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Common Reasons Social Security Disability Benefits May Be Denied

Someone who endures a significant personal injury often relies on Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) to help make ends meet. It can come as a shock when SSDI benefits are denied. There are a number of reasons why someone might not qualify for SSDI, or lose that qualification due to lack of attention or other factors.
  • Income is too high. SSDI benefits are intended as a supplement for people who are unable to work enough to earn a living. An individual will be disqualified from SSDI payments if he or she earns $880 per month or more from working. This amount applies to 2019, and gets adjusted annually. SSDI benefits are reduced for individuals who earn at least $880. An individual who earns $1,220 per month or more will no longer qualify for any SSDI payments at all. Note that income from other sources, like investments or rental properties, does not count toward this limit.
  • Lack of technical compliance. Failing to provide required health information to the Social Security Administration, or failing to follow a doctor’s prescribed treatment program, may lead to disqualification for SSDI.
  • Disability sustained by substance abuse. If the SSA determines that an individual’s disability is caused by alcoholism or drug addiction, benefits may be denied. The idea behind this rule is to ensure that SSDI payments are not being used simply to feed an addiction that is the sole cause of a person’s inability to work. Someone who has an alcohol or drug dependency that isn’t related to the disability may still be able to draw benefits.
  • Non-qualifying medical condition. To qualify for SSDI benefits an individual must have a disabling medical condition that will prevent the individual from working for at least one year. For SSDI purposes, an injury is only disabling if it prevents an individual from performing any substantially gainful work activity.
The law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has represented clients in personal injury and workers’ compensation cases for over 45 years. We help clients examine all their financial options to find the best path forward while they recover from their injuries. For a free attorney consultation about your case call us today at 702-388-4476 or through our contacts page.

Understanding Social Security Disability Benefits

Social Security is one of several potential sources of financial support for people who cannot work due to an injury or illness. As with any form of financial support from the government, Social Security disability benefits are subject to a range of restrictions and prerequisites. The benefits may also affect one’s ability to get financial support through other sources, so anyone considering applying for Social Security benefits should examine not just the rules for the program itself but also how it may play into a larger strategy of making ends meet while off work. Qualifying for Social Security disability benefits requires a number of specific elements. The first is that the applicant must have paid into the Social Security system by working in jobs that contribute to it. People who work in jobs that are exempt from Social Security will not qualify. Second, the applicant must be disabled in accordance with the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) definition of the term. For Social Security purposes disability means:
  • The applicant is unable to do the work he or she did before the injury or illness due to limitations in the applicant’s physical or mental abilities.
  • The applicant’s condition makes switching to different work untenable.
  • The condition has lasted or is expected to last for at least one year, or is expected to result in the applicant’s death.
In addition to these prerequisites, a condition also must appear on the SSA’s list of impairments. Although this list is quite extensive, it may not capture every potential condition that could disrupt someone’s ability to work. This is especially important to keep in mind if a physician providing a diagnosis is doing so with a mixed set of incentives, as can be the case for physicians who conduct screening for insurers.

Social Security disability and other sources of support

For people who have been disabled as a consequence of an injury, questions often arise as to how Social Security disability benefits may affect, and be affected by, workers’ compensation claims, personal injury settlements, and state disability benefits. There isn’t one answer to this question, which depends on the source of the alternative support and a range of other factors. For example, Social Security disability payments probably will not be affected by a personal injury settlement or favorable judgment. But they may be reduced if disability payments from a state program combine with the Social Security benefits to exceed eighty percent of the applicant’s former annual income. Note that other forms of Social Security payments, like supplemental income (SSI), are subject to different rules. For more than 45 years the law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has helped injured clients find strategies for making ends meet after being injured. We provide personalized advice to each client to ensure that their full circumstances are taken into account as we explore legal solutions together. Call us today for a free attorney consultation at 702-388-4476 or reach us through our contact page.

