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Philadelphia Social Security Disability Law Blog

Electronic medical records coming to more disability claims

Part of the application process for Social Security disability benefits is providing medical records. When applying for Social Security disability benefits, it is important to understand the requirements for eligibility and know what is required as part of the application process. The Social Security Administration recently partnered with a major medical care provider in a neighboring state for the electronic transfer of medical records, with the patient's consent, for purposes of Social Security disability applications.

The health care system the Social Security Administration most recently partnered with is one of the largest in the United States and serves greater than 2.8 million outpatient patients annually. The Social Security Administration has entered into several similar partnerships over the past several years and plans to continue expanding the program with high volume healthcare providers.

Benefits are crucial for disabled workers

Social Security disability benefits are an option for disabled individuals with the necessary work history to qualify for benefits to consider. Typically, the work history requirement to qualify for benefits is 10 years for a disabled individual 31 years or older. It is important to understand that the Social Security disability application process includes the initial application, as well as several levels of appeals if the application has been denied which many are.

Factors that are considered when evaluating a claim for Social Security disability benefits include the age of applicant; the education of the applicant; the applicant's work experience; and the applicant's ability to read, write and communicate in English. In addition, the applicant's physical or mental medical condition causing the disability will also be considered when determining eligibility for benefits and if the claim for benefits will be approved.

What are my options if my SSD benefits are stopped?

Pennsylvanians who suffer from an injury, illness or condition and are approved for Social Security disability benefits must understand that there are periodic reviews by the Social Security Administration to make certain that the benefits should continue. If the SSA determines that the person no longer has a qualifying disability, the benefits will stop. However, like when there is a denial of benefits at the initial application, a claimant can appeal to continue receiving benefits.

With an appeal, the SSA will examine the entire decision and if it is found that a mistake was made, it will be changed. There are 60 days for a claimant to request an appeal of the decision to stop payments. This will start after the letter is received saying that the benefits are stopping. There is a presumption on the part of the SSA that the letter will be received five days after its date. If the time frame is missed, the claimant must show that the letter took longer to arrive. There must be a good reason for having been late in filing the appeal.

What disability evidence do I need for my benefits claim?

If you are disabled and unable to work, you will need money to support yourself until you are back on your feet again. For some Philadelphia residents, these benefits may last for the rest of their lives. Unfortunately, though, the application process is not always easy. Even people with seemingly obvious disabilities have had their claims denied. If you want to file a claim for benefits with the Social Security Administration, then you will need to provide adequate evidence to prove your condition and how it renders you unable to work.

The evidence you provide must establish that you have a long-term disability and that your condition is severe enough to warrant disability benefits. The SSA will consider both medical and non-medical evidence that shows your ability to complete the tasks required of you at work.

What are compassionate allowances?

No matter how old you are, you can suffer an injury or illness that impacts your future and keeps you from doing your job. Many people in this position depend on Social Security Disability benefits to support themselves if they are unable to work. We often hear stories about how claims for SSD benefits take a long time to process and often get denied. Fortunately, there is one way to speed up the process for applicants with severe medical conditions.

Compassionate Allowances (CAL) are intended to make it easier for people with serious conditions that obviously qualify for SSD to get their benefits sooner. Through this designation, the Social Security Administration quickly identifies people with certain conditions and awards their benefits quickly.

Trump's proposed budget cuts SSDI program

In the United States, close to nine million workers currently depend on Social Security Disability Insurance to financially support them after they suffer a long-term injury or illness. These benefits not only support the workers themselves, but also their dependents, making for a total of nearly 11 million people relying on SSDI. According to TIME, many people who receive Social Security Disability Insurance benefits are likely to be injured as a result of manual labor performed in more rural areas.

Over the past 20 or so years, the number of people on SSDI has significantly increased, jumping from 7.7 million in 1996 to 13 million in 2015. Some say this increase may have to do solely with age. People born between 1946 and 1964, also known as "Baby Boomers," are all in their 50s and 60s now. A large number of workers are a part of this generation, and they are more likely to get injured due to their age. There has also been an increase in women in the workforce, making more people eligible for SSDI. Others say the increase in SSD recipients may have to do with changes in work opportunities.

SSI benefits are available for Philadelphia residents

Many Philadelphia residents are unable to work due to a debilitating illness or medical condition. As a result, they can have trouble making ends meet. Generally, workers who have paid enough into the Social Security system are eligible to receive Social Security Disability benefits. However, not everyone is eligible for these benefits. Fortunately, there is another option for people with limited income and resources.

The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program accommodates those who do not meet the work requirements of the SSDI program. However, you must be a U.S. resident 65 or older and/or blind or disabled. The disability must keep you from working and have lasted at least a year or be expected to last at least a year. You must also earn less than $1,170 per month in 2017 doing work that involves substantial gainful activity. Substantial gainful activity usually refers to doing work that requires significant use of your body and/or mind.

What medical conditions qualify me for SSD benefits?

If you have been unable to work due to a long-term illness or injury, you may be wondering whether your medical condition qualifies you for Social Security Disability. These disability benefits can provide you with the financial support you need as you learn to manage your condition, including helping to cover medical expenses and lost wages.

To find out if your medical condition qualifies you for disability benefits, you should first refer to the Social Security Administration's "Listing of Medical Impairments," also known as the Blue Book. If your condition is listed there, you automatically qualify for disability benefits, assuming that you have worked enough hours in positions covered by Social Security. Certain respiratory illnesses (e.g. asthma, cystic fibrosis), cardiovascular conditions (e.g. chronic heart failure), digestive ailments (e.g. liver disease, IBD), musculoskeletal issues, and neurological disorders (e.g. multiple sclerosis) are all covered under the blue book guidelines, along with many others. Mental illnesses such as depression and intellectual disability are also covered. Children under the age of 18 have their own list of conditions, but most are the same as those on the adult list.

Young people should be aware of disability benefits

Younger Americans have a tendency to think that Social Security Disability benefits are something only older people have to worry about. However, many millennials may find themselves requiring disability benefits sooner than they think. According to the Social Security Administration, someone who starts working at the age of 20 has a 25 percent chance of needing disability benefits before age 67.

The reality is that many younger people suffer injuries and illness that require them to take time off work. Some of these people may never be able to work again due to permanent disability. Yet, statistics show that nearly 70 percent of people working in the private sector do not have long-term disability insurance meaning that they will have to depend on disability benefits. However, there is no guarantee that you will receive social security disability benefits. In fact, many claims for disability benefits are denied for a multitude of reasons.

New rules make SSD benefits claims more challenging

If you have been injured and can no longer work, then you may be eligible to receive Social Security disability benefits. Unfortunately, these benefits are not easy to come by. According to the Social Security Administration (SSA), the number of claim approvals and people receiving disability benefits has gone down. In fact, the number of people receiving benefits is at a five-year low with only 8.8 million getting SSD benefits.

Disability claims in Pennsylvania are denied for a multitude of reasons. Some of these denials stem from lack of proper medical evidence and documentation. To establish a need for benefits, you will need to provide information regarding your medical condition and treatments. In the past, if your physician provided a report supporting your need for benefits, that report would play a significant role in convincing the SSA to approve your claim. However, new regulations have effectively put a stop to the special consideration of physician reports. These new rules also prohibit giving additional weight to disability determinations by the Department of Veteran's Affairs and other agencies.

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