Articles Posted in Supplemental Security Income

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

The Need for Strong Medical Evidence in Boston Social Security Disability Insurance Cases

Medical evidence often plays a crucial role in disability cases. Most Boston Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) applicants will not be successful when they initially apply for benefits.  This has less to do with whether claimants are  disabled and more to do with how the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA) runs the program due to political reasons and budgetary constraints.

Following the initial application is summarily rejected as is the next step in the process, which involves a written request for reconsideration, the claimant will have to do have hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ). It is in this hearing when a claimant must prove they are actually disabled within the meaning of the SSA regulations, and this is where the use of medical evidence by the claimant is of utmost importance.

The Weight of Medical Evidence During Boston SSDI ALJ Hearings

Boston SSI casesIn Wellington v. Berryhill, a case from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, claimant applied for SSDI benefits as well as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. SSI benefits are a different type disability benefits under a program also administered by SSA.  In some cases, there is little chance of obtaining SSI benefits, but claimants who are often unrepresented when they first file the application will check every box in hopes of obtaining some much needed benefits. In other cases, such as this one, they are relevant to the matter at hand.  Continue reading

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has been without an appointed commissioner for around two years.  The previous commissioner stepped down at a time when there were many issues being reported about the federal agency, the operations at some of its locations around the nation, and the problems pertaining to the agency’s administrative law judges (ALJs).

SSDI lawyerSSA is the federal agency that administers the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits program, as well the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program. The agency also administers the Old Age and Retirement benefits program.

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When we talk about Social Security disability benefits, we are generally talking about what is formally known as the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program. This is a program whereby people who work have money taken out of their paychecks, along with their state, federal, and, sometimes, local income tax, and that money is put in a disability fund. In the event that they become disabled and apply for benefits, if they have paid enough money into the system, they can collect benefits, assuming they are found disabled.

coffee bookIn a recent case from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, a claimant was denied for what is known as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. The U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA) runs this program, as they do with the Social Security Disability Insurance benefits program, but this program is not for people who have worked and earned credits to qualify for SSDI benefits. Continue reading

Up until very recently, recipients of SSI benefits – or Supplemental Security Income – were not allowed to build any sort of savings account beyond $2,000. Many have long argued this is a grave disservice, particularly for those individuals who are able to work to some degree.piggy bank

But as The New York Times recently reported, recipients risked losing their much-needed benefits if they started to compile even a meager savings beyond that $2,000. Take, for example, the 27-year-old man with Down syndrome profiled. He works two jobs – one folding towels at a local gym and another taking tickets at a nearby movie theater. However, he was never allowed to keep more than $2,000 in the bank at any given time, otherwise he’d lose the SSI benefits on which he heavily relied.

Now, a new kind of savings account is giving this young man and others an opportunity to begin saving more cash. It’s called an ABLE account, and it allows people with disabilities and their families to save up to $14,000 annually – without losing any benefits. Continue reading

There are various programs that the United States Social Security Administration (SSA) administers.  The largest part of the agency’s budget involves the Old Age and Retirement program.  These are the benefits that are available when you reach a certain age.  This age was once 60, but those days are long gone, and the age for full benefits keeps increasing as time passes and Congress looks for more ways to save money by paying out less in benefits.

gavelIn addition to the old age program, there is also the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits program.  When most people think or talk about Social Security disability benefits, they are talking about SSDI benefits. Continue reading

Graves v. Colvin, a case from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, involved a claimant who was claiming disability because of anxiety, depression, as well as other types of developmental disorders normally classified as an intellectual disability by the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA).  She had applied for both Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.

948188_learning_with_pencilWhen she first applied for SSI and SSDI, her application was denied.  After she submitted her initial application, SSA denied it.  This is basically standard practice for SSA, even though they will never admit to this, but the reality is that at least half of all applications are initially denied, only to be approved later in the process. Continue reading

In Taylor v. Colvin, a case from the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, claimant was a woman in her 20s who was tested to have an IQ between 70 and 75.  This was in addition to her already diagnosed intellectual disabilities. Court records indicated that during the last year she attended high school, she was performing at a fourth grade level in math.  She attained a fifth grade level in reading, and had a grade seven writing level.  She was in special education and was having difficulty with the program.

woman2Her special education teacher testified at the eventual hearing that claimant had a lot of difficulty following directions, and would struggle greatly when new academic concepts were introduced to her.  When she felt something was difficult, she would emotionally shut down and not be receptive to learning how to do the new tasks. She also had problems caring for herself, according to her teacher. Continue reading

In Alvarado v. Colvin, a case from the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, claimant was born in 1967 and first began receiving disability benefits from the Social Security Administration in 1993.  The reason for obtaining a disability rating was due to having serious medical impairments that began around the time he was born.

1158337_nurseii_4The type of benefits he received are known as Supplemental Security Income (SSI).  The United States Social Security Administration (SSA) administers this SSI program, and these benefits are for children of low-income households who suffer from serious medical conditions, disabled adults who have never worked before due to a disability, elderly individuals and those who are blind. Continue reading

In Julin v. Colvin, a case from the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, claimant applied for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits from the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA) in December 2009.  An SSDI claim is filed under what is known as Title II of 42 U.S.C. Section 432 and is often referred to as a Title II claim.

1078874_word_work_on_the_dices-300x214Claimant also filed a Title XVI claim under 42. U.S.C. Section 1382, which is a program known as Supplemental Security Income (SSI).  In applications for both benefits, she claimed her disability started in mid February 2004.  Her claims were that she suffers from anxiety, depression, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Claimant asserted that these mental health conditions make it impossible for her to work, because she had trouble keeping her focus, lacked energy, was unable to concentrate, could not maintain a normal schedule, and was unable to engage in normal social relationships. Continue reading