August 2016

Calculating SSDI Benefits

social security benefits formIndividuals who are eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance will receive benefits based on their average lifetime earnings. These payments can range from $700 and up to $2,687 per month. On average, recipients receive payments of $1,171 per month. […]

What Is Ahead For Government Workers Facing Social Security Cuts?

city hall building, social securityMore than 2 million former government workers face significant cuts in their Social Security because they had a government job that included a pension. The decreased payouts are the result of the Government Pension Offset (GPO) and the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP), two statutes that prevent retirees from receiving payments from both social security and public sector pensions.  […]

Lifeline Program Helps Social Security Beneficiaries Manage Online Benefits

Closeup of using cellphone, online benefitsOn July 30th, thousands of Social Security recipients lost access to online account management because of a new government regulation. The new rules require beneficiaries to have a cell phone that receives text messages in order to improve account authentication.


Autism: Disability Benefits For Children And Adults

Autism has become increasingly prevalent in the U.S. and both children and adults on the autism spectrum may be eligible for SSI or SSDI if they meet the requirements. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one out of every 68 children born today are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders. These disorders are lifelong and range in severity. Some people who have autism will never be able to work and may require lifetime care. […]

Who is on Disability in America

american flags, social securityDisability affects individuals from all walks of life throughout America. In fact, approximately 14 million people receive a check from the Social Security Administration’s disability program every month, and countless more are awaiting approval. The U.S. Census reports that nearly 57 million Americans suffer from some type of disability, and 38 million suffer from a disability that is severe. While nobody plans to become disabled, more than one-fourth of today’s 20-year-olds will suffer from a disability before they retire. […]

SSDI Appeal Levels

A social security benefit claim with a DENIED stampAfter an applicant receives a denial for social security disability insurance or supplemental security income, there are four levels of appeal that are available to him or her. If the applicant receives an approval at any level of appeal, he or she does not need to continue with the additional levels. A disability attorney in Chicago helps his or her clients with gathering the evidence they will need for the various stages of appeal.


A person can request a reconsideration of the denial of his or her SSDI or SSI application. A different person than the one who initially made the decision will then review the applicant’s file in order to make his or her own determination. The applicant will then be notified of the decision. If the applicant is again denied, he or she will have 60 days to request a hearing. It is important to meet this deadline or else the person will have to start the process over from the beginning.

Administrative Law Hearing

Most disability attorneys in Chicago start working on clients’ disability applications before the hearing in order to help them prepare. The hearing is held before an administrative law judge. It is more informal than other types of court hearings. The judge will hear evidence about the applicant’s disability and his or her ability to work. The judge will review the doctors’ reports, medical record and medical examinations. Around 66 percent of applicants receive approvals from administrative law judges.

Appeals Council

People who are denied at the hearing level may request a review by the Appeals Council. The Appeals Council is not required to review every claim. It can simply affirm the denial without a review. If it does grant a review, the Appeals Council may either conduct it or it may instead send the matter to another administrative law judge. People will be notified via mail of the Appeals Council’s decision.

Federal Court

The final level of appeal for SSDI and SSI claims is federal court. People may file cases in federal court appealing their denials. They should be aware that federal court filings are expensive, and the cases may take many months or years. If a person’s application has been denied at each of the lower levels, he or she might want to discuss whether or not to appeal it to federal court with his or her disability attorney in Chicago.

Updates Made to Illinois Disability Access Laws

Law Gravel, Disability attorney chicagoUpdates to existing disability access laws have been made in an attempt to comply with nationwide standards. In order to get Illinois regulations up to date with federal law, The Illinois General Assembly has approved legislation which will update state law. […]