Gardberg & Kemmerly, P.C. Attorneys at Law

Mobile Social Security Disability Law Blog

SSA may fast-track your request for disability benefits

If you suffer from a medical condition resulting from an illness or accident, you understand how difficult life can be. Perhaps you are no longer able to work, which makes it challenging to make ends meet. You may have limited resources, and this is prompting you to apply for disability benefits through the Social Security Administration.

You may have heard horror stories about the amount of time it takes for the SSA to process and evaluate a claim, and that the agency does not accept most first-time claims. If your condition is severe or you are in the final stages of an illness that will likely be terminal, waiting months for approval may be something you cannot do. Fortunately, the SSA's Compassionate Allowance program may work to your advantage.

SSDI and SSI for brain injury sufferers and their families

A brain injury can severely affect a person's everyday life. The person who suffers a brain injury may suffer from memory loss, disability, headaches and may be unable to sit, stand, bend and communicate with others. Since brain is one of the most complicated organs in the human anatomy, the effects of the injury are very complex and can differ in every person. In addition, a brain injury can also lead to some serious financial and emotional challenges for the family members of that injured person.

Families of brain injury patients from in and around Mobile, Alabama know that, to recover from a brain injury, a person needs constant moral support and immense medical care. To provide this aid, there are several local, state and federal government programs; religious organizations; non-profit organizations and foundations; and local fundraising events. However, not every patient is able to access those aids, sometimes because of the lack of awareness and sometimes because of an incorrect approach.

Qualifications for Supplemental Security Income

Supplemental Security Income or SSI is a federal income supplement designed to help the aged, blind, and disabled who have little to no income. SSI is different from Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) in that SSDI benefits are paid to Claimants who have worked long enough and paid Social Security taxes. SSI is not based on prior work. The medical standards for SSI and SSDI are the same. Disability for both SSDI and SSI is awarded when a person has a diagnosed physical or mental impairment that is severe and can be expected to last at least 12 months or result in death, and the person, because of the impairment, must not only be unable to do his/her previous work, but must also be unable to do any other type of substantial gainful activity.

SSD benefits for veterans rated "100% P&T" by the VA

Although unfortunate, it is a fact that many former military members from Alabama, and also the other parts of the country, suffered a disabling injury or illness while they were on active duty. Among those veterans, there are many whose total disability rating has been determined by the U.S. Department of Veterans' Affairs as 100 percent permanent and total. Fortunately, veterans rated "100% P&T" by the VA are eligible for certain additional benefits under the Social Security Disability Insurance program.

These benefits are based on the Social Security Administration's guidelines and a veteran can obtain these benefits by filing a separate application with the SSA. It is important to remember that a 100 percent compensation rating awarded by the VA does not assure eligibility for SSD benefits. Rather, the SSA decides the eligibility by determining whether the disability has lasted for one year and is likely to continue for at least another year and whether that disability prevents the veteran from working.

What are SSI Work Incentives?

Mobile, Alabama residents would be aware of the Supplemental Security Income program, which is run by the Social Security Administration. The purpose of the SSI program is to provide financial assistance to those individuals who have limited or no income because of a disabling condition such as physical impairments or illnesses, blindness or old age. The money such people receive in the form of SSI helps in meeting the expenses for basic necessities such as food clothing and shelter.

Besides financial assistance, the SSI program helps the blind and disabled to lead an independent life by leveraging the employment opportunities those people come across. The SSI Work Incentives scheme enables this endeavor by reducing the risk of blind, disabled or aged people losing SSI or Medicaid benefits when they take up employment. Per the rules set by the SSA, the work incentive scheme allows for the omission of certain incomes or resources at the time of determining the amount of SSI benefits that an applicant is eligible for. The scheme also has certain other incentives that provide continuing Medicaid benefits even if that individual is not a recipient of cash benefits under the SSI program.

A disabling injury entitles you to SSD benefits

For many people in Mobile, Alabama a typical day at work involves physically lifting and handling heavy loads. Those people are always at the risk of suffering a back, neck or spinal cord injury. Again, people whose work does not usually require them to physically handle heavy loads may also suffer an injury because of a sudden jerk to the back, for example, while lifting something heavy like a piece of luggage. Additionally, accidents such as slip-and-falls can also lead to an agonizing back or spinal cord injury.

Whatever the cause, there are chances that a neck, back or spinal cord injury is so severe that a person is unable to work any further. Fortunately, the Social Security Administration acknowledges the gravity of such injuries and, therefore, covers those under the Social Security Disability Insurance program. However, in spite of all the rules, regulations and clear definitions being in place, obtaining SSD benefits for disabling neck, back or spinal cord injuries is rarely an easy task.

Adult Children With Disabilities

Adults with disabilities who have never worked may be eligible to receive Supplemental Security Income, as long as he or she meets the income requirements for SSI.  They cannot have more than $2,000 in personal property or income (or $3,000 if married) and any monthly household income must be below a certain threshold. 

Agent Orange Effects Seen in Grandchildren of Vietnam War Veterans

Grandchildren of Vietnam Veterans are being born with birth defects and heart problems that could be connected to exposure to Agent Orange. Agent Orange was a powerful poison sprayed by the military to wipe out vegetation, particularly in Vietnam during the war. The military sprayed more than 20 million gallons of Agent Orange in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia to deny the enemy food sources and cover.

Overview of Social Security Administration's PASS provision - II

The previous blog post introduced the Social Security Administration's Plan to Achieve Self-Support provision. As Mobile, Alabama residents may know, the PASS provision is applicable to those recipients of Supplemental Security Income who try to work despite their disability. The previous blog post mentions the information that an applicant needs at the time of setting up PASS.

After that information is ready, an applicant needs to prepare a work plan and also identify the means and methods that are necessary for achieving those work-related goals. By completing this exercise and setting up PASS, the applicant can obtain a significant relief from the SSA when it comes to SSI benefits.

Substitution of Parties

Given the lengthy process of applying and receiving Social Security benefits and the severity of many Claimants' illnesses, it is sadly not uncommon for a Social Security disability Claimant to die during the pendency of the process. However, if a Social Security disability applicant dies before being approved for benefits, it may be possible for a family member of the Claimant to receive any benefits owed to the deceased Claimant. The rules concerning substitution of parties in the case of a deceased Claimant depend on the type of disability claim filed.

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