Brandon and Tampa Florida
Social Security
Disability Lawyer

Tampa Florida office: 4925 Independence Parkway, Suite 195, Tampa, Florida 33634
Brandon Florida office: 10150 Highland Manor Dr., Suite 200, Tampa, FL 33634

Brandon Social Security Lawyer Explains the Rights of Renters with Disabilities

A Brandon Social Security lawyer can explain that federal and state laws exist to protect disabled renters from discrimination. These laws prevent landlords from requesting medical records or asking whether an applicant has a disability or illness as a condition of moving into the unit. Additionally, these laws require landlords to provide certain accommodations for renters with disabilities at their own expense.

Definition of Disability

According to the Fair Housing Act and the Fair Housing Amendments Act, landlords may not discriminate against people who:

  • have a physical or mental disability that substantially limits a major life activity
  • have a history of a disability; or
  • be regarded as having a disability

Disabilities include mobility, visual and hearing impairments. Disabilities also include mental illness, HIV, AIDS and mental retardation. In the case of mental or emotional impairments, the landlord must base his or her decision on the applicant’s financial stability and tenant history. He or she can only consider a mental impairment if he or she can point to specific instances of past behavior that would make the applicant a risk to others.

Prohibition on Discriminatory Questions

An attorney from a Brandon disability law firm can explain that landlords cannot ask applicants about a disability or illness. Likewise, they cannot ask to see medical records. If a disability is apparent, they cannot ask about the extent of the disability. This is because the landlord legally cannot make decisions about the manner in which the applicant would live in a way that he or she would not be able to for a non-disabled applicant.

Right to Accommodations by the Landlord

A Brandon Social Security lawyer can explain the extent of a landlord’s duty to accommodate a tenant. According to federal law, landlords must accommodate the needs of disabled tenants at their own expense when such accommodations are reasonable. This includes modifying rules, procedures or services so that a disabled tenant has equal access to them. However, an attorney from a Brandon disability law firm can explain that this duty does not mean that the landlord must accommodate every request that the tenant makes. For example, if an accommodation would seriously inhibit the landlord’s ability to run the business or that would have a significant economic impact on the business, the landlord may not be required to take it. Also, the landlord does not have to provide the accommodation in a way that mirrors the tenant’s request. For example, a tenant with a broken leg may request that an elevator be installed so that he or she can more easily access the unit. A landlord may instead offer a ground-floor unit. Another accommodation for individuals with disabilities is to establish designated handicapped parking.

Right to Make Modifications

Another important right provided to disabled tenants is the right to make a modification at the tenant’s own expense. If such a modification is necessary for the tenant to reside comfortably and safely in the unit, the landlord is usually required to agree to this modification so long as the modification would not make the unit unacceptable to the next tenant who moves into the unit or if the tenant agrees to revert the property back to the previous condition before the modification at his or her own expense. Any modifications requested by the tenant must be reasonable. Additionally, the tenant must receive prior approval before making the modification. Additionally, the landlord has certain rights, such as the right to ask for a description of the proposal, proof that the work performed will be of a workman-like manner and evidence that the tenant has secured the necessary building permits. The landlord can also require the tenant to contribute into an interest-bearing escrow account if the modification will require future restoration.

Examples of Modifications

Some examples of modifications that a disabled tenant may request include:

  • Installing a ramp so that a tenant in a wheelchair can access a raised room in the unit
  • Modifying kitchen appliances so that they can be used by a tenant with a visual or hearing impairment
  • Lowering countertops for a tenant in a wheelchair
  • Installing door handles for a tenant who has problems with his or her hands

Proof of Need for Accommodation or Modification

Before a request for an accommodation or modification is granted, a landlord can request that a tenant’s request will address his or her needs. One of the easiest ways that a tenant can submit proof to the landlord is by having his or her treating doctor or therapist write a letter that details the request and that it will meet the tenant’s needs. The letter does not have to identify the particular disability.

Legal Assistance

For more information about the legal rights of disabled renters, contact Brandon Social Security lawyer Garry W. Miracle, Esq. to schedule a confidential consultation.


