Anxiety Disorders

You can be approved for Social Security Disability benefits for anxiety disorders in Minnesota. Anxiety itself can be normal under severe stress. However, anxiety disorders reflect the idea that it does not go away when it should and it reappears when it shouldn’t.

Anxiety disorders can take different forms. Some cause motor tension, hyperactivity, apprehensive expectation, or hypervigilance. Some involve a persistent, irrational fear of something that it you feel you must avoid it. Anxiety disorders can also prompt recurrent, severe panic attacks from intense fear. Another type of anxiety disorder is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). This is essentially when your mind repeatedly relives the stress of a traumatic event. Whatever form it takes, anxiety can stop whatever you are doing wherever you are.

Social Security evaluates your anxiety disorder based on how severe it is and how it affects your ability to work. Social Security disability rules require your anxiety disorder to be documented by medical evidence consisting of symptoms, signs, and in most cases, psychological testing. For this reason, it is extremely important that you treat for your anxiety disorder and maintain a “paper trail” for Social Security to evaluate. Ironically, our legal experience has found that anxiety disorders can cause our clients to avoid treatment. If this happens enough, we cannot prove the need for treatment that does not occur.

The severity of your anxiety condition will be measured by how your anxiety affects your activities of daily living, social functioning and concentration. Activities of daily living include things such as caring for yourself, shopping, cooking, cleaning, etc. Social functioning focuses on your ability to interact appropriately and effectively on a daily basis with other people. Concentration refers to your ability to keep your attention focused long enough to complete tasks usually found in work settings.

As with many conditions, anxiety disorders can vary over time. As a result, proper evaluation of a social security disability claim requires an evaluation of your longitudinal symptoms. Regular and consistent treatment patches these irregular seams into whole cloth.

Anxiety disorders in Social Security disability claims can be complex and difficult to understand. Call a Hoglund lawyer today for a free consultation regarding your specific conditions.

Arthritis or Joint Disorders

Social Security disability claims commonly involve arthritis or joint disorders. The Social Security Administration generally evaluates our clients with these problems by how severely the arthritis or joint disorder affects moving and using arms, hands, and legs. The Social Security Administration looks particularly at medical imaging studies of joint spaces showing abnormalities that, in turn, cause limitations of motion.

There are some arthritis impairments are more likely to allow an approval. Arthritis of a major weight-bearing joint such as a hip, knee, or ankle that also impacts your ability to walk effectively can allow an approval. Age is a factor as well.

Our lawyers at Hoglund Law Offices can also explain the significance of arthritic joint problems in both arms. Cases specifically involving an inability to use one or both hands together can be quite complicated to present to a Social Security judge. If you would like to talk to Hoglund Law Offices about helping you argue your Social Security claim in Minnesota, please call today.

Asthma

You can receive Social Security Disability Benefits for asthma in Minnesota. Social Security evaluates whether you have a diagnosis of asthma. If so, Social Security determines how severe it is. If you are struggling with asthma, our attorneys at Hoglund Law Offices have some recommendations to help you get approved. Some are below.

Tell your doctor about all your asthma symptoms.

Successful Social Security claims begin with accurate medical treatment notes. Your doctor can’t treat you for what you don’t tell him or her. Your doctor needs details about what symptoms you have and when you have them. For example, how often do you have attacks? How severe are they? How long do they last? Does medicine help? How long does it take to help? What kinds of things are you doing when these attacks occur? Did you need to call an ambulance or visit an ER for any of them? When?

Try to understand what brings on an asthma attack.

Judges ask this question at hearings. They also ask what you try to do to avoid them day-to-day. Common triggers of asthma attacks can be related to allergies to such things as pets, dust, and pollen. Other triggers include weather changes or physical exertion. Common sense tells you that if pets really cause problems, a judge will wonder why you might still have one.

Follow you doctor’s orders about treatment and medications.

Judges at hearings need to understand that you are going to doctors and following their treatment recommendations. If you are not, it is hard to distinguish how bad your asthma really should be. If you have trouble getting treatment or medications, keep trying your best. A judge may ask what you have tried to do, including going to free clinics, ER’s, and reapplying for state medical insurance if initially turned down.
In our legal experience, ER visits are always important for asthma emergencies, but they are not so good at recording the nature of your ongoing problems. If you do not avail yourself of available doctor appointments, a judge might assume that the ER visits result from poor compliance. We find that everyday compliance with treatment will ultimately be granted more weight than emergency room visits. For a case to be approved, do your best to get and stay as healthy as possible. This naturally lead to the next advice.

