Gardberg & Kemmerly, P.C. Attorneys at Law

Social Security Disability 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.

Pushing through the difficult SSD benefits application process

Our readers in Alabama who are familiar with our previous posts know that the process to apply for Social Security Disability benefits can be quite arduous. The Social Security Administration is strict about the eligibility requirements that must be met for disabled workers to receive SSD benefits. At first glance, the requirements and eligibility criteria that must be met can seem pretty daunting. However, if disabled workers believe they are entitled to SSD benefits, it is important to push through what can be a difficult process.

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.

The information sought in Childhood Disability Interviews

As readers in Mobile, Alabama, and the rest of the country know, children with disabilities are entitled to Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits. In order to determine the eligibility, the Social Security Administration (SSA) conducts Childhood Disability Interview and generates a Child Disability Report. This method is applicable to those children for whom the Child Disability Report is not created online.

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.

Onset Date of Disability

When a Claimant first files for Social Security disability, he or she is asked for the onset date of disability or the date that he or she first became unable to work as a result of a disabling medical condition. For some, this question can be answered easily if they became disabled after a car accident or after having been diagnosed with cancer. The onset date of disability would be the day of the accident or the day they were diagnosed. Most disability applicants allege that they became disabled on their last day of work.

Information to be submitted when applying for SSD benefits

One of the most important factors in a successful SSD benefits claim is the documentation that needs to be submitted at the time of applying. In fact, a common reason for claim rejections is the lack of proper documentation. This post will delve into all the personal, professional and medical information that applicants must include in their applications for a successful SSD benefits claim.

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