Category Archives: Social Security Disability

Jan 23rd, 2018

Non-Medical Requirements of Social Security Disability

Fred London Law 0 Comments Social Security Disability

There are other considerations besides medical paperwork and requirements that need to be considered when applying for disability benefits.

Qualify for Disability Benefits

There are two types of disability you can potentially apply for: Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). The two programs are different. SSI is a financial supplement designed to provide basic funding for individuals and families who earn low- or no income. SSDI is designed to provide disability benefits to people who have worked and paid into the social security system through their work history.

Each program has different eligibility requirements. Upon receiving your application, the Social Security Administration (SSA) evaluates the claim to determine your eligibility for either program. People aged 18 or over may qualify for SSDI benefits, but you have to have worked long enough to have contributed to social security to earn enough work credits, and you also must have a disability severe enough to prevent you from working. SSA will require that you submit your employment history as far back as you can. You must list all previous employers and your earnings history at each place of employment.

For SSDI, the main qualification is that you must have worked and paid Social Security taxes. Determining the number of work credits you have is the most important criteria. After you’re eligible, that’s when it is time to start pulling your medical documentation together to prove that your disability keeps you from being gainfully employed.

SSI is for people who likely don’t qualify for SSDI. As a federal program, it is paid for from general tax revenues and not from the social security fund. SSI helps low income, disabled and elderly people with basic funds for food, clothing and shelter. The program is needs-based, and it is important for you to know that you must meet very low income requirements in order to qualify. SSA counts any income, asset ownership, and any free services you are receiving (food or shelter donations, etc.)—there are very strict limitations. Under SSI, you are only allowed to own a single home and single automobile.

The SSA will evaluate your income and assets for this needs-based disability benefit. If you are not a U.S. citizen and you are applying for SSI, the SSA will first ensure that you are in a qualifying illegal alien category.

For both programs, most states do provide additional funds above the federal funds you will receive. Please note that some states–Arkansas, Arizona, Georgia, Mississippi, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas and West Virginia—do not provide the additional funds.

For either program you apply to, the SSA will require that you submit the following information: Social Security ID (SSN), date and place of birth, and proof of US citizenship. You must also provide this information for present and past spouses and all dependent children.

After you submit your claim, a SSA claims representative will review the claim. The claim agent will first look at your non-medical eligibility—things like income, work credits and the other requirements we’ve outlined above. If you appear to be eligible for either SSDI or SSI, the claims representative will then transfer your file claim to your local Disability Determination Services (DDS) where another claim examiner specific to either SSDI or SSIs will take the reins and process it from there. From this point, the claim examiner will now start to review the medical evidence to decide whether you meet the eligibility for disability benefits from a medical point of view.

SSDI claims are denied if you don’t have enough work credits, meaning you haven’t worked long enough to draw social security disability; basically it means that you haven’t paid in enough to receive disability payments.

SSI applicants are typically denied because they earn too much money or have too many assets.

Both of these are considered technical denials, and in both cases, you get your notice fairly quickly.

For SSDI, the examiner will look at whether you are currently employed and earning an income. It is definitely a factor, because if you’re currently employed, you will likely be given a technical denial by SSA because your disability will appear not serious enough to keep you from working.

After you meet these initial non-medical requirements, both programs will require different medical information. SSI requires less information because it is in place to provide basic needs. SSDI does require detailed medical information because the benefit is based on your inability to work. As such, your SSDI application requires medical information such as records of medical diagnosis, tests performed, hospitalizations, medications prescribed, and any other pertinent detailed medical notes.

Any other benefits you might be receiving, such as military veteran benefits, worker’s compensation or any other similar benefit, will be factored into SSA’s evaluation of whether you will receive SSDI or SSI.

If you’re trying to determine which program you qualify for,give us a call today and we will help you determine your eligibility.

