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Columbia MO Social Security Disability Law Blog

The Social Security Disability process, explained

Those in Missouri who are dealing with a severe long-term injury, condition or illness that forced them to stop working probably know that they may qualify for Social Security Disability benefits. But if they have no experience applying for SSD, the process may seem confusing and overwhelming.

Basically, there are five steps that SSD applicants may have to go through before the Social Security Administration approves their benefits. Of course, every case is unique, and some applicants do not have to do all of these steps, so this is more of a general guide.

Mother urging Disney to create 'princess' with Down syndrome

Though Walt Disney animated films remain hugely popular in Missouri and, indeed, around the world, some people criticize the media giant of not being inclusive enough in its characters. For example, they point to the lack of racial diversity among its heroes, and note that many of Disney’s “princess” characters portray an unrealistic body type.

The mother of a baby girl adds another criticism that many parents of children with disabilities may share: none of the characters in any Disney movie have ever had Down syndrome.

Obsessive compulsive disorder can take over your life

There is a difference between relatively minor compulsions and obsessive compulsive disorder. This mental disorder causes intrusive and disturbing thoughts that are impossible to ignore. In the grip of these thoughts, patients turn to irrational rituals that provide some relief from their anxiety.

These rituals can be tied to a particular fear, such as germs. Excessive hand washing or an inability to touch doorknobs are common symptoms of obsessive compulsive disorder, which is also known as OCD. However, OCD-related behaviors need not be tied to a specific anxiety. Other rituals can include opening or closing a door a specific number of times, or counting to a certain number before the person is able to do an activity.

Program adapts motorized toy cars for children with disabilities

Toy companies do not always design their products with disabled children in mind. For example, no motorized cars on the market currently can be driven around by children living with significant physical challenges.

However, a nationwide project called Go Baby Go has a way to let disabled toddlers enjoy the fun and developmental benefits of zooming around in their own toy cars. Go Baby Go modifies existing cars to accommodate a child’s limitations, allowing the child to drive him- or herself.

Examples of illnesses that qualify for SSD benefits

Whether you develop a chronic illness from environmental exposure, or a genetic condition grows worse, or just general aging, the condition could overwhelm you and bring you to the point of disability. The Social Security Administration recognizes many chronic, debilitating and terminal illnesses as causing disability. People with a qualifying condition who can no longer work may be able to receive Social Security Disability payments, depending on their work history.

What disorders and diseases for which the SSA will approve SSD benefits is not static, and changes from time to time. Here is a sampling of the sorts of disabling conditions that can qualify a person for disability benefits:

Slipped disk in the spine can force you to stop working

Anyone who has ever suffered a back injury knows how painful and incapacitating it can be. If the injury is serious enough, it can also limit your ability to do your job. It may even get to the point where you must stop working and go on Social Security Disability benefits, at least for a while.

One common type of back injury is called a slipped disk. As readers know, the spinal column that protects the spinal cord is made up of bones called vertebrae. In between the vertebrae are cushioning disks made of softer material that absorb shocks from our moving around, to protect the bones from harm.

Those with Down syndrome living longer, developing Alzheimer's

Decades ago, people with Down syndrome and their families rarely had to deal with neurological illnesses normally associated with old age, such as Alzheimer’s disease. Though it is grim to say so, the fact was that few with this intellectual disability lived long enough to face dementia.

Thanks to medical advances, people with Down syndrome are living longer than ever. But because of their genetic makeup, this means that they are at high risk of developing Alzheimer’s, Disability Scoop reports. Those with both Down syndrome and Alzheimer’s disease often lose skills and mental abilities they may have spent years learning.

9/11 first responder cleared of fraud, but can't regain benefits

Part of the horrific tragedy of the 9/11 terrorist attacks was the fate of many first responders who bravely tried to rescue victims inside the World Trade Center. Many lost their lives. Others survived, but were left with illnesses and injuries that linger to this day.

As Americans, we honor the sacrifice of these police officers, firefighters and EMTs. However, in some cases when these first responders later applied for Social Security Disability, they were accused of fraud and charged with a crime.

Senate committee: 29% of disabled Americans are in poverty

For those who accuse people who receive Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income payments of taking advantage of the system, a government report recently announced that nearly three in 10 disabled people live in poverty.

The U.S. Senate’s Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee reported the findings after receiving feedback over the summer from more than 400 people living with disabilities. The respondents painted a picture disabled people who are able and willing to work, in some cases, but cannot find adequate employment.

Aphasia can rob the ability to speak, write

With all the attention that brain injuries have received in the press in the past couple of years, most of us are aware of common symptoms of a traumatic brain injury, even if we have never experienced one ourselves. Dizziness, sensitivity to light, memory problems, nausea, confusion: these are the sorts of debilitating symptoms the average person associates with TBI.

However, there are more rare effects of brain injury that nevertheless affect a significant number of people, both in Missouri and around the country. They are often quite disabling, possibly forcing the person with the condition to quit working, at least until they can recover.

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