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Columbia MO Social Security Disability Law Blog

3 things to do, in case the SSD trust runs dry in 2016

Time is running out to fix the Social Security Disability system’s financial problems. According to a trustees’ report discussed by USA TODAY, the SSD trust fund will run out of money in 2016. This could mean that people in Missouri who receive SSD or SSI benefits could see their payments reduced by 19 percent about a year from now.

Nobody should get the idea that people are living high off the hog thanks to SSD. This year, the average monthly payment was $1,165, with a maximum of $2,663. Take 19 percent out of these payments, and checks that help families affected by disability make ends meet may no longer be able to do so.

Study says those with autism have unique problem-solving skills

The idea of the autistic savant has a prominent place in popular culture. Dustin Hoffman’s character in the movie Rain Man is perhaps the most famous example, but popular culture often assumes that people on the autism spectrum enjoy intellectual or creative advantages in exchange for the limitations imposed by the disorder.

This belief is quite overstated, and many people living with an autism spectrum disorder require a great deal of assistance. However, in some cases there are people on the spectrum who are high-functioning and demonstrate impressive intellectual skills.

Many with terminal disabilities can skip the lengthy SSD process

We have spoken many times in this blog about how patience is a virtue when it comes to applying for Social Security Disability benefits. Initial applications are often rejected, requiring applicants to appeal. The process can take time.

Sadly, many disabled or seriously ill people do not have much time left. A terminal condition could mean an SSD applicant is not expected to live more than several more months. They cannot wait for the regular application process to resolve itself. Instead, they need SSD funds as soon as possible.

The SSA knows mental illness is real, but getting SSD can be hard

Due to advances in scientific understanding, and greater understanding by society, people with mental illness no longer feel the need to hide their conditions. Rather than being ashamed for being sick, people with mental disorders can speak openly about their conditions and seek treatment options that allow them to live their lives.

This is not to say that living with a mental illness is easy. Many people spend years trying various treatment options until they find one that works. Until they do, daily tasks most of us take for granted may be impossible. For instance, it may not be possible to hold a job and earn an income, just when the person needs money to pay for expensive medications and therapy.

8 reasons SSD applications get rejected, part II

In our last post, we discussed how hard it can be to get an application for Social Security Disability benefits approved in the initial phase. These days, the Social Security Administration approves as few as one out of three SSD applications. Not long ago, most applications were approved.

Though many times, the reasons for rejection seem to be mysterious or unfair, other times the applicant does not succeed because he or she does not fit the criteria for SSD benefits. Last week, we discussed three common reasons the SSA gives for turning down benefits, as provided by The Motley Fool. Today, we will share five more reasons.

8 reasons SSD applications get rejected, part 1

We have spoken before in this blog about how difficult it can be to get your initial application for Social Security Disability benefits approved. In fact, the Social Security Administration appears to be getting stricter than ever. The agency, which administrates the SSD program, approved more than half of applications submitted in 1999. Last year, they approved just one third of applications, according to The Motley Fool.

Even legitimate claims sometimes get turned down, which means many disabled people in Missouri must file an appeal to get the payments they deserve. There are several reasons the SSA might reject a claim. Here are three common reasons. We will discuss the rest mentioned in The Motley Fool article next week.

Before applying for SSD, check your work history

The Social Security Disability Insurance program is not need-based. However, the Social Security Administration generally does require that an applicant have put in a certain amount of time earning an income before he or she can qualify for benefits, even if he or she has become disabled under the agency's definition.

One of the requirements to be approved for SSD payments is to have enough "working credits." A disabled worker must have sufficient work history, and have worked recently enough under the rules, or cannot receive SSD benefits.

How a car accident can lead to a claim for SSD benefits

When a lot of people think of the word disability, they oftentimes think of conditions or illnesses a person can be born with. But as our frequent visitors know, this isn't always the case. A person can become disabled because of a condition that develops later in life. A person can also become disabled after being involved in a motor vehicle accident as well.

As you can imagine, motor vehicle accidents extend far beyond simple fender benders. From serious pedestrian strikes to violent head-on collisions, some of the more severe crashes are likely to lead to debilitating injuries or conditions. Let's take a look at a few today.

In Missouri, wheelchairs are tax-free -- but parts are not

Missouri residents with limited mobility likely know that the state does not impose sales tax on wheelchairs and scooters. This exemption goes back to a statute that the state Legislature passed several years ago. However, the author of that bill recently learned that a loophole in the law could mean that people may have to pay taxes to get their mobility devices repaired.

It turns out that replacement parts for scooters and wheelchairs are not included in the tax exemption. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, this came to light when a medical supply company in Springfield underwent an audit, and learned that it should have been collecting sales tax on parts.

White matter damage in parts of the brain may cause depression

Brain injuries can cause a wide variety of troubling symptoms that have a serious impact on victims’ lives. One of the most frightening side effects of a traumatic brain injury (TBI) is depression. There have been far too many cases of high school and college football players committing suicide after suffering head injuries on the field.

Though it has long been known that there is a link between TBI and depression, along with anxiety, just why this occurs remains unknown. Given how common this symptom is -- some psychologists estimate that up to 70 percent of TBI victims develop depression or anxiety -- figuring out the reason could help lead to treatment options.

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