are highly skilled attorneys who have devoted our practice to helping those who are living with disability to secure the benefits they need from the Social Security Administration (SSA). We have spent our careers helping clients successfully navigate the complex bureaucracy, rules and procedures of the SSA. This devotion to a single legal practice area has allowed us to build an unparalleled depth of knowledge and breadth of experience that truly benefits our clients.

What does it mean to be totally disabled?

To be considered as totally disabled under the Social Security Act, we must prove that our clients are suffering from symptoms that so impact their day to day functions - for a period that has either lasted, or is expected to last 12 months, or is expected to result in death in 12 months - that they preclude their ability to function at any type of work available in the national economy on a full time basis. So, total disability is not based on your diagnosis or label, it is based on the medical proof of your symptoms and how those symptoms impact your day to day life.

What is the difference between SSD and SSI?

A very common question is what is the different between Social Security Disability (SSD) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Both have the same medical test and for both programs, we have to prove that your medical symptoms are so debilitating that you cannot work full time at any type of work for at least a year. SSD also requires that you have worked and paid into the social security system through your prior work. If you recall on your paycheck you had deductions for OASDI and Medicare – those are actually your payments to the social security system to become eligible for social security retirement, social security survivor and social security disability benefits. If you haven’t worked enough quarters to qualify for SSD, then SSI may be an alternative. To get SSI, you must be not only fully disabled, but you have to be indigent – no money coming into the household and less than $2000 in nonexcludable resources (house and one car excluded).

What are some common medical problems that qualify for SSD claims?

One of the common questions we get asked is what kind of medical problems justify applying for disability and getting approved. The truth is, most medical problems that produce symptoms that impact on your ability to function will be considered by social security. Social security considers “severe impairments” – those medical problems that produce symptoms that limit your ability to do basic work activities like standing or walking, concentrating, or dealing with work stress.

What is the process for a SSI case?

In the 31+ years that this law firm has been around, we have represented clients at all levels of the Social Security Administrative process and in the Federal Courts. This means that we can help you whether you have’t filed your application yet, whether you’ve already received an initial denial or even a reconsideration denial, or are waiting for your hearing in front of an SSA law judge. With over 100 years of combined legal experience, we can help you at every step of the social security disability process.

How can I log my symptoms?

One tool we use to help clients explain what their symptoms are to their doctors is to provide them with a calendar. We tell clients to keep this by their bedside or by the toaster oven if they want their family members to participate, and each day write down what their symptoms are. For example, if someone has severe migraines, noting how frequently are they having the headaches, did they have to lay down in a dark room, did they get nauseous, was noise bothering them, etc. If you keep these symptoms in this calendar diary, it’s much easier to communicate your symptoms to your doctors a month or two later when it’s so hard to remember what happened in the past. This log helps build the evidence we need to prove you’re entitled to SSD or SSI benefits.

What is key to proving a SSI case?

The most common question we get asked is “I have this medical problem, why won’t they pay me benefits?”. The answer is really quite simple – Except in rare cases, diagnosis is not the focus in a social security disability case. Everybody that applies, has a diagnosis. The focus is actually on what your symptoms are and how they impact your everyday life. IN order for social security to make that decision, they aren’t going to rely on what you or your family says, they are going to go strictly by your medical charts. So the key to proving disability in any social security case, is are you seeing the write doctors and are you communicating with them to them your symptoms and day to day problems are. That’s where the evidence comes from that we need to prove disability and get you the benefits you deserve.

Can I receive disability benefits if I have Chronic Pain?

Chronic pain is the most common symptom affecting our clients. The chronic pain can be due to headaches, a bad back or neck, a failed surgery, or any number of conditions. The challenging aspect of these cases is that we cannot prove pain. There is no scientific test that proves pain and more importantly, there is no scientific test that measures pain. The key in any of these cases is going to be the documented medical records from your treating medical specialist – orthopedic, neurologist, podiatrist or pain specialist. Sometimes even mental health treatment is a big factor in a disability case focusing on chronic pain. You must be describing what your days are like and what your limitations are at every visit with these doctors because these are the charts that are going to make a difference in the outcome of your case.

