Articles Posted in Applying for benefits

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Hypersomnia is a sleep disorder marked by excessive sleepiness in the day time. Patients with this condition may find it hard to stay awake in the day time, making it difficult for them to work. Those suffering from idiopathic hypersomnia may have trouble staying awake for more than a couple of hours in the day.

There are several potential causes of hypersomnia. Persons who suffer from narcolepsy or sleep apnea may be at a higher risk of suffering from hypersomnia. Obesity, a head or brain injury, drug use, alcohol abuse, and depression may also make one at a higher risk of developing this condition. A doctor may use a number of tests including CT scans and polysomonographies in order to identify the presence of a sleep disorder. An Electroencephalogram (EEG) may also be ordered to evaluate the functioning of the brain.

If you are applying for a claim for disability benefits for idiopathic hypersomnia, ensure that you submit all medical evidence. This includes the results of your CT scans, polysomnography tests, or EEG tests. It’s quite likely that your claim will be denied at first. In the case of idiopathic hypersomnia, it is very important to provide evidence not only of your symptoms but also how they make it difficult for you to stay awake for longer periods of time. There are medications that can help a person to stay awake, and the Social Security Administration will want to know if you are on these drugs and if they are helping you to stay awake.

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The Social Security Administration (SSA) recognizes the impact mental disorders have on many American’s lives and their potential to cause long-term disability. In order to be eligible for disability benefits for a mental disorder, the condition must be diagnosed by a doctor and meet the criteria required for any disability including:

  • The mental disorder must prevent you from doing any work which you have done until now.
  • The disorder must make you unable to reasonably train for another job.
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Preparation is key to the success of your Social Security claim for disability benefits. The agency will require verified information about your disability, including the date when your condition became disabling, the dates and addresses of your last treatments, and the date that you stopped working.  Prior to your interview, organize your medical records, making sure they are accurate and updated, and verified by a medical professional. A doctor’s summary of your condition, details about your treatment, and the kind of limitations the condition places on your ability to work must all be included and documented. Prepare for questions about when your condition became disabling.

Collect your worker’s compensation information as applicable to your claim. These documents must include the settlement agreement, date of the injury, as well as evidence of any other injury-related payouts you have received.  The agency will require information about your marital and family status, including the names of your spouse and children as well as dates of your marriage or divorce. It is important to have your bank checking account number available. Also, be prepared with an emergency contact in the event the agency is unable to get in touch with you.

For individuals unable to file the claim online, they must fill out the “Medical and Job Worksheet – Adult” document and bring it with them for the interview. The Social Security Administration (SSA) will also require Form SSA-827 “Authorization to Disclose Information to the Social Security Administration” in order to obtain sensitive medical information required to determine whether you qualify for benefits. This is a medical release form, and the agency will require you to sign and date the form, along with a witness’ signature, and return to the agency as directed.

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In many cases, persons who apply for and receive Social Security benefits may also be eligible for and receive other forms of benefits payments. These can include pension payments and Worker’s Compensation benefits. Your recovery of these other benefits could impact the amount of Social Security disability benefits for which you are eligible.

Your Social Security disability benefits can be reduced if you receive benefits under the Worker’s Compensation program or retirement pension programs. For example, if you qualify for and are receiving Worker’s Compensation benefits, then the law places limits on the amount of the payment that you can receive. You may not be eligible to recover more than 80% of your disability benefits payments in Worker’s Compensation earnings. You may be required to pay the Social Security Administration (SSA) back any extra payments that you may have recovered while receiving benefits under other programs.

Typically, your pensions will not be affected by your Social Security Disability Benefits payments. If the pension payments that you made during your work tenure were exempt from Social Security taxes, then your disability benefits payments can be affected. However, this happens only in rare cases because most pension programs will attract Social Security taxes. If you are on a Long Term Disability plan funded by your employer, then you will have your Social Security Disability Benefits payments reduced or offset as a result of this.

