The Social Security Disability system in the United States is very complicated. Whether you are a recently disabled father trying to provide for your family, a single mother who can no longer work because of an illness, or the parent of a child who needs extra help because of a challenging condition, obtaining benefits is not easy. The “system” involves a complex set of rules and requirements that make it very hard for the average person to successfully receive payments.

There is hope, however, and we appreciate you looking for help here. Our law firm provides unique benefits to clients just like you, which include:

  • A singular focus on representing the injured and disabled.
  • Having all important work performed by an experienced disability attorney.
  • A guarantee that you pay no fees unless you obtain social security disability benefits.
  • A proven track record of success in both routine and difficult cases.

Regardless of whether you are considering filing for benefits for the first time, or have been denied numerous times in the past, please call our office at (404) 255-9838. We will discuss your options free of charge, and help you make an informed decision about what to do next. We look forward to talking with you.

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The Social Security Administration (SSA) has announced a Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) increase for both Social Security disability benefits as well as Supplemental Security Income benefits. Disability beneficiaries will receive a 1.6% increase in their benefits, applying to all Social Security disability benefits from January 2020.

Another important announcement by the SSA has to do with the increase in the substantial gainful activity (SGA) threshold. SGA refers to work that helps a person earn a certain amount of money. A person engaging in SGA is not eligible for disability benefits. Those levels have now been increased to $1,260 per month from $1,220 per month. This applies to non-blind beneficiaries. Blind or visually-impaired persons typically have a higher substantial gainful activity limit. The current limit is $2,040, and this has been increased to $2,110.

There has also been an increase in the Trial Work Period threshold for Social Security disability beneficiaries. This has been increased to $910 per month, from the current $880 per month.  Correspondingly, there has also been an increase in the threshold of Social Security benefits earnings that are subject to taxes.  That limit has been increased from the current $132,900 to $137,700.

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Unfortunately, scammers targeting your Social Security numbers are on the rise, according to a BeenVerified report. Last year, this fraud cost Americans $19 million, according to the Federal Trade Commission. Scammers are using new tactics to get hold of your personal information; in order to make sure your valuable information is not compromised, it is important to be prepared.

Here are some examples of notorious Social Security scams. Someone calls you and says “your Social Security number has been suspended.” This is a scam, because the Social Security Administration (SSA) says so. The SSA never suspends, revokes, blocks, or freezes Social Security numbers. The SSA also will never ask you to confirm your Social Security number over the phone.  Another common scam is when the caller says that “a federal case has been brought against your Social Security number.” Or, they may say that  a “legal procedure” will be taken if you don’t call back. This is also a scam, because the government never threatens anyone for crimes associated with their Social Security numbers. Lastly, the SSA will never ask you to send money to a dismiss a case against you. If someone requests money claiming to be the SSA, it’s a scam.

There are some important red flags to alert you to a scam. If it looks too good or too bad to be true, it’s probably a scam. In general, if your gut says that what being offered can’t possibly be right, breathe and consider whether it may be a scam. Also, if the caller is aggressive or makes threats of arrest or police involvement, it is probably a scam. Lastly, if the caller demands you act right now, it is likely a scam. In all these instances, hang up immediately and do not press any buttons or call back this number. You can then report this call to the SSA by dialing 800-772-1213.

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Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers in the United States. About 1 in every 8 American women will develop some form of breast cancer during her lifetime. Early detection and diagnosis is key to a full recovery.

There are several myths around breast cancer and its eligibility for Social Security disability benefits that must be dismissed. In recent years, there has been a push towards discrediting mammograms as an ideal way to detect breast cancers.  However, thanks to an increasing array of medical technologies including 3D printing, we are now able to diagnose breast cancer using mammograms much more accurately than before. Women above 40 years old should schedule their mammograms.

Another common myth is that breast cancer always shows up in the form of a lump in the breast or underarm region. That is not always true.  Some symptoms of breast cancer like nipple discharge, inverted nipple, and skin rashes can show up even before there is a lump in the breast. Even changes in the breast skin and texture could be an initial sign of breast cancer that you should get checked out.

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Several speech disorders, including stuttering, qualify for disability benefits under the Social Security Disability Insurance Program. However, not all speech disorders are treated alike when it comes to processing or approval of your claim. Stuttering is a speech disability that causes elongation, blocking or repetition of sounds, syllables or words. This can mean impaired speech that can often be humiliating for sufferers. Stuttering can impact a person’s ability to communicate his thoughts and feelings effectively.

As many as 3 million Americans suffer from stuttering. This problem commonly manifests itself between the age of 2 and 5. While many children overcome their stuttering through therapy, the stuttering continues into adulthood in about 25% of cases. Stuttering can severely impact your ability to perform your job well if it involves interpersonal contact or communication with others.

