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Orange County Disability Law Blog

An overview of SSD benefits

Where previously the aim of the Social Security program was to reduce poverty among seniors, it has broadened over time to protect against the risk of losing income from work, whether that income is lost due to retirement, disability or the "breadwinner's" death. At the end of 2016, 61 million people across the country were receiving Social Security benefits, of which 68 percent were retired and 18 percent were survivors or children of workers who had earned benefits, and 14 percent were disabled workers.

California residents might be surprised to hear that a young person who is just beginning his or her career has a 33 percent chance of becoming disabled or dying before they reach the full retirement age to receive Social Security benefits. Therefore, it is important to understand the system that could potentially cover one's finances through their later years. 70 percent of disability beneficiaries were over the age of 70 in 2017 and 35 percent were older than 60.

Can children receive SSI benefits?

California residents may not be aware that the Social Security Administration provides financial assistance to children who are disabled, as per the SSA's rules. The SSA provides cash assistance to qualifying children and the child could also be eligible to receive assistance from other federal programs as well.

The eligibility criteria for receiving SSI benefits are two-fold: the financial criteria of the child, based on their family's resources, and the medical criteria about the child's impairment. A local SSA office makes the income-based determination of the child and their family and a state agency makes the medical determination.

Choose wisely when considering help with SSD claims

As mentioned in a previous post here, depending on a person's individual circumstances, the Social Security Administration periodically reviews the status of applicants to ensure that they should continue to receive SSD benefits. The process can be daunting as it approaches, as many may fear that they could lose the financial assistance they have come to rely on, but the reality is that they are rarely revoked. However, it is always beneficial to have someone explaining the process by one's side, but it is important to know who to rely on for guidance.

Having someone knowledgeable by one's side during the process can be helpful, as the ins and outs can be explained and the requisite paperwork filed from the onset. Many believe that a non-attorney advocate can provide these services, but this is not always the case. An experienced attorney has resources and experience in handling complex matters, including the appeals process up to the last stage to ensure that claimants get the SSD benefits they deserve.

Can I receive SSD benefits for the rest of my life?

When a Social Security Disability benefits claim has been filed and approved, and the benefits are expected to begin coming in soon, the recipient may think the process is finally complete. But, is this true? Does someone continue to receive SSD benefits for the rest of their life once they are approved?

The Social Security Administration reviews recipient's cases periodically in a process known as "continuing disability review." Through this process, the SSA identifies people who may no longer be disabled, as per the SSA's requirement. Reviews are conducted depending on the classification given to the case by the SSA.

Some spinal injuries could qualify for Social Security Disability

Like many medical conditions, the severity and consequences of a spinal cord injury vary drastically from patient to patient. Some people who suffer spinal cord damage experience an incomplete injury, where the spinal cord gets cuts or damaged but not severed. For these individuals, recovery is sometimes possible. With medical aid and physical therapy, those with incomplete spinal cord injuries could regain full function in the affected areas, or learn to live with moderate symptoms.

For others, however, the spinal cord injury is complete. In these cases, the spinal cord is fully severed, preventing the possibility of healing or a full recovery. Those with complete spinal cord injuries may experience a permanent loss of function, strength or control of substantial parts of their bodies. Depending on the individual's injury and career, spinal cord injuries may put an end to someone's ability to work.

When are SSD claims expedited?

The backlog in processing times for Social Security Disability benefits claims has been highlighted recently, with some estimating that it can take up to three years before someone receives their first SSD benefit. Many people do not survive to see their claim become successful and others often give up when their claim is initially denied, as is often the case. Anaheim residents may not know that there are certain fast track processes that could get a deserving party benefits faster.

If a claimant can demonstrate that they do not have the resources to get food, water or medicine for themselves, their case could be classified as one of 'dire need'. Additionally, if someone is homeless, they should inform the Social Security Administration, as that could also qualify for a dire needs case that needs to be expedited. It is important to keep in mind then that almost all applications received by the SSA are from those people who truly facing financial hardship, so providing documentation such as an eviction notice or pharmacy records demonstrating medical expenses, is very useful.

Brain injuries can affect ability to find employment

Those working in an office understand the importance of communicating with others-not only does it conversing with one's coworkers make for a more tolerable workspace but it is also essential to get the job done. Additionally, concentration and the ability to recall pertinent information in a timely manner are essential qualities to remain gainfully employed and many people do not realize how important they are. But those who are unable to demonstrate these abilities know just how much they are lacking.

A traumatic brain injury, either caused by a work-related injury or a car accident, affects a person's ability to function normally and work in a number of ways. Not only does it have the potential to affect someone's communication skills, concentration ability, ability to grasp, lift or carry items, it also can cause seizures, strokes and other neurological problems. All of these can severely limit a person's ability to find and hold down gainful employment.

Understanding SSI, FRA and other common Social Security terms

SSI, AIME, and FRA are all terms commonly seen on social security claims and paperwork relating to them, but to those who are already feeling overwhelmed by the process, these words could be the last straw of patience. In order to ensure that one fills out the claim correctly and accurately, it is important to know what these terms refer to.

Should I file a new claim if my SSD claim is denied?

As has been mentioned previously on this blog, most first time Social Security Disability claims are denied. There are a number of reasons for this, including an insufficient amount of medical evidence or ineligibility due to work credits. When a claim is denied, many end up filing a new disability claim. But is this the right course of action?

When someone files a new claim as a response to a denied claim, the chances are high that the second claim will also be denied. In fact, all subsequent claims could end up getting denied because the applicant is most likely submitting the same claim to the disability examiner at the disability determination service and will be subjected to the same evaluation process as they were before. This will result in another denial.

Cancer won't automatically qualify for Social Security Disability

The world seems to stop when you learn that you have cancer. Your mind will automatically turn to some very difficult questions that involve your prognosis, life impacts and treatment plan. This is completely understandable under the circumstances.

One thing that becomes quickly evident is that the world doesn't actually stop when you are diagnosed with cancer. Your bills will continue to roll in, even if you have to stop working while you go through treatment. For this reason, seeking benefits from Social Security Disability might be necessary. Here are some points to know about this program and cancer:

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Anaheim, CA 92806

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