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Social Security Disability Advocates – Current Issues

 

More than 11 million individuals with disabilities receive insurance from the United States’ Social Security program.  This valuable government-sponsored program provides an important source of income when workers retire, for the families of workers when they die, or when they suffer a serious disability.  Indeed, social security disability income often serves as the only lifeline for people with disabilities, who may well lack the ability to secure other income depending on the severity of their disability.  So, in sum, social security is integral in enabling members of our society who suffer from disabilities to meet provide food, shelter and other basic human requirements.

Social Security – Where We’ve Been

Created in 1935, the Social Security system was implemented in order to provide a government sponsored, efficient insurance system for workers and the families of workers.  Workers earn the right to receive social security benefits through regular payroll tax contributions, which sums are withheld from workers’ paychecks by employers.  There are requirements as to the number of months a worker must work (typically around 10 years), and the amount of money a worker must earn, in order to qualify for social security benefits.   Although the amount a worker will receive varies based on individual circumstances, the average benefit is around $1,100 per month.

Social Security Disability, Retirement, Survivors Insurance

The social security system offers three distinct insurance programs that benefit individuals with disabilities as well as their families.  Our Shreveport-based disability advocacy firm, has worked with hundreds of clients to obtain the following types of insurance under the social security program:

  1.  Disability Insurance – disability insurance is designed to provide assistance to disabled workers and their dependents, including spouses and children.  To qualify for disability insurance, the claimant bears the burden of proving that their impairments “are expected to last 12 months or result in death,” and are sufficiently severe so as to prevent the individual from what’s known as substantial gainful activity (SGA).  Once a worker has qualified, his children may receive an additional sum equal to 50% of the social security disability benefit.
  2. Retirement Insurance – retirement insurance is designed to assist retired workers with disabilities, as well as their disabled adult children (DACs) and their retired spouses.
  3. Survivors Insurance – as it’s name implies, Survivor’s Insurance provides assistance to the survivors of workers who are no longer living, including DACs, minor children and disabled widow(er)s.

Social Security beneficiaries also qualify for Medicare, but those who receive social security benefits solely because of a disability (and not because of age), must wait 24-months to receive Medicare benefits.

Supplemental Security Income

There is another program available for many individuals with disabilities.  The Social Security Income (SSI) program provides additional benefits for those who are elderly, blind or disabled, and who lack income or savings.  The SSI program supplements the social security disability program to provide additional monthly benefits to enable beneficiaries to meet basic human necessities, such as food, clothing and shelter.

  • SSI benefits average slightly more than $500 per month
  • Individuals must meet maximum income as asset requirements
  • The individual must be 18 years of age or older
  • His or her disability must be significant using the same test as for SSDI

However, unlike social security disability insurance, the SSI program does not require minimum time on the job or earnings in order to qualify for coverage.

An Important Current Issue for Social Security Disability and SSI Claimants

As the job market began to sour during the Great Recession, disability claims have steadily increased.  As a consequence, great strain has been placed on the disability insurance program, as the limited funds allocated from the program are being depleted.  Against this backdrop, it is hardly surprising that administrative law judges (ALJs) have strictly applied the standards governing whether an individual is entitled to receive benefits.  Moreover, there are frequent complaints about ALJ bias, prejudice and unfairness, few of which have been successfully resolved through subsequent litigation.

It is more important than ever to retain an experienced social security advocate to marshal the facts underlying your claim.  Experienced SSI and SSDI advocates, unlike generalist lawyers, specialize in the laws and procedures applicable to social security disability and supplemental security income cases.

At Applied Benefits, we are a social security disability advocate and we have over a decade of experience and we are proud of our 98+% success rate on behalf of our clients.  We are so confident that we can help you that we represent our clients at no out of pocket expense to our clients.  We only get paid if you get paid.  So, we’re happy to put our money where our mouth is, so to speak.  We encourage you to get the benefits you rightly deserve.  Moreover, if your claim has been denied, we can still help through an appeal.

We invite you to contact us for a FREE disability consultation.

What’s The Difference Between SSD and SSI?

Social Security Disability (SSD)

These benefits are available to Americans who have worked and, by doing so, paid in to the national disability insurance system. Those eligible for these benefits include individuals who are not of retirement age, and who are disabled to the point that they cannot work. Social Security disability benefits cover a broad range of physical and psychological medical issues.

Choosing The Right Doctor Is Important

All doctors are not created equal. Let me explain. Many times people see a doctor for years and usually that helps a social security case. But, too many times when I review medical records on a potential or current client I find that the doctor left out important examination findings (e.g., decreased reflexes, weakness, decreased range of motion, numbness, etc.), no x-rays, no MRIs, no CT scans, no stress tests or any type of test that would demonstrate to anyone (let alone a Judge) the doctor had paid any real attention to the patient’s complaints. In fact, what I see are examinations conducted mostly by a physician assistant. A nurse, nurse practitioner or physician assistant can provide excellent care, but unless the records show the doctor is still very much involved in your treatment that could be a problem. If your doctor never examines you, never refers you to a specialist or second opinion, never bothers to obtain an x-ray, MRI, CT scan, etc. it’s time for you to have a serious talk with your doctor now! And the issue should not be about you being disabled or that you are trying to get Social Security disability benefits. Doctor’s typically become suspicious of a patient’s complaints when there is a secondary motive involved like seeking Social Security disability benefits. Important insight into issues like this is invaluable when applying for Social Security disability benefits. As an SSA accredited Advocate with years of experience in representing the disabled, I can give you valuable advice which will make your disability claim as strong as possible.

At Applied Benefits, Inc., we have worked in Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas handling only social security disability cases for over 25 years. We are familiar with most of the physician practices and clinics, and have established a good reputation with doctors and mental health care professionals. We do not burden doctors or administrative staff with unnecessary and duplicate requests for medical records.

We present your doctor’s opinion of your condition to the social security administration by a carefully prepared document designed to minimize the time required by the doctor in completion, and maximize the support for your disability case. Many social security disability representatives present doctors with “cookie cutter”, multi-page evaluation forms that ask about areas of functioning that have no impact on winning the claim.

Let us work with your doctor and we can significantly increase your chances of winning your social security disability benefits. Call Applied Benefits, Inc. today at 1-800-264-6233.