To recover disability benefits under the Social Security disability benefits program, your disability must meet the criteria set out by the Social Security Administration (SSA) in its Blue Book listing. Stuttering is not a separate listing, but that does not mean that it does not qualify for benefits. This is where your Residual Functional Capacity will come into consideration. The SSA will take into consideration the extent to which your speech disability or stuttering impacts your ability to work and earn a sustainable income. The agency will also consider if you can perform other jobs that can earn you an income before considering you eligible for benefits.

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On October 10, the world marked Mental Health Awareness Day to raise awareness about the different types of mental conditions, many of which go undiagnosed for years. If you suffer from a mental health condition, you may be eligible for disability benefits under the Social Security Disability program.

Mental disorders most typically involved in disability claims are bipolar disorder, depression, and anxiety. Other intellectual disabilities involve cognitive impairment that may also be covered under the term “mental health disorders.” These conditions include schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s, dementia, and low IQ—related disorders.

Some conditions like Alzheimer’s, low IQ-related disorders and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) are mentioned in the listing for mental impairments that may qualify for disability benefits. However, merely a diagnosis from your psychiatrist will not be sufficient to prove that your disability makes it difficult for you to earn an income, and qualifies you for benefits.

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A popular misconception is that type 2 diabetes is a disease that affects only older persons. This is increasingly being proven false by strong evidence. Data indicates that the number of teens and young adults diagnosed with type 2 diabetes is increasing.

As many as 1 in 8 new diagnoses of type 2 diabetes now involve persons between the age of 18 and 40, compared to a rate of 1 in 10 less than two decades ago. Besides, younger females between the age of 18 and 40 now seem to have a higher incidence of diabetes compared to women above the age of 40. Another study also found that teens who were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes were at a high risk of diabetes-related complications in their twenties.

If you are a diabetes patient, you likely have concerns about the way your health will impact your ability to work and earn an income. Persons with type 2 diabetes are at a higher risk of several complications. These include

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Today, October 6, is World Cerebral Palsy Day, reminding us of the challenges facing over 17 million people impacted by this disorder. Most individuals with cerebral palsy are diagnosed at birth, although some infants are diagnosed a few months after birth. There is no cure for cerebral palsy, and it is a lifelong disability. Some individuals with cerebral palsy can qualify for Social Security disability benefits. To be approved for benefits as an adult, you must have medical evidence showing one of the following:

  • An IQ of 70 or less
  • Abnormal behavior patterns
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The Social Security Administration (SSA) recently announced the addition of several conditions to its Compassionate Allowances programs. This program allows persons with certain medical conditions that are deemed to be very severe attention to have their claims processed faster. The processing time for a claim is typically reduced by several months. Claims that fall under Compassionate Allowances have access to the agency’s special technology that allows it to identify these medically disabling conditions and expedite processing of these claims.

The recently added conditions include:

CDKL5 Deficiency Disorder

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The Social Security Administration recently issued a ruling that clarifies the evaluation criteria for primary headache disorders. SSR 19-4 p explains the meaning of primary headache disorders, a broad category of disorders that includes migraines. It also clarifies the typical diagnostic procedures that are used to determine the existence of these conditions. The ruling also outlines the criteria that the agency will use to determine a person’s eligibility for Social Society disability benefits.

The ruling clarifies that the primary headache disorders are migraines, tension headaches, and trigeminal autonomic cephalalgias. Doctors generally treat these disorders on an “exclusion” basis, meaning that they first determine that there are no other medical or psychiatric sources of these headache symptoms.

It also mentions keeping a journal of the headaches. If you suffer from migraines or frequent chronic headaches, then you must maintain a documented journal. Record the frequency and severity of your symptoms, the times of the days when these are most likely to occur, and the other symptoms that also accompany your headaches. Not only will this help your physician come to the right diagnostic conclusions, but the journal can also help you file a strong claim for disability benefits.

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The process of applying for Social Security disability benefits is long and tedious, and it can be months before your claim is processed. There are always thousands of Social Security disability cases pending hearing before administrative law judges. Social Security disability claimants in the metro Atlanta area can visit either the Downtown Atlanta office or the North Atlanta office. As of June 2019, according to data reported by the National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives, 7539 cases were pending in the Downtown area and 4564 cases pending in the North area.

The average processing time per claim in the Downtown office was 579 days with an average of 1.89 dispositions. The total number of hearings as of June this year was 4077. A Social Security disability hearing allows claimants to present more documentation and solid evidence to increase their chances of recovering disability benefits. While there are options of online hearings, most hearings are held in person. The in-person hearing rate percentage at the Atlanta Downtown office was 93.5. The Downtown office has one of the highest rates of in-person hearings in the country.

At the Atlanta North office, the processing time was 463 days with 1.96 administrative law judge hearings taking place per judge. There were a total of 2606 hearings conducted, and the percentage of in-person hearings was 76.6.