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Arizona Social Security Disability Blog

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Social Security Administration Takes Aim at Beneficiaries Who Own Firearms

It is certainly no secret that the Second Amendment, and the extent to which it should be applied and upheld in today’s society, is under increasing scrutiny. Not only is the Federal Bureau of Investigation dealing with heavily-armed domestic and international individuals within the United States, but the Social Security Administration has also entered the arena of gun control and firearm ownership restriction – except, their position takes direct aim at disability beneficiaries who – in the SSA’s opinion – are under the influence of a mental health issue, therefore making gun ownership a general safety issue.

According to the 41-page document published by the SSA on May 5, 2016, the SSA intends to inform the Department of Justice on a quarterly basis of its disability beneficiaries who are receiving the benefits due to a mental health or mental impairment diagnosis.

Read more . . .

Thursday, June 16, 2016

New Hope for ALS Patients

Is ALS a qualifying medical condition for SSDI?

While Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) provides benefits for individuals with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), there is currently a five-month waiting period in place before this assistance becomes available to many patients. Commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease, ALS is an incurable neurodegenerative disease with only one approved treatment. This disease rapidly progresses eventually causing the afflicted to lose the ability to walk, talk and breathe on their own.

Read more . . .

Monday, May 16, 2016

The Difference Between SSI and SSDI

What types of disability benefits are offered by the Social Security Administration?

The fact that anyone can become ill or suffer an injury at any time and not be able to work is reason to be concerned. However, there are benefit programs that the Social Security Administration has in place for disabled individuals, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). There are differences between the two programs, however.

SSI and SSDI at a Glance

Supplemental Security Income is designed for individuals who are disabled, blind or over 65 and is based on need. In order to be eligible, the applicant's income and resources must fall below a certain threshold, but these benefits are available regardless of whether the individual paid into the Social Security System.

Read more . . .

Saturday, May 7, 2016

A Primer on Disability Appeals

What can I do if my application for SSDI is denied?

Let's face it: anyone can become disabled due to an accident or illness and be unable to continue working. While the Social Security Administration (SSA) has a program that provides benefits to disabled individuals, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), obtaining these benefits can be difficult.

Eligibility for SSDI

To be eligible for disability benefits, you must have an injury or illness that prevents you from participating in substantial gainful activity.

Read more . . .

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Social Security Administration Sponsors National my Social Security Week

What are the benefits of opening a my Social Security account?

The Social Security Administration recently celebrated National my Social Security Week (April 4- 13). In collaboration with a number of state and local groups across the country, the administration hosted a variety of events to educate people about the programs available through the SSA, and also to encourage individuals to open an online my Social Security Account.

In addition to its regional and field offices and other service centers, the SSA provides a wide range of services online. However, for a variety of reasons, the online services are being underutilized. While the SSA sends out periodic statements detailing earnings records and estimated retirement benefits, an online account provides a number of advantages such as tracking and verifying wages on an annual basis.
Read more . . .

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Children’s Social Security Benefits

Can certain children receive Social Security Benefits?

Most of us think of Social Security as benefiting the elderly, retired and disabled. Most of these benefits do go to people in these categories, but, did you know that children are also entitled to Social Security benefits in certain situations? If you answered no to this question you are not alone.
Read more . . .

Monday, March 28, 2016

Where the Remaining Presidential Candidates Stand on Social Security

With the presidential election in full swing, one of our top priorities is the status of Social Security Disability laws in the United States. As we all know, presidential candidates are prone to over-promising and under-delivering – and our nation’s benefits system is no exception. As the pool of possible presidents continues to dwindle, let's take a look at each of the four remaining candidate’s public statements or stances on the issue of Social Security Disability, as well as a cursory look into how each candidate could impact the system post-election day.

1: Hilary Clinton: Hillary Clinton has not shied away from frankly discussing her plans with regard to Social Security. Consistently, Clinton has rebutted the notion of privatizing Social Security, citing the inherent risk of the market – which beneficiaries should not be required to endure. Further, Clinton is devoted to ensuring the nation’s more vulnerable populations have access to benefits first, particularly given the actuarial data suggesting the available cash for Social Security retirement and disability programs could possibly dry up by 2034.

2: Donald Trump: Most notably, Donald Trump has been an outspoken critic of fraudulent disability filings, which hurt the system overall and waste precious resources for those who are truly in need of support. He was quoted as stating that "between 2005 and 2009, it is estimated that $25 billion were eaten up in fraudulent Social Security Disability Insurance filings. On and on, scam after scam it goes; as always, taxpayers are the ones getting stiffed.”

 3: Bernie Sanders: As one of the more outspoken supporters of Social Security benefits, Sanders has made fighting for disability rights one of his key platforms throughout the election. More specifically, he has vowed to:

  • Protect and expand the Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) program.
  • Increase employment and educational opportunities for people with disabilities
  • Fight for the U.S. ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities

As Senator, Sanders is quoted as saying “[t]he Americans with Disabilities Act established a clear national mandate that we as a nation have a moral responsibility to ensure that all Americans have access to the programs and the support needed to contribute to society, live with dignity, and achieve a high quality of life.”

