Articles Posted in Social Security Administration (SSA)

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In the last month, I have received two very threatening calls on my cell phone from a person purporting to represent the Social Security Agency.  The caller threatens me with criminal prosecution if I do not hang up and call another number.  Admittedly, I did not not call the number because I do not want to engage with fraudsters.  Even before these calls, SSA had sent out an alert about fraudulent calls.  In the last few months, there have been many reported spoofed calls from people claiming to be Social Security Administration (SSA) employees. In these calls, the number on your caller ID may show up as the actual Social Security toll-free number, 1-800-772-1213. The scammers on the phone are not actually calling from the SSA, but are spoofing the number to try to make the call look real.

However, there are some warning signs that can alert you to a spoofed call. The SSA will never offer to increase your benefits in exchange for information. The SSA will also never threaten to cut off your benefits if you do not give them the information they are asking for. If a call sounds suspicious, you should hang up on the call immediately. You should also report the call by calling 1-800-269-0271 or by clicking here. If you are in doubt whether a call is actually from the SSA, hang up and call the SSA directly at 1-800-772-1213. By calling this number, you are guaranteed of reaching an actual SSA employee — or if you  are put on hold for 45 minutes then you know you have reached the Social Security Administration!

If you have any questions about filing a Social Security disability claim, contact this law firm.

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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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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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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 Social Security Administration (SSA) provides disability beneficiaries a number of tools to help them take charge of their benefits, including the Social Security Disability Calculator. This detailed calculator can be used not just to determine past benefits you received but also to estimate the benefits that you may be eligible for in the future.  This calculator is available in two versions. One works on IBM PCs and is compatible running on Windows 7, 8 or 10. The other version runs on older versions of the Mac operating system.

You can use the calculator to determine benefits for any claim dating back to 1940 when the first Social Security benefit was paid out. It can also be used to estimate future benefits until the year 2095. Also, the 2018.2 version takes into consideration all legal amendments made by Social Security law, as well as automatic adjustments right through 2017.

There is no doubt that gaining a fairly accurate idea of your estimated benefits in the future is a critical tool for disability beneficiaries who want to understand what their financial situation may look like in the future. However, the SSA warns that although this calculator is designed to be as accurate as possible, this calculator can only provide you an estimate of how much you will receive in benefits. Therefore, the calculator results may differ from one’s actual disability benefits earned.

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To qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), applicants must be unable to perform any “substantial gainful activity” that pays $1,180 a month or $14,160 annually. This is roughly the income a minimum-wage American worker makes per year. Also, their condition must be expected to last at least a year or until death.

The analysis of the data from the Census Bureau by economist Ernie Tedeschi shows that the number of Americans ages 25-54 out of the workforce because of a disability has declined 7% since 2014. With 10.3 million people out of the workforce as of May 2018, this reverses an upward trend that had been in place for decades. This can possibly be explained by the growing economy over the last few years, which has allowed companies to hire more workers. University of Maryland economists Katharine G. Abraham and Melissa S. Kearney studied situations where individuals applying for disability benefits were assigned to judges who varied in their leniency. This allowed researchers to compare the outcome of similar applicants when they given or denied benefits. They found that for individuals whose cases for SSDI were questionable due to the acuteness of their condition, 28% of those people decided not to work who otherwise would have. This means that 28 out of 100 individuals decided not to work for fear of this interfering with their ability to successfully win disability benefits.

Robert VerBruggen, deputy managing editor of National Review, emphasized that the current SSDI program fails to accommodate disabled individuals who are still able to work in some capacity. He argued that reform to the program is “imperative.”  A long-term plan, he added, should include awarding temporary or partial benefits to those able to work, but limited in their abilities to do so. The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a bipartisan think tank devoted to reducing the deficit and debt, has published other potential options including subsidizing those with disabilities in their first few months back in the workforce.