Big Mistakes as Seen by Brandon Social Security Disability Lawyers

Brandon Social Security disability lawyers have seen their fair share of mistakes by claimants. These mistakes are often committed long before claimants have ever retained the services of a Social Security disability lawyer. Some of the common mistakes seen include:

Failing To Seek Appropriate Medical Treatment

Some claimants fail to seek medical treatment that they actually need. This may be because they have not seen an improvement in the past after seeking such treatment. It can also be because they cannot afford treatment. However, this is a big mistake. An administrative law judge who hears testimony that an individual is suffering from a chronic condition may not believe the claimant is credible if there is no history of seeking treatment on an ongoing basis. Medical records are very important in such cases, so it is critical to have documentation that shows repeated attempts to seek treatment for a chronic condition. Free and low-cost health services are sometimes available for people who meet income eligibility.

Sending Medical Records To The Social Security Administration

Some individuals believe that they must submit all medical records directly to the Social Security Administration. However, representatives from the SSA can handle this task. Additionally, Brandon Social Security disability lawyers can help identify documents that may be helpful in a particular case, such as a letter by a treating physician. Additionally, they can help obtain important medical reports to ensure SSA has all of the necessary information to make a decision.

Not Appealing

Claimants are permitted multiple appeals during this process. However, more than half of people who are initially denied fail to appeal. Then, many claimants who are denied on reconsideration do not request a hearing.

Legal Assistance

If you would like more information on mistakes to avoid during the Social Security disability process, contact Social Security lawyer Brandon FL Garry W. Miracle, Esq.

The Administrative Law Judge

A Brandon Disability Law Firm on the Administrative Law Judge

If you are scheduled for a disability hearing, you have already endured a difficult journey through the Social Security system. Despite the fact that you have been denied benefits twice, you should be encouraged by the fact that, statistically, the disability hearing is your best opportunity for approval; make the most of it by understanding what the judge is looking for.

The Nature of the Hearing

Although it is less formal than a court trial and not adversarial in nature, the hearing is nonetheless a legal proceeding, which includes testimony given under oath. You will not be cross examined by the judge, but you will get the opportunity to speak with the judge.

The Judge’s Role

Ultimately, the judge is a fact-finder; he or she needs to learn about you and your medical and employment background in an effort to come to a fair resolution. This involves asking you questions and may also include testimony from a medical expert and a vocational expert.

Your Demeanor with the Judge

Of course, the judge is to be treated with the proper respect befitting his or her status as a judicial officer. But in speaking with judge, due to the informal nature of the hearing, it is best to consider the judge as an old friend with whom you are catching up with. Leave whatever frustration you may feel behind, and just tell your story.

Contact a Brandon Disability Law Firm for Legal Advice

Understanding the disability process can be difficult; for questions at any stage of your case, call Garry W. Miracle, Esq., a Brandon disability law firm, at (813) 655-3136.

Help Applying for Benefits

Brandon Social Security disability lawyers can assist claimants early in the process, including by providing assistance with the application. There are three central ways that a person can apply for benefits. One way is to apply online. Another is to apply over the phone. The final way is to apply online. For phone and in-person applications, an appointment must be scheduled with a representative from the Social Security Administration. More information is included with the following video.

Legal Assistance

If you still have any questions regarding the application process after watching the following video, contact Brandon Social Security disability lawyers from Garry W. Miracle, Esq.


A Brandon Social Security Disability Lawyer and FAQ on Disability

I Can No Longer Work Because of My Impairments; I Qualify for Disability, Correct?

Not necessarily. The Social Security Administration has a very specific process it uses to make this determination. Once you apply, the SSA will:

  • Determine if you are working. If you are still working you may be eligible for benefits, but you cannot make too much money, and there are other factors.
  • Determine if you have a severe condition
  • Determine if your condition is a “listed” condition
  • Determine if you can perform any previous work you have done
  • Determine if you can perform any other kind of work

Is It Difficult to Apply?

No. You may apply for SSD in person at your local SSA office, by telephone, by mail or online. You will need to provide your personal information, work history, educational background and complete medical file.

Should I Hire a Lawyer to File?

In most cases that is not necessary. You have the right to do so, but most people can handle the initial application on their own.

When Does a Lawyer Make a Difference?

Denials are quite common; in fact, more than 50 percent of initial applications are rejected. The same is true for reconsideration, which is the first level of appeal. If you persevere and appeal after reconsideration, you then are scheduled for a disability hearing before an administrative law judge. This is where a lawyer is essential to your case.

What Occurs at the Hearing?

It is an evidentiary hearing where the judge will ask you questions concerning your impairments and how you are limited at work and in your daily life. The judge may also have a medical and a vocational expert testify. Your lawyer will be able to question the witnesses as well.

