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Survival Guide

Welcome! 07-19-2011

Welcome to our new website! We are so proud of it and are glad that you have found it.  As you browse through it, you will find many references to resources that will help you survive while your case is pending.  The administrative process involved in social security claims is a slow one although it has been speeding up some in the last couple years.

Look to this page for update and new information that we find as we continue to keep up with changes and proposed changes in the system.  We will also post any new resources that we may find to help you survive while your case is pending.

Again, welcome to the Graff Law Office Incorporated website.  Please contact us through our contact us page for your needs and to retain us for your social security disability claim.

New Law Changing Appeals Council versus New Application 08-19-2011


As of 7/28/11, the law has changed regarding filing a new application for disability benefits while you are making an appeal to the Appeals Council.  Previously, you could have both ongoing simultaneously.  You simply would claim a new onset date starting the day after your hearing decision.  You can no longer do this.

Now you must decide whether you wish to make a new application or appeal to the Appeals Council.  If you make a new application, you must not appeal to the Appeals Council and the decision in your current case would be final.  You could still claim the day after the hearing decision as your new alleged onset date. 

If you wish to appeal to the Appeals Council, you may not file a new application.  If the Appeals Council denies your claim and your case is likely not strong enough to take into Federal District court to continue appealing it, you may then file a new claim.  However, your new alleged onset date would now be the day after the Appeals Council decision.  Naturally, this could be as much as a year or more later onset date.

We will meet with current clients after a denial to help them assess which decision would be better.

Changes for Coming Year 10-25-2011

There are a couple of changes coming to your social security disability benefits this next year.  There will be a cost of living adjustment (COLA) to your benefits this year. This is the first since 2009.  It will increase your monthly benefits by 3.5%. 

Also, the substantial gainful activity (SGA) amount will be increased to $1010.00 dollars gross per month. Recall that if you earn this much or more in gross wages, you are not considered disabled by the administration unless you have extraordinary expenses required to make it possible for you to work.  This is also an increase since 2009.

New Earnings Amount 12-01-2011

Those who are working or planning to work while on disability should know that on January 1, 2012 the amount of SGA will increase to $1,010.00 gross.  Gross is before taxes.

WARNING To Those Who Apply Online For SSI Benefits 12-02-2011

You can file for Retired Survivors Disability Insurance (RSDI) online.  But you cannot apply for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability benefits online. You must call your local social security district office to arrange an appointment to apply for the SSI benefits.  For the Fargo-Moorhead area, the local telephone number is 1-877-335-4114 and the TTY number is 1-800-325-0778.  The national number is 1-800-772-1213.  The address for the Fargo-Moorhead Social Security District Office is 657 2nd Ave. N., Rm 320 (Post Office Building downtown).  Their hours are Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.


Dental Services For Low Income 02-02-2012

Family HealthCare Center now offers dental services in the Fargo-Moorhead area for the low-income.  The address and phone numbers are as follows: Fargo, Family HealthCare Center 306 4th Street North, Fargo, 58102, Phone: (701)271-3332; and, Moorhead Family HealthCare Center 715 11th St. N., Ste 106B, Moorhead, MN 56560, Phone: (218) 299-7830

If a referal is needed for dental services, you can contact Fargo's St. Mark's Lutheran Church 670 4th Ave. N., Fargo, ND 58102 at (701) 298-9245 for this.