Monthly Archives: September 2017

How a Functional Capacity Evaluation is Helpful for a Disability Claim

If you are going through the process of filing a disability claim, then you know already that the outcome of your claim is far from certain. Even when you are convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that you meet all the necessary criteria to be declared disabled, there’s more than an even chance that the Social Security Administration might not see it that way.

Functional Capacity Evaluation

That’s because the SSA has a very strict set of guidelines that it follows when it comes to determining who qualifies as disabled. The SSA Blue Book contains a set of conditions, illnesses or injuries that need to be met in order to gain SSDI benefits. But what if your physical condition doesn’t match up with one of the listings in the Blue Book? In this case, it might be tempting to just give up on the claim. However, there is a procedure in place that takes this into account, and that procedure is the Functional Capacity Evaluation (FCE).

What is a Functional Capacity Evaluation?

Just like it sounds, and FCE is an evaluation, or test, designed to measure a patient’s overall ability. It’s actually more like a series of tests, because the FCE will be used by a physician to try and get a comprehensive overview of what you can and can’t do in a variety of situations. These tests will measure your mobility, strength, coordination, ability to grasp and lift objects, flexibility and other physical abilities as well.

Why is the FCE Important?

The FCE is important to your disability claim because physicians will base a large part of their diagnoses of your condition on the results of the evaluation. If your FCE determines that you lack the ability to endure physical exertion of any sort, the medical examiner will make a note of it. This information is passed on to the SSDI disability examiner, who will make a decision based on, in part, the recommendation of the physician who administered the FCE.

Even more, the physician will also use the results of the FCE to make an educated guess as to your future ability. Because SSDI claims are granted based on long-term prognoses, this is also a very important element to your overall disability claim.

In short, the Functional Capacity Evaluation is a necessary step on your way to being awarded SSDI benefits. Even if you don’t fit the description of a listing in the Blue Book, the FCE can still make the SSA aware of your disability and limitations, and SSDI benefits can still be granted.

If you would like to know more about FCEs or other SSDI-related information, please don’t hesitate to contact us today!

Documents You’ll Need When Applying for Social Security Disability

Social Security Disability applications can get confusing, with numerous sections asking you for all sorts of information about your work history, medical conditions and personal information. However, something that may not be immediately obvious is that besides just filling out the application, you also need to attach supporting documents — which help the disability claims examiner determine whether or not you should get benefits.

medical history

The first document you should have at the ready is a full medical history. This will include stays at any hospitals or treatment facilities that relate to the injury or condition that led you to apply for disability benefits, as well as any physicians who have treated you in that capacity. The medical history can be obtained through your doctor, as he or she should have a full copy of it for their records.

Medical histories are important because they can tell claims examiners where and when you were injured or started experiencing your current disability, what kinds of symptoms you have and how these affect your ability to work.

Another form that’s crucial to your application is the residual functional capacity (RFC) form, which is filled out by your doctor and explains what remaining abilities you have to work on some level, despite your disability. The claims examiner can request this form to be filled out by a consultant while your application is being considered, but it is beneficial for you if you have your doctor fill out a physical note beforehand and explain why you are no longer able to work.

Ultimately, having the RFC form attached to your application can benefit you by speeding up the process and getting you a result faster, as well as having your form filled out by a doctor who knows you and can more accurately estimate your ability to work.

In order to obtain both of these forms, you should get the help of a lawyer who is experienced in working with Social Security Disability cases and knows how to work with hospitals, doctors and treatment centers to get you the paperwork that you need. That way, you can focus on rest and recuperation while your disability application is handled by an experienced attorney.

Understanding the Deposition Summary

Getting depositions is one of the most essential parts of the legal profession, and lawyers are experts at how to ask the right questions and get answers that will help establish what went on — later using those answers to help their clients in court. But if you are taking depositions for a case, chances are you know that transcribing and organizing them is time-consuming is difficult. Not only do you have to struggle to understand what the person being deposed is saying at times, but you also have to figure out what essential information was gleaned and how you can integrate this into arguing your client’s case in court.

deposition summary

Thanks to deposition summaries, you don’t have to do either. The purpose behind the deposition summary is to provide attorneys with a clear, concise statement on the most important points made in the deposition, along with page markers to guide users to the relevant sections in the full transcript. They are used frequently in civil cases and help condense what can be pages and pages of transcripts into a few relevant points.

There are numerous benefits to using deposition summary reports, but the main one is that it saves time. Not only do you not have to worry about when you are going to fit working on a deposition transcript in your busy schedule, but you can then use that time for better assisting your client in arguing their case. Furthermore, because summary services experts are specialized in crafting deposition and other types of summaries, they can complete the task more efficiently than you could — thus fitting in more summaries into a smaller time frame and accomplishing more for you, faster.

There’s also the benefit of expertise, which ensures that the summaries you receive will be high-quality, with all of the main points clearly articulated and easy to integrate into the main parts of your case. You can be assured that the caliber of the deposition summary reports (and any other types of summaries that you choose to order for a particular case) will be on par with your own work, both inside and outside of the courtroom, and will reflect your professionalism and talent as an attorney. Ultimately, your client will thank you for working on their case quickly and efficiently — and you’ll have more time to devote to the parts of the job that you love the most.

Medical Case Scenarios and Experts’ Medical Opinions

When it comes to disability and injury law, as in other parts of the legal profession, evidence is everything. Judges want to see that your clients have an established medical history that proves their claim, often backed up by expert opinions and doctors’ records. But one other tool that lawyers can use in these cases — whether you’re litigating social security disability, personal injury, VA disability or workers’ compensation — is medical case scenarios. These documents, which record cases involving specific injuries or illnesses and track what happened to the health of the person involved, can help you study previous cases similar to your clients’ and work out a strategy for your current case.

Expert Medical Opinion

Medical case scenarios can be beneficial for several reasons. First, they can help you (and a judge) understand what options exist for a person going through the specific condition that your client faces, and thus what they’re legally owed in terms of compensation. They can also help provide evidence that supports the claim that your client is making, which may otherwise be difficult to come by.

Another way you can bolster your client’s chances of getting their claim approved is through experts’ medical opinions, which are invaluable in cases where it’s unclear whether your client can actually work again or not. Medical experts can provide valuable evidence explaining why your client is no longer able to work and can go through the specific medical reasons for the symptoms they are experiencing. This goes a long way toward convincing a skeptical judge who otherwise might not see your client’s condition as a very significant obstacle.

The bad news is that both of these tools — medical case scenarios and experts’ medical opinions — take a lot more time and effort than you probably have, even if you feel that they’re necessary. The good news is that both can be easily done through a legal summary service, which can gather information for you and put it together in a readable and comprehensive format for you to present in paperwork or in court. That way, you can focus on working with your client instead of conducting research and writing up briefs, which can instead be done quickly and efficiently by experts who specialize in summary writing.