Articles Posted in Social Security Administration (SSA)

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Osteoarthritis is a condition characterized by extreme pain, swelling and stiffness of the joints. The condition can make it difficult for a person to stand or walk for long periods of time, and often impairs their ability to work and earn a living.

Osteoarthritis is the slow loss of cartilage from joints. The loss of the cartilage causes friction between bones, resulting in the formation of bone spurs. Osteoarthritis often causes severe pain in the knees, hips, spine and feet.

Early diagnosis of osteoarthritis can help patients who suffer from this condition implement better pain management strategies. Researchers at Warwick University recently announced that they have developed a blood test that can help in the early diagnosis of osteoarthritis.

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Social Security disability benefits payments are not permanent. Your payments will be reviewed periodically by the Social Security Administration (SSA), which could decide to stop benefits.

Disability benefits typically cease when one of the following two criteria are met.

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A person may be eligible for more than one federal benefit program.  Under the Social Security disability program however, your benefits may be impacted if you receive other types of government payments.

For instance, if you are currently eligible for and receiving workers’ compensation benefits, you may find a reduction in Social Security disability benefits that are provided to you. A person may be eligible for workers’ comp benefits if he or she has suffered an on-the-job injury.  Workers’ compensation is paid out by federal or state agencies, insurance companies and employers. If you receive these types of benefits, there may be a reduction in the Social Security disability benefits that you receive.

In addition, if you are also eligible for and receiving other types of benefit payments, like civil service disability benefits, state government retirement benefits, local retirement benefits, or temporary state disability benefits, you may find that these sources of income also impact your Social Security disability benefits. Private disability payment payouts, such as those from a private pension, may not have any impact on your disability benefits.

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Simply stated, you should file a claim for disability benefits as quickly as possible.

It is important to keep in mind that the actual process of approving your claim may take many months because of either backlog at the Social Security Administration or other factors beyond your control.    Also remember that if your claim is denied – and many claims are denied every year- you may have to go through an equally lengthy appeals process before you get your claim approved.  If your initial appeal is denied, you may want to file another appeal.  Overall, this process may take up to two years.  During this time, your medical condition could worsen, causing you additional financial distress.  For that reason and for many others, it is important to get started on filing a claim as quickly as possible.

Sometimes, Social Security disability attorneys work with clients who have waited a very long before filing a claim for benefits.  In many cases, people do so because they believe that their condition will get better and that they will eventually be able to return to work and earn the same income as before.  It’s natural to feel that way, and optimism is good.  However, if things don’t work out as planned it is better to have the financial resources necessary for your living expenses.

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Many of the Social Security disability claims that are filed every year are denied in the initial stages. In fact, according to some estimates, approximately 50% of all initial disability claims are denied.

There are medical as well as non-medical reasons for a denial. The most common reasons for the denial of a claim are medical. When a claim is denied for medical reasons, it means that the Social Security Administration (SSA) simply did not find that a person’s disability is serious enough to prevent them from going back to the work they performed previously, or performing any kind of work that would earn a sufficient income.

Remember, SSA has strict criteria which it uses to evaluate the severity of impairments and to determine whether they significantly impede an individual’s ability to work and earn an income. If the Social Security Disability Administration finds that you have a severe impairment which prevents you from being able to do the work you did in the past, or any other kind of work, and if you’re currently not earning a substantial gainful income, your chances of getting your claim approved are higher.

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Women or men who have been diagnosed with breast cancer and find that their condition no longer allows them to work may be eligible to receive Social Security disability benefits.

It’s very normal for a person to be traumatized, concerned and stressed after any cancer diagnosis. There are doctor appointments to get to, treatment options to consider, and financial stresses to contend with. Among those financial considerations is the issue of whether you are eligible for Social Security disability benefits.

Social Security does provide for disability benefits for persons suffering from cancer. However, merely a cancer diagnosis on its own will not make you eligible for benefits under the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program. The Social Security Administration will consider your cancer a qualifying disability if you are not capable of performing the work that you did before being diagnosed with cancer, and if the cancer makes it difficult for you to do certain types of work. Also, your cancer must have lasted, or be expected to last, for at least 12 months, or to result in death for you to be eligible for benefits.

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The Social Security Administration (SSA) Ticket to Work program allows disabled individuals who are currently deceiving disability benefits payments to transition back into the workforce.

If you are currently receiving disability benefits, and are between the ages of 18 and 64, then you may qualify for the Ticket to Work program. The program allows you to go back to work, and begin earning an income again, while retaining your eligibility for Social Security benefits. The program also allows you to continue to retain some of the benefits that are available to you under the Medicare and Medicaid programs as well as some cash benefits.

The Ticket to Work program also allows you to benefit from an employment network that will help you get in touch with employers and organizations to get started working again. The Employment network will require information about your disability, your work history and other issues, and can help you find that is a good fit.

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If your Social Security disability benefits claim is denied, you have the right to file an appeal. It is very important to do this because many claims are denied initially, but are approved at the appeals stage.

The disability hearing will play a very important role in the appeals process. A hearing takes place before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), and you will be required to present your case at the hearing with your Social Security disability benefits attorney. (It’s not necessary that you be represented by an attorney, but it is highly recommended as the chances of success increases with the help of experienced legal counsel.)

Arrive on time for the hearing, and dress appropriately. It’s best to discuss the questions that will be asked of you at the appeal hearing beforehand with your attorney. Your attorney will make sure your answers are correct, concise, and address the important issues properly.

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If you have begun receiving disability benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA), the agency will expect you to report changes in your circumstances or conditions. Failure to report to the agency when required to do so could result in penalties, including a temporary suspension of your benefits.

For example, if you plan to begin working, or have begun working, or have started a business, you must report this to SSA, no matter how little you earn. Report details including the hours that you are working, and any work expenses that you are incurring as a result of your disability such as a wheelchair, or assistance getting ready for work.

You must also report to the agency if you become eligible for another type of government benefit, such as workers’ compensation benefits. If you qualify for other types of benefits under federal and state programs, inform the Social Security Administration about these.