Contact a Brandon Disability Law Firm for Legal Advice

The biggest mistake most people make is failing to appeal. If your claim has been denied, it is important that you explore your options. Call Garry W. Miracle, Esq., a Brandon social security disability lawyer at (813) 655-3136.

Help Filing an SSD Appeal

Applicants who were turned down for Social Security disability sometimes call our Brandon disability law firm in a panic, wondering if they can appeal their SSD claim. Statistics show that about 65 percent of all applicants are initially rejected. Don’t give up as 55 percent of applicants will eventually win their cases through persistence and timeliness. You can start the process in any of the following ways:

  1. Telephone the Social Security Administration.
  2. Go to the SSA office with denial letter. Print any forms that you need to fill out ahead of time.
  3. File your appeal online.

Once you submit the appeal request, print the relevant receipts. The time limit for all appeals is 60 days. If you are appealing at the last minute, go to the SSA office or file online. Do not call as your rights might not be protected. Talk to our Brandon disability law firm if you need help with an SSD appeal.

Common Causes for Denials

Social Security Disability Lawyer

Although many claimants are surprised when they learn that they were denied for Social Security benefits, a Brandon social security disability lawyer can explain that this situation is common. In fact, more claimants are initially denied than approved. All the same, a Brandon disability lawyer understands that it can be difficult for a claimant to comprehend how he or she could possibly be found not to be disabled when that individual is unable to work and in constant pain.

Statistical Information

Approximately 66 percent of applications for Social Security disability benefits are initially denied. However, more than half of these denials that are appealed are eventually approved and claimants ultimately receive Social Security benefits.

Process of Evaluation

When an initial application is submitted for Social Security disability benefits, it is evaluated by state agency employees. This state agency is under a contract with the Social Security Administration. However, many such employees erroneously deny claims. Some of the common reasons are outlined below.

Miscategorization of the Impairment

Some state agency employees may find that an impairment is not severe in error. This can also occur when the claimant is suffering from a number of impairments and the state agency employee failed to take the aggregate effects of these impairments together.

Inadequate Information

Another common reason for denial is because the claimant failed to submit enough information to support the claim or the state agency employee failed to request enough information to properly evaluate the case.

Miscalculation of Work Terms

State agency employees may not have an adequate understanding of the mental and physical demands of the claimant’s relevant past work. If they underestimate these demands, they may find that the claimant can return to this work in error.

Legal Assistance

For more information on common reasons why Social Security claims are denied, contact a Brandon disability lawyer such as Garry W. Miracle, Esq.

Winning an SSD Case after a Denial

Our Brandon Social Security disability attorney is often questioned about the best way to approach an SSD denial. He offers the following suggestions.

  1. At the disability examiner level, the person will review your medical records. To improve your chances, make sure that these are complete and request relevant information from your doctor, including a completed residual functional capacity form.
  2. Respond to any letters or notices promptly.
  3. Finally, attend any exams as directed.

Don’t be discouraged since about 70 percent of all SSD applications are initially denied. At the disability hearing level, you will see an administrative law judge. Hire a lawyer for help with your case. Make sure that you are on time and respectful, and explain your limitations. Be honest and do not minimize or exaggerate your impairment. Garry W. Miracle, Esq., our Brandon Social Security disability attorney, can represent you in a disability claim.

Overview of the Sequential Evaluation Process

A five-step evaluation is utilized by the Social Security Administration as it determines whether you qualify as “disabled” for either of their plans—SSI of SSD. You may find it helpful to work with a Brandon disability law firm, especially if your initial application is denied.

The Five-Step Process

The SSA has set up the following five steps so that if you do not meet one of them, you do not go on to the next, for you don’t qualify for SSD. These steps are:

  1. You are not currently working, or as SSA words it, engaging in a “substantial gainful activity” (SGA); and
  2. You have an medical impairment that is determinable and severe; and
  3. This impairment is either described in SSA’s “Listing of Impairments” or equals one that is; or
  4. Taking into consideration your “residual functional capacity,” or retained ability to work, you cannot work any of your past jobs; and
  5. Because of your age, RFC, work experience, age, or education, you cannot adjust to other work that is available to any significant degree.

Your social security lawyer Brandon FL will caution you that the terms SSA uses, such as “disability,” do not necessarily correspond to what you might expect them to mean. Their definitions are very definite and exacting. There is also a duration requirement that you must meet. Your impairment must last for 12 full months.

To summarize, then, you have two avenues for obtaining SSI or SSD:

  1. You must have an impairment that is described in the listings or equals one that is.
  2. You must be able to answer in the affirmative to each of the sequential evaluation process questions.

