Social Security Disability:

How To Apply; How To Win


Disability According To Social Security

Congress has defined disability as the "inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months. To meet this definition, you must have a severe impairment, which makes you unable to do your previous work or any other substantial gainful activity which exists in the national economy. To determine whether you are able to do any other work, we consider your residual functional capacity and your age, education, and work experience."

From this definition has emerged a standard set of questions which must be asked of each claimant (the person who is applying).

1. Is the individual gainfully employed? The answer to this must be "no."

2. Is there a severe impairment (or group of impairments) which exist?

3. Will the impairment(s) last at least 12 months or result in death?

4. Does the impairment meet any of the standards set by SSA as being severe enough to grant disability?

If questions 2, 3, and 4 above can be answered "yes," then that person will be awarded benefits. If all of the above questions, except number 4 can be answered "yes," then several more questions must be asked. If the answer to number 4 is "no," then SSA must ask:

5. Can the individual perform any of the work s/he has done in the last 15 years? If the answer to this is "yes," then that person is considered not disabled. If the answer to number 5 is "no," then SSA must ask:

6. Given the limitations of the individual's impairment, are any of the skills s/he learned in past work able to be used in another occupation that would require very little retraining? If the answer to this last question is "yes," then that person is not disabled. If the answer is "no," then s/he must be found disabled.

All of the above is based on certain definitions, assumptions, and conditions which pertain to age,education, work experience, and residual functional capacity.


In general, SSA operates on the assumption that the older one gets, the less able s/he is to learn new skills. An individual under the age of 50 is referred to as a "younger individual." Ages 50 to 54 are called "closely approaching advanced age;" 55 and over is "advanced age," and ages 60 to 64 are called "closely approaching retirement age."


SSA makes the assumption that the more education one has, the better able s/he is to make adjustments in jobs. Conversely, the less education, the less able one is to adjust. So if one has a severe impairment, and cannot read or write, s/he should be found disabled.

Education through the 6th grade or less is termed "marginal;" 7th grade through the 11th is "limited." If one has a 12th grade education or a GED, then the question remaining is whether or not s/he has done work which permits entry into another group of jobs which require many of the same skills as s/he was doing before, or less.

If there are jobs in the economy which are related in skills to the one(s) s/he was doing within the last 15 years, and which s/he is determined capable of doing given the limitations imposed by the impairment(s), then s/he will not be found disabled.



  • Broke Last year the Social Security Administration sent $127.7 billion to those determined disabled but took in only $104 billion in Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). Deficits began draining the trust fund in 2005 and are expected to be exhausted by 2017

  • Account Overdrawn Just as when individuals spend beyond their means to repay, so too, do states and nations. "Washing-ton's public debt is nearly $8.5 trillion, which comes to about 58% of the U.S. economy, compared with ratios exceeding 100% in places like Greece.

  • The End of Healthcare Make no mistake about it: socialized medicine is medical treatment at the pointof a gun. Under a single payer government plan, medical decisions will be taken out of doctors' hands and relinquished to the arbitrary whims of government.

  • Vet Falsely Accused An atmosphere of suspicion and distrust was created even before Bill arrived at the meeting with Social Security's consulting psychiatrist, Dr. F. Bill called him from the road to tell him he was on Key Bridge and would be a few minutes late.

  • Our Deceptive SSA An audit of the Social Security Administration by the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) two years ago uncovered some very disturbing and damning facts. Among them are: Hundreds of pieces of unopened mail;

  • The Good, Bad, & Ugly Over many years I have seen a lot of representatives askquestions about the numbers of jobs vocational experts (VEs) testify to under a set of limitations the ALJ accepts. However, the latest dialogue among representatives has confirmed for me

  • Do The Math For the purpose of constructing a model which excludes the factan image that the number of workers (who pay the bill) is less than the number of retirees (who collect via SSA from the workers), consider the following: Start with an eighteen-year old

  • Backlog Crisis The latest processing times for Social Security disability cases have hit new all-time highs. The average lengths of time up to May of 2008 for Social Security disability claimants to get a hearing after a hearing is requested, has been received from the Social Security Administration through

  • Safety Net Knot David Michaelis of Chewala, WA, felt the symptoms of a rare neuromuscular disease in October of '02.The condition causes involuntary movements of the head and neck, which destroys the ability to coordinate eye-hand movements.


  • Disable Social Security Chile's Social Security system is based on individualfreedoms - economic, social and political - and is a much more prosperous and lively society.

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Account Overdrawn

Just as when individuals spend beyond their means to repay, so too, do states and nations.

"Washington's public debt is nearly $8.5 trillion, which comes to about 58% of the U.S. economy, compared with ratios exceeding 100% in places like Greece. But the U.S. debt is rising fast, and its true size is masked by the surplus run by the Social Security trust fund. Factoring that in, the total national debt is about $13 trillion, or 90% of the economy. Including unfunded liabilities for such programs as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, the federal government is looking at a long-term shortfall of about $62 trillion, or about $200,000 for every American." USA Today

When individuals overdraw and extend their credit beyond their means to repay, they declare bankruptcy, settling with their creditors for a small fraction of what they owe. When governments overspend, they raise taxes and, like California, issue IOUs. When nations overspend, they inflate their dollars by printing more money-drastically reducing the buying power of their currency.

