Social Security Disability Lawyer – Dr David Anaise, MD – Tucson

89% Approval Rate in Tucson 

According to data from the SSA only 30% of claimants are approved by the SSA.  Of those denied at the initial level only 40% obtain benefits after a hearing when representing themselves and 63% obtain benefits when assisted by a lawyer.  By 11-01-2007 I represented 240 claimants before the SSA in Tucson. The approval rate of the entire group was 89%.  ( see table) Appeals were taken on behalf of 20 of the 27 claimants denied. The results of the appeals are still pending.  I expect at least 60% success in this group resulting in further improvement in the approval rate of the entire group.


Approved Denied Appeal Total %
Back injury and disc disease 66 7 7 74 89
Fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue 23 1 1 24 96
Neurological conditions including seizures sight and hearing 19 4 2 23 83
Mental, Depression Bipolar cancer 35 6 3 42 83
Heart diabetes asthma Crohn bladder cancer obesity 44 6 4 53 83
Foot hand hip knee neck & shoulder 22 3 3 24 92
Total as of 11-1-2007 213 27 20 240 89



Is Alcohol Abuse A Disability?

  1. The commissioner erred as a matter of law in determining that alcohol abuse was a material factor in causing Plaintiff’s disability.

    An individual shall not be considered disabled if alcoholism or drug addiction would be a contributing factor material to the Commissioner’s determination that the individual is disabled.42 U.S.C. § 423(d)(2)(C). The 9th circuit has determined that the “key factor in determining whether drug addiction or alcohol abuse is a contributing factor material to the determination of disability is whether an individual would still be found disabled if [he] stopped using alcohol or drugs.” Sousa v. Callahan, 143 F.3d 1240, 1245 (9th Cir.1998) ;see also 20 C.F.R. § 404.1535(b)(1) (same). The test therefore as to whether alcohol is a material factor is the following:


Can I Work While Receiving Benefits?

If you are receiving disability benefits and are interested in working, Social Security’s Work Incentives Program can help you. Special rules make it possible for people who are receiving Social Security disability benefits or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) to work and still continue to receive monthly disability payments until they are able to work on a regular basis. 
In addition, if you cannot continue working because of your medical condition, your benefits can start again—you may not have to file a new application.

Work incentives include:
– Continued cash benefits for a time while you work;
– Continued Medicare or Medicaid while you work; and
– Help with education, training and rehabilitation in order to start a new line of work.

The rules are different under Social Security and SSI. 


Credibility assessment

An ALJ is not required to believe every allegation of disabling pain or other nonexertional impairment.” Orn, 495 F.3d at 635 (internal quotation marks and citation omitted).Sometimes a credibility assessment must be done. When a medical impairment has been established, however, the ALJ must provide “specific, cogent reasons for the disbelief” and may not discredit a claimant’s testimony as to subjective symptoms merely because they are unsupported by objective evidence. Lester, 81 F.3d at 834.

Can My Family Get Benefits from Social Security?

When you start receiving disability benefits, certain members of your family may also qualify for benefits on your record.   Each family member may be eligible for a monthly benefit that is up to 50 percent of your disability rate. However, there’s a limit to the total amount of money that can be paid to a family on your Social Security record. The limit varies, but is around 150 to 180 percent of your disability benefit. If the sum of the benefits payable on your account is greater than this family limit, the benefits to the family members will be reduced proportionately. Your benefit will not be affected.


Do I qualify for social security benefits ?

To qualify for Social Security benefits, you must first have worked in jobs covered by Social Security. Then you must have a medical condition that meets Social Security’s definition of disability. In general, SSA pays monthly cash benefits to people who are unable to work for a year or more because of a disability.

Benefits usually continue until you are able to work again on a regular basis. There are also a number of special rules, called “work incentives,” that provide continued benefits and health care coverage to help you make the transition back to work.

If you are receiving Social Security disability benefits when you reach full retirement age, your disability benefits automatically convert to retirement benefits, but the amount remains the same.


Do I qualify for Social Security Income?

What is SSI?

SSI is Social Security Income. SSI makes monthly payments to people who have low income and few resources and are:

•Age 65 or older;

•Blind; or


Disabled or blind children also can receive SSI. The basic SSI amount is the same nationwide. However, many states add money to the basic benefit.

Whether you can receive SSI depends on your income and resources (the things you own).


Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome


This article is largely based on the excellent work of Muhammad B. Yunus, MD, FACP, FACR, FRCPE Section of Rheumatology University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria and his article :A comprehensive medical evaluation of patients with fibromyalgia syndrome Rheumatic Diseases Clinics of North America Volume 28 • Number 2 • May 2002

and Nelson M. Gantz in Noble: Textbook of Primary Care Medicine, 3rd ed., Copyright © 2001 Mosby, Inc.

The legal discussion was excerpted from “Wilborn,s social security disability advocate’s handbook ( James publishing)


If You Receive Workers Compensation

What Payments May Affect Your Disability Benefits?

In most cases, disability payments from other sources do not affect your Social Security disability benefits.  However, according to the SSA, the types of payments that can affect your Social Security disability benefits are workers compensation payments and/or another type of public disability payments.  Workers’ compensation is payment made to a worker due to a job-related injury or illness. It may be paid by federal or state workers’ compensation agencies, employers, or insurance companies on behalf of employers.  Public disability payments that may affect your Social Security benefits are those paid under a federal, state, or local government law or plan that pays for conditions that are not job-related. These public disability payments differ from workers’ compensation because the disability that the worker has may not be job-related. Some examples of public disability payments are: civil service disability benefits, military disability benefits, state temporary disability benefits, and state or local government retirement benefits which are based on disability.


The Treating Physician Rule

Plaintiff argues that the ALJ erred in rejecting the diagnosis of fibromyalgia based

on the lack of objective medical evidence, that the ALJ failed to give weight to the

opinions of Plaintiff’s treating physicians, and that the ALJ misstated Dr. Goldfarb’s

opinion. These are all essentially contentions that the ALJ erred in rejecting the

assessments of Plaintiff’s treating physicians.


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