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December 1 marked World AIDS Day, a day dedicated to raising awareness of HIV/AIDS which has claimed more than 35 million deaths worldwide since it first came to light. There are currently 1.1 million Americans living with HIV/AIDS. Southern states, including Georgia, accounted for more than half of the new HIV diagnoses in 2017. In 2016, there were 2,585 adolescents and adults with HIV living in Georgia.

HIV is no longer imminently fatal. With advancements in treatment as well as the easier availability of drugs to treat the condition, patients can expect to live many years with HIV. The anti-retroviral drugs that are used as a primary treatment for persons suffering from HIV are very effective in helping control the progress of the disease. The feelings of fatigue and listlessness that often accompany the use of these drugs can leave a person with HIV unable to lead a productive working life.

HIV severely compromises the immune system, leaving the person susceptible to a host of other infectious diseases. As a result, a patient is therefore at risk of tuberculosis, pneumonia, cancer and other diseases. Recovering benefits for HIV is important because the costs involved in the treatment of this disease can be huge. With a lowered capacity to work as a result of the symptoms of the disease, a person may find himself or herself in financial distress. Recovering disability benefits for HIV involves providing strong evidence of the severity of the symptoms and their interference with your ability to work and earn a sustainable income.

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Parkinson’s disease is a neurological disorder, which affects motor functioning. The symptoms include shaking (tremors), rigidity of muscles, difficulty speaking, problems walking, and depression. Depression occurs as a direct result of Parkinson’s in 80% of those with the disorder.  While some of those suffering with this disease initially have relatively mild symptoms, which slowly progress over time, others degenerate rapidly.

Parkinson’s is currently not included under the Compassionate Allowance program, meaning that being diagnosed with Parkinson’s does not guarantee that you will win your disability benefits case. Thus, those with Parkinson’s must prove that their condition hinders them from doing any work they have done in the past 15 years or in another job for which they could be reasonably trained. It is generally not difficult for those with Parkinson’s to prove that they could not train for new employment. However, it can be more complicated to prove that you cannot do work you have previously done, depending on your prior work.

If you or a loved one is suffering from Parkinson’s disease, contact this law firm for a free consultation on your eligibility for disability benefits. 

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The Social Security Administration (SSA) lists vision loss in its Blue Book of disabilities that are eligible for disability benefits. Persons who suffer from blindness, however, may have special rules that apply to them due to the severely limiting and restrictive nature of their disability. For instance, a person who suffers from even partial blindness may be eligible for disability benefits. The agency defines vision loss as vision that cannot be corrected to better than 20/200 in the better eye, or involving a field of vision of 20 degrees or less, even after using corrective lenses.

However, you may qualify of benefits even if your blindness doesn’t meet these criteria. If your blindness or vision problems make it difficult to work or earn an income, we urge you to discuss your rights to disability benefits with an attorney. The SSA also has a higher income threshold for persons with blindness. If you suffer from vision loss, the monthly earnings limit that applies to you in 2018 is $1,970–which is higher than the limit for non-blind workers.

If you suffer from an eye disease or condition like cataracts, retinopathy, glaucoma or another disease that limits your vision significantly, talk to an attorney about your rights to a claim. Remember, however, that the SSA will not approve of your claim if you have good vision in at least one eye.

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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 Board of Trustees recently released their report for 2018. The report has few surprises for disability benefits attorneys–it predicts a 75-year deficit of 2.84% of payroll and that the trust fund will be depleted by 2034. However, the report released in June 2018 also estimates that disability rolls are dropping and will continue to decline in the future.

Some Americans argue that disability application numbers have increased in recent decades mainly because of fraud. However, there are several factors why the number of Social Security disability beneficiaries has increased over the last 35 years, unrelated to fraud. In 1984, new laws expanded the definition of disability, making more applicants eligible for disability payments. An aging population also resulted in higher disability rolls and an increase in disability payouts. Also, the increase in the number of females in the workforce raised the number of women who by virtue of their work history became eligible for benefits.

These factors converged to result in an explosion of disability beneficiary numbers. However, none of those factors seem to be active anymore. It’s very unlikely that the scope of the disability benefits program will be expanded any further. Therefore, it is safe to assume that disability rolls in the future will be lower, reducing the pressure on the program.