It was in 1994 that I sounded an alarm about the potential for a disastrous state with the aging of the 76 million Baby Boomers. "Before 9/11, the Government Accounting Office projected that Social Security would be bankrupt by 2030. Karl Borden, professor of financial economics at the University of Nebraska, predicted it would go bust in 2015." But no one could have predicted that a professor of constitutional law would rape that sacred document as President of the United States by inaugurating the takeover of medical practice and care, 1/5th of the economy.

What is obscene is that this was done over the objections of the people who put the lawmakers in office, and by ignoring the dismal, pathetic fact that Medicare and Medicaid were already bankrupt in government's hands.

It was entitlements which threw Greece into bankruptcy, and it is entitlements which will throw us into bankruptcy if they continue to be funded. As The Heritage Foundation reports:

"The recently released report for 2009 shows that total liabilities are $14.5 trillion, more or less equal to the debt, but up $2.3 trillion from 2008, driven by spending on TARP and declining revenues and tax cuts for low income Americans. However, the long-term excess costs from burgeoning entitlement costs like Social Security and Medicare are $45.8 trillion, up $2.9 trillion a far larger increase. Along with other commitments and contingencies, the total obligations of the U.S. Government total $63.3 trillion, or $63,300,000,000,000."

A trillion is a million million, or a thousand billion.

To get a true picture of what entitlement spending means, The Peter G. Peterson Foundation explains, "Projections show that by 2027, if revenues stay at 18.3% of GDP [Gross Domestic Product] -the level we are used to-they will not even cover net interest, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. The federal government will have to borrow to pay for all of the other activities including education, national defense, and homeland security."

Click here to see our debt clock:

Something has to give.

At the outset of 2010, it looked like the feds would cut physicians' rates of pay by 21%. With heavy lobbying they were able to put that off. But many doctors aren't waiting for what they see as inevitable cuts; Texas physicians are getting out of Medicare at the rate of 100 to 200 a year, compared to "a handful" before 2007. Sixty-two percent of primary care doctors are no longer accepting new Medicare patients. They point out that they have already taken at least a 20% cut between 2001 and 2009 by not adjusting upward their allowances. A $1,000 payment in 2001 shrunk to $410 after operating expenses; in 2010 they'll net $290. If the 21% cut goes through, they'll net $72, an 83% net effect since 2001.

On the patient side of the equation, it necessarily means rationing and care decisions made by bureaucrats. And, costs will double in just 1 to 2 years after the full plan goes into effect. And, service will decline. Non-profit hospitals in Massachusetts reported they were near bankruptcy in 2010. And, overcrowded waiting rooms in hospitals have increased since greater numbers of insured individuals has increased.

Fully 50% of all Americans have a chronic condition. And 75% of the $2.6 trillion is spent on health care for those individuals, according to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. Curiously, the percentage of children and teens with a chronic condition increased from 1.7 in the 60's to over 7% in 2004. The leading causes of chronic conditions are heart disease and stroke, cancer, diabetes, arthritis, and obesity.

But, nearly all chronic conditions are preventable, says the CDC, by not smoking, being more active regularly, cutting consumption of saturated fat, and stopping binge drinking (defined as ingesting 5 or more drinks for men and 4 or more for women) on one occasion.

Stuart Butler, health analyst and vice president for domestic research at the Heritage Foundation, thinks "we have a very perverse incentive system." What he refers to is typically patients with chronic conditions are sent to specialists, but no one is in charge of the complete person. The specialists never get together and exchange thought about all of his or her problems. Nor is anyone responsible for improving the overall health of that individual.

Group Health Cooperative is experimenting with a "patient-centered medical home," which permits doctors to spend more time with fewer patients to coordinate their care. The Cooperative says it had 29% fewer ER visits and 11% fewer hospitalizations. They claim the program paid for itself with a year. The study was published in the American Journal of Managed Care.

Medicaid is total welfare for those below poverty level. David Tayloe, president of the American Academy of Pediatrics, says Medicaid pays doctors 28% less than Medicare. Yet, the young from poor homes are the most vulnerable to chronic disease, says Tayloe, and cites type 2 diabetes as a prime example. Dr. Tayloe practices in rural North Carolina and claims his program, which encourages doctors to accept Medicaid patients by paying monthly fees that reflect the level of sickness, saves $150 million per year. Additionally, a community health network gets an extra fee for coordinating patient care to make sure their kids stay healthy. USA Today

A Rasmussen poll taken just before May 31, discovered that 60% favor repeal of the legislation. Surprisingly, 59% of seniors favor repeal and 49% of voters would like their state to sue the federal government over the legislation. 54% of voters believe the health care legislation will be bad for the country.

Health Care Not A Right

Our Bill of Rights recognizes and describes the rights all Americans have: life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness. In the full context of this document, and the Constitution, the provisions are moral and legal imperatives levied on government by citizens -not directives from government to the people. Further, the documents affirm that government will move to protect the rights enumerated.

