The Social Security Administration has announced the edition of five conditions to its Compassionate Allowances program.

The five new health conditions added to CAL are:medicalrecords-200x300

  • Fibrolamellar Cancer
  • Megacystis Microcolon Intestinal Hypoperistalsis Syndrome (MMIHS)
  • Megalencephaly Capillary Malformation Syndrome (MCAP)
  • Superficial Siderosis of the Central Nervous System
  • Tetrasomy 18p

Fibrolamellar Cancer is a rare liver cancer that usually occurs in adolescents; Megacystis Microcolon Intestinal Hypoperistalsis Syndrome (MMIHS) is a rare congenital condition characterized by abdominal dissension; Megalencephaly Capillary Malformation Syndrome (MCAP) is a disorder characterized by overgrowth of several tissues in the body; Superficial Siderosis of the Central Nervous System is a rare condition that involves brain bleeding; Tetrasomy 18p is a genetic chromosome condition characterized by multiple medical and developmental concerns.

The Compassionate Allowances (CAL) program allows victims of severe health conditions to apply for expedited benefits. The CAL program began in 2008 and now lists 233 eligible conditions. The fast-track approval process allows patients suffering from severe conditions, including brain disorders and many types of cancers, to obtain benefits more quickly. Approval of SSDI benefits can happen in weeks, instead of the months or even the years that it often takes to secure disability benefits from the federal government.

The Social Security Administration provides a complete list of CAL qualifying conditions, which include leukemia, ALS, lymphomas, early onset Alzheimer’s, liver cancer, pancreatic cancer, mesothelioma, and thyroid cancer.

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Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits are supposed to be available for any worker who has paid into the system through withholdings in their paycheck, or through payment of quarterly taxes, and then becomes disabled in a manner that it makes it very difficult to continue workers.

Boston SSDI LawyerIf the disabling condition was due to an on-the-job accident, the only course of action may be to file a workers’ compensation claim, but sometimes you can do both.  For this reason, it is helpful to speak with a lawyer at a Boston area law firm that represents clients in workers’ compensation cases as well as in Social Security Disability Insurance benefits cases. Continue reading

When the Social Security Administration (SSA) was first created, it was done to provide retirement benefits to workers who had earned money and paid into the system for their whole working lives, and then needed income on which they could retire.

SSDI Benefits This was a valuable program, which has helped millions of Americans. The problem was there was no money in the system when it was first established, and the president and congress did not want to make people pay into the system while those at retirement age were not receiving any benefits, so the program required a loan from the general fund to fund current retirees. Continue reading

Many people suffer from one or more medical conditions that make it very difficult if not impossible for them to keep their current job. In many cases, even going back to any similar type of work is problematic.  When this occurs, a person will typically go to their treating physician for a letter of opinion to submit along with a written application for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. The claimant’s doctor may have very little question claimant cannot work and will often have no issue with writing these opinion letters.

SSDI BostonIf the particular doctor is at all familiar with the requirements of the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA), he or she will often include a series of limitations on claimant’s ability to work including some of the following:

  • Claimant’s ability to stand for any long period of time.
  • Claimant’s ability to sit for any period of time.
  • Claimant’s ability to squat or crouch while at work.
  • Claimant’s inability to lift objects of a certain weight, and if they can lift them all, for how long they can do so over the course of a workday.
  • Claimant’s mental ability to concentrate and perform the tasks necessary for claimant to go back to work.

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Contrary to conventional wisdom of many in politic, the clear majority of those who are disabled are not sitting at home collecting a check when they could be working. It is really quite hard to prove to Social Security Administration (SSA), you are disabled within the very narrow regulations the law allows.  The reality is most people would much rather be working if they are able to do so.  The problem is when you try to go back to work, you run the risk of losing what benefits you do have, and somewhat more importantly in many cases, you will also lose Medicaid benefits, which are often critical to dealing with medical expenses.