For Further Information or Assistance

If you are considering applying for either of the Social Security Administration’s disability plans, it may be in your best interests to work with a Brandon disability law firm. Call Garry W. Miracle, Esq. to arrange a consultation.

SGA And The Self-Employed

Brandon Social Security Disability Lawyers on How the SSA Determines Substantial Gainful Activity for the Self-Employed

If you are working and the work you are doing is what the Social Security Administration deems to be substantial gainful activity, you will be declared not disabled. However, the analysis the SSA uses to determine SGA is different if you are self-employed than if you are an employee.

Significant Services and Substantial Income

According to SSA’s regulation, if you are providing all the services to your business as a sole owner or more than half of the services if you have employees, you are providing significant services. If so and your net income is above the SGA monthly amount allowed, you are not disabled. If you are not providing significant services or your income is below the SGA, the SSA looks to other tests.


The SSA next measures the earnings of an unimpaired person in the local community performing in a capacity and type of business similar to yours. If your work activity is comparable to the similarly situated unimpaired person’s work activity, the SSA will examine the worth of your work, not your actual earnings.

Worth of Work

The worth of work evaluation is based on what the unimpaired comparable worker would earn or what you would have to pay another person to do the activities you perform for your business. If either of these amounts exceeds SGA, you will be considered not disabled.

Contact Brandon Social Security Disability Lawyers for Legal Advice

Net profits of a small business may not always be a reliable indicator of your ability to perform substantial gainful activity. If you are self-employed in some capacity, it is important too understand your rights and responsibilities under Social Security guidelines. For any questions regarding your situation, call Garry W. Miracle, Esq., a Brandon disability attorney at (813) 655-3136.

ALJ Hearings

Clients sometimes ask our Social Security Brandon FL attorney what will happen at a Social Security disability hearing. Knowing what to expect can help calm your nerves.

The case will probably be held in a conference room before an administrative law judge who presides. He or she will rule over the case, and your lawyer, the court reporter and possibly a medical and/or vocational expert will attend. The court reporter will swear you in, and the ALJ will question you about your impairment and work. He or she will then question any other witnesses. The process will only take 15 minutes to an hour.

You should focus on being honest without exaggerating or minimizing. You should be respectful and make a good impression. Be prepared to wait for a decision.

Garry W. Miracle, Esq., our Social Security Brandon FL attorney, can help you prepare for an SSD hearing.

Issues to Discuss with your Social Security Lawyer Brandon FL

In order for a Social Security lawyer Brandon FL to best represent your legal interests at the disability hearing, it is important that he or she has a clear understanding of any potential issues. One complexity that can arise during the hearing is questions concerning your ability to work. If you received unemployment compensation or you were actively looking for work while your case was pending, discuss this information with your lawyer. Likewise, if you think are able to perform work that you completed within the last 15 years, discuss this issue as well.

Legal Assistance

For more information, review the attached infographic. Then consult Social Security lawyer Brandon FL Garry W. Miracle, Esq.

Issues to Discuss with your Social Security Lawyer Brandon FL

Questions A Brandon Disability Law Firm Attorney Can Ask Standing And Sitting

Tampa Social Security disability lawyerYour attorney from the Brandon disability law firm will question the Vocational Expert (VE) about the Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) regarding alternate sitting and standing.

Questions About Alternate Sitting And Standing Your Lawyer Will Ask

  1. Are there certain jobs that will allow a person to alternate sitting and standing that are considered light or sedentary by The Dictionary Of Occupational Titles?
  2. Is it reasonable to assume that jobs that are classified as light will require a person to stand and walk for an estimated six hours of the eight hour workday?
  3. If you claim that the DOT is inaccurate in its classification of these jobs as being “light,” how many have you observed personally? When and where was it? For how long?
  4. Does the DOT address a person’s opportunity to stand or sit?
  5. Is the availability of these types of jobs based on your observations?
  6. Doesn’t the ability to sit hinge on the employer making chairs or stools available?
  7. Is it common for employees to bring their own chairs?
  8. Are you claiming that all employers provide workers with chairs if the work is considered light?
  9. What is the percentage of jobs in which employers will provide stools and chairs? How do you know?
  10. Is it or is it not true that some of these jobs will be done at desk height? If yes, what is the percentage vs. other jobs? How do you know?
  11. Since desk height is around 29 inches, wouldn’t most people be uncomfortable working while bending over?