Supplemental Security Income Benefits and Personal Injury Settlements

The goal of most personal injury lawsuits is to make the injured plaintiff financially whole by requiring the person responsible for the injury to assume its associated costs. For a variety of reasons most personal injury disputes end up settling out of court. In filing suit the plaintiff makes claims for damages suffered in connection with the defendant’s negligence or other wrongdoing. Damages typically include medical bills and property losses. They also usually include lost earnings. Plaintiffs who receive Supplemental Security Income, or SSI, can be surprised to learn that their personal injury settlement can affect their eligibility for continued payments under the SSI program. SSI is a program operated by the federal Social Security Administration that provides supplemental income to qualified individuals. To qualify an individual must, among other things, be disabled, blind, or over the age of 65. The individual must also “have limited income and resources.” A straightforward cash payment as part of a personal injury settlement usually will push an individual out of qualifying under this second, asset-based requirement. An individual with qualified assets worth more than $2,000, or $3,000 for a married couple, is not eligible for SSI benefits. A significant number of personal assets are not included in this figure: the SSA does not count the value of a primary home, a vehicle, household goods, and business property. However, ordinary cash held in a checking or savings account does count toward the resources limit. As such, accepting a check in a settlement can instantly disqualify a plaintiff from continuing to receive SSI benefits. The problem with this outcome is that the funds a plaintiff receives from a settlement generally need to be used straight away to pay off the costs associated with the plaintiff’s injuries. The settlement award is, therefore, not always a windfall but simply a way to pay down debts. If the award also renders the plaintiff ineligible for SSI benefits the effect can be the loss of significant and even vital monthly income. One strategy for overcoming this problem is to create what is called a special needs trust to hold the settlement proceeds. Trusts are legal entities that are created by carefully preparing paperwork. The object of a special needs trust is to place strict limits on how the money in the trust can be used—in the case of an injury settlement, the usual purpose is to pay for expenses related to the plaintiff’s injury. By formally restricting how the plaintiff can use settlement funds a properly designed special needs trust can ensure that the settlement does not qualify as a “resource” that would disqualify the plaintiff for SSI benefits. Problems like those faced by injured plaintiffs who receive SSI benefits are another good reason to work with an experienced personal injury law firm when pursuing a case. For more than 45 years the law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has represented Las Vegas clients in personal injury cases. If you receive SSI benefits and you have concerns about how your personal injury lawsuit may affect your eligibility, we are happy to discuss your case with you. For a free attorney consultation call 702-388-4476 or send us a request through our site.

5 Reasons Your Workers’ Compensation Claim May Have Been Denied

5 Reasons Your Workers’ Compensation Claim May Have Been Denied
You wouldn't be the first injured worker to think you have “a sure thing” on your hands with a workers' compensation claim. As a form of insurance taken out by employers, workers' compensation provides financial remediation (and peace of mind) to people who are injured in the course of performing their job duties. Like personal injury lawsuits, workers' compensation claims must be handled with skill, care and caution because claims adjusters can – and do – reject workers' compensation claims. The most accomplished work injury attorneys in Las Vegas, at Greenman, Goldberg, Raby and Martinez, warn there is “no sure thing” with these claims, especially when:

1. The Employer is Not Notified of the Injury

Employees must notify their employer of an injury immediately – no matter how minor or insignificant it may seem at the time. Some workplace injuries “start small” and escalate within a day or two. Prompt notification of any type of injury reduces the risk of an employer casting doubt on the credibility of a claim – and triggers the inevitable flow of paperwork that must follow.

2. There was a Delay in Seeking Medical Treatment

The shadow of doubt can grow darker over a workers' compensation claim when a worker postpones (or fails to seek) medical treatment. There may be good reasons to do so: A worker may not be able to secure an appointment with a physician; assume the injury will improve on its own; or think they need permission from the employer first. Rather than jeopardize a legitimate claim, work injury attorneys know, seeking medical treatment as soon as possible is tantamount to a successful claim.

3. The Filing Limit Passes

Time is of the essence with the actual filing of the claim, too. Nevada state law gives injured workers 90 days from the day of the injury to file. But pushing the deadline to the limit can cast another shadow over a claim, causing an adjuster to question what took so long. Work injury attorneys strike a balance between thoroughness and expeditiousness.

4. A Discrepancy Exists Between the Accident and Medical Reports

Some discrepancies can be explained; they might be the result of a simple oversight. But discrepancies that cast serious doubt on the assertions in the original accident report are a different matter. Injured workers must report all their symptoms and keep the narrative of their injury consistent.

5. Medical Testing Reveals the Presence of Alcohol or Illegal Drugs

There is no surer way to derail a workers' compensation claim than for a responding physician to find alcohol or illegal drugs in the system of an injured worker, no matter how serious the work-related accident.

Contact Work Injury Attorneys in Las Vegas

These are some of the most common reasons why workers' compensation claims are denied. There are many more. The most skilled and experienced work injury attorneys in Las Vegas at Greenman, Goldberg, Raby and Martinez know there is no such thing as “a sure thing” when it comes to a workers' compensation claim. You may not be able to avoid them all, but we can certainly give you the benefit of the best legal counsel in Nevada when you call us at 702-388-4476 for a free consultation.