Don’t smoke.

Easier said than done. But if you have trouble breathing, a judge will assume you don’t smoke or at least cut down greatly on it. The essential trouble with smoking with asthma is that the judges at hearings sometimes cannot decide how healthier you would be without smoking. In other words, they may assume you would be better. Assumptions in any situation are not always scientific or fair, and detract from your limitations.

Get pulmonologist testing.

Specialists are generally held in higher regard by Social Security than general practitioners. This is the nature of medicine. Specialist treatment notes and opinions are usually more specific, and their treatment notes likely include a healthy dose of diagnostic testing.
Any pulmonary (breathing) testing, if you can get it, puts your asthma into a more objective light. Our attorneys at Hoglund Law Offices argue post-brochodilator FEV1 and FVC levels that may meet a definition, or listing, or disability. In our attorney’s experience, the SSA listing standards for approval through pulmonary function tests is unusually restrictive. We end up arguing that supportive test results comport with daily limitations on activities due to asthma exacerbations.

For any questions about getting professional help pursuing your Social Security Disability claim, just call Hoglund Law Offices for a free initial consultation.

Autoimmune Disease

Back Injury

Disability claims based on an allegation of “back pain” are very common. In these claims, the question of disability typically depends on the degree of functional loss related to structural problems with the spine.

The severity of a claimant’s back pain cannot always be understood based solely on spinal abnormalities seen on plain X-rays, computerized tomographic images (CT), or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Despite this fact, there is a general correlation between objective spine abnormality findings and credible pain. This where our attorneys at Hoglund Law Offices come into play.

If your back problem is confirmed by imaging studies and is refractory to conservative treatments, you may be unable to work full-time. If so, you might be eligible for Social Security benefits in Minnesota. Please call the offices of Robert Hoglund today to find out more about how our attorneys can argue your claim for Social Security Disability and SSI benefits.

Cancer

Chemical Dependency

Chemical dependency (CD) can cause you to lose your Social Security Disability benefits claim in Minnesota. Why? Social Security can decide that your chemical dependency causes your disability.

We see 3 kinds of chemical dependency: Addiction to alcohol, illegal drugs, or prescribed medications. Below is the Listing, or Social Security definition, of chemical dependency:

The required level of severity for these disorders is met when the requirements in any of the following (A through I) are satisfied.

  1. Organic mental disorders. Evaluate under 12.02.
  2. Depressive syndrome. Evaluate under 12.04.
  3. Anxiety disorders. Evaluate under 12.06.
  4. Personality disorders. Evaluate under 12.08.
  5. Peripheral neuropathies. Evaluate under 11.14.
  6. Liver damage. Evaluate under 5.05.
  7. Gastritis. Evaluate under 5.00.
  8. Pancreatitis. Evaluate under 5.08.
  9. Seizures. Evaluate under 11.02 or 11.03.

As you can see, if you have a chemical dependency and it causes one of these other problems, you may lose your claim for benefits.

What can you do about chemical dependency? Get professional help now. Addictions of any kind can destroy your health. Our clients who have gone to get professional help for their chemical dependency have strengthened their Social Security claims. We can usually make better arguments. Why? They are more believable, and the proof of underlying disability is clearer.

Chemical dependency is a very difficult problem. Not feeling well does not make it any easier to face. Getting help is a first step to getting out of this hole. If you have a social security benefits claim, it is important that Social Security focuses on the truth of your underlying medical problems. Eliminating chemical dependency can not only help you, but it can also help your claim for benefits.

If you want legal help with an application or an appeal for Social Security benefits, please call Hoglund Law Offices for a free initial consultation.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

If you have trouble sleeping or you wake up feeling like you never slept at all, you could have the impairment of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, or CFS. No specific pathology or etiology has been established for CFS. It is a real condition, and it can be disabling. If you are unable to work full-time because of the symptoms of fatigue, you may be approved for Social Security benefits in Minnesota.

In order to be considered disabled, the very first step is to be diagnosed by a medical professional. A diagnosis can be based on persistent and reproducible muscle tenderness. In our legal experience, CFS can be confirmed when other possible diagnoses have been eliminated by your treating doctor.

Among the many regulations, there is also a specific ruling that Social Security must follow at the hearing level with a federal judge.

If you have been diagnosed or you believe you have CFS and you cannot function day-to-day, please contact the Hoglund Law Offices to find out more about whether you may have a claim for Social Security Disability benefits.