Call An Attorney At The Brandon Disability Law Firm

For help with questions about standing and sitting at work, call 813-655-3136 to speak to Brandon disability attorney Garry W. Miracle, Esq. today.


Proving Disability

A Brandon disability lawyer can explain that there are generally two ways to prove that you are disabled.

Medical Findings

If you can prove that you suffer from a serious impairment that meets one in the Listing of Impairments, you will be found disabled.

Functional Limitations

The other pathway to establishing your disability is by showing that your impairment or combination of impairments has such an impact on you that you cannot maintain substantial gainful activity.

Legal Assistance

For more information on proving that you are disabled, review the following diagram. Then contact Brandon disability lawyer Garry W. Miracle, Esq.

Brandon Disability Lawyer | Proving Disability

Mental Impairment, Stress Tolerance and the Capacity to Work

Tampa Social Security disability lawyerIn general, disability cases which involve mental impairments are more difficult to win than ones involving physical impairments. If you have filed a disability claim citing a mental impairment, a common issue is poor stress tolerance. Even if the Social Security Administration accepts your claim of mental impairment, it may conclude that despite your poor stress tolerance, you are capable of some low-stress work; this conclusion, however, is often erroneous.

Routine and Repetitive Work

A routine and repetitive job may seem less stressful than other forms of employment, and for some workers this may be true. However, even such jobs often involve other requirements that a person with a mental impairment may find stressful. Some examples of such job-related tasks include:

  • Getting to work at the assigned time
  • Working within a schedule or a deadline
  • Dealing with people, such as co-worker, supervisors and customers
  • Knowing your work is supervised and subject to critique
  • Working precisely or quickly

Persuasive Evidence

Your disability hearing is the setting where you will have the best opportunity to demonstrate how your poor stress tolerance makes any job untenable. In preparing you for your testimony, your attorney will emphasize the importance of explaining to the judge in great detail the kind of things you find stressful and exactly how you react to that stress. The more precisely you can describe the triggers and your responses, the more clearly the judge will be able to understand your true limitations.

Contact a Social Security Brandon FL Lawyer for Legal Advice

The disability process is a long, arduous and often confusing journey. Don’t go it alone. For any questions, at any stage of your claim, call Garry W. Miracle, Esq., a Brandon Social Security disability attorney at (813) 655-3136.

Listing of Impairments

Brandon disability attorneySocial Security disability lawyers

Brandon Social Security disability lawyers can explain that there are several ways in which a person can qualify for Social Security disability benefits. One such way is to qualify under the Listing of Impairments.

Sequential Process

Brandon Social Security disability lawyers can explain that the Social Security Administration uses a five-step sequential evaluation process. If the application is not approved or denied in one step, it moves on to the next step. First, the Social Security Administration determines whether the applicant is working at substantial gainful activity. Then it considers whether the individual has a severe impairment.

Next, it considers if this impairment meets or equals an impairment that is included in the Listing of Impairments. The fourth step determines whether the applicant can perform work that he accomplished in the past. The final step is to determine whether the applicant can perform other work, given his or her residual functional capacity.

Listing of Impairments

The Listing of Impairments is a thorough list of of a variety of physical impairments and mental impairments. There are several categories of impairments for adults, which include disabilities related to the:

  • cardiovascular system
  • digestive system
  • endocrine system
  • genitourinary impairments
  • hematological disorders
  • immune system disorders
  • mental disorders
  • musculoskeletal system
  • neurological disorders
  • respiratory system
  • senses and speech
  • skin disorders

Underneath each category in the Listing of Impairments are a number of unique diseases and conditions. To qualify, the applicant’s impairment must meet or equal one of those that are in the Listing of Impairments.

Legal Assistance

If you would like more information about qualifying for Social Security disability benefits under the Listing of Impairments, contact Brandon Social Security lawyer Garry W. Miracle, Esq.

What Are My Options?

A Brandon Social Security disability attorney can explain that you have a number of options if an administrative law judge denies your Social Security disability claim.

For example, you may wish to stop the process of seeking benefits altogether. However, you may still have a chance to be awarded benefits and may prefer instead to start the process over with a new application.

Another option is to have your decision appealed if you believe that the judge’s ruling was not correct, based on the circumstances of your case.

For more information on this topic, contact a Brandon Social Security disability attorney from Garry W. Miracle, Esq.