Jan 18th, 2018

Learn About Retroactive SSDI Benefits

Fred London Law 0 Comments Social Security Disability

Retroactive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) payments are monetary benefits that are paid to a disability applicant to cover the time that has passed between the onset of the disability and the date the application was accepted.These payments can cover up to one full year before the application was passed. Here is some important information for you to know about retroactive SSDI payments.

retroactive SSDI benefits

Factors for Retroactive Pay

The amount of money you would receive for your retroactive benefits is dependent on the following factors:

- Date your condition began

- Your application date

- The waiting period.

If you do not know the onset date of your condition, or if it cannot be determined, it will default to the date of your initial application. That date is then known as the alleged onset date (AOD). If your disability occurred a long time before you applied for benefits, then you will need to prove the onset date and then obtain a new established onset date (EOD).

Waiting Period

All applicants for retroactive pay must go through a mandatory five-month waiting period after the onset of the disability. During the waiting period, you will not receive benefits. So, your payments will begin on the first day of the sixth month after your application has been accepted.

Eligibility Requirements for Retroactive Payments

Not everyone is eligible for retroactive SSDI payments. To qualify for them, you must meet the following conditions:

- Your disability claim has been approved

- At least five months have passed since your EOD

- There are no reasons to withhold your payments.

Important Time Frames of Which to be Aware

If you are eligible for retroactive benefits, please be aware of the following time frames that can affect the receipt of your benefits.

- Payments are allowable for up to 12 months, subtracting the five-month waiting period. So, at least 17 months need to have passed from your EOD and approval date of your application.

- Payments can only be made for a maximum of one year. So you will not receive benefits for any time before that 17-month period.

Determining Your EOD

After you apply for your retroactive benefits, the judge will take your request into consideration. To determine if you can receive these benefits, the judge will look at your medical and employment records. After analyzing the data within this information, the judge will determine the EOD of your disability. This determination will dictate your eligibility for retroactive benefits.

The Difference Between Retroactive Pay and Backpay

Retroactive pay and backpay are similar. However, they are awarded under different circumstances. Retroactive benefits are meant to cover the time during which you were disabled, but had not yet submitted a claim. Only those who apply for SSDI benefits are eligible for retroactive pay. However, backpay is meant to cover the gap that exists between the time you applied for benefits and the time your application is accepted. So, receiving backpay makes it like you started receiving benefits from the first day you submitted an application. Backpay is available to both SSDI and SSI applicants.

Work With a Disability Lawyer

Getting retroactive SSDI benefits is not a simple process. It is not advisable to apply for retroactive benefits on your own. Instead, it is best to work with a qualified disability lawyer who can help you through the process. Not only can an experienced attorney help you through the legal aspects of getting your benefits, but he or she can also be an invaluable resource for answering all of your questions. Some other tasks an attorney can help you complete include:

- Ensuring the proper documents are submitted with your application

- Ensure a proper and effective case is presented to the judge

- Help you determine the amount of benefits you can request

- Knowing how to make the transition from EOD to AOD seamlessly and without errors.

If you have questions about applying for retroactive SSDI benefits or if you would like to start an application, contact Fred London Law today.

Jan 16th, 2018

Disability Benefits for Brain Injuries

Fred London Law 0 Comments Social Security Disability

People can qualify for Social Security disability benefits after suffering traumatic brain injuries that leave them incapacitated enough to no longer work. The Social Security Administration (SSA) considers many different types of traumatic brain injuries when considering a person for disability benefits.

brain injuries

Types and severity of TBI can vary. It is very typical immediately after the injury for the patient to have a headache, or be dizzy or nauseous or even vomiting. The person might even be unconscious. Blurry vision and problems with motor coordination is another classic sign.

When you seek medical treatment, a TBI diagnosis will be made based on clinical evidence of these signs. If you are able, the doctor will ask you to perform a neurological examination to check your pupils in your eyes for a normal response to light. Other motor coordination tests are done as part of this exam as well.

The doctor will also likely use an imaging method–x-ray, CT scan or MRI–to look for evidence of the brain injury. Later, the doctor will likely ask you to do cognitive tests to determine whether the TBI has had any long-term effects on your memory or your ability to normally process information. If the TBI is severe, you may need physical and cognitive rehabilitation therapy.

