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Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) Archives

Traumatic brain injuries and Social Security Disability

There are many types of injuries and illnesses that are considered to be permanent disabilities. Among these is a traumatic brain injury, or TBI. No matter how the injury occurred, a TBI can have an impact on all the different aspects of your life. It can leave you unable to work, and can also harm your ability to handle the tasks of daily living and enjoy your personal life. Understanding what kinds of symptoms a TBI has and the benefits you can get to help you becomes very important when living with this kind of disability.

How is disability is defined for Social Security purposes?

"Disability" can mean different things to different people. However, the Social Security Administration (SSA) follows strict guidelines outlining what it means to be disabled with regard to the receipt of benefit payments. Additionally, the SSA assumes that disabled people have access to other financial resources if they are unable to work. These may include unemployment benefits, workers' compensation, family resources, and the like.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) - SSA Proposes New Rule Governing Evidence Submission

The Social Security Administration (SSA) recently proposed regulations that would affect all claimants trying to qualify for social security disability insurance (SSDI) or supplemental security income (SSI) benefits. Currently, despite a regulation that allows individual ALJs to have a policy or rule requiring all evidence be submitted five days prior to a hearing, only Region 1 has a blanket regulation requiring all evidence, statements about the case, or objections to the issues be submitted to the SSA within five days prior to a scheduled hearing with only several good cause exceptions. Under the proposed regulation, the procedures currently in place in Region 1 would apply to the entire country. Late filing of evidence can cause delays in decisions in hearings so I can understand the motivation for the rule. However, it is very important that the good cause exceptions exist and that the rule does not stand in the way of valid claims. As discussed recently, claimants wait a long time for their day in court and it would be a shame if the case is lost due some piece of evidence not being considered only due to a technicality.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) - Hearing Wait Times and Approval Rates

An important and devastating issue for people seeking Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is the time it takes to get their case decided once they reach the hearing level. I have been a bit late on providing an update on this issue. My last entry was in April of 2016. The following is the most current statistics on the processing times and approval rates for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claims for some hearing offices in Tennessee and Eastern Kentucky. Please remember that these statistics are only for claims pending at the hearing level or Office of Disability Adjudication and Review. The claims at a hearing office have already been through the Application and Reconsideration steps (typically 6-12 months of waiting already).

The Challenges Of Obtaining Social Security Disability Benefits

Mental illness does not discriminate and affects individuals of all ages, income brackets and education levels. National statistics indicate that as many as one quarter of U.S. adults suffer with a mental illness. Despite the prevalence of mental health conditions like depression, anxiety and attention deficit disorder; those who suffer with these invisible disabilities often do so in silence.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) - SSA Proposes Rule for Reporting Certain Beneficiaries to Gun Control Database

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has issued a "Notice of Proposed Rule Making" (NPRM) on reporting certain Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) beneficiaries to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). As part of amendments to the NICS in 2007, Federal Agencies are required to submit to the Attorney General "any record of any person demonstrating that the person falls within one of certain categories of individuals excluded from owning or purchasing a gun or ammunition by the Gun Control Act of 1968." The SSA's proposed rule deals with Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or SSI beneficiaries who would be prohibited from owning a gun by 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(4). Those would be individuals who have "been adjudicated as a mental defective or who has been committed to a mental institution."

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) -New Information on Student Loan Discharges for Some SSDI Beneficiaries

In April of 2016, President Obama took executive action to notify approximately 387,000 Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) beneficiaries of the potential eligibility to have outstanding student loan balances discharged on the basis of "total and permanent disability" (TPD). The Department of Education will send out letters to beneficiaries of their possible eligibility and will continue to do so until all individuals identified by the Social Security Administration (SSA) have been notified. The only beneficiaries who will receive notice for total and permanent disability discharge are those who the SSA has deemed "medical improvement not expected." If the SSA determines that an individual is expected to have medical improvement, they will not automatically be eligible for TPD discharge. Those other individuals may be eligible for student loan forgiveness, but they would need to submit additional proof to request discharge and the process will not be streamlined.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) - SSA Clarifies New Borderline Age Rules

The Social Security Administration (SSA) recently revised the POMS and HALLEX that deal with borderline age situations for claimants seeking Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. When adjudicators are evaluating a claim under the five-step sequential evaluation process, they must consider the claimant's age in combination with his or her Residual Functional Capacity (RFC), education, and work experience. SSA considers advancing age to be an increase in the limiting factor in a claimant's ability to make such an adjustment. See POMS: DI 25015.005. The important age brackets so to speak for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or SSI claims are age fifty, fifty-five, and sixty. If a claimant is within a few days or months of reaching a higher age category, and using the current age category would result in a denial, the adjudicator should consider using the higher age category if it would result in a favorable determination after evaluating all factors. 20 CFR § 404.1563 states that the ALJ must not apply the age category mechanically in a borderline situation and the case law is clear that the ALJ must at least consider applying the higher age category.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) - New Social Security Ruling Regarding Evaluation of Symptoms

A new ruling has been published by the Social Security Administration (SSA) affecting claimants seeking Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. The SSA published SSR 16-3p - "Evaluation of Symptoms and Disability Claims" meant to supersede SSR 96-7p. The primary change in the new ruling is that it does not contain the word "credibility," except to state that the agency is limiting the use of that term. SSR 96-7p used the word credibility or credible more than fifty times and the agency's decision to change focus of the ruling from credibility to evaluating "statements regarding intensity, persistence, and limiting effect of symptoms." The SSA notes that the adjective "credible" is problematic because the evaluation of the claimant's subjective symptoms is not an examination of the claimant's character. The new ruling states that "adjudicators will not assess an individual's overall character or truthfulness in the manner typically used during an adversarial court litigation.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) - Hearing Office Wait and Approval Statistics

A major concern for people seeking Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is the time it takes to get their case decided once they reach the hearing level. It has been since December of 2015 that I updated the processing times and approval rates for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claims for some hearing offices in Tennessee and Eastern Kentucky. Please remember that these statistics are only for claims pending at the hearing level or Office of Disability Adjudication and Review. The claims at a hearing office have already been through the Application and Reconsideration steps (typically 6-12 months of waiting already).

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