Describing Your Symptoms

A Social Security Brandon FL lawyer can discuss the importance of clearly communicating your symptoms to the disability hearing judge. Be sure that you discuss the following information with the judge:

  • Types of symptoms you experience
  • How frequently you experience these symptoms
  • Intensity of these symptoms
  • Minimizing effects by any medicine or other therapies

Use pain scales and descriptive words to provide an accurate picture to the administrative law judge.

Legal Assistance

If you would like more information on how to thoroughly and precisely describe your symptoms contact a Social Security Brandon FL lawyer like Garry W. Miracle, Esq.

Reasons for Erroneous Denials

A Brandon Social Security disability attorney can explain that there are several reasons for erroneous denials.

Potential Reasons

One common reason for denial is because there is missing evidence. Your doctors may not have responded to requests for information, or the court record may not include all pertinent medical records.

Another potential reason for denial is because the SSA representatives focus too much on disability listings.

An inaccurate RFC assessment can also be to blame for an erroneous denial.

If you would like more information on erroneous claims, contact Brandon Social Security disability attorney Garry Miracle by calling (813) 655-3136.

Definining Disability

Brandon Social Security Disability Lawyer | Hardest Part is WaitingWhen a Brandon Social Security disability attorney defines disability, he or she does so with the Social Security Act definition in mind. This definition requires the claimant to possess several characteristics.

Medically Determinable Impairment

The claimant must have a medically determinable impairment. The Social Security Administration defines such an impairment as a mental or physical impairment that is the result of an abnormality in an individual’s physiology, anatomy or psychology that is diagnosed by clinical and laboratory diagnostics.


The impairment cannot be short-term. Instead, it must either be terminal or it must be expected to last 12 months or longer.

Prevention of Work

Additionally, a Brandon social security disability attorney can explain that the impairment must prevent the claimant from working past relevant work and the work of other substantial gainful work that exists in the national economy in significant numbers, given the claimant’s education, experience and age.

Drugs or Alcohol

Social Security regulations dictate that a person is not considered to have a disability if drug addiction or alcoholism are contributing factors relevant to the individual’s disability.

Supplemental Security Income

The definition for a person who qualifies under the Supplemental Security Income program is the same as for an individual who qualifies under the Social Security disability program. Supplemental Security Income is a public benefit program for individuals who meet income guidelines.

Recipients of Supplemental Security Income benefits fall below the federal poverty limit. Additionally, individuals who qualify for this program are individuals otherwise not entitled to benefits under the Social Security disability program because they do not have enough work credits. The Supplemental Security Income program is run by the Social Security Administration.

Legal Assistance

For more information on the disability process, contact a Brandon disability attorney from Garry W. Miracle, Esq. by calling (813) 655-3136 today.

Disability Report Checklist

A Brandon disability lawyer can give you a checklist for completing your disability report. This checklist includes the following:

Demographic Information

Complete all personal information about yourself.

Medical Conditions

Provide ample information about your injuries, illnesses and impairments. Discuss how these affect you.

Employment History

Include information about each job that you have held in the last ten years.

Medical Records

Be sure that you provide information about where you have sought medical treatment and about your healthcare providers. Include information about your medication.

Legal Assistance

For more information on your disability report, contact Brandon disability lawyer Garry Miracle by calling (813) 655-3136.

Brandon Disability Lawyer | Disability Report Checklist

Strategies to Win Disability Appeals

Tampa Disability LawyerOur Brandon Social Security disability lawyers will provide the administrative law judge with evidence as to why you deserve disability benefits. They will usually base this evidence on one of two theories.

Severity of Impairments

First, they will claim that you are disabled because your injuries or limitations meet the standards in the Listing of impairments. These are outlined in the Medical-Vocational Guidelines, available online or in a booklet. The Listing provides an overview of all types of impairments, such as medical and mental limitations, including heart disease, diabetes, auto-immune disorders, back problems and many more. In addition to describing the afflictions, the Listing specifies the seriousness of the impairment. When you meet the qualifications in the Listing, then you are usually determined to be disabled.

However, you may also be found disabled if you have a combination of impairments that equal or exceed a listed impairment. The ALJ will make a final decision about the severity of your condition based on your testimony, statements from witness and the medical information in your file. Your attorney will argue your status as well. If you are sufficiently impaired to qualify for a Listing, the ALJ will not consider your ability to work.

Other Ways to Prove Your Case

If your lawyer cannot prove your case in this way, he will likely try to prove that you are unable to perform other work similar to what you did in the past and that you are also unable to do other jobs based on age, schooling and work history. Generally, the older you are, the more likely it is that you would be found eligible for disability.

