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Arizona Social Security Disability Blog

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The Process of Applying for Social Security Disability Benefits

What are the steps that must be taken to apply for SSD benefits?

The process of applying for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits can be a daunting one, particularly since it comes at a time when you are at a low ebb due to chronic illness or traumatic injury. This is why it is important to engage the services of a reputable disability attorney to guide you through the process.

Who can apply for disability benefits?

If you have a physical or psychological impairment that affects your ability to work on a full-time basis you can apply for Social Security Disability benefits.  You must be able to show that your severe impairment(s) have lasted for, or can be expected to last for at least 12 months.

At retirement age, the benefits continue, but are reclassified as retirement benefits.

When should you apply for SSD benefits?

It's always best to apply for benefits as soon as you become disabled.  Waiting to apply could cause you to lose out on potential benefits that could be rightfully paid to you. If your conditions prevent you from working, do not unnecessarily delay your application.

What documents are needed to apply for disability benefits?

Before applying for disability benefits, you should have all your ducks in a row, including all of the following documents that pertain in your case:

• Birth certificate or Permanent Resident Card Number
• Marriage and (if applicable) divorce papers
• Names and birth dates of children who became disabled before the age of 22, are under age 18 and unmarried, or are age 18 to19 and attending school full time
• Papers pertaining to military service
• Social Security number
• Name of place  and dates of employment for prior 2 years
• Statement of total earnings
• Bank account numbers for domestic and international accounts
• Bank information for direct deposit
• List of medical conditions
• Names and contact information for all of your doctors
• Complete information about medical tests taken 
• Complete list of prescribed medications
• Information about all completed education and vocational training

As if this weren't enough, applicants for Social Security benefits may be asked to provide additional information after they submit their application.

Once you are approved for disability benefits, will they continue throughout your lifetime?

While some conditions are chronic or progressive, some types of disability may be temporary, although they are long-term. Regular reviews of your condition will be made to determine whether you are still entitled to Social Security benefits.

As is obvious from the above materials, getting SSD benefits is a complex and often overwhelming process, a process during which the assistance of a capable disability attorney is invaluable.


Friday, November 20, 2015

Potential cuts to SSD Benefits Coming in 2016

What do Social Security cuts mean to disability recipients?

Social Security disability benefits could be cut by as much as 20 percent by the end of 2016.

A recently released report found the trust fund will be depleted by the fourth quarter of next year, leaving the Social Security Administration with only enough funds to pay 81 percent of benefits. Congress has presently failed to agree to a compromise funding bill.

However, some experts believe Congress may act at the 11th hour to reform the program by redirecting payroll taxes, but this would only be a short-term fix. Meanwhile, the cuts could impact 10.9 million disability benefit recipients. Moreover, the entire Social Security fund needs to be overhauled or the trust fund used for retirement benefits will be depleted by 2035.

That being said, lawmakers could also devise a short-term fix to increase funding for the disability program, but that would entail changing the benefits. For example, one proposal from the White House would preclude people who receive unemployment benefits from receiving Social Security disability benefits.


But this will only be a band aid as lawmakers still need to come up with a comprehensive plan to stabilize funding for the entire Social Security program. The federal government has not taken significant action to reform Social Security since the Reagan Administration. At that time a bipartisan commission called for hiking the payroll tax, and gradually raising the retirement age.

Today’s Congress, however, seems far less likely to compromise, and this adversely affects Social Security disability benefits. Compounding the problem is the inefficient management of the program by the administration which may have resulted in over payments to some recipients. This may contribute to the trust fund not being able to sufficiently cover present recipients and others who may become disabled.

If you believe you are entitled to disability benefits under the Social Security program, contact an attorney today to protect your rights.


Monday, November 16, 2015

Chronic Back Pain and Social Security Disability

It might seem surprising that the primary cause of Americans being unable to work is related to back pain. 1 in every 10 individuals suffers from a debilitating condition such as degenerative disc disease, herniated/bulging discs, nerve root compression, spinal stenosis, arachnoiditis or paralysis that affects their daily activities, and ultimately their ability to engage in substantial gainful activity.

If you experience debilitating back pain or have suffered a spinal injury, and this has lasted at least 12 months or can be expected to last at least 12 months, you may be eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.

