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Columbia MO Social Security Disability Law Blog

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.

What can be done to reduce the disability appeal wait time?

The long waiting period likely facing a Columbia, Missouri, resident who has been denied Social Security disability benefits to have a hearing before an administrative law judge is well-known enough that many Boone County residents have probably heard about it, even if they have no intention of applying for disability.

The problem seems to only be getting worse. After a person gets denied Social Security at the initial stage, which can take three or so months, he or she will have to first wait an additional three months for an internal "reconsideration," even though the chances of reconsideration changing anything are slim. After that, SSD appeals to an administrative law judge are a person's only chance at getting benefits, but getting in front of an ALJ right now takes on average 583 days; it will likely be 605 days by this fall.

If I had a work accident, can I still get disability?

While no one leaves their home expecting an injury, many Missourians unfortunately get hurt at work. While many of these work-related injuries are minor, some leave a person permanently disabled and unable to work in any occupation. When this happens, these people will naturally want to get as much compensation as possible.

Our state has a workers' compensation system, and injured workers can draw benefits from that system to cover lost income and medical expenses. But, workers' compensation payments do not stop SSD claims because everyone is permitted to draw from both systems.

Qualifying for disability benefits based on illness

In addition to physical and mental medical conditions that may prevent an individual from working, a serious illness or other health problem may also prevent individuals from working or being able to seek gainful employment. Illnesses can arise based on a variety of factors, and could occur in the workplace based on the kind of work the disabled individual usually performs. Regardless of how the illness arose, disability benefits including Social Security disability or SSD and Supplemental Security Income or SSI may be able to help those living with disabilities as well as their families.

A disabling illness can include heart disease, cancer, diabetes, asthma, chron's disease, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD and learning disabilities and other mental health conditions. Many of these illnesses will prevent an individual from being able to work. When the disabled individual is no longer able to work because of their medical condition, they may be able to obtain Social Security disability benefits.

How does the Social Security Administration define disability?

Understanding how to qualify for social security disability benefits is important for many disabled individuals in Missouri and throughout the country. Disabled individuals considering applying for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits may wonder what the Social Security Administration considers to be a disability and how they can qualify for disability through the SSA's application process for benefits.

Under Social Security Disability Insurance or SSDI benefits, only total disability qualifies for benefits. This means that disabled individuals suffering from a partial or temporary disability is not eligible to qualify to receive SSD benefits. The definition of disability according to the SSA is based on the disabled individual's inability to work.

Disability benefits may be an option for cancer sufferers

During 2017, greater than 1 million victims will be diagnosed with cancer. Most individuals and families have been impacted by cancer in one way or another. National Cancer Survivors Day was recently observed, and it is a good time for cancer sufferers and their families to make sure they are familiar with disability benefits that may help. Social Security disability and its Compassionate Allowances program provide resources and assistance for cancer sufferers.

Disability applications processed for conditions on the Compassionate Allowances list are medical conditions that are considered so severe that they obviously meet the Social Security Administration standards for disability. Additionally, disability applications processed for a medical condition on the Compassionate Allowances list are processed more quickly and with minimal medical information. Because medical conditions on the Compassionate Allowances list are considered so severe to qualify for disability benefits, they are processed on an expedited basis.

What help are Social Security Disability benefits?

Disability benefits can be tremendously helpful for disabled individuals concerned about covering the daily costs of their lives. Disabled individuals may have many questions about these important benefits, how they work and how to obtain them. Social Security disability is a federally funded program that is administered by the Social Security Administration. It is a program that workers pay into.

Social Security disability benefits may be available to disabled individuals and certain members of their family if the disabled individual has worked long enough to qualify for benefits. Provided that the applicant meets the work history requirements, additional medical requirements are also necessary to meet to qualify for receipt of benefits. Disabled individuals must also suffer from a physical or mental medical condition that is severe enough to prevent them from working that is also expected to last for 12 months or longer or result in death.

Understanding the impact of life changes on disability benefits

Many disabled individuals receiving Social Security disability or SSD benefits who understandably rely on those benefits to take care of their daily needs and living expenses may have important questions related to their ability to return to work and what will happen to their benefits if they become eligible for full Social Security retirement benefits. These are important concerns, and disabled individuals receiving SSD benefits should understand the implications of life changes on benefits.

In general, requirements to qualify for SSD benefits includes a physical or mental medical condition that prevents the disabled individual from working and is expected to last 12 months or longer. The impact of reaching full retirement age on Social Security disability benefits is a switch from disability to retirement benefits. It may not be a significant change that the disabled individual receiving benefits notices, as their benefit amount will not change. The disabled individual will be considered a retiree, however, rather than a beneficiary of disability benefits, so they should be aware of that change.

Disability benefits may be able to help after an injury

Victims of catastrophic injuries, such as those suffered in car accidents, may suffer from long-term disability that may require medical treatment, care and rehabilitation. Catastrophic injuries that prevent the disabled individual from working can create a significant financial burden for the disabled individual and their family.

For a physical injury to qualify as a disability, according to Social Security disability requirements, the impairment caused by the injury must prevent the disabled individual from engaging in substantial gainful employment and must be expected to last for 12 months or longer or result in death. In addition, the medical condition the disabled individual suffers from must be medically established. Injuries that may qualify for Social Security disability benefits can include severe neck or back injuries, head injuries, traumatic brain injuries, paralysis, neurological disorders, chronic pain and other disabling injuries and health concerns.

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