Chronic Liver Disease

You can be approved for Social Security disability benefits in Ohio due to symptoms associated with chronic liver disease, including hepatitis and cirrhosis.  In our legal experience, your eligibility turns on your symptoms, not the diagnosis alone.  Claimants approved for benefits due to chronic liver disease can be extremely sick.  Some of our clients face being on a transplant list before Social Security acknowledges their true level of disability.  Our Hoglund Lawyers, however, can change this.  We can effectively argue the cumulative impact of subjective symptoms under some circumstances.

In our legal experience, Social Security’s defined standards for liver disease can pose difficult, but not insurmountable, hurdles.  Social Security first evaluates your liver disease based on whether you are defined as disabled under its rules.  These rules are called listings.  If you do not qualify under the listings for chronic liver disease, you can also be approved in Ohio based on your general inability to work full-time for 1 year or more.  Your functional limitations are called your “residual functional capacity.”

Examples of disabling symptoms and conditions caused by chronic liver disease which may cause disability are:

  • Hemorrhaging from esophageal, gastric, or ectopic varices or from portal hypertensive gastropathy requiring hospitalization for transfusion of at least 2 units of blood.
  • Ascites or hydrothorax not attributable to other causes.
  • Spontaneous bacterial peritonitis.
  • Hepatorenal syndrome.
  • Hepatopulmonary syndrome.
  • Intrapulmonary arteriovenous shunting.
  • Hepatic encephalopathy.
  • End stage liver disease.
  • Liver transplant.

Our clients with chronic liver disease can have very severe subjective symptoms, such as feeling extremely weak, fatigued and nauseous. Our Hoglund Lawyers evaluate the elements of listings 5.05 and 5.09.  We also can ask treating physicians to clarify the elements of their diagnosis and treatment.

We advise claimants with chronic liver disease to strictly follow their physician’s advice.  This invariably includes avoiding alcohol and letting their treating physicians know about any kind of bleeding issues.

Legal and medical issues that arise in Social Security disability cases can be extremely complex, especially involving chronic liver disease.  Only licensed lawyers can give you professional legal advice.  If you want professional legal advice on your situation, please feel free to call Hoglund Law Offices today for a free consultation.

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

A person may apply for social security Disability benefits based on the physical impairment of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) (sometimes CRPS is referred as Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy or RDS).  Although CRPS is not covered under any Social Security listed impairment, we have represented many clients who have received benefits due to CRPS.  The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke has defined CRPS as “a chronic pain condition that is believed to be the result of dysfunction in the central or peripheral nervous systems.”

CRPS most often affects one of the arms, legs, hands, or feet.  Often the pain spreads to include the entire arm or leg.  CRPS can be precipitated by injury or surgery.  At times, there can be no known reason for the onset of CRPS.  At this point, the etiological origin is essentially unknown.  CRPS can be diagnosed when one’s pain is out of proportion to the severity of the documented clinical or objective findings.  However, usually more is needed for a valid diagnosis of CRPS for Social Security purposes.  Other clinically documented symptoms include:  Swelling; osteoporosis; involuntary movements of the affected region of the initial injury; changes in skin color, skin temperature, sweating; and abnormal hair or nail growth.

These signs of CRPS are known to come and go.  It is common for someone to have severe symptoms of CRPS for a few months and then a reduction of symptoms for a few months.  Just because the signs are reduced or gone for a period of time does not mean that the person does not still suffer from CRPS.  However, it is important to maintain continual treatment with a medical provider.  When treatment records document persistent limiting pain in an area where one or more of these abnormal symptoms have been documented, it can reasonably be determined that CRPS is present.

One who suffers from CRPS may have significant limitations that could potentially result in receiving Social Security Disability on that basis.  Although there is no listing for CRPS, the Social Security Administration has issues a ruling on CRPS that provides guidance.  Social Security Ruling 03-2p notes that CRPS is a chronic pain syndrome most often resulting from trauma to a single extremity.  It can also result from diseases, surgery, or injury affecting other parts of the body.  Even a minor injury can trigger CRPS.  The precipitating injury may be so minor that the individual does not even recall sustaining an injury.  Other potential precipitants suggested by the medical literature include, but are not limited to, surgical procedures, drug exposure, stroke with hemiplegia, and cervical spondylosis.

Although some of this is repetitive to what was mentioned earlier, it is important to note that the Social Security Administration has made a ruling regarding CRPS and subjective complaints along with objective findings should be taken very seriously with regards to a disability claim.

