Social Security Disability &
  Special Needs Planning News from
 Sheri R. Abrams, Attorney at Law,
 Partner at Needham Mitnick & Pollack, PLC  
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NMP Newsletter


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In This Issue
Sheri is Now Helping Clients Discharge Student Loans Due to Disability
What Are Social Security Disability Consultative Exams?
How to Get Help in the Cold Weather


Attorney Judith Mitnick will be making a presentation about "Guardianships" to the Annandale High School PTSA on December 19th at 7:00 PM.  Annandale High School is located at  4700 Medford Drive, Annandale VA 22003.


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NMP is again sponsoring the "Reel Abilities" Film Festival.  Reel Abilities is  the largest festival in the country dedicated to promoting awareness and appreciation of the lives, stories and artistic expressions of people with different disabilities.  For more information please click here.

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Source: Reprinted from the December 2013 Newsletter of Sheri R. Abrams, Attorney at Law, Needham Mitnick & Pollack, PLC 



Issue: # 65

 December 2013

Picture of Social Security Card and Dice




Welcome to our monthly newsletter. 


These monthly newsletters are designed to provide useful information on Disability Law & Issues with a special emphasis on Social Security Disability & Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits and Special Needs Trusts & Planning.


You may have been added to our e-mail newsletter mailing list if you are a client, business associate, a Facebook friend, a Linked-In connection, or another professional contact of Sheri R. Abrams, Attorney at Law, or the Law Firm of Needham Mitnick & Pollack, plc.


You may unsubscribe by clicking on the link at the end of this e-mail.



Sheri is Now Helping Clients Discharge Student Loans Due to Disability


student debtThere is a solution available for people with certain disabilities who are struggling under the weight of student loan debt.


If you are disabled and unable to work it is possible to have your student loan debt discharged, or eliminated. This means your student loan debt is completely erased.


The problem is that the laws, regulations and procedures to accomplish this are nearly impossible to understand and follow.  That's why few people end up getting the help they need.


With my knowledge and experience in

representing people in Social Security Disability matters, I am in a unique position to help you obtain a student loan discharge due to disability if you qualify.


Please call my office at 703-536-7778 to set up a consultation with me to see how I can help you end the harassment, bills and threat of bankruptcy that are looming over your head.


What Are Social Security Disability Consultative Exams?
doctor/lawyerClients often call me with questions concerning a letter or phone call they received from Social Security saying that they have been scheduled for a "Consultative Examination."   Most clients want to know what the exam is and if they have to attend.   Clients also want to know who has scheduled this exam and what doctor they will be seeing.
What is the Consultative Examination?

A fairly high percentage of those who file for either Social Security Disability benefits or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits will be required to go to a medical examination by the Social Security Administration.  Social Security Disability exams are called Consultative Examinations ("CE exam"). CE exams can be physical in nature, psychological (IQ testing), or psychiatric in nature. They can also include ophthalmological exams, blood work, and the taking of x-rays. The Disability Office that schedules your exam pays for the CE exam and any necessary tests. The exam is scheduled with an available doctor closest to your home zip code.

Why is a Consultative Examination being scheduled in my case?

Sometimes your medical records don't say as much about your condition as you might think they should. For example, your doctor's notes might only say that you complained of low back pain and you were prescribed a pain medication. In other instances, your medical records are hand written and impossible to read, or information from your doctor may be incomplete.  In some cases, clients have not been to see a doctor recently. Limited documentation such as this does not give the disability examiner reviewing your case sufficient information about how your condition limits your ability to function and work.

CE exams are requested by disability examiners (examiners handle initial disability applications) and also by Administrative Law Judges at the disability hearing level. The purpose of these exams is to obtain additional medical information and documentation for an adjudicator (a disability examiner or a judge) to arrive at a decision. Disability examinations that are scheduled by a disability examiner or an Administrative Law judge are mandatory and failure to attend can result in a decision based on existing evidence, or the closure of your case for failure to comply.  However, if you miss a scheduled exam and have a valid reason for this happening, an examiner will usually allow for the examination to be rescheduled.

Who performs the exam?