Who Can Get Social Security Disability Benefits?


Founded in 1935, the U.S. Social Security program has aided the most needy Americans – the old, the sick and the disabled – for almost a century. The program continues to this day and is a valuable resource for those who can no longer provide for themselves. Eligibility revolves around the amount of time your worked and how recent the work was performed. Here is a quick rundown on who is eligible for and can be helped by Social Security benefits:

Those under 24 years of age – A candidate must have worked for one and a half or more years in the last three ending with the most recent quarter when the disability began. Simply put, you must have worked for half the time you were capable.

Those 24 to 31 years of age – To be eligible, you must work during half the time for the period beginning with the quarter after you turned 21 and ending with the quarter you became disabled. This amounts to about three and a half years of full-time employment.

Those over 31 years of age – Similarly, people in this age bracket must work have full-time employment during five out of the ten year period ending with their disability - not a particularly stringent requirement.

For more information on Social Security benefits and your eligibility for them, please contact us at Greenman, Goldberg, Raby, and Martinez. We can be found online at or reached directly at 702.388.4476.

How Do I Apply for Social Security Disability Benefits?

Apply for Social Security Disability

If you are paid as an employee, part of the withholdings made from your paycheck support the Social Security Disability Program. Accordingly, if you become disabled, and meet the requirements of the program, you are entitled to receive Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits (SSDI), also known as Title 2 or DIB benefits, from the Social Security Administration (SSA). The benefits paid are based on your earnings history. If you need to apply for disability benefits under SSDI, a federal benefits program is administered by each state.

How to Apply for SSDI

In the past, it was necessary to make an appointment and go into your local Social Security office to apply for SSDI benefits. Today, there’s no waiting for an appointment with a Social Security representative - you can immediately start your application online by visiting the US Social Security Administration’s website.

To apply for benefits online you will need to:

You will be required to answer questions about your disability and your work history. You will also fill out a detailed Activities of Daily Living Questionnaire, and you’ll need to submit medical records that support your claim. Your credibility is vital in the application process, and it’s important to make sure all backup material is accessible when you file your claim.

Once your application is submitted, the Social Security office then sends your file to be reviewed for approval or denial, based on the information you have provided. In the event your application is denied, there are further steps you can take, including filing an appeal.

If you have been denied twice and are ready to go to court, please contact our law office at 702-388-4476. You can also reach out to us on our contact form on the home page.

When Should I Apply For Social Security Disability Benefits and What Information Do I Need?

social security disability benefits

When to Apply

It's important to apply for social security disability benefits as soon as you become disabled. The process for applying for benefits can be lengthy, often taking between three and five months after determining eligibility.

You'll need specific personal and medical information when applying. Even if you don't have the information described below, you can get the application started and provide additional information later. When you put off the application process, you may lose out on benefits. 

How to Apply

Many people put off the social security disability benefits application because they're intimidated by the process. However, it's very easy to get the application started. There are three options for getting in touch with Social Security to start your application.

  • Visit the Social Security website at
  • Call the toll free number at 1-800-772-1213
  • Visit your local Social Security office in person

What You'll Need

When you begin your application, you'll need to provide some personal and medical information. To help your application to be processed quickly, be prepared to submit the following documents and information along with your completed application.

  • Your social security number
  • Your birth certificate
  • The names and professional contact information for doctors, hospitals, clinics, case workers, and others who provided your medical care, along with the dates of those visits
  • Information about all medications you're currently taking
  • Any medical records from doctors, hospitals, clinics, case workers, or therapists that you have
  • Lab results and test results
  • Information about your place of employment and your job
  • A copy of your W-2 Form
  • Other filled out forms, as requested

If the social security disability benefits application process feels overwhelming, or if you're confused about your eligibility status, contact a Las Vegas personal injury attorney for assistance. The attorneys at Greenman, Goldberg, Raby, Martinez Law Firm will help you through the process. 

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Who Decides If I’m Disabled for Social Security Disability Benefits?

social security benefits

If you’re disabled, you can apply to receive Social Security disability benefits. The decision of whether to grant benefits is up to the Social Security Administration (SSA) and the Disability Determination Services offices in your state.

Your application will first be reviewed to make sure you meet the basic requirements and worked enough years to qualify for disability benefits. The SSA will also review and evaluate your current work activities.

If your application passes this stage, it will be forwarded to your state Disability Determination Services office. The state agency will look at these components of your case, in the following order:

Are you working?