4: Ted Cruz: Texas Senator Ted Cruz has advocated what he calls “common sense reforms” to the current Social Security system. Notably, he has advocated for raises in disability benefits to meet the rate of inflation. From there, Cruz has not made much public mention of his intentions with regard to disability benefits, and has not raised the issue in a significant way along the campaign trail.

If you are concerned about your benefits and would like to speak to a reputable attorney in Arizona, please contact Roeschke Law today: 1-800-975-1866.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Thyroid Disorders and SSDI

Am I eligible for social security disability benefits for my thyroid disorder?

The thyroid gland -- a gland in the neck, produces hormones that regulate weight and metabolism. Thyroid disorders such a hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism can cause a variety of medical conditions.

Symptoms of Hypothyroidism

If your thyroid is not making enough thyroid hormone, you may experience the following symptoms: fatigue, depression, dry skin, difficulty concentrating, body pain, increased weight, and swollen legs. Severe cases can also result is cardiovascular and respiratory problems. This condition is treated by taking a thyroid supplement.

Symptoms of Hyperthyroidism

An overactive thyroid gland can cause muscle weakness, a racing heart, tremors, irritability, and problems sleeping. Treatment for hyperthyroidism includes medications, the intake of radioactive iodine, and possibly surgery.

While chronic thyroid conditions can be managed with medications and most individuals can lead normal lives and continue to work, those who are suffering from a thyroid disorder and are unable to work may be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits.

SSDI and Thyroid Disorders

The Social Security Administration will award disability benefits for medical conditions that are expected to last for a year or result in death. The SSA requires proper medical evidence to be submitted that indicates you are unable to perform any work or meet the requirements of a "compassionate allowance condition."

While hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism are manageable, some thyroid disorders are more likely to result in a disability, such as thyroid cancer and Graves' disease. To qualify for disability benefits for thyroid cancer, the illness must be one that has spread beyond the area of the lymph nodes. On the other hand, while Graves disease in and of itself may not meet the criteria for SSDI eligibility, the illness can cause other medical conditions, such as a heart arrhythmia, which may qualify an individual for benefits.

What is residual functional capacity?

A thyroid disease that is not severe enough to meet the eligibility requirements for disability benefits may require a determination of an individual's residual functional capacity, or RFC -- the most one can do in a work setting. An RFC may lead to a classification of an individual being able to perform sedentary, light or moderate work. An RFC may also include limitations that prevent one from being fully productive.

Hypothyroidism, for example, can result in depression which can affect an individual's ability to work on a regular basis. At the same time, this disorder can also make it difficult to concentrate, which can interfere with a person's ability to follow complex instructions and prevent an individual from performing certain, but not all, jobs.

There are other symptoms of thyroid disorders as well as side effects of medications that may lead to an individual being eligible for disability benefits. Nonetheless, the process for being awarded SSDI can be very complicated. If you have question about whether your thyroid disorder makes you eligible for disability benefits, an attorney with expertise in Social Security procedures can help you explore your options.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Identity Theft Can Be a Threat to Disability Payments

How can identity theft affect your disability check?

Identity theft has become an increasingly common occurrence, causing millions of people complex financial problems and emotional turmoil. There are many ways in which you can find out that your identity has been stolen, none of them pleasant. Sometimes, you are suddenly billed for purchases you've never made; other times you are denied credit you've never applied for. On many occasions, you find out about the theft when you apply for a mortgage or try to buy a car, only to find that you suddenly have a poor credit rating because someone else has defaulted on payments using your credentials.

One of the most disturbing ways to find out about identity theft is when you attempt to file your income tax only to discover that someone has already applied to receive a fraudulent tax refund in your name. Even in these days of sophisticated computer fixes, people whose identities have been stolen usually end up spending a great deal of time dealing with the process of cleaning up the resulting mess. It is particularly labor-intensive to re-file taxes, and infuriating to experience the delay in receiving a tax refund through no fault of your own. There are, however, even worse problems that can be the result of identity theft.

When the person whose identity is stolen is on disability, living solely on monthly checks from the Social Security Administration (SSD or SSDI), the results can become life-threatening. While for most us, our tax returns are important credentials, and we know to keep them available for scrutiny by the government if the occasion arises, individuals who live on only disability income, and therefore do not pay federal income tax, do not have such evidence to prove their lack of employment to the government.

In a recent case, this caused Jennifer Marban, a disabled woman from Knoxville, Tennessee, severe trouble. Not only was her identity stolen, but the thief filed a fraudulent tax return in her name, claiming that she had been employed for four years. Armed with this false information, the Social Security Administration informed Jennifer that it was discontinuing her disability checks. Since Ms. Marban supported herself and her three children solely on her disability payments, she was suddenly destitute. Although she had verification from the IRS that her ID had, in fact, been stolen, during to the usual bureaucratic snags, the SSA had not received this information and her check was disastrously delayed. If you experience a delay or stoppage of your disability payments because of identity theft, or for any other reason, you should contact a disability attorney promptly. A lawyer experienced in this branch of the law will be able to clear the matter up much more expeditiously than if you were to try to do so yourself.

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