Philip Garrow LLC

What Happens at the Social Security Hearing?

If you decide to represent yourself at your hearing, be prepared! Read all the information provided to you by Social Security. Get to the hearing site early and ask to look at your file. Review any written statements you’ve already given Social Security and make sure they are accurate and up to date. Be ready to tell the judge about all your medical treatment and where the Judge can obtain these records, including names and addresses of your medical providers. Have a list of your medications and explain if they help or not and any side effects. The judge will ask about your impairments and limitations and why you don’t think you can work a regular job for a regular work week. Be sure you have an answer ready.

This is only a partial list and should not be relied upon as a substitute for qualified counsel. If you are represented, make sure your attorney has all this information is ready to represent you at your hearing.

Are you looking for representation? Contact Garrow Law for a case evaluation.

Do I Need an Attorney to Help With My Social Security Disability Claim?

We get asked this question a lot. The answer is: Maybe not.

Social Security provides the application and appeal forms and requests that you give them information about your disability, your work background, doctors names and addresses, and statements from people who know about your problems. About 35% of all initial applications for disability or SSI benefits are approved by Social Security.

So, if Social Security agrees your medical conditions are severe and disabling, you may receive benefits in just a few months. If your claim is denied, and your doctors disagree with Social Security’s assessment, we recommend an immediate appeal and contacting someone to help with your case. If you are going to a hearing, competent counsel can be very helpful, someone who can prepare you and make sure all the medical records have been submitted. The Social Security judge is required to give you at least one postponement if you need time to secure representation.

Are you looking for assistance with a Social Security claim? Contact the Garrow Team today.

Childrens’ Disability Benefits

What you Should Know Before You Apply For SSI Disability Benefits For A Child

Children from birth up to age 18 may qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
benefits. They must be disabled and they must have little or no income and resources.

Here are answers to some questions people ask about applying for SSI for children.

How Does Social Security Decide If A Child Is Disabled?

Social Security has a strict definition of disability for children.

The child must have a physical or mental condition(s) that very seriously limits his or her activities; and the condition(s) must have lasted, or be expected to last, at least 1 year or result in death.

A state agency makes the disability decision. They review the information you provide. They will also ask for information from medical and school sources and other people who know about the child.

If the state agency needs more information, they will arrange an examination or test for the child, which Social Security will pay for.

How Does Social Security Decide If A Child Can Get SSI?

Children can get SSI if they meet Social Security’s definition of disability for children and if they have little or no income and resources. Social Security will also consider the family’s household income, resources and other personal information.

Are you looking for assistance in getting an SSI for your disabled child? Contact the Garrow Team today.

Adults Disabled Before Age 22

An adult disabled before age 22 may be eligible for child’s benefits if a parent is deceased or starts receiving retirement or disability benefits. This is considered a “child’s” benefit because it is paid on a parent’s Social Security earnings record.

The “adult child”—including an adopted child, or, in some cases, a stepchild, grandchild, or step grandchild must be unmarried, age 18 or older, have a disability that started before age 22, and meet the definition of disability for adults.

Example: A worker starts collecting Social Security retirement benefits at age 62. He has a 38-year old son who has had cerebral palsy since birth. The son will start collecting a disabled “child’s” benefit on his father’s Social Security record.

It is not necessary that the adult child ever worked. Benefits are paid based on the parent’s earnings record.

An adult child must not have substantial earnings. The amount of earnings Social Security considers “substantial” increases each year. In 2019, this means working and earning more than $1,220 a month.

Certain expenses the adult child incurs in order to work may be excluded from these earnings. For more information about work and disability, refer to the Social Security publication “Working While Disabled: How We Can Help.”

Are you looking for assistance with a Social Security claim? Contact the Garrow Team today.

How Do I Know If I am Getting a Good Deal on my Insurance Settlement

Q: Last year I was hurt on the job and I have been unable to return to work. The insurance claims adjuster called me about settling my claim. How do I know if I am getting a good deal?

A: Injured workers have the option of settling their claim for future benefits. The amount of the settlement can be negotiated between the parties. Unfortunately, insurance companies usually know much more about the value of the claim that most injured workers. Your claim costs include lost wages (time loss), permanent disability, medical benefits, and vocational rehabilitation/retaining benefits if you are unable to return to your usual job. It is tempting to take the insurance companies offer but you need to know the full value of your claim in order to get the best value. You can contact the Oregon Workers’ Compensation Division, the Injured Workers’ Hotline, at 1-800-452-0288, and get some advice from the Workers’ Compensation Division which regulates insurance companies. They can tell you what to look for. You can also contact an attorney who specializes in workers’ compensation practice who will give you a free case evaluation to discuss your options and whether a settlement is a good deal.