Once CRPS has been established, the Social Security Administration will next determine what one’s residual functional capacity is relating to their ability to work.  In determining the RFC, the evaluator should consider all of the symptoms in deciding how they may affect the claimant’s ability to function.  Careful consideration should be given to the effects of pain and its treatment on the claimant’s capacity to do sustained work-related physical and mental activities in a competitive work setting on a regular and continuing basis.

In determining the RFC the most important evidence will be the treatment notes from the claimant’s treating physician.  However, many times treatment notes are written only document the signs and symptoms one is suffering from.  They are not usually written with regard to one’s workability or ability to handle work related functions.  At Hoglund Law Offices, we have devised RFC forms specifically formatted for Social Security purposes for a doctor to fill out.  These RFC forms, filled out with the support of a health professional, can be instrumental in winning a claim.  Even if an RFC form is not filled out, an experienced attorney can use their knowledge of the specific requirements needed to win a claim and apply it to doctors’ notes and other evidence to prove a person should be eligible for Social Security Disability.

Many people who suffer from RSDS suffer from an inability to functionally use an arm or leg.  This can result in serious deficits in trying to obtain work.  Furthermore, the pain somebody can have while suffering from RSDS can affect their ability to concentrate as well as persist enough to perform the job in a satisfactory manner.  If this is true for you or somebody you know, Social Security Disability is an option.

Most Social Security disability cases are extremely complex; this is usually true regarding CRPS.  An experienced Social Security Attorney can help by offering the proper medical and legal advice, working with the Social Security Administration to ensure they understand how CRPS is affecting the claimant’s workability, and advancing winning legal arguments to help that person obtain Disability Benefits.  Call Hoglund, Chwialkowski, and Mrozik today for a free consultation.

Congestive Heart Failure

For those applying for Social Security disability benefits, congestive heart failure (CHF) is, in our experience, one of the more debilitating impairments one can have.  According to one expert, up to 5 million people per year suffer from CHF.  The questions we have for those applying for Social Security disability is:  (1) Do you have this diagnosis, (2) who diagnosed you, (3) how did you get diagnosed (testing), and (4) how long might you have it?

It is important to follow through immediately with medical care for all coronary issues, particularly if you just started having them.  Shortness of breath, fatigue, chest pain, and other symptoms can (but not always) be cardiac-related.  It is also important to keep in close contact with your doctors regarding medications and possible medication changes.

When our lawyers at Hoglund Law Offices review cardiac claims, we are usually dealing with clients who already have a diagnosis of CHF and have had ongoing symptoms such as chest pain or swelling in the legs (edema).  We then look to see if it was diagnosed by a cardiologis.  With medical records from a cardiologist, we look to see what medical tests were done to verify the diagnosis.  Some measures of heart failure, such as ejection fraction, are mentioned in the Social Security “listings”, or definitions of disability.  There are ejection fractions which, if they persist long enough, can be disabling by definition.  Stress tests and other testing specific to heart function also help us argue that full-time work at any exertional level is not possible – the medical standard of the Social Security Disability Insurance Program.

Our lawyers also look for other measures of ability to function that support disability in CHF cases.

What is important in CHF claims is how long your condition may last.  If your heart function improves within 1 year, your treating physician may release you to work.  This would be good news for you.  Keep in mind, though, that CHF is serious enough that unless it measurably resolves from the point of your first diagnosis, you may wish to apply for Social Security Disability benefits while you keep treating with specialists and wait for improvement.  You may apply if your health keeps you from being able to work or keeps you from earning gross monthly amounts below the level Social Security calls “substantial gainful activity.”  Ask our lawyers about how being over age 50 improves your chances of approval.

If you have questions about applying for or appealing a Social Security Disability benefits claim, please call Hoglund Law Offices today.

Crohn’s Disease

Crohn’s disease is an immune system disorder that inflames the digestive tract.  It can affect any part of the digestive tract, but it most commonly involves the small and large intestines.

The nature and extent of Crohn’s disease symptoms depend on where it arises – particularly with flare-ups.  Symptoms include fever, abdominal pain, diarrhea, fever, fatigue, weight loss, and abscesses.  The inflammatory process of Crohn’s disease can ultimately invade other organ systems, causing problems such as arthritis, eye inflammation, and sores on the skin.

There is currently no cure.  Medication, lifestyle changes, and sometimes surgical intervention can treat the symptoms.  Medical literature acknowledges that despite the best treatment, flare-ups can still occur.  In our experience, it is important to treat with a gastroenterologist to establish the medical evidence of the unique expression of Crohn’s Disease in your life.  Consistent treatment by a knowledgeable medical specialist improves the chances of approval for Social Security Disability benefits.