Can I received disability benefits if I have Bipolar Disorder?

A very common case we get called upon are people suffering from Bipolar Disorder. This is an extremely serious mental illness that can impact the life of the patient as well as their family. They key in any mental illness case, especially people with Bipolar Disorder, are the medical charts. Everything in disability cases turns on the content of the medical records. If you’re suffering from Bipolar, we need to understand what your day to day symptoms are and how those symptoms affect your functioning. You have to be talking about those functional problems with your doctors and therapists because it’s those records that are going to determine the outcome of your case. When your doctors, therapists, and psychologist are supportive, we can help you get disability benefits if suffering from Bipolar.

Can I receive disability benefits if I have Depression & Anxiety?

We receive many calls from people dealing with depression or anxiety issues that can produce symptoms that really impact someone’s ability to function in a work setting. The symptoms of depression such as fatigue, concentration problems, and suicidal thoughts can really impact your ability to sustain function in a job. Similarly, the anxiety issues of dealing with other people and work stress or new work place settings can impact your ability to succeed in a job. If these symptoms are affecting your function, the key to these claims are going to be the medical records and charts from your therapists, psychiatrists, and psychologists. Everything in a SSD case turns on those medical records and charts so make sure you’re describing these symptoms and the day to day limitations every time you go to the doctor.

Can I receive disability benefits if I have Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia can be a devastating medical problem that’s frustrating for the patient, their family and their medical providers. It is also challenging for social security purposes because it’s impossible to prove the disease and impossible to prove or measure the symptoms of fatigue and pain. The key to any disability case based on Fibromyalgia are the medical records from your treating rheumatologist, pain specialist or neurologist. At these visits, you must be having tender point testing because that is required by the social security ruling dealing with Fibromyalgia. You also must be carefully describing your symptoms and how those symptoms impact your ability to do everyday tasks - cooking meals, cleaning the house, going to your child’s soccer game, visiting family, going to church are all relevant in determining how severely those symptoms impact your functions. Make sure you’re describing these problems at every visit with your doctors.

Can I receive disability benefits if I have Migraines?

Cases involving debilitating migraines are very challenging in social security disability because we cannot prove migraines, nor can we prove or measure pain, but somehow social security needs to be convinced that these symptoms are so severe that you could not function at any type of work on a full time basis. The key to these cases is your treatment with the specialist who is regularly documenting the frequency of the headaches and all of the symptoms of the headaches – nausea, need for quiet, irritation to light, etc. If we can document the severity of the symptoms, we can prove entitlement to disability benefits.

Can I receive disability benefits if I have MS?

Multiple Sclerosis can be a devastating disease severely impacting on someone’s ability to function in a work setting. The problem, however, is proving that to social security. Recently, the Social Security Administration changed the guidelines for MS to make it much more difficult to prove entitlement to benefits. The key in any disability case, including those with MS, is proving and documenting the severity of your symptoms in the charts of your treating neurologist. You must be seeing this neurologist regularly, at least every 3 months and describing your weakness and fatigue that come with MS. Those charts are the evidence social security is going to rely on when determining if you’re eligible for disability benefits.

Can I receive disability benefits if I have PTSD?

A very frequent call we get is from people suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. This can arise from any number of traumatic event at any time in life and can produce symptoms that severely impact day to day functioning – nightmares, anxiety, hypervigilance, problems with authority or community members. All of this has to be documented in the medical charts. We teach clients that what they say is not going to be evidence that supports their claim. So if you’re suffering from PTSD and think you’re eligible for disability benefits, you must be treating with both a psychiatrist and therapist or PHD psychologist who is listening to you, documenting your problems and supporting your limitations.

What cities and counties of Illinois do you serve?

Our attorneys see claimants well beyond Chicago's city limits. We have represented claimants in the following counties: Cook County Lake County McHenry County DuPage County and More! Our claimants have also resided in the following cities: Aurora Chicago Cicero Evanston Joliet Libertyville Mt Prospect Rockford Winfield

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