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disability applicants, Chicago Social Security disability insurance attorney, Illinois disability case,  Social Security lying, disability claimSocial Security often plays cat-and-mouse games with disability applicants. Administrative law judges (ALJs) are trained to look for any sign of inconsistency in an applicant's testimony to justify denying benefits. This is especially common in cases where the applicant suffers from fibromyalgia or another chronic pain condition. Oftentimes, the ALJ will claim the applicant is “exaggerating” his or her pain or imply that a condition is not really as bad as it sounds.

Social Security Judge Misstates Factual Record

In addition, sometimes, the ALJ simply accuses the applicant of lying. This is a serious allegation, and no Social Security official should ever make such a declaration without proper supporting evidence. Still, this is exactly what happened in one recent Illinois disability case.

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Social Security Disability Insurance, identity theft, Chicago Social Security Disability Insurance, Medicare coverage,  attorney, Medicare recipientsIf you have received Social Security Disability Insurance benefits for at least 24 months, you are automatically enrolled in Medicare, which provides hospitalization and medical insurance. While Medicare is normally for people age 65 and older, SSDI recipients are eligible regardless of their age. In some cases, low-income beneficiaries may also qualify to have the State of Illinois pay their premiums and other costs associated with Medicare.

Removing Social Security Numbers to Better Protect Identity

If you are a current or expected future recipient, you should be aware of ongoing changes to the Medicare identification card system. On May 30, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that starting next year it will mail all Medicare recipients new ID cards that contain a variety of fraud-prevention measures. Notably, while current Medicare ID cards use an identifier based on Social Security Numbers (SSN), the new cards will have a completely separate Medicare Beneficiary Identifier or MBI.

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Social Security disability, disability benefits, disability applicant, credibility findings, Chicago disability benefits lawyerSocial Security Disability Insurance applicants frequently face hostile administrative law judges (ALJs) who look for any reason to deny benefits. An ALJ will often act under the pretext of a “credibility finding” to justify a rejection. In plain English, this means that the ALJ agrees the applicant has a severe impairment, but he or she is exaggerating or overstating his or her symptoms just to get disability benefits. In many cases the ALJ will selectively cite evidence of daily activities or lack of treatment as definitive proof that an applicant is not disabled—even when the medical evidence suggests otherwise.

Illinois Judge Orders New Disability Hearing After ALJ Fails to Follow Regulations

When an ALJ makes an erroneous credibility finding, it can force the disability applicant to spend years fighting for justice. For instance, a federal magistrate in Illinois recently order Social Security to reconsider the disability claim of a woman who first filed for benefits more than five years ago. In this case, the ALJ used a credibility finding to reject medical evidence establishing the applicant's inability to work due to a number of documented impairments, including severe back pain, asthma, hypertension, and morbid obesity.

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