Social security disability claimants in Minnesota may qualify for benefits if the frequency of flare-ups and the severity of symptoms eliminate the possibility of full-time work.  Arguing Crohn’s disease claims can be complex – particularly given variability of symptoms.

If you would like a free initial consultation by professional lawyers (not “advocates” or “representatives”), call Hoglund Law Offices today.

Cystic Fibrosis

Cystic fibrosis is a chronic, genetic disease that causes thick, sticky mucus to build up in the lungs and the digestive tract.  The most common symptom, difficulty breathing, is caused by frequent infections in the lungs.  Other life threatening complications can arise in the digestive tract due, in part, to the inability to generate digestive enzymes.

Cystic fibrosis is progressive and can be deadly. There is currently no cure.  However, medical advances have significantly increased the life expectancy for those suffering from the disease.  Treatments vary and are catered to what each person needs.  It is important to consistently treat with a specialist or group of specialists to prevent and control symptoms.

Social Security Disability claimants in Minnesota may qualify for benefits as a result of cystic fibrosis.  Whether you qualify for benefits depends on the frequency of infection and the severity of symptoms.  Claims based on cystic fibrosis can be complex and difficult to predict.  For example:

  • How much evidence is enough?
  • How can physicians help with my claim?
  • What is a hearing with a judge like?
  • What legal training should a lawyer have?

If you have any of these or other questions, please feel free to call Hoglund Law Offices today.  We are a professional law firm, and we help people with Social Security Disability and SSI claims every day.

Depression

Mental health issues such as depression can strike you deeply, leaving you unable to function.  If you have this level of depression that is expected to last a year or more, you can receive Social Security Disability benefits in Minnesota.

The Social Security Administration evaluates the severity of depression in line with the typical clinical symptoms.  To meet or equal Social Security’s defined standards, you must have 4 or more of the following symptoms consistently documented in your medical records over time:

  • Anhedonia,
  • Appetite disturbance,
  • Sleep disturbance,
  • Psychomotor agitation or retardation,
  • Decreased energy,
  • Feelings of guilt or worthlessness,
  • Difficulty concentrating or thinking,
  • Thoughts of suicide, or
  • Hallucinations or paranoid thinking.

Social Security not only verifies that you have a depression diagnosis and some of these symptoms, but it also determines your symptoms impact your daily functioning.  Social Security examines your day-to-day activities, your social functioning, and your ability to complete tasks at a reasonable pace.

If you are considering an attorney, realize that not all representation is alike.  Non-attorneys can do well representing people before the Social Security Administration, but anyone can claim to be an “advocate” without any education or training.  Only a licensed attorney can give legal advice.  Seek a licensed attorney with experience handling Social Security hearings.

At Hoglund Law Offices, our attorneys focus on representing Social Security claimants.  Some of the legal questions our clients ask include:

  • What will a judge ask me at the hearing?
  • Are there any special laws or rulings in my favor?
  • How does my medical evidence compare with others who have been approved before the same judge?

Arguing Social Security claims before the federal government can be difficult.  For answers to these and any other legal questions, please feel free to contact Hoglund Law Offices today for a free initial consultation.  We want to help.

Diabetes

At Hoglund Law Offices, our lawyers represent many claimants with diabetic complications get approved for Social Security benefits. Diabetes can be a very serious disease with multiple complications that can affect a wide range of body systems.

As with any claim for social security disability benefits, it is imperative that you treat regularly with a doctor, and follow their recommendations. Lab reports are going to be important to show fluctuating blood sugar levels despite a regular course of treatment. Testing for neuropathy may also be essential in proving one’s disability. If you have been experiencing numbness, weakness, and pain and have not been diagnosed with neuropathy, it is extremely important that you bring this to your doctor’s attention. Specific testing needs to be conducted to confirm the diagnosis.

If your diabetes does not meet or equal Social Security’s specific criteria for being found disabled, your symptoms may still cause significant functional limitations which may prove you are unable to work. An individual may have difficulty walking, standing, or may need to elevate their legs throughout the day. Numbness in one’s hands may impair your ability to write, type, and use small objects. Vision problems may prevent an individual from reading, using a computer, seeing small objects, or avoiding hazards in a work environment. These functional limitations, alone or in combination, may be enough to prove that no work would exist in the national economy.

Digestive Problems

Fibromyalgia

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Heart Problems