Gardberg & Kemmerly, P.C. Attorneys at Law

social security disability benefits for illness Archives

Cost-of-Living Adjustment for 2020

On October 22, 2019, Social Security Administration announced a 1.6% increase in benefits for 2020. This cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) will be effective for Social Security disability beneficiaries for their December 2019 benefits that are payable in January of 2020. For SSI beneficiaries, the cost-of-living adjustment will be made for January 2020 but paid on December 31, 2019.

Stop the Wait ACT

In September it was announced that U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) and U.S. Representative Lloyd Doggett (D-TX-35) authored a bill to eliminate the waiting period for Social Security Disability benefits. Currently, if someone is approved for Disability Insurance Benefits, which are the benefits you paid into when you were working, there is a 5-month waiting period before any payment can be received and a 24 month waiting period for Medicare benefits. This act would eliminate those wait times. This is especially important because both financial support and health insurance is critical to those who are disabled.

How can liver disease lead to disability?

There are many, many different reasons that Alabama residents may end up eligible to receive Social Security Disability benefits. All kinds of injuries and illnesses can leave workers disabled and unable to work to earn an income. Liver disease, for example, is one common illness that can leave a person disabled.

What do you need to know about heart disease and SSD benefits?

Many of our readers in Alabama know someone who suffers from some form of heart disease. This health condition can come in many different forms, but all can result in a significantly detrimental effect on a person and that person's ability to work and earn an income.

Qualifying for Social Security Disability benefits for illnesses

Most of our readers in Alabama know that Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits are available to people who are no longer able to work due to some type of debilitating injury or illness that has occurred in their lives. However, many people do not know the full extent of the qualifying conditions list. When it comes to serious illnesses that could lead to a person's application being approved to receive SSD benefits, the list is long. In general, the illness must be expected to last at least 12 months, or lead to the applicant's death.

SNAP -that was easy!

One of the biggest struggles for those filing for disability and without income is how do I feed myself and my family and how do I pay my bills. There is help for food services if you meet the income requirements. The food stamp program is now called SNAP which stands for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. SNAP's purpose is to help with nutrition by providing monthly benefits to eligible low income households with the means to buy the food they need for good health.

Consultative Examinations

Our office has been advised that due to low funds, no consultative examinations will be scheduled by the Disability Determination Services of Alabama through September 15, 2019 through September 30, 2019. A consultative examination (CE) is an examination by a physician that is ordered by Social Security for Claimants to help decide whether they meet the criteria for Social Security disability. CEs are usually ordered by either the Disability Determination Services or an Administrative Law Judge at the hearing level when the Claimant's own medical sources are inadequate to determine if the Claimant is disabled. A CE is not conducted in order to provide the Claimant with medical advice or treatment. Rather, it is an examination that is supposed to assess the severity of a Claimant's medical impairments as well as any limitations that are a result of these impairments. The examination can either be a physical examination or psychological examination. It can also be blood work, x-rays, or a nerve conduction study.

Function Reports for Social Security Disability

When you apply for Social Security disability, one of the first things you receive in the mail from the Social Security Administration (SSA) is a function report. A function report will ask you various questions regarding your activities of daily living. For example, what do you do from the time that you wake up until you go to bed? Other questions ask how your medical impairments affect your ability to dress and bathe yourself, prepare your own meals, perform household chores, shop, travel, and perform any other activities of daily living.

Will I Continue to Receive my Social Security Disability Benefits forever?

After being award Social Security disability benefits, many clients ask how long they will be able to keep receiving their benefits. The simple answer is that if your medical condition has not improved, you can receive disability benefits for a lifetime. However, all recipients of Social Security disability benefits are subject to periodic continuing disability reviews. During a continuing disability review, Social Security will ascertain whether you have had any improvement in your medical condition that would allow you to return to work. If there has been no improvement in your medical condition, you will continue to receive disability until the next review. Although there is no set length of time for Social Security to review your case, typically Social Security conducts either a 3 year or 5 to 7-year review. However, reviews can be quicker depending on the nature of your medical condition and/or whether or not an Administrative Law Judge expected you to improve with medical treatment.

YOUR RIGHTS TO REPRESENTATION

Did you know you have the right to representation before the Social Security Administration (SSA)? When you appear for a hearing for Social Security disability if you do not have a representative, the first thing the officer or judge SHOULD do is ask you if you want a representative. If you or someone you know has a learning disability, you should be sure and understand this right or make sure you are with them to help them understand this right. The officer or Judge has a legal obligation to advise you of this right and allow a onetime postponement of the hearing for you to obtain such representation.

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