If your earnings exceed a certain amount, they probably won’t consider you to be disabled. Full-time employment will probably result in a denial of your claim.

Does your medical condition limit you significantly?

Your condition needs to significantly limit your ability to do basic activities that would be required at work, such as walking, standing, and remembering.

Does your disability meet the required level?

The agency has a list of impairments that it considers severe enough to cause anyone to be unable to hold a job. If your condition isn’t on the list, the state agency will determine if your condition is at least as severe as the others listed. If it is, you’ll be considered disabled. If not, the agency will move onto the next step:

Can you perform the work you previously did?

If the answer is yes, your benefits will be denied. If it’s no, the agency will determine if you can do other types of work.

Can you perform other work?

If you can, your claim will be denied. If you can’t do other types of work, your disability benefits will be approved.

Even if your benefits are denied, you can appeal the decisionGreenman, Goldberg, Raby, Martinez Law Firm has the experience to help you appeal your denial of disability benefits. Call 702-388-GGRM (4476) for a free consultation in Nevada.

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How Workers Compensation And Other Disability Payments May Affect Your Benefits

social security disability

Social Security benefits can be affected by many factors, some of which you may not even be aware. In certain situations, if you are receiving workers compensation or other disability payments, your Social Security benefits may decrease.

What is the Difference between Workers Compensation and Other Disability Payments?

Federal or state agencies, employers or an employer’s insurance company typically pay workers’ compensation. If you are receiving this type of payment, you were likely hurt on the job or sustained a job-related injury or illness. Publicly funded disability benefits generally means the payments are made by the local, state, or federal government. If you're receiving this type of benefit, your disability is likely not work-related. You might be receiving civil service disability or state temporary disability benefits, for example.

How Are My Benefits Impacted?

When the government calculates your income, it takes into account the value of all of your benefits. This means if you're receiving Social Security benefits, any additional income you receive, such as workers' compensation or other disability payments, will be added to that number.

This final lump sum amount is the number used to determine if your Social Security benefits will incur a reduction. Your benefits cannot exceed 80% of your earnings prior to becoming disabled; this percentage is calculated as an average using a formula designed for your situation.

If all of the income you're receiving from benefits combines to be greater than 80% of your prior earnings, the difference will be deducted from your Social Security benefits.

Here's an example:

  • Average earnings before becoming disabled: $4,000 / month
  • Social Security benefit eligibility: $2,200 / month
  • Workers' compensation benefits: $2,000 / month

Given the above information, you would receive a reduction in your Social Security benefits. Here is how the calculation would look:

  • 80% of average current earnings: $4,000 * 80% = $3,200
  • SS benefits + workers' compensation: $2,200 + $2,000 = $4,200
  • SS Reduction: $4,200 - $3,200 = $1,000

In this example, your final SS benefit would be $1,200. 

If you are confused about the ways workers' compensation and other disability payments are affecting your benefits, consider speaking with a Las Vegas personal injury attorney who can review your unique situation and discuss any possible options with you. To learn more about worker's compensation in Nevada, contact Greenman, Goldberg, Raby, Martinez Law Firm at 702-388-GGRM (4476).

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What Are The First Three Things You Should Do After You Are Denied Social Security Disability Benefits?

social security disability

When many people think of Social Security disability benefits, they think of the money they’ll receive after they retire in their 60s. But Social Security disability benefits are also used to help people who have been injured or are ill and can no longer work.

People who apply to receive these disability benefits often have their first claim denied. In fact, about two-third of claims that are filed are initially denied. If you’re in this situation, you should do these three things:

1. Promptly file an appeal

Too often, people who have filed Social Security claims simply give up after their claim is denied. They may eventually decide to try again, but by that point, they have to start the process anew. You have 60 days to file an appeal, so it’s important to act quickly on your claim.

2. Seek legal help

An attorney who has experience in filing Social Security appeals can help you have the best chance of having your appeal approved. These types of lawyers can help you navigate the complicated, multi-step appeals process. They can examine your claim to determine if any errors were made. If not, your attorney will know which details need to be emphasized in order to give you the best chance of having your claim approved.

3. Add any pertinent additional information

Your lawyer can help you get additional documentation from your doctors and former employers to help bolster your claim. In addition, make sure to add any new information about your situation. For example, your condition may have become worse since you first filed for disability benefits. You may also have seen a new doctor, had additional testing, or received a new diagnosis. All of this information can help improve your case.

If your Social Security disability benefits have been denied, contact Greenman, Goldberg, Raby, Martinez Law Firm at 702-388-GGRM (4476) for a free consultation in Nevada.

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