Having the appropriate medical documentation of your condition, such as X-rays and MRIs, is essential to building a strong case.  This evidence also helps to demonstrate how much your back pain affects your day-to-day activities. It is very important to communicate all of your symptoms and limitations to your healthcare provider.

When Social Security evaluates your claim, they must determine what you are able to do despite your impairments – this is known as the residual functional capacity assessment (RFC).  This determination involves the capacity for sitting, standing, lifting and walking, and several other factors.

Chronic back pain and spinal injuries can be devastating to an individual’s lifestyle, but Social Security Disability benefits can offer some relief when you’re unable to work.  The Disability Attorneys of Arizona have extensive experience in building strong cases and can handle everything from filing the initial claim to the appeals process. We DO NOT collect a fee unless YOU WIN!

If you believe you may be eligible for SSDI due to severe back pain or injury, contact an experienced Arizona disability lawyer free initial consultation.  Let us help you obtain the money you deserve!


Thursday, November 5, 2015

Rheumatoid Arthritis and Social Security Disability

Over 1.5 million Americans suffer from rheumatoid arthritis.[1]  Signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis may include:

  • Tender, warm, swollen joints

     

  • Morning stiffness that may last for hours

     

  • Firm bumps of tissue under the skin on your arms (rheumatoid nodules)

     

  • Fatigue, fever and weight loss

Early rheumatoid arthritis tends to affect your smaller joints first — particularly the joints that attach your fingers to your hands and your toes to your feet.

As the disease progresses, symptoms often spread to the wrists, knees, ankles, elbows, hips and shoulders. In most cases, symptoms occur in the same joints on both sides of your body.

Rheumatoid arthritis signs and symptoms may vary in severity and may even come and go. Periods of increased disease activity, called flares, alternate with periods of relative remission — when the swelling and pain fade or disappear. Over time, rheumatoid arthritis can cause joints to deform and shift out of place.[2]

These symptoms can be debilitating, and even when individuals receive proper care and medications, they may still find themselves unable to work.  If you have been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and are unable to perform your job, you may qualify for Social Security Disability (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. 

Please contact the Disability Attorneys of Arizona for a free consultation.  You will speak to an experienced Social Security Disability attorney that will walk you through the process and answer any questions that you have.  The Disability Attorneys of Arizona specialize in representing individuals in front of the Social Security Administration and handle cases throughout the entire State of Arizona.  Call 800-975-1866 today to talk to with an Arizona Social Security Lawyer!


Friday, October 23, 2015

DEPRESSION AND SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY

Depression, like many other mental health disorders, does not always reveal itself in shades of black and white.  Some individuals may respond positively to therapy and medications, while others might not have the same response.  In fact, some individuals may never receive appropriate treatment for a variety of reasons – ranging from lack of health insurance to financial constraints.  At times, it might be the very nature of the person’s depressive symptoms that prevents them from leaving their home to pursue adequate treatment.

Individuals with depression experience a variety of symptoms, including: feelings of sadness; anxiety; agitation; sleep disturbance; trouble focusing and concentrating; frequent or recurrent thoughts of death or suicide; feelings of worthlessness or guilt; and loss of interest in activities.[1]

The Huffington Post recently published some eye-opening statistics:

Depression affects over 350,000,000 people worldwide.  To put that figure into perspective, the population of the United States was around 320,000,000 in 2014.[2] 

Depression does not just manifest itself in adults.  Nearly 11% of adolescents will have a depressive disorder by the age of 18.

Women are 70% more likely than man to experience depression in their lifetime.  However, around 16 million men experienced a depressive episode at least once as of 2012. 

30 percent of college students reported depression, which disturbed their school abilities. 

The estimated annual cost of depression in the U.S. due to lost productivity and health care is over $80 million.[3]

If you suffer from depression, or any other health conditions that prevent you from working, you may qualify for Social Security Disability benefits.  Please contact the Disability Attorneys of Arizona for more information regarding Social Security Disability benefits and assistance with filing an application. 

 


[1] See http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/depression/basics/symptoms/con-20032977.

[2] See http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/00000.html.

[3] See http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/01/20/depression-statistics_n_6480412.html.


Wednesday, October 14, 2015

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