Philip H. Garrow

Attorney at Law

Practice Limited to Workers’ Compensation Cases and Social Security Disability/SSI Claims

Am I Eligible for Disability Benefits Based on My Husband’s Account

Q: My spouse of 33 years passed away recently. I have been disabled for many years and have not been able to work. Am I eligible for disability benefits based on my husband’s Account?

A: Yes, you are. Social Security has very specific rules for payment of disabled widow or widower’s benefits. These same rules apply to surviving divorced spouses as well. The surviving spouse must be between the ages of 50 and 60 years old; you condition must meet Social Security’s definition of disability for adults; and, your disability must have started within 7 years of your spouse’s death.

You can speak directly with the Social Security Administration and have them assist you with filing an application for widow or widower’s benefits. You should contact the Social Security Administration as soon as possible to make sure you qualify for benefits and you have filed in a timely manner. You must contact Social Security by phone or in person. They do not take online applications for disabled widow/widower benefits.

Philip H. Garrow

Attorney at Law

Practice Limited to Workers’ Compensation Cases and Social Disability/SSI Claims

Social Security Denies Disability Benefits Despite Doctors Opinion

Q: I suffered severe injuries from a work-related accident. My Doctors have declared me totally disabled. I submitted these reports to the Social Security Administration and I was still denied disability benefits. Doesn’t Social Security have to listen to my doctors?

A: Social Security operates under federal law. Workers’ compensation injuries are based on state law. Federal law requires the Social Security Administration to “consider” the statements from your doctors. However, Social Security will apply its own criteria to determine whether you meet the definition of disability. It is possible that your doctors’ reports were not specific enough for Social Security. It is also possible that Social Security believes that you could do some other kind of less demanding work.

You should appeal the Social Security denial and get some assistance, including getting more specific reports from your doctors regarding your limitations and how they affect your ability to work. You can contact a lawyer who understands the Social Security Disability rules and what is needed to prove a disability claim. There is no fee for a consultation and an attorney is only paid if your application is approved.

Philip H. Garrow

Attorney at Law

Practiced Limited to Workers’ Compensation Cases and Social Security Disability/SSI Claims

Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits and Retirement

Q: I am disabled and recently began to receive Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits. Will I be entitled to yearly increases in benefits like retirees get?

A: Yes. Social Security annually makes a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for all Social Security (retirement and disability) beneficiaries and for all SSI (Supplemental Security Income) recipients. In 2019 the cost-of-living adjustment was a 2.8% increase. For SSI recipients, the Federal SSI maximum is now $771 per month and $1,157 per month for families.

The COLA is based on the Consumer Price Index for Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W). So, the amount is quite variable and some years there is no increase. Social Security typically reports the COLA increase – if any – at the end of the calendar year.

If you have any additional questions, look at the website.

Insurance vs Doctor: What If I am Still Recovering?

Q: I had a severe back injury at work. The doctor said that I do not need surgery but I am still in tremendous pain and have been getting physical therapy for the past three months. I am not yet able to bend or lift, much less return to work. Now the insurance company is telling my doctor I have had enough physical therapy and I should be released to return to work. The doctor says he does not want to fight with the insurance company. Is there anything I can do?


A: Yes, there is a lot you can to do. Insurance companies are interested in saving money for themselves and their clients (employers). Their goal is not to see that you get the best care that you can but to get the least expensive care that the doctor will authorize. Your doctor should carefully explain to the insurance company why you need additional therapy and why a home exercise program by itself will not improve your medical condition that the extent that you can return to your regular work. Therapy and other passive treatments are beneficial at reducing disability and returning workers back to their normal activities, including work, as long as they are given the opportunity to succeed. Constantly delaying or questioning treatment is not helpful to anyone but the insurance company. You or your doctor can appeal the insurer’s decision to the Workers’ Compensation Department.

You can also talk to an attorney who understands workers’ compensation law and can help you get the treatment that you need.

Early Retirement and Disability Benefits

Q: I am 62 years old and unable to continue working due to multiple physical problems, including back surgery. I am eligible to apply for early retirement. If I also apply for disability, will my disability benefits be reduced because of the early retirement?


A: As you know, you can begin receiving early retirement Social Security benefits at age 62. By filing early, you will lose about 25% of your full (age 66) retirement amount. However, if you have a disability which prevents you from returning to work, regardless of your age, you can also apply for Social Security disability benefits while you are receiving your retirement benefits. If you are granted disability benefits, you will be entitled to your full Social Security retirement amount as if you had not applied for your early retirement benefits. When you apply for retirement, the Social Security representative should ask you about why you stopped working and ask you if you want to file for disability. Social Security law requires them to advise you about all benefits to which you might be entitled.

If you have questions, you can talk to your local Social Security representative. You can also talk to an attorney who is experienced in Social Security disability matters.