The SSA uses a manual called the Blue Book to assess disability claims; this book contains a list of qualifying impairments. While traumatic brain injury (TBI) does not have its own listing, TBI is considered as part of other disabilities like brain trauma, head trauma, stroke and seizures. The TBI listings in the Blue Book fall under the general category of neurological and mental disorders.

In the SSA Blue Book, you will likely see traumatic brain injury (TBI) also referred to as intracranial injury. SSA defines these injuries as an injury that results “when an external force causes brain trauma”. The older term “head injury” is often generally used, but refers to a much broader range of injuries that SSA uses to describe structural defects and congenital disorders rather than trauma.

SSA looks at the extent of brain injuries, as well as the severity of the injury and how debilitating it is, as well as the duration you’ve had the injury.

When the SSA reviews disability claims, they look in the Blue Book for the closest matching condition that fits your symptoms. SSA will generally classify your TBI under the following categories:

· Convulsive epilepsy

· Non-convulsive epilepsy

· Stroke or stroke-like complications

· Organic mental disorders

The SSA might classify you under multiple listings to fit all of your symptoms into their review.

Even if you don’t meet one of the above Blue Book listings, SSA can still review your claim for disability by performing a residual functional capacity (RFC) assessment to gauge your ability to perform job tasks. Approval—or denial—of your claim largely depends on SSA’s determination of your RFC that remains after you’ve suffered a TBI.

The SSA always needs as much detailed medical evidence as you can provide when you file a claim. Specifically for brain injuries, there are several types of evidence the SSA will review: doctor’s diagnosis, detailed notes about medical tests performed, a list of prescribed medications, and doctors’ reports regarding his or her (or their) professional opinion about your functional limitations and the impacts of those limitations to your ability to adequately perform a job.

Your comprehensive medical evidence is important when submitting your disability claim to SSA for any injury but particularly for brain injuries because of the way SSA classifies it under the Blue Book listings. If you haven’t hired a disability attorney, consider calling Fred London Law today. Our firm will provide you with a qualified legal representative to gather your required TBI evidence and help you submit your disability claim.

Jan 11th, 2018

The Importance of Witness Letters to Your Social Security Disability Hearing

Fred London Law 0 Comments Social Security Disability

If you have been denied Social Security Disability Benefits and are going through the appeals process, it’s important to have the best strategy in order for your appeal to be approved. A great way to add additional evidence to your case is by adding witness letters. These are letters written by family members, friends or coworkers and can have an impact on your Social Security Disability hearing.

social security disability hearing

Things to keep in mind about witness letters for your Social Security Disability hearing:

1.Feature only letters with first-hand accounts.

When you choose people to ask to write witness letters for you, you need to choose people how have first-hand accounts of how your injury or disability has affected you, your life or your work. Even though these people are not medical experts, they can still help to show the real consequences of your condition. These letters help to put your disability in perspective in terms of real life.

2.The letter should include the relationship of the witness to you.

The letter should state the witness’s relationship to you to put the letter in the correct context for the judge. Certain people will only be able to provide certain information.

3.The letter should include descriptions of your life before and after your disability began.

It’s important that the letter describe your life before as well as after the onset of the disability. This will show how life has changed for you and give a comparison to base any changes off of. It should describe things you used to be able to do versus things that you can no longer do. It should also talk about how your quality of life has changed. Your witness should stick to the facts and avoid embellishing their stories. If it comes out later that something was falsified, it will work against you.

4.The letter needs to have ways that your witness can be contacted.

Your witness must include contact information in the letter as well in case the judge needs to conduct a follow-up with your witness.. This can be a phone number or an email. Make sure that your witness knows that this is a possibility after your Social Security Disability hearing.

When going through an appeal, it’s important to include witness letters to help support your case. Make sure your witnesses are prepared and know what to include in the letter. Contact us with any questions.

