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Columbia MO Social Security Disability Law Blog

Can a repetitive motion injury qualify me for disability?

A repetitive motion injury can affect Boone County residents with little regard to what occupation they work in. For example, carpal tunnel syndrome can have a profound impact on an office worker's ability to type, making it difficult if not impossible for him or her to perform the basic tasks of a job.

Although repetitive motion injuries can affect many parts of the body, there are only two basic types of them. The first type, tendonitis, involves the inflammation of a a person's tendons, which one can think of as strings which join one's muscles to his or her bones. The other type is called bursitis, which involves the inflammation of one of several fluid sacs we all have near our joints which prevent bones from rubbing up against each other without padding.

Congressional subcommittee reviews wait time problem

As Boone County residents who are currently in the midst of SSD appeals know, the wait time for a person to get a hearing before an administrative law judge is too long, so long, in fact, that the problem has attracted national attention, including the ongoing scrutiny of Congress. This Missouri Social Security disability blog has been following this story and continues to do so.

A hearing before the Social Security Subcommittee of the House of Representatives addressed what could be done about the growing backlog of cases and the resulting inordinately long time it takes for people who have applied for benefits to get a decision one way or the other.

Different types of back injuries

Although the most severe type of back injury is an injury to the spinal cord, which can leave a person paralyzed and unable to move, much less work, there are many other types of back injuries that can significantly affect Columbia, Missouri, residents such that they may not be able to hold down a job.

The back is a fragile but important part of the body, and it can thus be injured in a variety of different ways. The two primary types of injury to the back are what are commonly called slipped disks and pinched nerves.

The time it takes to get SSD appeals continues to increase

Despite an initiative to reduce wait times for SSD appeals to get disability benefits, reports say that the overall average wait time for people in Columbia, Missouri, and throughout the country has increased to a record 596 days, or about 1 year and eight months. Back in 2012, the wait time was slightly less than 1 year, that is, 353 days.

Moreover, the notorious backlog of cases pending review before an administrative law judge has also increased. Currently, there are 1.1 million people in the country waiting for hearings on their disability claims, which is up from 700,000 back in 2010.

Representing victims of depression in SSD appeals

A previous posthere discussed how residents of Columbia, Missouri, who suffer from severe depression can get Social Security Disability benefits under certain circumstances. However, that post also alluded to the fact that getting these benefits can often be an uphill battle for a variety of reasons.

Like other mental health conditions, one reason depression is a difficult condition to prove for purposes of getting disability benefits is that, to a bystander, a person suffering from major depression appears to be fine, even if that person in reality is so depressed that he or she cannot work.

Can depression qualify me for disability?

Although there has been much more awareness of how serious the condition can be, there is still a lingering preconception that someone who is depressed can simply "snap out" of the condition. As such, it can be hard for people in Columbia, Missouri, even those who may have clinical depression themselves, to believe that someone might actually qualify for Social Security Disability benefits for the condition.

However, many people in Boone County and throughout Missouri file SSD claims on the basis that they suffer from severe depression. The Social Security Administration, for its part, considers depression a qualifying medical condition which, so long as certain criteria are met, can mean a person is eligible to receive disability benefits.

If the accident was my fault, can I get disability benefits?

Many people in Columbia, Missouri, and in Boone County have accidents, either at work or simply while going about life. While most of these accidents thankfully end with no one getting hurt seriously, in too many cases someone winds up severely injured and, in all likelihood, unable to work.

Proceeds from workers' compensation or from a personal liability lawsuit are not available for all of these cases. For instance, if an accident did not happen at work, workers' compensation will not be available, and if the accident happened to be the fault of the injured person, even if the person did not do anything wrong on purpose, then a personal injury lawsuit is a thin prospect. In short, while health insurance might be available for medical bills, there may be no way to replace the person's lost income after a debilitating accident.

Administration partnering with providers to give faster service

The Social Security Administration is in the midst of partnering with health care providers and hospitals across the country in order to be able to access medical records via a secure electronic communication. This ongoing program may one day help Missouri residents who find themselves needing to apply for disability benefits.

The basic idea of the program is that if an applicant who files an SSD claim has received treatment at an organization that is in partnership with the Administration via the Administration's "Health IT" program, and the Administration is aware of that fact, then the Administration will be able to pull the applicant's medical records in days as opposed to the weeks it takes when applicants have to obtain records by more conventional means.

Proving your injury for SSD benefits

In many cases, it may be clear that a Boone County, Missouri resident has suffered an injury, but not entirely clear how severe the injury is. After all, some people may experience gradual wear and tear injuries on their bodies that leave them in a lot of pain, but with no visible symptoms. Others may not realize the full impact of an injury until well after the fact, as symptoms can show up or get worse over time.

These sorts of injuries are difficult because of the fact that they are hard to prove when applying for Social Security Disability benefits. The applicant will no doubt have significant medical expenses and, presumably, will be in too much pain to work. The problem is, other than their own statements and possibly a doctor's opinion, there will just be no way to communicate the level of their pain to the Social Security Administration easily.

Can you reduce the appeal wait time for SSD benefits?

A recent previous post here discussed what the Social Security Administration and Congress might do in order to reduce the notoriously long waiting time a disabled person in Boone County, Missouri, will likely face should he or she have to appeal a denial of SSD benefits. Unfortunately, there is no magic wand a disability attorney can wave in order to speed the SSD appeals process up for their clients without fail. Sometimes, it is best just to plan on a long wait to get benefits, since even well-organized and complete applications for benefits get denied frequently.

However, there are a few techniques to try to speed up the time it takes for applicants to get a hearing before an administrative law judge and, hopefully, get benefits shortly thereafter.

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