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San Diego Social Security Disability Law Blog

Compassion and knowledge key to helping SSD claimants

Social Security disability benefits can provide a financial life raft to those who are unable to work on account of a debilitating injury or illness. That being said, not everyone who thinks they are disabled will be deemed worthy of benefits. This is because the Social Security Administration strictly scrutinizes all SSD claims it receives, looking for any reason to give a denial. So, disabled individuals need to know the evidence the SSA is looking for and how best to present it in an attempt to meet federal requirements.

Although an individual can certainly choose to pursue their claim on their own, many find the assistance of an experienced legal professional to be extremely valuable. After all, attorneys in this field know the process, how to satisfy certain disability requirements and how to aggressive appeal adverse decisions.

SSD claim appeal wait time continues to balloon

Living with a disability is a challenge in itself; however, seeking benefits to ease a person's life can also be a struggle. Putting together a successful Social Security disability claim can take time. Of course, some of this time is spent building an initial claim that seeks to meet the federal requirements. But even those who think they have put together a strong case may see their claim denied. When this happens, the process can be lengthened considerably.

In fact, new statistics show that the average wait time for an appeal is 596 days. That's nearly two years, rising from a wait time of 353 in 2012. One reason for the excessive delay is that there is a backlog of cases waiting to be heard. It currently stands at more than 1 million cases, which the Social Security Administration attributes to aging Baby Boomers who are now more susceptible to disability.

Social Security disability's evidentiary requirements

Californians who have suffered a debilitating injury or illness need to fully understand the legal options available to them. After all, financial relief may be available to those living with a disability; however, only after successfully applying for Social Security disability benefits. When obtained, these benefits can provide monthly payments to an individual suffering from a disability, allowing him or her to find the financial stability he or she deserves. Although the Social Security Administration lists the injuries and illnesses that may qualify for SSD benefits, proving that one meets the federal requirements necessary to be deemed "disabled" can be quite challenging.

The SSA has strict evidentiary guidelines. Although it may be obvious that medical evidence is of paramount importance to one of these claims, what may not be as obvious is the fact that it must demonstrate that the claimant suffers from impairment. That evidence must be garnered from an acceptable medical source. Of course, "acceptable medical source" is defined by the government.

SSD benefits available for those with bone marrow disorders

The sudden onset of an injury or illness can turn your life upside down. You might have to flip the bill for unexpected medical expenses, find yourself subjected to physical pain and suffering and your emotional wellbeing may take a hit. When one of these conditions leaves you unable to work, you might find yourself facing extensive financial hardship. Those who find themselves in this position may be able to find financial relief through the Social Security disability system, though.

However, in order to recover compensation from this government program, individuals must show that they meet federal requirements that qualify them as "disabled." The specific requirements that must be met are dependent upon a condition from which an individual suffers, and they must be backed by medical evidence. For an example, let us look at the Social Security Administration's requirements for those suffering from bone marrow disorders.

Know the requirements for requesting supplemental security income

The Social Security Administration is responsible for administering a variety of government benefits programs, one of which involves supplemental security income. Supplemental security income may be available to San Diego residents who have limited incomes and who suffer from qualifying disabilities or qualify due to age. This post will discuss some of the requirements that individuals must meet to qualify for supplemental security income, though readers who wish to pursue this benefits program are encouraged to discuss their eligibility with attorneys who work in the Social Security benefits field of law.

First, a person must either be blind, disabled, or over the age of 65 in order to receive supplemental security income. The Social Security Administration provides detailed information regarding what qualifies for a disability and disabilities can result from either injuries or illnesses that affect the applicants' bodies and minds.

We help get the SSD benefits application right the first time

California residents, like other residents across the country, are hard working individuals who probably would like to keep working until they are physically unable to do so anymore. They take pride in their work and the ability to provide for themselves. Which is probably why a disability setting them back can be so upsetting. It can significantly cut short their ability to earn and provide for themselves and their independence.

However emotionally disappointing, an injury or disability that affects someone's ability to perform substantial gainful activity, as discussed in a recent post, it can also be financially devastating. This is why there are various federal programs that help disabled individuals become financially stable. Social Security Disability, administered by the Social Security Administration, is one such program.

Understanding substantial gainful activity

Eligibility for Social Security benefits depends upon two things - a medical condition that lasts more than 12 months and an inability to complete work. Understanding what is meant by an inability to work is very important because if the person reviewing the application determines that the applicant is able to engage in substantial gainful activity, he or she will be denied SSD benefits.

The first thing to look at when determining if someone is engaged in substantial gainful activity is his or her income. In 2017, if a San Diego non-blind resident is earning above $1170 or a statutorily blind person is earning more than $1950, they are considered to be gainfully employed. Federal regulations stipulate the amount and often change year by year.

SSD benefits and genetic photosensitivity disorders

The Social Security Administration (SSA) provides Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits to Americans who can show that they are disabled, unable to work on account of that disability, and meet other federal requirements. In an attempt to help individuals assess whether they may qualify for SSD benefits, the SSA has created a list of qualifying illnesses and injuries, as well as how a disabled individual can show that he or she qualifies under each illness and injury.

For example, disability benefits may be provided to those who suffer from a genetic photosensitivity disorder. However, in order to be considered "disabled" by the SSA, an individual must show that he or she qualifies in one of two ways. The first is to merely show that one suffers from Xeroderma pigmentosum. Those who can show medical documentation of this diagnosis are immediately considered disabled.

Trump's proposed budget cuts deep into SSD benefits

Millions of poor and disabled Americans rely on Social Security Disability (SSD) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) in order to make ends meet. These individuals, many of whom have suffered a serious disabling injury or illness, are unable to work due to their medical conditions. Without their SSD benefits, these disabled individuals would be in financial ruin. Fortunately, those who want to seek SSD benefits can do so by filing an initial claim and, in the event of a clam denial, proceeding through the appeals process.

However, if President Trump has his way, obtaining these benefits could become much harder. According to reports, the president's proposed budget would cut $72 billion dollars from Social Security Disability and SSI over the next ten years. Mick Mulvaney, President Trump's budget director, recently testified before Congress, indicating that the president believes that many SSD recipients actually aren't disabled.

Californians facing disability are not alone

Californians who have been rendered unable to work due to a disabling injury or illness can find themselves is a tough position. On one hand, they need money to survive. On the other hand, they may feel uneasy about turning to what many consider an entitlement program for the assistance they need. Yet, those individuals who are suffering from a disability shouldn't feel like they are going through the process alone.

In fact, a recent study from the Institute on Disability found that more than 12.5 percent of the American population is disabled. This number has remained constant over the last three years. Of course, the risk of disability increases with age, but even those who are young can suffer from a debilitating injury or illness. When this happens, those individuals may find themselves unable to work. The study found that fewer than 35 percent of disabled individuals work, compared to 76 percent of those who are not disabled.