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) defines your name as a combination of your first and last names. The agency does not consider middle names or suffixes. Typically, the agency will consider your legal name to be as it appears on your US birth certificate. If you were born in a foreign country, then the name provided on your immigration documents will be used on your Social Security card.

Sometimes, situations do arise that require a person to change his or her name. For example, a person may get married or divorced. Whenever there is a change in name for any reason, you must inform the SSA. There is no online provision for changing the name on your Social Security card. You must provide legal identity documents which can include your driver’s license, state-issued non-driver identification card, or a US passport. If these documents are not available for any reason, you may provide your employee, student, health insurance, or US military cards.

You must also prove documents as evidence of your legal name change. These documents may include your marriage certificate, divorce decree, Certificate of Naturalization with your new name, or a court order accepting the name change. Remember that these must all be original documents, not photocopies or notarized documents. File your application form, take a print of it and mail it to the Social Security office with the documents. Once all documents have been verified, the agency will mail you your new card with the new name.

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A woman who has been diagnosed with breast cancer may be eligible for Social Security disability benefits. Cancer treatments like chemotherapy or radiation therapy can lead to extreme fatigue, and gainful activity is usually impossible during this time. Certain types of breast cancer, including unresectable or inoperable breast cancer, qualify for expedited processing of disability claims under the Compassionate Allowances program. When a cancer is as serious as this, it is important to make sure that your claim is filed with all relevant documentation and evidence to ensure that the claim is processed quickly.

Keep in mind that if the documentation, lab reports and pathological evidence you have provided is not deemed sufficient, the agency may deny your claim. Talk to an attorney and get your claim reviewed thoroughly before you submit it to maximize your chances of a successful claim.

If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with breast cancer, talk to Lisa Siegel, Georgia Disability Attorney, and discuss how you can begin the process of filing a claim.

 

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The Social Security Administration (SSA) recently added Superficial Siderosis of the Central Nervous System to its Compassionate Allowances program. This is a neurodegenerative condition that causes bleeding in the brain. Those with this condition suffer from deposits of hemosiderin in their brain or spinal cord, which can cause chronic bleeding. This often results in loss of hearing and progressive gait ataxia, the loss of full control over one’s gait.

Superficial Siderosis of the Central Nervous System is not a genetic disease and can occur as a result of surgery, trauma, or other factors. An aneurysm, for instance, can result in this condition. Patients who suffer from this condition often complain of multiple ailments, and diagnosis is often tricky because this is one of the most rare neurodegenerative conditions.

Typically, processing of a disability benefits claim can take between 6 and 12 months. However, when a claim involves a condition or disease that is included in the Compassionate Allowances program, the amount of time required to process a claim is significantly reduced. In many cases, just a diagnosis of the disorder will allow the claimant to qualify for disability benefits. Typically, a claim may be processed within 2 to 3 months after being filed under Compassionate Allowances.

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The Social Security Administration (SSA) does not require you to schedule an appointment to file for disability benefits or to appeal a disability case. However, an appointment can help save time on the processing of your claim. To cancel or reschedule an appointment, you can contact the SSA by calling 1-800-772-1213. Their hours of operation are weekdays between 7 am-7 pm. There is no online scheduling available for the agency.

You can also reschedule or cancel your appointment by contacting your local Social Security office. The Atlanta Region alone serves more than 13 million Social security beneficiaries. The agency maintains 243 Social Security offices across the Atlanta region. Find an office close to you and their hours by clicking here.

Remember that if you have missed your Social Security appointment for any reason, you will have to contact the agency again to reschedule a new appointment. The agency will not get in touch with you to reschedule. Failure to contact the agency or reschedule a new appointment could mean that you miss out on months of disability payments. If you are eligible for retroactive benefits payments, then you stand to lose a substantial amount of these payments if you miss your appointment with the Social Security office.

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The Social Security Administration (SSA) recently added Megalencephaly-Capillary Malformation Syndrome to the list of disorders and conditions included in its Compassionate Allowances program. This program allows expedited approval of disability benefits claims.

Megalencephaly is a condition that is characterized by overgrowth of tissues in the body and abnormalities of the tiny blood vessels in the skin. A person who suffers from this condition will have an unusually large head. He may also suffer severe brain abnormality and have excessive brain fluid. There may also be abnormalities in brain development, which can lead to cognitive and learning difficulties as well as a general intellectual disability.

The condition is also associated with speech and language delays, poor muscle tone, and difficulties in swallowing. In some cases, the excessive growth can be seen in other parts of the body, and sufferers may have a limb that is excessively sized compared to the other one, or oversized fingers or toes. The condition is caused by genetic mutations. There is no complete cure for this condition, and management may involve a number of approaches, including neurology, cardiology, ophthalmology, and physiotherapy.

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Fibrolamellarcancer, a rare type of liver cancer, was added to the Compassionate Allowances program in August 2018. This program by the Social Security Administration (SSA) outlines a list of conditions and diseases that warrant an accelerated processing of claims.

The Compassionate Allowances program currently includes 233 conditions, including five new conditions added in August 2018. Fibrolamellaris one of the rarest types of cancers, and it is believed that less than 1,000 patients are diagnosed with fibrolamellar cancer every year. Adults and young adults may be at a much higher risk of a diagnosis. However, there have been some diagnoses amongst those up to 74 years old.