Jan 9th, 2018

Steps to Receiving Disability Benefits

Fred London Law 0 Comments Social Security Disability

Receiving disability for a physical or mental impairment is important to the livelihood of many Americans. Knowing the steps to receiving a favorable social security disability determination is key to the applicant’s success. If your medical condition prevents you from working for at least one year, or your medical condition is expected to result in death, you may qualify for disability. Patience and perseverance is important through the application process.

social security disability determination

The Blue Book

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has a manual called the Blue Book that lists the physical and mental impairments to qualify someone for disability benefits. The good news is that not all impairments are listed in this manual, so don’t get discouraged if your unique situation is not included. Various medical conditions such as asthma, dermatitis, cancer, depression, anxiety and more are currently on the approved Blue Book list.

Submitting Your Application

You can visit a Social Security Administration field office in your local town or a state-ran Disability Determination Services (DDS) office. Filing online is also available if your medical condition does not allow for physical mobility to an office location.

Application Requirements

The application will ask for a description of your impairment(s), treatments and other information related to the alleged disability. You will also be asked for non-medical eligibility information such as your age, employment and marital status. Once you fill out the application, the case will be sent to the DDS office for evaluation. This process can take 30 to 90 days.

Verification of Eligibility

The DDS will look into your medical records as evidence to your social security disability determination. If the evidence is unavailable or insufficient in making an initial determination, the DDS will ask for a consultative examination by your healthcare professional. Keep in mind that the DDS can also decide to call their own specialist to conduct this examination.

Receiving Benefits

Whether the DDS automatically grants benefits from your application, or you are granted benefits after a consultative examination, the SSA will determine the benefit amount and begin paying benefits. If you are not eligible for disability benefits, the file will be kept at the SSA field office in the event that you would like to appeal the decision.

Appeals Process

If you are found ineligible to receive disability benefits, you can ask for a Reconsideration which is an appeal to the determination by speaking to the SSA field office. There is a window of 60 days to open a Reconsideration after you receive notice that you are not eligible.

If you need help navigating social security disability laws and to get additional assistance, contact Fred London Law today.

Jan 3rd, 2018

How Marriage Affects Social Security ?

Fred London Law 0 Comments Social Security Disability

As life progresses many people find a need for a safety net and that’s exactly why the Social Security Administration (SSA) exists. One of the big questions that comes up regarding SSA benefits is what happens if a person is already married when they start receiving benefits, or what happens if they get married after they’ve started receiving them.

marriage affects Social Security benefits

Old Age and SSDI Benefits

For most people they receive their social security benefits after they have worked a majority of their life and they have reached the eligible age to start receiving payments from the program. The way the benefit is qualified for is by completing 40 annual quarters of work. That breaks down to 10 years of work total while meeting the minimum earning requirement established by the SSA.

While there are two forms of disability insurance the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program is similarly based on credit for how much time has been spent working. The minimum eligibility for SSDI requires that 5 years worth of time must have been spent working during the past 10 years. This is the equivalent of 20 credits for quarters worked. Depending on age, the minimum requirement changes for this benefit so it’s important to verify with the SSA if a person qualifies.

Since the old age benefit and SSDI are based on a person’s work history then marriage status will not impact those social security benefit programs.

Survivors and SSI

If a person is receiving Social Security benefits based on their income, or from being a survivor after someone they were dependent on passed away, then marriage can impact the benefit. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is based on the family income of an individual with a disability. A spouse’s income counts as part of that income, and if the combined income of the spouse and the beneficiary rises above the qualification level then benefits may be terminated. If two people that are both receiving SSI marry, then the rates change for each individual and they will receive a couple’s rate.

Likewise, if someone is receiving survivor benefits, that can be changed if they marry as well. If an individual is receiving survivor benefits from a spouse that died, then if they remarry before the age of 60 the benefits will not be approved. If the benefits are being granted after a divorce, or if they were benefits received by a disabled child that is under the age of 18 then the benefit will end if they get married. Marriage is a life changing event, before going forward with it, or if questions persist about benefits, then the best thing to do is speak to the SSA or an experienced attorney to find out the correct answers for any individual case.

