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Columbia MO Social Security Disability Law Blog

If am ill because of an addiction, can I still get benefits?

Many people quietly struggle with a drug or alcohol addiction. Contrary to a popular conception, many if not most of these struggling souls actually go to work almost every day and live productive, seemingly normal lives.

However, their habit can catch up with them if, because of excessive drug use or drinking, they develop a debilitating medical condition that forces them out of the workforce. Although they would probably be the first to admit that their plight is to some degree one of their own making, they still will need a means of supporting themselves in their disability. Some may also have families that count on them for support.

Disability benefits for liver disease

When a Columbia, Missouri, resident thinks of liver disease, the first thing that might come to their mind is alcoholism. While it is true that drinking too much alcohol can over time cause medical problems with the liver, it is not the only reason people develop liver disease.

Moreover, even for those who may have struggled to control their alcohol consumption, disability benefits through the Social Security Administration are usually awarded without regard to fault, although it is possible a person may be expected to go and get treatment.

Representing Missourians with chronic pain

A previous post on this blog discussed how Boone County, Missouri residents who live both in Columbia and in the rural parts of the area may find it hard to get Social Security disability benefits for their chronic pain.

Even though chronic pain is a medically diagnosed condition, it can be difficult to prove one is entitled to benefits, in part because the condition is mysterious, and doctors do not yet fully understand its physical cause.

The problem with pain in SSD claims

One of the most frustrating things a Columbia, Missouri resident can face in life is a serious medical condition that has no apparent cause. Chronic pain is one such medical condition. A person feels it acutely and may not be able to work or even do much more than get out of bed because of it, yet neither "pain" nor the cause thereof is going to show up on any medical or laboratory test.

There two things Boone County residents should remember about severe and chronic pain. The first is that while the condition is hard to pinpoint and largely mysterious, it is not all make believe or the result of excuses made by someone who does not want to work. Many experts believe that chronic pain can be traces back to problems with the way one's nerves transmit signals. An injury, even a relatively minor one that heals quickly, can cause or aggravate these problems.

Social Security disability payments going up slightly in 2018

The Social Security Administration has announced that, effective in 2018, there will be a 2 percent cost-of-living increase, or COLA. This means that Boone County residents who are drawing SSDI or SSI benefits will see a few more dollars, a little over $25, in their pockets each month.

This is the largest COLA increase since 2012, but, as many disabled Missourians know, $25 more a month is not going to make anyone wealthy. In fact, in many cases, the COLA will simply not be enough to offset the additional costs disabled people have to pay each year as the cost of medical care and other necessary expenses go up.

More on long-term disability benefits

A previous post on this blog discussed how not all of our clients, no matter how much they want it and how hard we try on their behalf, are going to qualify for benefits through the Social Security disability programs. As with other areas of the law, sometimes the law, including the federal regulations governing disability, and the facts just aren't going to support one's SSD claim.

The post also reviewed a couple of other option Boone County, Missouri, residents may have under such circumstances and indicated that our office could help pursue those options.

Even if Social Security doesn't work out, we can still help

This blog has on many different occasions discussed how our law office works hard to help residents of Columbia and the rest of Boone County who are suffering under all types of disabilities get Social Security benefits. These benefits are often a financial lifeline for our clients, especially since they are unable to work due to the disability.

Despite our extensive knowledge and experiences, as well as our dedication to each one of our cases, there are unfortunately some times in which we have to deliver an injured or sick Missouri resident the bad news that their medical condition is unlikely to qualify them for benefits. This does not mean that they are faking or exaggerating their condition or really could work if they wanted to; what it means is that the law, as it is written, simply does not afford assistance in their particular case.

Even a minor brain injury can be a huge problem

Many residents of Columbia, Missouri and outer Boone Country probably recognize that a person who has suffered a severe brain injury and is comatose or unable to perform basic life functions is disabled. However, what some Columbia residents might not fully appreciate is that even what experts call a mild of moderate traumatic brain injury, or TBI, can potentially give rise to successful SSD claims.

For instance, according to the Mayo Clinic, a so-called mild TBI can initially leave a person unconscious for a few minutes and suffering from a headache or stomach upset. While these are not necessarily conditions that keep a person from working, other, longer term affects can include serious fatigue, dizziness, problems with one's senses, and difficulty remembering and focusing.

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.

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