What makes this type of cancer especially dangerous is that it often occurs in people who have no prior history of liver disease, making it harder to diagnose. Also, many of the symptoms with this cancer are similar to other diseases, making a diagnosis especially challenging. This, unfortunately, frequently leads to diagnoses of cancer when it is already in an advanced state. Early symptoms of the condition may include shoulder pain, back pain, abdominal pain, weight loss, and jaundice. Currently, the only treatment option available for this type of carcinoma is liver resection surgery. Even this may be effective only before the spread of cancer.

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Tetrasomy 18p is a very rare chromosomal disorder that can lead to neurological impairment, muscular abnormalities, and a number of other complications that can severely impair the quality of a person’s life. The Social Security Administration recently added this condition to its Compassionate Allowances program.

Typically, persons have two 18 chromosomes, and both of these will have a short arm and a long arm. However, when a person suffers from Tetrasomy 18p, there are 4 short arms present instead of the typical 2. That can cause a number of complications, including abnormalities of the skull and craniofacial area, and disabilities of the spine. The person may also suffer from hypotonia or low muscle tone, neuromuscular disabilities, abnormal reflexive reactions, and kidney problems that can lead to renal failure. They may also have difficulty coordinating physical movements.

Moderate to severe mental disabilities are not uncommon among those who suffer from Tetrasomy 18p. They may also suffer from moderate to severe speech or language difficulties, and cognitive and behavioral abnormalities.

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On October 11, 2018, the Social Security Administration (SSA) announced that social security payments will increase for more than 67 million Americans in 2019 as part of the cost-of-living adjustment. Payments are set to rise 2.8% for social security beneficiaries 2019, as a result of inflation. This increase will take effect on December 31, 2018, for the 8 million recipients of SSI and in January 2019 for 62 million Americans receiving Social Security.  For individuals receiving SSI, the maximum federal payment will increase to $771 per month, an increase from $750 per month this year. This cost-of-living adjustment is slightly higher than the increase of 2% from 2017 to 2018, which is good news for those receiving Social Security benefits. For a fact sheet showing the effects of this adjustment, click here.

The maximum amount of earnings subject to the Social Security taxes will increase as well, from $128,400 to $132,900. Those receiving Social Security or SSI benefits are typically notified via mail in early December about their new benefit amount. However, this year for this first time, many people will also be able to view their benefits for the following year online at  www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount.

If you have any questions about cost-of-living adjustments or applying for disability benefits, contact this law firm. 

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The Social Security Administration (SSA) recently added Megacystis Microcolon Intestinal Hypoperistalsis Syndrome to conditions covered under its Compassionate Allowances program. Megacystis Syndrome is a severe condition that impairs the functioning of the bladder and intestines. This syndrome mimics a physical obstruction of the intestine, causing partially digested food material to be blocked inside the intestine. This can cause symptoms that include vomiting and severe abdominal swelling. Bladder dysfunction can also cause impairment in urinary function.

This is a relatively rare condition, and the prognosis for the condition is not very good. The condition is strongly associated with impaired digestion, and therefore, malnutrition is a common consequence of the condition. This, in turn, leads to a lower life expectancy for those suffering from this condition. Survival of the patient over the long term will depend on intravenous (IV) feedings or parenteral nutrition, accompanied by urinary catheterization or diversion. Long-term use of parenteral nutrition, however, is associated with liver problems, leading to further complications. There is currently no complete cure for this syndrome.

If your loved one has been diagnosed with Megacystis Syndrome, contact Lisa Siegel, Georgia Disability Attorney, about filing a claim for disability benefits. 

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The United States Census Bureau recently came out with a report on the uninsured rate in each state in America in 2017. Georgia’s uninsured rate ranked the 4th highest in America, with 13.4% of Georgians lacking insurance in 2017. This was a slight increase from 2016 when 12.9% of Georgians were uninsured. Georgia only trailed behind Texas, Oklahoma, and Alaska. Nationally, the uninsured rate was 8.8%, affecting 28.5 million Americans. The number of Americans uninsured grew slightly from 28.1 million in 2016 but remained steady at 8.8%.

In 2017, Georgia was one of 14 states to have a higher uninsured rate than that of 2016.  The rate fell in only 3 states, in California, New York, and Louisiana. However, one key southeastern state, Kentucky, gives important indications on the expansion of Medicaid’s impact on uninsured rates. Kentucky was one of the few southeastern states that opted to expand its Medicaid program under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Kentucky’s uninsured rate sharply dropper from 14.3% in 2013—the year before the ACA expansion—to 5.4% in 2017. Georgia leaders decided not to expand its state’s Medicaid program like Kentucky did, claiming this would be too costly.

Those supporting the ACA have argued that this data clearly shows the effectiveness of the act, despite attacks on it by congressional Republicans. Judith Solomon, a senior fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, asserted that the data show the “resilience” of the ACA and the lack of progress in insuring Americans. However, those opposed to the ACA argued that this data shows the inherent flaws in the act. Marie Fishpaw and Doug Bader, of the Heritage Foundation, argued that the ACA is impeding progress on increasing health care access, “despite a growing economy and very low unemployment rate.” These conflicting opinions emphasize the complexity of this issue and the importance of engaging in meaningful dialogue on their implications in our lives.