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IL disability lawyerStrictly speaking, illiteracy is not a disability according to Social Security regulations. In other words, just because a person is unable to read or write, that does not necessarily mean they are incapable of working. But when a person suffers from one or more medical conditions that restrict their ability to work, illiteracy is a factor that Social Security needs to consider when assessing that person's “vocational profile,” i.e., the types of jobs, if any, they can perform despite their impairments.

Magistrate: Using Social Media Does Not Prove You Are Literate

A recent decision from a federal magistrate here in Illinois, Rodney C. v. Saul, illustrates how Social Security is supposed to account for a disability applicant's illiteracy.

The plaintiff in this case applies for disability benefits, citing his degenerative disc disease, diabetes, sleep apnea, and other impairments. After conducting a hearing, a Social Security administrative law judge (ALJ) determined the applicant did not meet the legal standard for disability. After Social Security upheld the ALJ's ruling, the plaintiff sought judicial review with the magistrate.

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Social Security disability attorney, Chicago disability benefits lawyer, Social Security regulations, disability claims, disability caseMany people are hesitant to hire a Social Security disability attorney because they fear the potential cost of representation. This is understandable. After all, if you are unable to work and struggling to make ends meet, the last thing you want to do is worry about paying a large legal bill.

But what you should understand is that under Social Security regulations, your lawyer works on a contingency basis. This means you do not owe the attorney anything unless your disability claim is successful. When you hire a disability lawyer, you will need to sign a contingency agreement authorizing the Social Security Administration to pay the attorney out of your final benefits award.

Compensation as a Percentage of “Past Due” Benefits

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b2ap3_thumbnail_disability-claim-Chicago_20170326-133634_1.jpgSocial Security recently announced major changes to its rules for handling disability insurance claims. The new regulations, which apply to claims filed on or after March 27, 2017, affect how Social Security administrative law judges (ALJs) must weigh evidence provided by different medical sources in determining whether an applicant meets the legal definition of disabled.

Abolishing the “Treating Source Rule”

One of the biggest changes is Social Security's decision to abolish its longstanding “treating source rule.” This rule basically said that an ALJ must defer to the medical opinions of your treating physician, provided they were supported by “objective medical evidence.” In other words, the ALJ did not have to accept your doctor's unsubstantiated opinions at face value. But if there were test results or other medical records backing up your treating physician's diagnosis, the ALJ had to afford these medical judgments “significant weight or provide "good reasons” for not doing so.

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