Frequently Asked Questions

Under the Social Security Act, “disability” is defined as the “inability to take part in any substantial activity by reason of any medical, physical, or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or has lasted or can last for a period of at least 12 months.” If your medical condition falls within this definition, you may qualify for disability benefits.

The Social Security Administration evaluates medical criteria for these disorders and impairments:

  1. Musculoskeletal (e.g., major back, neck, or knee injury or illness)
  2. Special Senses and Speech – For example: hearing loss and visual impairment
  3. Respiratory – For example: Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) or asthma
  4. Cardiovascular System – For example: Congestive Heart Failure or arterial sclerosis
  5. Digestive System – Chron’s Disease or Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
  6. Genitourinary – For example: kidney disease or hypertensive renal vascular disease
  7. Hematological – For example: chronic anemia or sickle cell disease
  8. Skin – For example: chronic dermatitis or photosensitivity disorders
  9. Endocrine – For example: diabetes, hyperglycemia or hormonal imbalance
  10. Congenital Disorders that Affect Multiple Body Systems – Down’s Syndrome
  11. Neurological – Epilepsy, multiple Sclerosis (MS), neuropathy or traumatic brain injury
  12. Mental – major depressive disorder, anxiety, bi-polar disorder, schizophrenia, or obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  13. Cancer – all types (Malignant Neoplastic Diseases), leukemia, lymphoma, or multiple myeloma
  14. Immune System – HIV, Lupus, or inflammatory arthritis

Contact Sackett and Associates!  We will conduct a free consultation to evaluate your unique situation. We will ask questions about your medical conditions, treatment, medications and work history to determine our strategy for getting your case approved.

If you have been denied by Social Security, the next step is to file an appeal; which must be filed within 60 days of the date of the denial notice (with rare exceptions for late filings). Please contact our office right away so we may assist you with filing your appeal. Harvey Sackett will put his experience to work for you at all four levels of appeal: Reconsideration, Hearing, Appeals Council and Federal Court.

At this point, it’s best to contact Sackett and Associates to represent you at your hearing. Appearing before an Administrative Law Judge can be intimidating and confusing. Social Security’s own statistics show you are more likely to get approved when represented by an attorney. Harvey Sackett’s 44 years of experience will work to your advantage in presenting your case to the judge.

A hearing is conducted by the Office of Hearings Operations of the Social Security Administration. An Administrative Law Judge will preside over your case; testimony is taken under oath.

The hearing is private. The only people participating will be the Judge, the hearing monitor, you, and your attorney. The Judge may ask a vocational expert to discuss your work history, they may also ask a medical expert to testify regarding your medical record and impairments.

Your attorney may make a closing argument as to why you are entitled to benefits.

Everyone eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits is also eligible for Medicare coverage after a 24-month qualifying period. The first 24 months of disability benefit entitlement is the waiting period for Medicare coverage. The Social Security Administration will automatically enroll you in Medicare, and you will be charged a monthly premium for this benefit. 

Persons eligible for Supplemental Security Income are also eligible for state assisted medical coverage (such as Medi-Cal or Covered California), the guidelines vary by state.

With Sackett and Associates, there are no up-front costs. We offer our services on a contingency fee basis with a two-tier fee agreement. This means if your claim is approved at the application level, reconsideration level, or after one hearing, the attorney fee is 25% of the past due benefits up to a maximum of $7,200.00* (first tier). Most cases are approved at this level.  If your case goes to more than one hearing including the District Court or the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the attorney fee will not exceed a maximum of 25% of the past due benefits (second tier).There may also be minimal administrative costs (such as fees for medical records, etc.) which may be due besides attorney fees.

If your claim is not approved, except for reimbursement of any applicable administrative costs, there is no attorney fee due from you.

Federal law regulates attorneys’ fees in Social Security Disability cases. Effective November 2022 the maximum fee at the first-tier level is the lesser of 25% of your past-due benefits or $7,200. This amount is subject to change if pursuant to the authority held by the Commissioner of the SSA under section 206(A)(2)(a)(II)(ii) of the Social Security Act.

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