Rights must be essential paths of action citizens are allowed to pursue without hindrance from any outside force. Neither from a government body nor any other individual or group of individuals.

To assert that we have a right to health care means that everyone has the moral and legal right to force medical professionals to provide care for anyone who demands it. Such a right would enslave all health care professionals. Who, on earth, would even want treatment by anyone who might be willing to accept those terms? It is our freedom to act in the best known ways on behalf of others, for our own benefit, that makes our health care system the finest.

Unfortunately, Medicare and Medicaid are just such programs. Act in government-prescribed ways or you won't get paid, the law says. And, now with the distinct black cloud of nationalized health care on the horizon, doctors are opting out, as well they should. Do you truly want to be cared for by those left after the exodus? And under nationalized health care, the best and the brightest minds will choose not to pursue 8 to 10 years of specialized education and invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in training only to come out on the other side with little prospect of ever getting out of debt.

And to those who say people can't afford health care, the answer is, yes they can-they already are-with tax money taken at the point of a gun by government and given to others.

Social Security Disability Self-Evaluation

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Here's a short quiz that will help you determine what your chances are of being found disabled.




    Record 100 Dystonia Cases Won; No Losses

    On December 12th, Frederick A. Johnson, President of Disability Income Associates for 23 years, won his one hundredth dystonia case. He has never lost a dystonia case.

    He is expert advisor to the American Dystonia Society, providing immediate answers to questions about Social Security disability programs and procedures to its 500 plus members. The American Dystonia Society is dedicated to research as a non-profit organization, and established in 2009.

    Johnson has spoken on 3 occasions at the National Spasmodic Torticollis Association, a cervical dystonia patient support organization headquartered in Fountain Valley, CA.

    Since 1990, Johnson has represented over 1,000 patients who were not able to work because of the severity of their medical problems.

    He is author of "How To Apply For & Win Social Security Disability Benefits," and created specialized proprietary residual functional capacity forms for every major condition. The forms integrate the symptoms Social Security looks for in making its awards with the most basic legal standards.

    Johnson was a member of the medical corps in the Navy, working in the ICU, emergency room, recovery room, and surgical wards at the National Naval Medical Center, Bethesda, MD. Additionally, he was a medical worker in the private sector for 2 years.

    Cervical dystonia, also called spasmodic torticollis, or torticollis, is the most common of the focal dystonias. In torticollis, the muscles in the neck which control the position of the head are affected, causing the head to involuntarily twist and turn to one side. In addition, the head may be pulled forward or backward. Though of different etiology, dystonia is treated in the same ways as Parkinson's. Neurologists, however, frequently misdiagnose the condition. A gene has recently been found for dystonia; however, there is strong evidence to show that it can be originated by trauma.

    Dystonia can effect other body parts or the entire body. It can be constant or episodic and sporadic. It is usually treated with botox injections at 3 month intervals.

    What a Few Clients Say

    I gladly write you a check today for our fully favorable SSDI win.

    Four long years and NC didn't do anything quickly or easy, but you stayed the course, kept me informed and most important-were my champion. I never spoke to anyone at SSA because you were on the front line for me.

    I am proof positive that you can win your benefits with a skilled professional by your side. Dystonians rejoice for Fred Johnson!

    D.Brinkley Snead Ferry, NC

    Thank you for the untiring support given to me in obtaining my Social Security Disability claim. I would not have been able to do all the hard work that you have put into this case. You will be greatly rewarded for the work you do for Disabled population. I will keep you always in my prayers. Again, thank you.!!!

    E. White
    Randallstown, MD 21132

    I want to take this opportunity to personally thank you for successfully navigating us to a favorable decision with regard to my case. If one ever has any concern or doubt about hiring a representative over an attorney, I can assure them that this notion can be set to rest. You very capably guided me through a maze of obstacles designed to confuse and bewilder even the well educated.

    Because Spasmodic Torticolllis is considered somewhat of a rare disorder and is not listed on the Department of Social Security's "listing of impairments:, it created a challenge, but it was one you were more than able to handle. Everything happened as you predicted with respect to the denials, but it was your expertise and perseverance that prevailed somewhere between the reconsideration denial and the hearing before an Administrative Law Judge, which was very unusual. You spared me the great anxiety and further depletion of my savings by cutting through the labyrinthine bureaucracy at the hearing level and winning benefits without have to go to a hearing. Needless to say, I am very pleased and would highly recommend you to anyone who may be considering you as their representative.

    Not only were you always available to answer my questions and concerns on a professional level, but equally as important, was the way in which you took this case on personally. I really admired the way you actually fought for me. Your heart was in it and I could tell. You know the system so very well Fred, and people who attempt to take on this giant on their own are at a tremendous disadvantage from the beginning.

    If your assistance will help level the playing field and helps them decide on the proper representation they truly need, then it is my honor and pleasure to be of service to you.

    Thank you so much!

    G. Beaubien, Jr.
    Osprey, FL