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Why Medical Care Must Come Before Social Security Disability Benefits

If you believe you may be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits, it’s imperative that you are first under the regular care of a physician and following any prescribed treatments to support your claim. Here are some of the reasons why:

  • The SSA decision makers will be less inclined to believe your disabling condition is serious if you are not being seeking professional care to help you treat or manage its symptoms.
  • Your case is built on documented evidence from licensed healthcare professionals and their credible medical opinions regarding your ability to work. The SSA will not base their decision solely on your testimony.

Finances should not be a factor in receiving adequate healthcare; today, there are an abundance of healthcare facilities that are free, low-cost or will work with your budget or insurance plan to come up with a feasible plan. Another option that may fit your case is a Consultative Exam, a free exam ordered by the SSA to be conducted by a healthcare professional they have contracted for additional medical information.

But again, in disability cases, your chances of success will always be higher with tangible medical records and the opinion of a licensed expert who is familiar with your history and the details surrounding your disabling condition.

If you or a loved one are suffering from a disabling condition and believe you may be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits, contact us today for a 100% free and confidential legal consultation, either by phone or at one of our five West Virginia offices — in Parkersburg, Charleston, Logan, Huntington or Beckley – and Charlotte, NC.

You can call toll free, 1.877.526.3457, or send us an e-mail for a prompt response.

The Recession’s Effect on the SSDI Program     

 

A recent report from The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities asserts that the recession has had a multifold effect on Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). On one hand, it’s increased the number of individuals applying for benefits, but it’s also limited the program’s tax revenues and interest gains.

Like many agencies and companies, the SSA didn’t anticipate the rapid decline of the financial sector in 2008. Therefore, they didn’t plan their figures and budget accordingly, and their revenue unfortunately ended up being 20% less than they projected. (This revenue comes from a combination of salaries, taxes on wages and self-employment income, paid by both employers and employees.)

The spike in unemployment during the recession contributed to this discrepancy due to the plummet in taxable payroll revenues.

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities’ report points out that in 2014, SSDI spending was less than projected for the year, but even then, the trust fund was $152 billion lower than projected in 2008. This suggests that the SSA’s financial woes are less the result of SSDI benefits being awarded too liberally and perhaps more due to an issue of underfunding. Hopefully, just as finances slowly stabilized after the recession, lawmakers and the SSA will reach conclusions that will benefit disabled American citizens and stay within a reasonable budget.

If you have a disabling condition and believe you may be eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance, the expert team of Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law, can help you get the benefits you deserve. Contact us toll-free at 1.877.526.3457 or by e-mail to schedule your free initial consultation today.

The Importance of Follow-up in a Social Security Disability Benefits Claim

 

When you’re working with the Social Security Administration to secure Social Security Disability benefits, we recommend checking the status of a claim on a regular basis.

Why? Because, unfortunately, the SSA has been known to lose the paperwork associated with an application (which is why we also recommend making copies of everything) or reach a decision and not properly notify the applicant.

If the paperwork for your application or appeal is lost, your case will be put on hold as it cannot reach the proper personnel to bring it to the next stage of the process. This can result in months of lost time and possibly starting your application or appeal all over again if you’ve missed the deadline. Yes, this deadline is finite, whether it’s your fault or the SSA’s fault it has passed.

So if your case has been denied, but you haven’t been notified, you still have 60 days from the decision date to submit your appeal plus five days allotted for postage. So if you follow up three months after the decision has been made, you will unfortunately have to re-apply from square one even if it’s their fault for not notifying you in a timely manner.

Working with an experienced Social Security Disability Lawyer can ensure your case receives the proper attention. The dedicated staff of Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law, will fight for your rights and ensure no detail slips through the cracks.

If you suffer from a condition that prevents you from working, you can call us toll-free at 1.877.526.3457 or fill out our online contact form for a quick response.

Chiropractic Care, Back Pain and Social Security Disability Benefits

Many who suffer from back injuries receive care from a chiropractor instead of a medical doctor. But this may affect your ability to receive Social Security Disability benefits as the SSA only lists medical doctors, osteopaths, psychiatrists and, in some cases, licensed psychologists as acceptable medical sources.

Since a chiropractor doesn’t have a medical degree, you will likely be required to be examined by an SSA-appointed (and funded) medical doctor in order for your claim to be considered. However, these consultative exams are often very brief and conducted by a physician you’re meeting for the first time. The doctor may be unfamiliar with your case and therefore unqualified to properly assess your condition.

If a chiropractor has been giving you care for a significant period of time, an SSA judge or examiner can consider his or her records – it’s happened before. But since they’re not technically deemed “acceptable medical sources” in the SSA’s eyes, we recommend that you seek the opinion of a medical doctor who can become familiar with your case. (For more on this, click back to our recent series on working with doctors in your Social Security Disability case.) It’s safe to say the odds are high that a medical doctor’s opinion will be given higher weight than the opinion of a chiropractor according to the SSA’s standards.

