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SSA disability may now be easier to get for veterans

Getting disability benefits from the Social Security Administration is never an easy process. However, for those who have served for the U.S military, it may now be faster.

Carolyn W. Colvin, acting Social Security commissioner, recently announced that Social Security claims from certain veterans will receive a fast track for their applications. This will also mean expedited decisions on their cases, hopefully making it quicker and easier to get needed disability benefits.

Veterans with a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs disability compensation rating of 100 percent permanent and total will have access to this faster process. Proof of the rating with the VA notification letter must be shown to the SSA. This does not guarantee an approval, but it does make the process much quicker than it otherwise would be.

“We have reached another milestone for those who have sacrificed so much for our country and this process ensures they will get the benefits they need quickly,” Colvin said. “While we can never fully repay them for their sacrifices, we can be sure we provide them with the quality of service that they deserve. This initiative is truly a lifeline for those who need it most.”

Obtaining Social Security disability benefits generally requires the claimant to attend a hearing before an administrative law judge. Hopefully, veteran armed with a 100 percent VA rating decision can avoid the usual procedure of attending a hearing and save the time it takes to wait for the hearing to take place. In any event, the Law Offices of Harold W. Conick and Associates can assist the veteran claimant at any point of the Social Security disability claim process.

Records essential to prove childhood disability cases

When applying to the Social Security Administration for children’s disability benefits, it is imperative to have medical records submitted, but school records will also play a key role in the hearing process. School documents, such as Individualized Education Program papers, will help show the special education services that have been received.

In the educational lives of students with special needs, IEPs are utilized to set reasonable goals for children and state the services which are being provided by the school. In many cases, this can be a key piece of evidence to show how a student has progressed or stayed the same throughout a school year.

These records will also likely include program modifications, how much the student has been participating in regular class with nondisabled students and any individual accommodations that need to be made.

In addition to IEPs, parents should arrange academic performance records, psychological evaluations, attendance records, specialized testing results and other school-based interventions which have come into play.

The Law Offices of Harold W. Conick and Associates are experts in obtaining and presenting evidence of childhood disability. We have successfully represented hundreds of children before the SSA to obtain disability benefits.

SSA disability application rules may tighten

There has been a lot of debate over whether or not Social Security Administration disability awards becoming “too easy” to get. The Wall Street Journal reported that the SSA is under increasing pressure from Congress to form new rules which would force disability benefit applicants to present the government with all relevant medical information, even records that go against their case.

“There have been allegations that when some representatives submit evidence to us, they deliberately withhold evidence they deem unfavorable to the claimant,” the SSA proposal said. “We also know, based on our program experience, that we do not always receive complete evidence.”

If these rules were to be passed, those applying for disability benefits would need to give the SSA all evidence that applies to them, whether it be good or bad for their case. In this case, the Wall Street Journal said it would be on the applicant to submit their medical records, not their representative, thus avoiding attorney-client privilege challenges.

This is not the first requested rule change for the SSA in recent months, as the issue of applying for disability has become politicized due to a perception that many are attempting to rip off the system. However, there has not been much in the way of proof or statistics that showcase applicants gaming the SSA.

Notwithstanding any new rules that may be introduced, SSA judges have always expected that the claimants submit all relevant medical and other evidence. This touches upon the primary issue in a disability case which is whether or not the claimant is capable of performing competitive and gainful work activities. It only serves the claimant’s case to supply as much evidence that is available to them on this critical issue. The SSA is obligated by law to assist the claimant in obtaining relevant medical evidence as well.

The Law Offices of Harold W. Conick and Associates are experts in not only obtaining such evidence, but also persuasively presenting it to SSA judges in order to obtain a fully favorable decision in a claimant’s case.

Bill to expand veteran disability fails

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is dealing with a lengthy backlog and it doesn’t look like the cavalry is coming to help anytime soon. A VA bill that would have expanded benefits for former service members failed to pass through a vote in the U.S. Senate. The measure, which was sponsored by Senate Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders, would have cost $20 billion over the next decade and came four votes shy of passing.

North Carolina Senator Richard Burr said the fact that the bill would have added new veterans to the already crowded system.

“We have veterans dying from long waits for basic, necessary tests like colonoscopies,” Burr said, according to The Washington Post. “Veterans waiting for their disability claims to be processed know all about frustrations and delays at the VA, and adding more individuals to an already broken system doesn’t seem wise.”

Even so, veteran groups are clearly disappointed with this bill’s failure. American Legion national commander Daniel M. Dellinger told the Post that he believes the veterans deserve more than to have this bill stall out on the Senate floor.

Sanders said he will be trying again with this bill, further working with Republican senators to gain their support.

Although there are many delays encountered by veterans dealing with VA, the best way for a veteran to work through the system is to file appeals from a denial decision or decisions in a timely manner. It is also important to follow through on medical treatment and documentation of the disability. The Law Offices of Harold W. Conick and Associates stands ready to assist veterans in this process of securing receipt of their VA benefits.