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Columbia MO Social Security Disability Law Blog

Tips for getting approved for SSD the first time

Even when you have a strong case for being granted Social Security Disability benefits, the odds are stacked against you. From 2004 to 2013, the Social Security Administration approved just 36 percent of claims, according to CNBC.

If SSA denies your initial application, you can appeal. A Social Security Disability attorney can boost your chances of prevailing on appeal. But maximizing your chances of getting approved the first time will save you time and get you your rightful benefits sooner.

Painkillers may impede recovery from nerve damage

Living with chronic pain can be disabling in and of itself, but it is often a symptom of a broader disability that also causes other problems. Millions of Americans rely on painkillers to function, and many of them are able to work and care for themselves with the aid of narcotics.

But for many people, narcotics can mask the pain but not the disability itself. That is the conclusion of a new study of people living with nerve damage. The researchers said that narcotics cannot improve movement or reduce disability for this type of condition, and may actually impede recovery, according to U.S. News and World Report.

Kidney disease saps your ability to work

Your kidneys are key to keeping your body healthy. However, most people don’t give their kidneys much thought -- until they stop working properly.

The kidneys’ primary function is to remove waste and excess water from the body. Chronic kidney disease (CKD) interferes with this vital process by gradually reducing kidney function. As time goes on, someone with this terrible condition may become too sick to work anymore.

Nixon proposes $131M in spending for developmental disabilities

People in Missouri who work with developmentally disabled people would be set for a significant raise, if a portion of Gov. Jay Nixon’s 2017 budget proposal passes the Legislature.

The Associated Press reports that as part of his budget, Nixon is proposing $131 million in new spending on research and care for the developmentally disabled. Most of that money would go into the pockets of service providers. Nixon proposes spending $73 million on pay raises for them -- a 3 percent raise across the board, with additional increases for providers at the bottom of the pay scale. The money for these raises would come from a mix of federal and state funds.

How you can legally work while receiving full SSD benefits

People approved for Social Security Disability benefits are not required to try to work again. After all, the Social Security Administration has determined that SSD recipients are unable to work due to a disability.

Still, many people receiving disability benefits decide to attempt to return to the workforce. Perhaps their condition has improved over the years, or new technology has emerged that can help accommodate their condition.

MO official calls for more coordination between disability services

The State of Missouri offers services for people living with a developmental disability, and for those dealing with mental illness. However, a state official recently acknowledged to The Missourian, the government could do more to help people who are living with both.

Valerie Huhn, director of the Missouri Department of Mental Health’s Division of Developmental Disabilities, said in an interview in December that her division and the division that serves those with developmental disabilities need to do a better job of communicating. Lack of back-and-forth between the two divisions is letting down the approximately 1,200 Missourians who receive services from both divisions, she said.

Help! My SSDI claim for my mental illness was denied

If your application for SSDI was recently denied, rest assured, you are not the only one. The application process for a mental illness can seem very overwhelming and learning that your claim was denied can feel like all hope has been lost. Fear not, though, many claims are denied the first time they are submitted and some of those denied claims are simply because something was missing or not enough information was provided.

What are some of the things that could help your mental impairment claim? Great question!

Inside the SSA's process for evaluating disability

The Social Security Administration is one of the largest federal government agencies, and understanding how it assesses physical disability can be difficult. All applications for disability insurance claims (SSD claims) are initially reviewed by the Disability Determination Service agencies in each state, and all DDS agencies apply a five-step analysis in reaching a final decision.

The first step is to determine whether the applicant is financially eligible for benefits, that is, unable to engage in gainful employment. Anyone who is engaging in substantially gainful activity is usually denied without further question. The second stage is an inquiry into the nature and degree of the applicant's medical or physical disability. If the impairment is not permanent and total, or if it is not expected to be fatal, the application is also denied. If an application passes steps one and two, the file is next reviewed to determine whether the mental or physical condition satisfies the agency's written criteria for disability. If an application is denied at this step, it is reviewed to see if the applicant has capacity for any type of work. An applicant that satisfies the written criteria at step 3 is usually approved for an award of benefits.

The basis of Social Security disability benefits

Citizens of Missouri are eligible to receive government benefits from the Social Security Administration if an injury has made it impossible for them to work. The rule is easy to state, but knowing whether and how it applies to an individual's unique situation is not always so simple. A single blog post does not have sufficient room to explain all features of Social Security disability law, but a review of basic principles of SSD claims can be helpful.

The basic rule is that, in order to receive disability benefits, a person must be physically unable to perform the basic work related duties of his or her occupation, the person's physical condition prevents adaptation to another type of work and the disability is expected to last for at least one year or to result in death. The applicant must also have worked for a specified period depending upon his or her age. For example, a claimant who is younger than 28 must have worked for a period of 1.5 years, while a claimant who is 50 must have worked continuously for a period of seven years.

Can I get both SSD and workers' compensation benefits?

Many people who have gone from healthy enough to work to unable to work due to a disability get that way because of a work-related injury. For instance, a job that involves lifting heavy objects eventually can lead to severe back problems. Or a terrible accident can leave a worker with a brain injury that makes earning a living impossible.

Social Security Disability benefits are a vital option for people in this situation, but it may not be the only one. Workers’ compensation may also be available, but pursuing both types of benefits can be risky, due to the rules surrounding SSD.

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