Posts in:March, 2019

Social Security Disability Benefits for Liver Disease

Posted March 28, 2019 by Premier Disability Services, LLC®

According to the American Liver Foundation, more than 30 million Americans have some form of liver disease. Chronic liver disease is actually a category of diseases rather than a disease itself. Chronic liver diseases include: cirrhosis, hepatitis C and B, sarcoidosis, autoimmune hepatitis, liver failure, alcoholic liver disease, liver cancer, hepatoma, and other liver diseases. Chronic liver disease can result from alcohol and drug abuse, environmental toxins, viruses like hepatitis C, autoimmune disorders, and hereditary factors. Symptoms of chronic liver disease include jaundice, abdominal swelling, fatigue, diarrhea, and mental disorientation.

If you are earning less than $1,220 per month (in 2019), and the disability caused by your liver damage has lasted, or is expected to last, at least 12 consecutive months, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will consider whether your medical condition will be considered a disability. The SSA will first look to see if your liver damage meets one of its disability listings in its (“blue book”) Listing of Impairments. Adult Listing 5.05 covers all chronic liver diseases. To meet the requirements of the chronic liver disease listing, your doctor must have diagnosed you with either end-stage liver disease or chronic liver disease with at least one of the following complications:

  • excess fluid in the peritoneal cavity (called ascites) or the pleural cavity (called hydrothorax)
  • spontaneous bacterial peritonitis
  • esophageal or gastrointestinal hemorrhage
  • hepatorenal syndrome
  • hepatopulmonary syndrome
  • hepatic encephalopathy, or
  • end-stage liver disease with SSA CLD scores of 22 or greater.

The details of the listing are actually quite complicated. If you’re unsure if you’ve had one of the above complications, ask your doctor to look at the listing with you (see link below).

Even if you do not meet the requirements of Listing 5.05, you may still be eligible for benefits. The SSA will assess your “residual functional capacity” (RFC) to determine whether there is any type of work you can still do given your functional limitations. For example, if you suffer from fatigue and need periods of rest, your RFC should state this. Or if your pain prevents you from walking, lifting, or carrying for more than a certain amount of time, your RFC should include this. Depending on your physical limitations, your RFC will have a sedentary, light, or medium work rating. Your RFC should also state any mental limitations caused by your disease, such as an inability to focus or remember things. If your RFC prevents you from returning to your past work and any other work available, considering your age, education, and work history, then you will be found disabled.

If you or someone you know is unable to work due to a medical condition, please contact us for a free evaluation of your claim!

Adult Listings:

By: Joyce Trudeau of Premier Disability Services, LLC®


Social Security and OIG Launch Public Service Announcement Campaign

Posted March 22, 2019 by Premier Disability Services, LLC®

The Social Security Administration (SSA) and its Office of the Inspector General (OIG) launched a joint Public Service Announcement (PSA) campaign addressing a nationwide telephone impersonation scheme. SSA and the OIG continue to receive reports from across the country about fraudulent phone calls from people falsely claiming to be Social Security employees. Calls can even spoof Social Security’s national customer service number as the incoming number on the caller ID. The new PSAs will air on TV and radio stations across the country to alert the public to remain vigilant against potential fraud.

“We urge you to always be cautious and to avoid providing sensitive information such as your Social Security number or bank account information to unknown people over the phone or Internet,” said Nancy A. Berryhill, Acting Commissioner of the SSA. “If you receive a call and are not expecting one, you must be extra careful – you can always get the caller’s information, hang up, and contact the official phone number of the business or agency the caller claims to represent. Do not reveal personal data to a stranger who calls you.”

SSA employees do occasionally contact people – generally those who have ongoing business with the agency – by telephone for business purposes. However, SSA employees will never threaten a person or promise a Social Security benefit approval, or increase, in exchange for information. In those cases, the call is fraudulent and people should not engage with the caller. If a person receives these calls, he or she should report the information to the OIG Fraud Hotline at 1-800-269-0271 or online at

“These calls appear to be happening across the country, so we appreciate SSA’s partnership in this national public outreach effort,” said Gail S. Ennis, the Inspector General for the Social Security Administration. “Our message to the public is simply this: If you or someone you know receives a questionable call claiming to be from SSA or the OIG, just hang up.”

The new PSA addressing the telephone impersonation scheme is available online at

If you or someone you know is unable to work due to a medical condition, please contact us for a free evaluation of your case!


By: Joyce Trudeau of Premier Disability Services, LLC®

Social Security Disability for Fibromyalgia Patients

Posted March 14, 2019 by Premier Disability Services, LLC®

Fibromyalgia is one of the most complicated and least understood medical conditions. Fibromyalgia symptoms are numerous, random and diverse. Multiple systems in the body are affected. Put simply, fibromyalgia causes too many problems for a conventional doctor to manage within the confines of the current system.

Fibromyalgia can’t be easily confirmed or ruled out through a simple laboratory test. Your doctor can’t detect it in your blood or see it on an X-ray. Instead, fibromyalgia appears to be linked to changes in how the brain and spinal cord process pain signals. Because there is no test for fibromyalgia, your doctor must rely solely on your group of symptoms to make a diagnosis. Fibromyalgia symptoms include widespread body pain, fatigue, poor sleep and mood problems. But all of these symptoms are common to many other conditions. And because fibromyalgia symptoms can occur alone or along with other conditions, it can take time to tease out which symptom is caused by what problem. To make things even more confusing, fibromyalgia symptoms can come and go over time.

Fibromyalgia is also often characterized by additional pain when firm pressure is applied to specific areas of your body, called tender points. In the past, at least 11 of these 18 spots had to test positive for tenderness to diagnose fibromyalgia. But fibromyalgia symptoms can come and go, so a person might have 11 tender spots one day but only eight tender spots on another day. And many family doctors were uncertain about how much pressure to apply during a tender point exam. While specialists or researchers may still use tender points, an alternative set of guidelines has been developed for doctors to use in general practice. These newer diagnostic criteria include: (1) Widespread pain lasting at least three months, (2) Presence of other symptoms such as fatigue, waking up tired and trouble thinking, and (3) No other underlying condition that might be causing the symptoms.

Many applicants for Social Security disability benefits who apply based on fibromyalgia get denied. Part of the reason has been that Social Security doesn’t have a disability “listing” for the condition. To address the problem, the Social Security Administration (SSA) published a ruling in 2012, SSR 12-2p, giving additional guidance to disability claims examiners and administrative law judges as to how to assess fibromyalgia cases. This ruling has helped reduce the number of fibromyalgia claimants who are denied at the initial application stage and increase the number of fibromyalgia sufferers who file an appeal and eventually win disability benefits.

If the SSA determines that you have the medically determinable impairment of fibromyalgia under the new ruling, then the evaluation is not over. The SSA will develop a “residual functional capacity” (RFC) assessment for you to determine if there is any work you can do, including your past work. An RFC assessment is an evaluation of your ability to perform various exertional levels of work. The SSA bases your RFC on your medical records, opinions from doctors and specialists, and statements from you and your family members as to your abilities, such as how long you can stand, sit, and walk, how much you can lift, and how well you can focus and remember instructions. If your RFC prevents you from returning to your past work, or any other work that you can do given your age, education, and experience, then you will be found disabled.

If you or someone you know is unable to work due to a medical condition, please contact us for a free evaluation of your case!


See SSR 12-2p:

By: Joyce Trudeau of Premier Disability Services, LLC®