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Columbia MO Social Security Disability Law Blog

How to improve your chances for filing a successful SSD claim

It is no secret that applying for social security disability is a complicated, stressful and often unsuccessful process. The majority of claims are denied the first time around, so persistence is key, but the appeals process can be equally lengthy and daunting. So, what are some other ways that you can increase your odds?

This issue is often looked at and discussed by many experts in the field who provide tips for success.

Navigating SSD benefits for workplace injuries

Workplace injuries make up a large percentage of SSD claims. Workers injured on the job who receive benefits through state workers compensation programs may also be eligible for SSD benefits. An employee may receive workers compensation for temporary or permanent workplace injuries. However, in order to qualify for SSD benefits, the employee must be totally disabled. That is, the employee must be experiencing a disability that is expected to last at least 12 months or end in death.

Therefore, the categories of workers injured on the job who are eligible for SSD benefits is narrower in scope, and limited to those suffering severe and permanently debilitating injuries or illnesses. Some workplace related injuries that may qualify for SSD benefits include traumatic brain injuries, back injuries, spinal cord injuries, and neck injuries.

SSDI covers more than just physical disabilities

Most commonly when we think of applying for SSD benefits we think of individuals who have suffered debilitating injuries and have disabling physical conditions. However, there is much more so SSD benefits then just physical disabilities. You may be eligible for SSD if you suffer from a mental health condition as well.

Any SSD claim can present a challenging and lengthy process as your claim works its way through the system of evaluations and appeals. However, presenting an SSD claim for a mental illness can be even more challenging at times. Where physical disabilities can generally be objectively diagnosed and documented, mental health conditions are often more subjective diagnoses and may be harder to document and prove to those reviewing your claim.

Social Security Disability beneficiaries continue to grow

The Social Security Administration is responsible for collecting data pertaining to its programs and beneficiaries. The SSA recently released data for November 2017 indicating that beneficiaries of social security had reached an all time high, with a total of 61,859,250 individuals receiving some form of social security benefits.

Social Security benefits can take various forms including retirement benefits and disability benefits. An individual may qualify for disability benefits at any age provided that they meet certain requirements, and the amount that they receive for disability benefits will be based on a system of work credits taking into account the number of years that they spent working prior to being disabled.

Navigating the lengthy SSD claims process

Last year, 7,400 people passed away while on the waitlist for SSD claims. This is a startling statistic, particularly if you are one of the over 1 million Americans currently waiting for a hearing on your SSD claim. A wait that currently averages about two years. But don't let these statistics deter you from applying and going through this evaluation process. In fact, what you should do is apply right away. One of the tips recommended by experts is to start the process of filing your claim immediately.

It is clear that the evaluation process and disability determinations can take quite some time to complete. As such, once you file your SSD claim it may still be a while until you can hope to see any benefits. Filing right away - before one's financial situation substantially worsens due to the loss in income - can be vital in avoiding a long period with no incoming money. If your condition improves you can always return to work, but you don't want to wait until things get worse.

SSI benefits provide help for disabled children

Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income are two programs, each designed to address the needs for income and long term care for individuals with disabilities. Social Security Disability, or SSD, benefits adults who have been disabled since childhood (prior to age 22). For children, SSD can be paid based on a parent's Social Security earnings record. Determining the amount a person is qualified for under SSD is based on work credits; these are credits that an individual has earned based on their income during years that they were able to work. Unfortunately, this system can fall short for children or adults who have been disabled since childhood, because they do not have sufficient work history to earn the credits necessary to receive assistance.

For children with disabilities and adults who became disabled as children, Supplemental Security Income, or SSI, offers benefits. A child under age 18 can qualify for SSI if he or she has a condition that meets the Social Security definition of a disability. The child must be either working or be earning less than $1,170 per month; the child must have a condition that seriously limits his or her activities, and this condition must have been disabling or expected to be disabling for at least 12 months. The amount your child may receive under SSI will vary from state to state.

SSD benefits and your "work credits"

Navigating the Social Security Disability benefits process can be tricky, but there is some basic information everyone should know to help them understand the system.

To qualify for SSD, you must be unable to work due to a condition that is deemed to be fully and permanently disabling. For purposes of SSD you may be considered disabled, if you are unable to do the work that you had done previously, your current medical condition keeps you from being able to do other types of work, and your condition is such that it has or will last for at least one year, or is expected to result in death. There is an extensive list of conditions that may qualify for SSD, including, but not limited to, respiratory disorders, neurological disorders, mental disorders and various types of debilitating injuries, such as spinal injuries.

Assistance with addiction-related disability

A previous post discussed how Boone County, Missouri residents who find themselves sick and unable to work can apply for disability benefits through one of the Social Security Administration's programs, even if it is true that their condition may have been caused by a habit of drug or alcohol abuse. A person in this situation, however, may be required to go and get treatment as a condition of continuing to receive benefits.

As other posts on our blog have also implied, our law office is willing to represent clients who have serious medical conditions, such as liver disease or even some form of lung disease, which may be related to alcohol, drugs or another bad habit like smoking.

Former workers facing financial drain while awaiting SSD appeals

With the backlog of disability cases showing no sign of slowing down, many workers across the country, and no doubt in Boone County, Missouri, must wake up to the reality that they will face a financial drain while they are trying to collect benefits after filing their Social Security Disability (SSD) claims. With many, if not most, people getting their initial claims for benefits denied and with the appeal process taking months

The people who are facing these sorts of dilemmas are not always used to poverty and financial struggles. In many cases, they are people who were doing well financially and working in high-paying jobs until they got hurt or sick and could no longer work.

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.

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