If you believe you qualify for SSI or SSDI and have questions about the process or feel your claim has been wrongfully denied, please contact us to schedule a free initial consultation today. We can be reached by phone (toll-free:1.877.526.3457) or through our online contact form.

Name Changes and Social Security Disability Benefits

If you’ve changed your name recently, it’s important to notify the SSA to ensure your information remains up to date and there are no problems or delays with your Social Security Disability benefits. Keeping your information accurate will also help alleviate any situations of fraud, as well – especially if you have a fairly common name.

To change your name or notify the SSA of any inaccurate information on their end, such as a mix-up with another individual who shares your name, you can contact them directly. Depending on the nature of your name change or updated information, you will be required to bring different forms/proofs of identity. These specifics for your situation can be found on the SSA.gov website or by asking a representative at your local Social Security office.

For example, if you’re updating your name due to a change in marital status, you’re required to bring a recently issued marriage certificate or divorce decree. Other documents that may apply to your situation could be certificates of naturalization or court orders if you’ve had your name changed through those avenues.  Of course, just like we mentioned in terms of replacing a lost Social Security Card, bringing your driver’s license, birth certificate and/or passport is always beneficial for extra proof of identity.

Keeping your information up to date is crucial, especially if you’re thinking about applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. The process can be long and complex as is without the added snag of outdated or incorrect information.

If you need help obtaining Social Security Disability benefits, contact the West Virginia Social Security Lawyers of Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law. We will fight for the benefits you deserve and make your claim or appeal process as seamless as possible.

Severe Anxiety and Social Security Disability Benefits

Individuals with anxiety and depression can suffer from debilitating symptoms. But does the Social Security Administration deem these impairments severe enough to qualify for disability benefits? In some cases, yes.

If a person suffers from anxiety and can prove it causes a significant impact on their lives and ability to work, then he or she could be eligible for Social Security Disability Benefits. Just like with any other condition, if the symptoms are mild and don’t affect the person’s livelihood to a significant degree, then an application for benefits will likely be denied.

According to the SSA’s listing for anxiety and related disorders, in order to qualify for Social Security Disability Benefits, a person must suffer from either generalized anxiety, panic, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, PTSD, a phobia or a combination of those symptoms. (Full descriptions of what they consider applicable to those symptoms can be found on their website by clicking here.) The symptoms must render the person unable to function outside of the home or impair any two of the following: daily life, social function, concentration, ability to complete a task, ability to work at a proper pace or resulting in decompensation for significant periods of time.

In addition to the severity of the anxiety, the SSA will also evaluate how long the symptoms have been experienced and the likelihood the anxiety will persist long-term. The individual must have been unable to work due to the anxiety—or expected to be unable to work—for a period of twelve months or more.

If you meet the above qualifications, having an experienced Social Security Disability Lawyer on your side from the start will give you the best chance of success.

At Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law, our expertise has helped applicants who may have otherwise been denied gather the proper documentation, understand tricky terminology and identify strengths in their situation that can improve their odds for acceptance.

Contact us today for a free, confidential first meeting by calling toll-free1.877.526.3457 or filling out our online contact form.

We will fight for the benefits you deserve and help you get it right from the start.

Obtaining Social Security Disability Benefits for Another

While the SSA will make a special case in which primary caregivers can apply for Social Security Disability Benefits on the behalf of someone who has been medically declared mentally unfit to file himself, the applicant must be the person primarily responsible for the care of the beneficiary. Power of attorney designation holds no weight in this matter, and ultimately, if there’s any chance the person with the disability can sign the necessary documents, that’s what the SSA would prefer.

There are many factors the SSA will examine when determining if someone possesses the mental capabilities to file for disability benefits. Decision makers will look at the person’s ability to reason, if his or her judgment is impaired along with the ability to communicate. And if caregivers state that the mentally impaired individual has given them permission to apply, the SSA will deem that individual capable of applying and signing the documents – at least with the assistance of the caregiver.

To apply on another’s behalf, caregivers must submit a statement to the SSA notifying them of their relationship with the applicant and that they are currently caring for this individual in their home. The SSA will then send the proper paperwork to the applicant’s healthcare provider to verify that he or she is unable to understand the process. If the healthcare provider believes the applicant is mentally capable, then the caregiver will have ten days to appeal this decision.

Once the SSA has received the proper verification, the caregiver will then begin the process of obtaining benefits. The caregiver will need to have been very involved in and knowledgeable about the applicant’s medical care, including diagnoses, prognoses, any medications/treatments that have been prescribed and especially how the day-to-day effects of this condition render the individual unable to work.

If you believe you or a loved one may be eligible for Social Security Disability Benefits, contact the expert staff of Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law, for a free, confidential first meeting by calling toll-free 1.877.526.3457 or filling out our online contact form.