CE examinations are performed by independent physicians and psychologists who have contracted to examine disability claimants and provide written reports afterwards. The doctors who perform these exams are not Social Security doctors. They are not employed by the Social Security Administration, rather they are independent contractors who are paid for their services. In addition to performing an examination, physicians and psychologists who perform CE exams are required to submit the written results of an examination. Please keep in mind that Social Security CE exams are not for the purpose of rendering medical treatment or making the decision on your claim. The purpose of these exams is to provide a recent snapshot of your conditions and various limitations.

How long does the exam take?

One of the most common complaints among my clients who have gone to CE examinations is that the duration of the exam was only 5-10 minutes. The length of the exam will vary depending on the type of exam that the claimant receives. Examinations for physical allegations can be relatively brief (10-15 minutes is not abnormal), while a mental exam can take considerably longer due to the nature of psychological or psychiatric testing.

What should I do to prepare for the exam?

Being required to go to a medical exam by Social Security is no cause for alarm. Getting an appointment letter or phone call for a CE examination means, at the very least, that your claim is actively being worked on.

Here are some important tips to keep in mind when attending your CE examination:

  1. Arrive a few minutes early for the exam. If you show up late, the doctor may refuse to see you, and the exam will have to be rescheduled. This can add further delay to the processing of your claim.
  2. If you have children, leave them with someone during your exam so that you will be able to give the doctor your full attention.
  3. When you go to the exam, always bring a government issued picture ID, like a driver's license.
  4. Take any medications or pill bottles with you to the exam, and any necessary braces, canes, eyeglasses, or hearings aids that you use.
  5. Have someone go with you to the examination and observe.
  6. Takes notes during and after the examination. How long did the doctor see you? What questions were asked? Were any tests performed?
  7. Cooperate to the best of your ability during the exam. The doctor may ask you to do something that is uncomfortable.  Not trying or refusing to do something the doctor asks, can make a difference in how your disability is viewed.
  8. Be honest and don't pretend to be better or worse than you are.

How to Get Help in the Cold Weather


winterNow that it has gotten so cold outside, here is some information on two programs that can provide assistance:


1) Weatherization Assistance Program---helps low-income families permanently reduce their heating and cooling bills by making their homes more energy efficient. Services may include an energy audit, safety testing and repair of heating equipment and insulating different areas of your home. Learn more about how the process works and whether you are eligible for the program. Keep in mind that if you rent, you must get written permission from your landlord before any weatherization services can be performed. For more information on this program, click here.


2) Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)----offers bill payment assistance to reduce the amount eligible families must pay to heat or cool their home. To learn more about the LIHEAP program, contact your state or territory agency.  For more information on this program,  click here.


Sheri Abrams' Book "Don't Gamble With Your Social Security Disability Benefits--What Every Virginia Resident Needs To Know To Win A Social Security Disability Case" Is Available

Picture of Book 
For more information please click here to see our Press Release.  


Available for purchase at or you can download a free copy of the book at: 







Now Available For Nook & Kindle



"Don't Gamble With Your Social Security Disability Benefits--What Every Virginia Resident Needs To Know To Win A Social Security Disability Case" is now available for the Nook here.


and the Kindle here.




The law firm of Needham Mitnick & Pollack, PLC, is located at:


NMP's Office Building 


400 S. Maple Avenue
Suite 210
Falls Church, VA 22046
(703) 536-7778



This is in downtown Falls Church and the office has plenty of free and accessible parking.



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If you know of someone who could use my legal services or any of the other members of the law firm of Needham Mitnick & Pollack, PLC, please forward to him/her this e-mail newsletter or give him/her our telephone number: (703) 536-7778.


We provide legal services in the areas of Social Security Disability Law, Elder Law, Wills and Trusts, Probate, Trust Administration, Powers of Attorney, Advance Medical Directives, Guardianships, Long Term Care Planning, Disability Planning, Medicaid Eligibility, Student Loan Discharge, Veterans Benefits and Special Needs Trusts.
If you, or someone you know, is involved with an educational event or support group that would benefit from a presentation on any of the areas of law for which we provide legal services, please call us at (703) 536-7778.