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Philadelphia Social Security Disability Law Blog

Administration may start reviewing social media posts

A new regulatory proposal, currently being floated between the President's team and the Social Security Administration, may lead to a regulation that will authorize or even require the Administration to examine social media posts when reviewing disability benefits and claims. Currently, the Administration only does so when there is already some suspicion of fraud or abuse.

For those in favor of the measure, the concern is that many people in Philadelphia, and throughout the rest of the country, are gaming the disability system. In other words, they may claim they have a debilitating injury but are in fact perfectly able to carry on with their normal life, and work, activities.

Can schizophrenia patients claim SSD benefits?

Living with a mental illness is always difficult. Many people would have either experienced the difficulties themselves or would have witnessed a family member or friend experiencing those difficulties. One example of such a mental illness that people in Pennsylvania would be aware of is schizophrenia. Fortunately, the Social Security Administration acknowledges the severity of schizophrenia and, therefore, offers Social Security Disability Insurance benefits to patients who meet the eligibility criteria.

According to the SSA's rulebook, a person is eligible for schizophrenia-related SSD benefits if he or she demonstrates certain symptoms of the disease. Some of those symptoms are delusions, hallucinations, mood swings, abnormal speech and several others. Besides checking the existence of those symptoms, the SSA also checks if those symptoms have prevented the claimant from performing basic daily activities or affected some of the most basic inherent abilities. Additionally, the SSA will check of the symptoms have affected that person's social behavior and personal relationships.

Sympathy alone not enough after a disabling injury

Losing one's job can be a difficult experience all by itself. However, it can be even more difficult if the job loss was due to a disability that was a result of a work-related injury. As readers may know, a disabled worker may be entitled to workers' compensation per Pennsylvania law, but the money received from such benefits is often not enough to meet the various expenses that arise after a disabling injury.

Thankfully, most workers pay Social Security taxes, making them eligible for Social Security benefits when facing financial challenges resulting from a disabling injury that eventually leads to job loss. The Social Security Administration runs the Social Security Disability Insurance program and will grant benefits to those people whose inability to work is because of a disabling condition.

What is a herniated disk?

Many people in the Philadelphia area, particularly, those who perform difficult manual labor, may have to put strain on their backs as they work. No matter how hard they try to stay safe, exertion will wear down the various parts of the spine, and this wear-and-tear can cause back problems, like a herniated disk.

To give some background, the spine, which gives structure to the whole body and protects the all-important spinal cord nerves, is made up of several little bones called vertebrae. Between the bones are natural padding called disks.

Kids with autism likely to have unmet medical needs

According to a recent study, a number of children who are diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum are not getting the medical or mental health care they need. Whereas fewer than 10 percent of children with other types of disability are not getting the care they need, according to the study. This number is closer to 20 percent, or 1 in 5, with respect to those children who have a spectrum disorder. Among children who are not suffering under any apparent disability, under 3 percent missed out on essential services.

The study found a number of reasons for this apparent gap in medical care. In some cases, the issue is the lack of health insurance that will pay for such services. Other issues include financial problems, marital issues and things like unemployment. At times, it is just hard for families with an autistic child to find the type of care suitable for their family.

Getting a win in front of an administrative judge tough in Philly

Many people in the Philadelphia area may find themselves unable to work because of an illness or injury. Despite oftentimes having a track record of being hard workers at high-paying jobs, these folks will quickly find after a few months of being laid up that they need financial help if they wish to survive.

To get this help, many will turn to the Social Security Administration in order to draw SSDI or SSI benefits, both of which are forms of disability payments that have different eligibility criteria. Applying for these benefits is a complicated and arduous task. Unfortunately, despite one's best efforts, it is fairly common to have an application denied at the initial stages.

Can I get disability after drawing workers' compensation?

Many Philadelphia residents who need to explore getting disability benefits are in their predicament because of a work-related injury. Indeed, even when all parties involved are being as careful as possible, there are many jobs in the area that simply involve dangerous work. Workers will inevitably get hurt from time to time, sometimes seriously.

Like other states, Pennsylvania has a workers' compensation system to deal with these sorts of situations, but too often, the benefits that workers' compensation provides are simply not enough to keep an injured worker afloat financially, at least not in the long run.

How can you speed up the hearing process for SSD benefits?

Even with the best preparation possible, many, if not most, applications for Social Security Disability benefits are denied in the initial stages. When this happens, a Philadelphia resident will have to wait for a hearing before an administrative law judge in order to make his case that he is entitled to disability benefits.

Unfortunately, the waiting time for these hearings is notoriously long, so long, in fact, that it has in recent months attracted attention from the national news media. To some extent, this is just part of the process with which a person has to live, as the months or even years of delay is largely a political problem.

SSD benefits for children living with disabilities

When individuals in Pennsylvania and elsewhere think about a person filing a disability claim, he or she often thinks of a worker that suffered an injury because of a work accident. While this is a common reason to file for Social Security disability benefits, this is not the only reason to do so. In fact, it is not only adults that benefit from this program. Children, too, can apply for and receive SSD benefits for a disability he or she is suffering from.

There are various reasons why a child may receive SSD benefits, and it is not only due to the child suffering from a disability. Based on 2017 data, it was found that the SSA distributed roughly $2.6 billion each month as a means to benefit 4.2 million children who have one or both parents that are disabled, retired or deceased. The idea is that these funds help provide the necessities of life for the family, making it possible for these children to have their needs met so they can complete high school.

Activity vs. rest could promote brain injury recovery

Some injuries are more severe than others. Thy can be so severe, in fact, that a person may never fully recover from it. In these cases, the individual may have his or her life impacted for the rest of their life. This could mean the inability to live life as they once could, accomplish basic tasks, take care of him or herself and even maintain employment. In these cases, it is important to understand how the Social Security Administration could assist them. Even if the injury is recoverable, if it is disabling for a year or more, Social Security disability benefits may be available.

Take a brain injury for example. A head trauma occurring in a car crash, fall or a work accident could create many health issues. A person may struggle with daily pain in the form of headaches and migraines and their cognitive and speech skills could be impacted. While it is possible to recover from such an injury, it is often a long road.

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