Dec 20th, 2017

Can a Child Receive Disability Benefits for Dyscalculia

Fred London Law 0 Comments Social Security Disability

Dyscalculia is classified as a developmental disorder that causes a person to have difficulty learning and understanding numbers. This makes it harder for them to understand arithmetic and be able to grasp mathematical concepts which impacts their ability to progress through school or become hirable for many industries. In some cases it is possible to receive benefits from Social Security for dyscalculia.

get disability for dyscalculia in child

Eligibility for Benefits

To apply for benefits for learning disabilities in children, like dyscalculia, it needs to be well documented by a medical professional and there has to be proof that it affects the child severely. There are several categories that are included in what that means, and the child has to meet at least two of the categories:

- Unable to remember, understand or apply information to solve problems

- Cannot pick up social cues, cooperate with others, handle conflicts with others, or make friends

- Unable to protect themselves from harm, control their behavior, maintain personal hygiene or regulate emotions properly

- Issues with focusing cause an inability to perform tasks in a timely manner, work close to others while not interrupting them and not be distracted themselves

Documentation from the child’s school records can also be used to show the severity of the condition. Teacher records and grades are evidence of the child fitting the categories above, and can be critical in showing the daily impact to the child’s life. Even with documentation from the sources above, the Social Security Administration (SSA) may want to have the child visit for a psychological consultative evaluation. Determining the child’s current functioning level is important to the process, and the SSA wants to be sure the issues will be limiting to the child for a minimum of 12 months or the benefit will not be granted.

SSI or SSDI

There are two branches of benefits within the SSA, Supplemental Social Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). For some disabilities a parent’s work history and payments into Social Security can qualify their children to receive SSDI, but dyscalculia is not an eligible condition for SSDI. That means that the only program that may provide benefits is SSI, which is based on the income level of the parents or guardians for the child. As such, the best way to ensure you qualify based on income and other factors is to make contact with an attorney to examine the situation to determine if it would be possible to receive the benefits.

Dec 19th, 2017

Social Security Benefits for Children with ASPD

Fred London Law 0 Comments Social Security Disability

Having a child or teen diagnosed with Antisocial Personality Disorder (ASPD) generally stems from them having disregard for the rights, safety or property of others. ASPD is a mental illness that stems from inherited traits and environmental conditions. It’s a chronic issue that often results in the afflicted causing harm or violating the rights of others, and leads to legal problems or at the very least inappropriate and aggressive behavior.

ssi for antisocial presonality disorder in child

If a child has been diagnosed with ASPD, or a similar personality disorder, it’s rare for them to receive Social Security benefits for the condition, but it can be awarded when enough qualifying conditions are met. Since children don’t have work history the application for Social Security benefits most often is done via the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program with the Social Security Administration (SSA).

Qualifying for Benefits

The process to start receiving SSI benefits for antisocial personality disorder in children starts with determining which medical criteria they meet. There are two paths that permit eligibility:

- Meeting criteria from the Blue Book (Listing of Impairments) for an antisocial personality disorder

- Meet “functional equivalence” when the SSA compares the six domains of functioning

To meet the listing of impairments the child’s medical examiner (pediatrician, psychiatrist or licensed psychologist) must provide a diagnosis of the disorder along with documentation of one or more of the following symptoms in the child’s medical records:

- Inappropriate suspiciousness and mistrust of other people

- Disregard for the rights of others

- Violations of the rights of others

- Unstable personal relationships

- Attention seeking behavior

- Excessive emotionality

- Exposing feelings of inadequacy

- Detachment from socializing

- Recurring aggressive outbursts

- Obsession with perfection or orderliness

- Excessive need to be cared for

After being diagnosed and having the above documented, the child must show that the condition is affecting their development. If there is evidence that the child has an inability to interact appropriately with others, fails to adapt to changes or manage themselves to prevent harm, lacks ability to focus, or shows an inability to learn and remember information due to the ASPD affliction then they meet what is required for SSI.

Applying for SSI from that point forward can be a difficult process, and the best way to go forward if the above qualifications have been meet is to seek out legal advice from an experienced attorney. A disability lawyer will know what records should be provided, and the best way to compile the information necessary, and determine if the application for the child has a chance to move forward.

