Jun 12th, 2015

Information about Social Security Disability Benefits for those with Back Pain

Fred London Law 0 Comments Social Security Disability

Back issues are a common problem for which people tend to seek Social Security disability benefits. Not every back issue is eligible for disability benefits, however many are.   For example, those suffering from periodic back pain due to aging or lack of movement are not eligible, unless they qualify based on a Medical Vocational allowance, including a review of their age, education, and their remaining ability to perform work related tasks. People who have degenerative issues such as spinal stenosis or disk degeneration may be eligible by meeting a listing or qualifying based on a Medical Vocational Rule. Applying for disability with a back issue requires the applicant to meet specific severity requirements for the particular disorder that is the cause of the issue. When the social Security Administration is considering granting disability benefits due to a back issue, the most important determining factor is credibility.

The qualifying process

Applicants petitioning the Social Security office for disability benefits due to back pain will generally be required to prove they have a “medically determinable” injury that has lasted for at least one full year. As part of proving the impairment, the applicant will need to provide results from x-rays or MRIs. I the absence of these test results, a doctor’s note that explicitly states that the pain is caused by a physical abnormality of the spine or spinal canal will need to be provided.

Evaluation of severity

The Social Security Administration generally expects people to work through their back pain; which is why they don’t approve a large number of claims. In order to determine if a claim will be approved, they look at specific factors.

– The Social Security Administration will look at the applicant’s objective symptoms to see if they meet the qualification standards.
– They will also take a look at the applicant’s functional limitations. These are essentially physical limitations that have been brought about because of the back pain. Functional limitations are generally determined by looking at ease in walking, the need to frequently change positions, and the ability to do certain types of work.
– The Social Security Administration will also take the applicant’s credibility into consideration when determining whether or not a claim will be approved.

Evaluation of credibility

Because back pain is easy to cite as a cause for the need of disability benefits, and can often be difficult to prove, the Social Security Administration always takes into consideration the credibility of the applicant. They determine credibility by assessing the following factors:

– The frequency of doctor’s visits
– Attempted treatments
– Doctor’s opinions of pain level and limitations
– The effect of the pain on daily living
– Whether the extent of the pain is being exaggerated
– How the reported pain compares to the reports of others with similar issues

Determining eligibility for disability benefits for those with back pain can be a slippery slope. Due to the indefinite nature of back pain, there are many factors that need to be decided on before benefits can be granted. Anyone who feels that they may be eligible for Social Security disability benefits due to a back problem should contact our firm for more information and guidance.

Jun 8th, 2015

Can I qualify for Social Security disability benefits with liver disorder?

Fred London Law 0 Comments Social Security Disability

Liver disorders can be very debilitating, painful illnesses. Depending on the nature of the disorder, some individuals suffering from liver disease may qualify for social security disability benefits.

Your liver is a large organ that works in your body to help you digest food and clean your body of toxins. Your liver is necessary to your survival, and chronic liver disease can result in death. There are many different types of illness that can affect the liver and that qualify for social security disability benefits.

Some liver diseases are genetic (as in passed down through family members), viral (as in contracted), or are associated with outside sources like excessive alcohol use or obesity. Symptoms of liver disease may include itching, nausea, abdominal pain, fatigue, jaundice, and loss of appetite.
The Social Security office characterizes chronic liver disease by liver cell necrosis which is the inflammation or scarring to the liver, due to any cause, that has been present for greater than six months. Chronic liver disease can also lead to conditions called portal hypertension, bile flow problems, and liver cancer. Progressive decline of liver function can lead to hemorrhaging, the accumulation of fluid in the abdominal cavity (known as ascites), or encephalopathy. A progressive decline of liver enzymes in the blood can be indicative of liver failure. End stage liver disease is only cured with a liver transplant.

Chronic liver diseases recognized by the social security office may include alcoholic liver disease, non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (fatty liver disease), chronic hepatitis, Wilson’s disease, drug-induced liver disease, primary sclerosing cholangitis, primary biliary cirrhosis, and autoimmune hepatitis. Acute episodes of liver disease do not qualify for disability benefits.

End stage liver disease is evaluated by the SSA CLD score. This is a formula that reviews three different lab values; serum total bilirubin, serum creatinine, and international normalized ration. Two consecutive CLD scores that meet the requirements set forth by the Social Security office qualify an individual for disability benefits for end stage liver disease.