Ticket to Work Program in Boston Social Security Disability Insurance Cases

Boston SSDI Lawyer There are several programs in place aimed at allowing those who are able to work, to get back in the workforce. One of those programs is the Ticket to Work program. This program allows those who are medically able to start working again to do so without facing an immediate loss of benefits. This can be a good thing for some in the program. But if things do not go well, it can result in a termination of benefits, and claimants will find themselves back in the same position as they were before they first applied for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. Continue reading

Getting approved for Social Security in Boston is no easy process. It is also not a quick process.  The first thing any prospective claimant must do is to file an initial application with the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA). Once this application has been submitted, it will likely be rejected without any real regard for whether claimant can work and whether claimant is genuinely disabled. Following this initial denial, claimants must file an appeal of their initial denial with SSA.  This appeal will almost certainly be denied as well.  We know this because any reversal at this stage would be a complete shock since the system is set up in such a way where no medical professionals are involved in making an appeal determination. At this point, claimants can apply for a hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ) and wait at least one hearing for that hearing to occur.  Congress has just passed a major spending bill with funds to address the backlog of claims and cut the wait down to something more reasonable.

New Omnibus Spending Bill Allocates More Money for Fixing Maligned SSDI and SSI

SSDI attorney BostonAccording to a recent news article from the Washington Post, the hotly-debated omnibus spending bill, which was approved by congress and signed by the president, contains funding allocations to cut the backlog of federal disability claims substantially.  This is the same bill which President Donald J. Trump, signed, but then said he would never sign such a bill again. Continue reading

Even the best Boston SSDI attorneys know an extended wait time for a disability determination hearing can be inevitable. In Boston, the average is 10 months, according to the latest data from the Social Security Administration. That’s actually one of the shortest lengths in the country, but that doesn’t make it any less painful for those who are disabled and can’t work but are still trying to make ends meet. SSDI attorney

Now, the newest budget proposal released by the Trump administration indicates these wait times may stretch even longer as staff positions will be slashed and individuals will be tasked with greater caseloads than ever. Denial of initial applications for Social Security Disability Insurance are commonplace, but we may see them in even higher numbers if this budget is passed. People complaining about the rate of assistance through SSDI now may soon be reminiscing on these as “the good old days.”

The fiscal 2019 Social Security Administration Budget would significantly reduce staffing, which in turn is going to mean longer waits in agency offices and on the phone for those trying to navigate the often complex world of disability benefits.  Continue reading

Establishing a medical disability with the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA) is a lot harder for most than it should be.  This is mainly due to SSA lacking the budget to cover benefits to all valid claimants.  Congress continually forces SSA to operate on the verge of a fiscal cliff. SSA in turn denies many valid claims in a thinly-veiled attempt to get claimants to give up.  The situation has gotten so bad, it’s almost unheard of for an initial application to be approved. The exceptions are those who present evidence of one of a few terminal illnesses on the fast-track list. Even then, initial approvals are not a given.

Boston SSDI LawyerThe SSA also denies credible applications by issuing a very narrow definition of what it means to be disabled and finding anyone able to engage in substantial gainful activity not disabled.  Cost-conscious lawmakers have established “substantial gainful activity” to mean the ability to make a little more than $1100 in a any given month. This figure is not precise and it does fluctuate to reflect current economic realities. However, it is generally  far from what a disabled claimant in Boston needs to support his or her family. Continue reading

The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits program has not been around as long as the Social Security Old Age and Retirement benefits program, but it has been around for more than six decades.  Despite its fairly long history and real data showing how many millions of Americans with disabilities would not be able to make ends meet without it, those who apply for disability benefits, and the system itself, are both easy targets for politicians on the campaign trail.

Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits in Boston is Not an Entitlements Program

Boston SSI casesThe trouble mainly stems from an effort to label all public assistance programs as “entitlements” and to call all those who seek these benefits lazy, and say there is no reason they can’t be working.  As discussed in a recent news article from Vox, contrary to the popular myth being pushed by politicians, those on disability generally wish they were not disabled and could go to work.  As also discussed in this article, one of the main proponents of this myth is Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky.  Mr. Paul has made inflammatory statements including that more than half of those who receive Social Security disability benefits are either “anxious” or their “back hurts.” Continue reading

Whenever a claimant files for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) benefits in Boston, there are various things that must be established in order for claimant to receive an award of benefits.  In the case of SSDI benefits, the first thing is claimant must establish he or she is disabled within the meaning of the statute, and the second is he or she has a long enough work history to have earned a sufficient number of quarterly credits pursuant to Social Security Administration (SSA) guidelines.

Five-Step Disability Analysis in Boston Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits Cases

SSDI Claims BostonAs discussed in Hargress v. Social Security Administration, a case from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, claimant applied for both Supplemental Security Income benefits and Social Security Disability Insurance benefits. With respect to both claims, her initial application was denied. On appeal, she was granted a hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ) where her claim was again denied. At the hearing, she was denied again by ALJ based upon a finding she was not disabled. Continue reading