Applying for and persevering through the process to qualify for Social Security Disability or SSI benefits can be a frustrating, disappointing, and lengthy ordeal. The entire process from application to a hearing before an administrative law judge can often take up to 2 years. Veterans often face a double whammy of fighting the Social Security Administration for SSDI or SSI benefits and also the Department of Veterans Affairs for service-connected disability. At least in terms of Social Security, there is some relief for some veterans in that their cases can be expedited based on "wounded warrior" status.
Parents applying for childhood SSI benefits for their child are often confused by how the Social Security Administration evaluates and decides the claim. If a child does not meet a "Listing", one must assess the claimant's functioning in terms of six domains: (1) acquiring and using information; (2) attending and completing tasks; (3) interacting and relating with others; (4) moving about and manipulating objects; (5) caring for yourself; and (6) health and physical well-being to see whether there is extreme or marked limitations.
Children with intellectual disability or what has been known as mental retardation may qualify for Childhood SSI benefits. Benefits may be awarded if the claimant can show:
Social Security Disability or SSI benefits can be awarded to individuals suffering from a low IQ or as the Social Security Administration (SSA) has previously called "mental retardation." The SSA recently proposed changing the term from "mental retardation" to "intellectual disability" to be consistent with the terms widespread adoption by the government and other organizations. In pertinent part, Section 12.05, states:
Persons suffering from Parkinsons Disease or Parkinsonian Syndrome may qualify for Social Security Disability or SSI benefits. If the claimant's condition is severe enough and well documented, the Social Security Administration may approve her claim without even considering ability to do past work or other work in the economy. The requirements are set out in the Listings:
Claimants applying for Social Security Disability or SSI need to be aware of the Social Security Administration's recent announcement regarding claims involving drug or alcohol addiction (DAA). Recently published SSR 13-2p:
Children suffering from a seizure disorder or epilepsy may qualify for Childhood SSI disability benefits. Childhood SSI claims are evaluated differently than adult claims for Social Security Disability or SSI. The Social Security Administration determines whether the child has impairments that meets or medically equals a "listing," or that functionally equals a listing. The Childhood Listings involving seizures or epilepsy are:
If a claimant's Social Security Disability or SSI claim is denied by an Administrative Law Judge, then the claimant has sixty days to appeal to the Appeals Council. The request for review must be in writing in the form of a letter or on a Form HA-520-U5. Though the Appeals Council is generally a review on the record, it is always a recommended to support the appeal with a brief. The claimant may submit new evidence that relates to the period of disability prior to the ALJ's decision.
In a Social Security Disability case, mental conditions are often involved. The existence of mental impairments alone will not suffice unless they meet or equals a listing or the resulting functional limitations eliminate available jobs.
The funding support for the Social Security system is the collection of taxes from employees and employers under the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) and the Self-Employment Contributions Act (SECA). These taxes are based on wages paid for employment or on self-employment income derived from carrying on a trade of business and are collected by the Internal Revenue Service. Most work performed is covered employment for Social Security purposes, but there are exclusions and one should turn to both the Social Security Regulations and the Internal Revenue Code for guidance when cases arise.