The Social Security office collects a significant amount of data regarding an individual’s condition prior to making a disability determination. The office may request laboratory findings (particularly those related to the chronic liver disease), radiology findings (cat scans, MRIs, ultrasounds), liver biopsies as well as evaluations by your personal health care providers.

For more information about disability benefits for individuals with chronic liver disease, check out the Social Security Office website.

Jun 5th, 2015

Qualifying for Social Security Disability Benefits with an Amputation

Fred London Law 0 Comments Social Security Disability

Losing a limb is a life-altering occurrence. Oftentimes, the loss of a limb will cause the victim to no longer be able to perform daily functions at work.  Amputation does not provide an automatic guarantee of Social Security disability benefits. Certain qualifications still need to be met before benefits will be granted.

Qualification criteria
The Social Security Administration (SSA) is not concerned with how a limb was lost, rather at least one of the following criteria must be met in order to be considered for Social Security Disability benefits.

– The amputation of both hands
– The amputation of one or both legs at or above the ankle.
– The inability to walk effectively including the inability to have a prosthetic device or use a walker, canes, crutches, or a wheelchair
– The amputation of one hand and one leg above the ankle plus the inability to walk effectively
– The amputation of one leg up to the hip
– Pelvic amputation

Other considerations

Amputees who do not fit any of the above criteria, may still be eligible for disability benefits. Those who fall under the following criteria may still apply for benefits.

An amputation of the dominant hand
The amputation results in a limitation of the ability to perform work-related tasks. When work related tasks are affected, the Social Security Administration will determine the level of “residual function capacity” (RFC) or how much and it what ways the ability to work is limited by the amputation. If the SSA determines that any job the applicant had performed previously can still be done, or if any other job can be done, it is possible the claim can be denied.

Medical evidence
As part of the application process, those looking to make a disability claim will need to provide medical evidence. The records that are provided to the SSA should include the following information:

– Documentation that proves there was an amputation
– Documentation of the ability or inability to use a prosthetic device
– Documentation of the applicant’s ability to perform simple physical acts that include walking, bending, squatting, and rising.
– Documentation that states whether the treating physician feels the functional limitations will or will not improve

Anyone looking to receive disability benefits needs to fill out an application and sign releases that allow treating physicians to release medial records. The SSA will review the documentation and make the final determination based on their findings.

Jun 1st, 2015

Can I qualify for Social Security disability benefits with a digestive disorder?

Fred London Law 0 Comments Uncategorized

Digestive disorders can be disruptive in many areas of your life including occupational and relational. Dealing with this type of illness can be extremely challenging not to mention excruciatingly painful. As such, there are some digestive disorders that qualify individuals for social security disability benefits.

Digestive disorders include all of those related to the digestive system; gastrointestinal bleeding, liver problems, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), short bowel syndrome, malnutrition and more. Other complications like gastrointestinal obstructions may also be qualified for SSDI.

Any application for disability benefits will require medical documentation supporting the diagnosis. This means doctor’s notes, clinical results as well as laboratory results. For digestive disorders, the most common diagnostic imaging results include colonoscopies, endoscopy results, and ultrasound, CAT scan as well as pathology findings. All of these results must be recent in relation to when you file for your disability benefits.

Digestive disorders can often be very responsive to either medical or surgical intervention. Given that, the Social Security Administration will take into consideration the severity of the illness, the illness’ response to treatment as well as symptom improvement. Side effects to treatment and their effect on functioning are also considered. To assess digestive disorders currently under treatment the SSA may request information about the type of treatment including dosage and frequency, the response to treatment, adverse effects of treatment as well as the expected length of treatment. Individuals who have not received treatment may have difficulty showing impairment that meets the requirements for disability benefits.

Digestive disorders like irritable bowel syndrome (IBD), gastrointestinal hemorrhaging, and short bowel syndrome can cause serious issues with the process of fecal elimination. Chronic diarrhea, chronic anemia, and nutritional deficiencies are not abnormal in these types of illnesses.

Chronic liver diseases such as chronic hepatitis, alcoholic liver disease, non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, and ischemic hepatitis are also considered to be problems of the gastrointestinal system. These illnesses are characterized by fatigue, jaundice, nausea, and ascites. Illnesses of this nature are usually evaluated by laboratory tests such as liver enzymes and bilirubin as well as by imaging studies like ultrasounds and CAT scans.

The Social Security Administration evaluates illnesses based on their impact on your ability to participate in substantial gainful activity. For more information about digestive disorders and social security disability benefits check out the Social Security Disability website or contact our firm today.