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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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Social Security disability benefits, Cook County disability benefits attorney, medical evidence, disability claim, disability hearingMedical evidence is usually the key to obtaining Social Security disability benefits. Your best source of credible medical evidence is generally your own doctor. But what if your doctor is an internal medicine generalist and not a specialist? Can Social Security disregard your doctor's views simply because they lack specialized training or experience with respect to your particular disability?

Judge Rejects Social Security's Excuses for Rejecting Primary Care Doctor's Diagnosis

A federal judge here in Illinois recently confronted these questions. The plaintiff in this lawsuit seeks Social Security benefits due to a number of physical and mental impairments. Of particular note, the plaintiff suffers from “lumbar disc abnormalities” that restrict his ability to sit, stand, and walk.

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Social Security Disability Insurance benefits, disability claim, Chicago disability benefits lawyer, functional capacity evaluation, disability applicantOne of the key steps in applying for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits is receiving a functional capacity evaluation (FCE). This is basically a test designed to objectively assess your ability to perform different degrees of work, taking into account your physical and mental impairments. An FCE generally places you into one of five categories, ranging from “ability to perform heavy work” to “unable to perform sedentary work.”

ALJ Fails to Meet “Minimum Articulation” Standard

Social Security officials are expected to take an FCE into account when deciding whether or not to grant your application for disability benefits. Although a Social Security administrative law judge (ALJ) does not have to accept the FCE's findings at face value, he or she must point to specific reasons for discounting or disregarding the evaluator's opinions. It is not enough for the ALJ to simply state he or she disagrees with the FCE's conclusions.

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