Articles Posted in Records

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Never has your personal information seemed so much at risk of being breached or compromised by scammers. As attorneys, we see more and more cases of Social Security accounts being misused by thieves. The IRS scam involves a supposed “IRS officer” calling to ask you about personal details. The common Social Security Administration (SSA) fraud has scammers impersonating officers of the SSA in an attempt to get you to disclose valuable personal information.

Then, there are data breaches like the Equifax, that involved more than 100 million accounts. This data breach included the leaking of Social Security information involving millions of people, information that could easily be used by a scammer to compromise accounts.

2018 was a terrible year for consumer privacy. According to the Identity Fraud Report by the Javelin Strategy and Research Firm, the percentage of Americans who suffered data breaches went from 12% in 2017 to a staggering 30% in 2018. Also for the first time last year, Social Security information was compromised more than credit card information.

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It can take the Social Security Administration weeks and even months to make a final determination regarding your claim for disability benefits, but there are things that you can do to help expedite the process.

One of the most effective ways to speed up the process has to do with medical records and treatment information. You will want to provide detailed medical documentation about your condition and care, including the names of past and current doctors who were/are involved in your treatment, as well as the facilities where you’ve have procedures. Detailed information will make it easier for the examiner to follow up on the sources that you have cited and verify the information upon which your disability is based.

In addition, try to keep all of your doctor appointments and avoid rescheduling them if at all possible. Remember, if you ask for a change in the scheduled appointment, you may have to wait weeks or months, which could add significant time to the claim process.

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Sometimes an individual does not have a medically verified diagnosis of their condition, but may suffer symptoms that impair their ability to work. If you suffer from chronic pain for instance, but have no medical evidence or diagnosis from a doctor about your condition, you will find it hard to qualify for Social Security disability benefits.

The Social security Administration (SSA) will require a medically verifiable condition, and will require that your application for benefits be accompanied by medical documentation and evidence of your condition. Even if you are suffering from symptoms like pain, fatigue, frequent dizzy spills or other issues that make it difficult for you to earn a living, you most likely will not qualify for benefits if you are unable to provide medical proof of these symptoms.

Conditions that involve frequent and chronic pain are a prime example of cases in which a person may find it hard to qualify because there is no medical evidence of the impairment. Apart from chronic pain and fatigue, you might also find it more challenging to claim benefits if you suffer from unexplained lower back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome or other types of repetitive stress injuries that may not show up on lab tests, CT scans, or MRI’s.

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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.