Contact Our Brandon Social Security Disability Lawyers

Garry Miracle has a track record of helping clients prove that they are suffering due to impairments that no longer permit them to obtain gainful employment. Call our Brandon Social Security disability lawyer at (813) 655-3136.

Medical Evidence

Tampa Social Security AttorneyA Brandon Social Security Lawyer on Medical Evidence and the Determination of Disability

The mere fact that a person can no longer work due to a disabling impairment does not necessarily qualify him or her for disability benefits. The Social Security Administration (SSA) has a complex and often confusing system to evaluate whether a claimant meets its definition of disability. If the individual meets the SSA’s threshold eligibility requirements, a Brandon Social Security lawyer can explain that the medical evidence provides the primary basis for an approval or denial.

Records and Test Results

The medical history provided by the claimant on application and any results of examinations requested by the SSA provide an objective record upon which the SSA can evaluate a claim. According to SSA regulations, the medical history is used as evidence to establish:

An Impairment

The claimant must show a medically determinable physical or mental impairment that is expected to last for at least one year.

The Listings

The SSA has established a list of conditions that it considers as disabling. If a claimant has one of the listed conditions and the condition meets the specific criteria as laid out in the SSA listings, that claimant will be considered disabled.

Meeting or Equaling a Listing

Each person’s medical condition is unique and often does not fit precisely with an SSA listing. In that case, medical records can be used to determine whether the claimant’s condition is comparable.

Residual Functional Capacity (RFC)

Few claimants are completely unable to perform any work-related tasks. The RFC is what the claimant is able to do in consideration of his or her impairment. Treatment Understanding the steps a claimant has taken to improve his or her condition and how any treatment has improved or failed to improve the condition helps the SSA makes its determination.

Contact a Brandon Social Security Lawyer for Legal Advice

The manner in which medical evidence is presented can have a major impact on the disability determination. For any questions or concerns regarding your disability case, call Garry W. Miracle, Esq. at (813) 655-3136.

Beginning Stages of Social Security Disability Claims

Brandon disability attorneyA Brandon Social Security attorney can walk through the typical process of filing a disability claim with the Social Security Administration. This process usually involves calling the teleservice center staff and making an appointment to discuss the claim with a Social Security Administration telephonically. However, some claimants prefer to meet with the representative in person.

Initial Appointment

Your Brandon Social Security attorney will explain that during the initial appointment, you will need to answer questions about yourself and your background. If you complete this process via telephone, you will receive a hard copy of the questions and your responses that you need to review and sign if correct. Although a Brandon Social Security disability attorney can sign many papers on your behalf, he or she cannot sign the application for benefits for you. However, he or she can assist you with completing the application.


During the initial and reconsideration levels, the Social Security Administration does not make any determinations related to the medical aspects of your disability. Your claim is referred to a state agency that determines disability. A disability examiner evaluates the claim.

Appeal of Initial Determination

If you are not satisfied with the initial determination of your claim, you have the right to appeal. This process is sometimes referred to as a request for reconsideration. If you do effectuate an appeal, a different group conducts the reconsideration.

Appeal of Reconsideration Determinations

If you have the same result at reconsideration, your next step is to request a hearing in front of an administrative law judge. If you would like to learn more about the appeal process, contact Garry W. Miracle, Esq. at (813) 655-3136.

Why Your Claim for Social Security Disability Benefits Could Be Denied in Error

This video explains why a denial of social security disability benefits can happen in error.

An Overview of Sequential Evaluation

Brandon Disability Lawyer | Sequential EvaluationThe Social Security Administration uses a process called sequential evaluation to decide if a person qualifies for either Social Security income or Social Security disability. The agency asks five questions, and if they find that you meet the criteria at each step, then you can proceed to the next step. However, once you fail to meet the criteria, you are then determined to be ineligible to receive benefits. The five steps follow:

  1. Are you working or earning income?
  2. Are you suffering from a severe medical impairment?
  3. Is your impairment listed in the SSA description called “Listing of Impairments?”
  4. Are you no longer able to work at a similar position you previously held in the past?
  5. Can you find other gainful employment, or do you face challenges due to age, lack of experience, lack of schooling or physical or mental limitations?

In addition to meeting the listed criteria, you must also be found as unable to work for at least one year. If you have questions about the specifics of any of these qualifying factors, talk to our Brandon disability lawyer. He can clarify the exact meaning of these phrases according to the stipulations determined by the SSA.

