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There are two different types of Social Security disability benefits for which a disabled individual can apply, depending on the facts regarding his or her disability and work history. The most common type of benefits for which claimants apply are known as Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits.  These benefits are designed to help people who have a substantial history of engaging in gainful employment, but can no longer work due to a disability.

wheelchair5The second type of benefits available to some claimants are known as Supplemental Security Income (SSI).  Like SSDI, SSI benefits are also administered by the United States Social Security Administration (SSA), which is a federal executive agency. SSI benefits are designed to help disabled children in low-income households.  The program is also designed to help blind and disabled elderly individuals.  There is no requirement that a person have worked to apply for this type of disability award. Continue reading →

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As you may have already heard, a Social Security Administration (SSA) administrative law judge (ALJ) was accused to have been of sexually harassing his co-workers at the agency and writing derogatory things about Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits claimants when denying their applications.

gavel211Following these accusations that came as result of a whistleblower inside the SSA (the federal agency responsible for administering the Social Security disability programs and the Social Security Old Age and Retirement program), there was a widespread opinion that he should resign as an ALJ before being subject to discipline. Continue reading →

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O’Connor-Spinner v. Colvin, a case from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, involves a claimant who was suffering from a degenerative disk disease, severe sleep apnea, restrictive lung disease, obesity, and depression.  In this case, unlike many other Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) appeals, there was no dispute as to the existence or severity of claimant’s physical medical condition.

1028452_syringes_and_vialAccording to claimant, these conditions make it only possible for her to perform light work.  However, her depression made impossible to perform any work.  The singular issue in this appeal is whether her depression did in fact render her unable to work. This was the second time the Court of Appeals had heard this issue, as the claimant had applied for disability benefits earlier, and the court of appeals found the judge had not properly questioned experts in this case. Continue reading →

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As discussed in a recent news feature from ABC News, the United States Social Security Administration (SSA) will subject a claimant to review process at certain intervals following an award of disability benefits.  While in most cases it is just a scheduled or even random review, in some cases the agency does suspect fraud and will require a claimant to undergo a review.

deniedThe process by which the SSA will typically request a review is to send a letter to the claimant requesting that the claimant see a certain doctor and have an evaluation as to their condition that qualifies them for disability benefits. This doctor does not necessarily work directly for the SSA, but the doctor does get paid by SSA, so there is certainly some level of bias we see from time to time. Continue reading →

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U.S. soldiers may be eligible for a number of benefits related to injuries suffered in the course of their service. They should not overlook the possibility of securing SSDI.

In Hensley v. Colvin, a case from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, claimant is a combat veteran who served in the U.S. Army during the war in Iraq and suffered a serious knee injury while deployed. Two years later, he had surgery on his right knee, and he was awarded disability benefits by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).  He was deemed to have a service-connected disability, which is the requirement to get awarded VA benefits.

1100587_hospital_handClaimant also applied for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. His basis for claiming that he was disabled is that he suffered from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), pain in his back, pain in his right knee, and a twitching in the nerves in his face.  His application for benefits was denied after a finding that he was not disabled under the guidelines of the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA).  The SSA is the agency that is responsible for administering the disability fund and awarding benefits. Continue reading →

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Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits are not always easy to come by.

In Cole v. Colvin, as case from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, claimant worked as a welder in 2000 when he was injured in an accident.  The accident resulted in him breaking his left arm and his wrist.  As a result of these injuries, claimant was required to have a metal plate and steel screws implanted in his arm.

1033916_medical_instruments_3Claimant had been in pain for eight years following the accident, and despite a lot of medical treatment, the pain would not go away.  He still worked following the accident and was a factory foreman at the time he had a second serious accident. Continue reading →

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When people talk about Social Security, they are often talking about the benefits you get when you reach the designated age of retirement.  This age of retirement is determined by the year in which you were born, because Congress has raised the retirement age on sliding scale several times over the years as way to save money on the program, which is often running short of funds.

taxesThe retirement program is technically called the Old Age and Retirement Benefits program and is administered by the United States Social Security Administration (SSA).  This is the same agency that runs the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits program and the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program.  Continue reading →

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The Social Security Administration (SSA) provides benefits to some 60 million people, including 43 million retired workers and their dependents, 6 million who have survived deceased workers and another 11 million disabled workers and their dependents.

That last category is known as Social Security Disability Insurance, or SSDI. A recent annual report from the SSA – all 272 pages of it – highlights some of the issues the program is facing. Specifically, it takes a look at solvency.

First, it’s important to understand that the Social Security Trust Fund, which is fueled by payroll taxes on wage, is not being totally depleted of money. Continue reading →

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The Social Security Administration’s growing backlog of disability cases has ballooned in recent years, from about 695,000 in 2010 to more than 1.1 million in 2016. sand1

According to the Office of the Inspector General, that means the average processing time on Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) hearings went from 415 days up to 498 days. It’s not uncommon to hear of people waiting up to two years – just to get a hearing to decide whether they are eligible for benefits.

Congress has promised to take steps to reduce that backlog, but they have been saying that for years and the problem continues to worsen.  Continue reading →

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Recipients of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits in Boston know what an uphill battle it can be to secure payments. What they may not realize is that once benefits are obtained, that isn’t the end of the story. sad1

The fact is, all SSDI benefits claims are periodically reviewed upon approval. How often and with what degree of scrutiny will depend on the type of illness claimed and the stated prognosis at the time benefits were awarded.

For some facing an upcoming review of benefits, it’s advisable to consult with an attorney, just to make sure you aren’t overlooking any aspect that could jeopardize future payments.  Continue reading →