November 11 Brillion presentation

For those of you in Calumet County who are interested in learning more about Social Security Disability and SSI, I will be giving a presentation this Wednesday, November 11 at 4:00 p.m. at the Brillion Public Library.  I will be available for a Q&A following the presentation.  The library is located at 326 N Main St, Brillion, WI 54110.

Upcoming presentations on “The Ins and Outs of Social Security Disability” in Brillion and Omro

I will be giving an informational talk at the Brillion Public Library, Wednesday November 11, 2015 at 4:00 P.M entitled “The Ins and Outs of Social Security Disability.”   This informational presentation will provide background information on the Social Security Disability (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) programs, including the basics legal requirements and procedure.  The Brillion Public Library is located at 326 N Main St, Brillion, WI 54110.  For more information, you can visit the library’s event posting:

Additionally, I  will be giving a similar informational talk at Omro Public Library, Friday November 13, 2015 at 4:00 P.M.  The Omro Public Library is located at 405 East Huron Street Omro, WI 54963. For more information, you can visit the library’s event posting at

Update on Wait Time for Hearings in Wisconsin

Almost daily I receive phone calls from clients wanting to know how long they are going to have to wait before their hearing is scheduled.  The reality of disability claims in the most of the country and in the eastern half of Wisconsin, where I do most of my practice, is that the hearing wait time is exceedingly long.  As of August 2015, statistics from the Social Security Administration show the Milwaukee hearing office averages a hearing wait time of 621 days following the request for the hearing being filed.  That is roughly 20.5 months.  The Milwaukee hearing office has sent many of its cases to other hearing offices, including the Oak Brook, Illinois hearing office, where cases are heard by video teleconferencing and are scheduled for hearing more quickly.  Milwaukee remains in the bottom 15% of all hearing offices nationwide with respect to the speed at which hearings are scheduled.  I can report the Milwaukee hearing office had received several new judges whose help will alleviate the lengthy wait time that claimants face.

The problem with thinking “I know someone getting disability benefits and there’s nothing wrong with them.”

Just about everyone knows someone who is receiving disability benefits for a mental or physical impairment that prevents them from working. Many people also claim to know of a neighbor down the street, an ex-coworker, a brother-in-law or a friend-of-a-friend who is getting disability benefits but believe there is nothing wrong with him or her.

Social Security uses many different tests and criteria to determine whether someone is disabled. The rules they use to determine if you’re disabled may be different than the rules they were required to use for your neighbor. When determining if you are disabled, SSA will look at your age, education and work history. There are special rules for those over 50. For example, a 50 year old who has worked in a factory for the past 25 years, and now has bad knees that prevent him from standing would likely be found disabled. A 55 year old who did a lot of heavy lifting at that factory job and can now only lift 20 pounds because of a shoulder injury, but has no problems with his knees would still be found disabled. If you saw either of these individuals mowing their lawn, grocery shopping, or doing any other routine daily activities, you may question why they are collecting disability benefits, however, under Social Security rules, they would “grid out” and be found disabled based on their age and their past work.

“Well, what about my younger neighbor who gets benefits for a bad back and I see him mow the lawn and shovel snow?”

If you are under 50, SSA will look at your case a little differently. Another rule SSA follows is that they will consider a person disabled if they cannot sustain work for 8-hours a day, 5 days a week. So you might see your neighbor outside once a week for an hour mowing the lawn, but you don’t know what happens after he mows the lawn. He might need to lay down for a few hours or a few days afterwards and ice his back. If he needs the rest of the day to recuperate from a one hour task, it is unlikely that he would be able to perform work duties on a regular basis 8-hours a day, 5 days a week.
The most important thing to remember is that Social Security makes decisions based on medical records. You have no way of knowing what is contained in someone’s medical records and how their condition might impact their ability to hold a 40-hour a week job. This is especially true for a physical impairment, or more likely, a mental impairment that you are probably not aware of during your brief encounters with such an individual. Be careful not to judge those about whom you may actually know so little other than what you see.

2015 Chewning Legal Scholarship Winner Annouced

We are proud to announce the recipient of the 2015 Chewning Legal, LLC scholarship, Ms. Abigail Waydick of DeForest, Wisconsin. We wish Ms. Waydick the best of luck in her studies at UW-Green Bay and other future endeavors.

Chewning Legal, LLC awards a $500.00 scholarship each year to one graduating high school senior with a disabled parent who wishes to pursue college education at a four-year university. Further information is available on our website:

Look out for this scholarship again for the 2015-2016 school year.

Blog Post Provided By:

Chewning Legal, LLC
1607 Washington Street
Two Rivers, WI 54241

(920) 663-1006

Chewning Legal, LLC offers scholarship for child of disabled parent

I am pleased to announce that I am sponsoring a $500 scholarship to a high school senior in the state of Wisconsin whose parent or parents receive Social Security Disability Benefits (SSDI) or Social Security Income (SSI). This scholarship will be awarded to an applicant who meets the following requirements:

• 3.5 or higher high school GPA.
• Be a graduating senior in Wisconsin who will be attending a four-year college or university.
• Submit a 1,000 word min. / 2,000 word max essay explaining how their parent(s) disability has affected their life, goals, and education.
• Submit an official transcript with your counselor or school representative signature on it.
• Provide proof that your parent(s) are receiving disability benefits (e.g., a letter or notice regarding the disability benefits they receive.)

If you meet these criteria, please feel free to submit the applicable documents here:

CLE Presentation on Handling a Social Security Disability Case

I will be conducting training for lawyers and other professionals who deal with Social Security Disability claims on December 10, 2014 in Pewaukee.  The program will be held at Country Springs Hotel, 2810 Golf Road, Pewaukee, WI 53187.  It is is conducted by the National Business Institute (NBI). I am one of four presenters.  I will be I will be presenting on two topics:

1.  Social Security Disability: Get the Basics Down; and

2.  Resolve Ethical Issues in Your Practice.

The program qualifies for 7.0 CLE hours for Wisconsin lawyers.  More information and registration materials are available here.

Blog Post Provided By:

Chewning Legal, LLC
1607 Washington Street
Two Rivers, WI 54241

(920) 663-1006


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