Dec 13th, 2017

Can Husband and Wife both Collect Social Security ?

Fred London Law 0 Comments Social Security Disability

When it comes to receiving Social Security benefits the biggest factor people face to determine if they can collect their benefits is if they have put in enough work and earned enough to qualify. Many times earners wonder if being married will affect their benefits and the answer to that is only if the benefits are being paid out of someone else’s work credit to begin with.

social security benefits for couples

The Claimant’s Work Record

If a claimant for Social Security benefits is receiving retirement or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and has worked and satisfied the work requirement necessary, having paid in for 40 credits, then regardless of their marital status they can draw their benefits. One credit is the equivalent of working and earning the minimum necessary for three consecutive months, or one quarter of a year. Over the course of 10 years that equates to the 40 credits necessary. Regardless of any other circumstances, if both spouses have their credits then the Social Security benefit for the couple will be paid to both.

Marriage and SSI

If the Social Security benefits being used fall under the supplemental security insurance (SSI) program then any income a spouse receives can be counted as income for the claimant. Since SSI is a program for low income individuals that haven’t met the credit requirements then the total Social Security benefit for the couple may be reduced or the spouse receiving SSI may become ineligible.

How Much Will Be Paid

Determining how much the benefit will be worth is important so that the social security benefits for couples can be put to their best use. Currently, the monthly benefit is highest when a claimant waits until they’ve reached 70 years of age before starting to collect. That level is what the Social Security Administration bases their calculations on. Then they adjust the claimants past 35 years of work for inflation, making every year equivalent to today’s value of a dollar. The adjusted values are then averaged and that number is divided by the total number of months in 35 years to give a monthly amount. That monthly amount is then applied to a formula to come up with the monthly benefit, which is normally much lower than the average monthly income earned over those 35 years. For a full description of the formula, it can be found here. If a claimant starts collecting before 70 years then the monthly amount is decreased as well, so it is usually best to wait until then to start collecting.

Dec 11th, 2017

What happens to your spouse’s social security when they die

Fred London Law 0 Comments Social Security Disability

This topic is never easy to discuss, but it’s an important conversation to have. If your spouse passes away you could be left with many burdens, so it’s important to know what kind of support will be available to you. One of those forms of support is the remainder of your spouse’s Social Security benefits.

spouse's social security benefits

Qualifying for Benefits

To receive Social Security benefits, an individual must qualify for them first. As you work, the SSA provides you credit for that work, and when you’ve received enough credits then your qualified beneficiaries are eligible to receive the survivor payout benefit. The amount of credits needed varies depending on the age of a person at the time of death. If the worker had young children then the benefit can be paid out without meeting the full credit requirements, so for a full breakdown of what’s needed, check here at the SSA website.

How Much of the Spouse’s Social Security Benefit Will You Collect

There are some important factors that play into how much of your spouse’s Social Security benefit you can receive as a survivor benefit. To calculate how much will be granted to help support you then knowing if the spouse had already begun collecting, when they began collecting and the surviving spouse’s age are all part of the equation. If both partners are over the age to receive full benefits then the survivor benefit can be 100 percent of the spouse’s benefit. If the spouse started drawing before the age that would have resulted in the maximum benefit then a percentage is factored in. Likewise, if the survivor has not yet reached the age for full benefit then the survivor benefit is reduced. The concept behind this percentage breakdown is that the SSA is assuming a specific total amount that will be paid to you or your spouse, and if you start drawing the benefit early then that means you will receive more payments for a longer time, at a lower value, so that the sum of the payments still equals the same total benefit in the end.

Other factors that can play into the benefit amount are death occurring before either spouse reaches an eligible age to start receiving benefits, continuing to care for a minor child, or the parents of a working child who has passed may receive the benefit their child qualified for. Figuring out what it takes to receive the benefit and going through the struggles of contacting the SSA on your own are likely not issues you’d like to take on while mourning. If you need assistance, please reach out for legal advice and assistance, we can help take the pressure off and clear your mind of some tasks like these in your time of need.