Disqualification for Disability According to Our Brandon Disability Attorney

The SSA will determine that you are not disabled if you meet any of the following:

  1. If you are engaged in gainful employment
  2. If you do not have a medical impairment
  3. If you have a medical impairment but can still continue to engage in gainful employment
  4. If you have not been out of work for at least 12 months due to this disability
  5. If you can perform similar work to what you have done in the past
  6. If you can perform other types of work.

Review SSI and SSD with Our Brandon Disability Attorney

If you do not understand the difference between SSD and SSI, call our Brandon disability lawyer for further information. The programs differ from each other, but both are in place to help provide for Americans.

The exact meanings of terms used by the SSA can be confusing to a lay person. Our Brandon disability lawyer will help you determine if you qualify for benefits. You can reach Garry Miracle at (813) 655-3136 for answers to your questions.

The Hardest Part is Waiting

Brandon Social Security Disability Lawyer | Hardest Part is WaitingIn the time leading up to your Social Security disability hearing, you may feel some anxiety about how the hearing will go and what you will say. This is why it is important to prepare what you are going to say with you lawyer. Ask any questions you have so that you know what to expect. Once you get to the hearing itself, it will be over before you know it. Hearings don’t take long, usually about an hour to an hour and a half.

After you have finished your Social Security disability hearing, you will probably feel a great deal of relief. The hearing that and you and your Brandon social security disability lawyer have been preparing for for months is finally over and you did your absolute best job to prove the extent of your disability to the judge.

You may also feel some anxiety to find out the decision in your case. Unfortunately, this is one area where your Brandon social security disability lawyer will be unable to do much. The system, like many government bureaucracies is slow. If you are lucky enough to have the judge issue a bench decision following your hearing, you will receive notice within a week. More likely, however, you will have to wait for a written decision to be mailed to you and your Brandon social security disability lawyer, which can take at least a month or even two. In some rare cases, you may get an unusually slow judge who takes longer.

You have little choice but to simply wait it out, as difficult as it is. If you have gone more than three months without receiving word from the judge or from your Brandon social security disability lawyers, you might want to call your lawyer to make sure something hasn’t gotten lost in the system somewhere. Other than that, just try to relax and get on with your life while the system works through your case.

For more information on how to proceed with a Social Security disability claim, contact Brandon social security disability lawyers at Garry Miracle. Call (813) 655-3136.

Testifying Effectively at a Disability Hearing

Before the disability hearing, you and your attorney from a Brandon disability law firm should discuss the following 5 tips on how you can best provide testimony at the hearing. These are proven methods for obtaining disability benefits.

Brandon disability law firm

Defining Physical Exertion Levels

Brandon Social Security lawyerAre you filing a disability claim but are not sure how to define your physical exertion levels? A Brandon Social Security lawyer can help you through the process of filing your claim.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) defines physical exertion levels the same as it is in the Dictionary of Occupational Titles (DOT). However, the Department of Labor has updated their work levels, so there is a discrepancy as it is not reflected by SSA standards.

A job is considered “Sedentary” when sitting is involved and when walking and standing are only required occasionally.The job is classified as “Light” when walking or standing are involved to a significant degree; there is negligible weight being lifted; most of the time is spent sitting, but there is a degree of pushing or pulling arm or leg controls.

A Brandon social security attorney advises that the 1991 revised edition of the DOT utilizes different definitions regarding levels of exertion. These definitions recognize that the exertional level is increased with constant lifting. You may find this revision useful if your past relevant work included constant lifting.

How do you define whether you do something occasionally, frequently or constantly? “Occasionally” indicates that you are active up to one-third of the time. Activity is considered “frequent” if it occurs up to two-thirds of the time, and “constant” is used to describe activity occurring more than two-thirds of the time.

Regardless of the amount of lifting required in your previous relevant jobs, it should be considered as “light work” when you spend a significant amount of time walking or standing, you sit most of the time, there are arm or leg controls involved, you work in production and there is a continual pulling or pushing of materials.

For more information regarding the classification of physical exertion levels, contact Brandon Social Security lawyer Garry Miracle at (813) 655-3136.

Testifying about Your Physical Limitations

During your Social Security disability hearing, you can expect that your Brandon Social Security disability attorney will ask you a series of questions pertaining to how your disability physically limits you during your typical work day. It is important that you provide clear and concise statements to help demonstrate this information effectively to the administrative law judge.

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