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Congress must address SSA funding

There will need to be government intervention if disability benefits from the Social Security Administration are to stay stable, according to a recent report. The Disability Insurance Trust Fund may run out money by 2016, according to SSA trustees.

“While legislation is needed to address all of Social Security’s financial imbalances, the need has become most urgent with respect to the program’s disability insurance component,” The SSA trustees wrote on the administration’s website. “Lawmakers need to act soon to avoid automatic reductions in payments to DI beneficiaries in late 2016.”

By 2016, the report said the program may only be able to pay 81 percent of the scheduled benefits. A failure to address this could end up costing individuals and families in dire need of money and help dearly.

There has been a big increase in enrollment for SSA disability over the past few years, but Congress has not changed financing for the program. NPR reports that the SSA disability insurance program is 1.8 percentage points of the overall 12.4 percent Social Security payroll tax paid by companies and employees.

The Social Security program is vital to individuals who suffer debilitating injury or illness and can no longer work. The program is not well known to most Americans until they need the benefits to replace a part of their work income to support their when they lose their job. The benefits paid by the SSA are minimal and are not intended to replace all the income an individual or family may need to survive.

Receipt of disability and medical benefits may keep a family from becoming homeless. The medical benefits save lives and can often enable a person to obtain treatment and return to work. All and all, while there is a cost to the program that Congress must address, the benefit to the American society far outweighs the cost to taxpayers in maintaining the program.

Government encouraging veterans to apply for disability benefits

Although recent news from the Department of Veterans Affairs has not been all too positive, there may be some good changes coming. A recent story in the Los Angeles Times said counselors with VA are encouraging veterans to apply for as much disability benefits as possible.

In fact, the Times reported that enrollment has climbed from 2.3 million to 3.7  million in the last 12 years. While this has likely contributed to the backlog which VA is suffering through, there are many success stories, including one veteran interviewed by the Times who receives a monthly $1,792 tax free check for the rest of his life due to being approved for disabilities including post-traumatic stress disorder, migraines and sleep apnea.

These payments to veterans in need can save their lives. However, VA will need to keep cleaning up its act to ensure they can stay on top of awarding veterans with the benefits they need. Disability payments are now up to $49 billion, about three-times as much as VA spends on medical care. Continued reform will be needed to support veterans in need.

Veterans who suffer from injuries related to their service are entitled to be properly compensated. The Law Office of Harold W. Conick & Associates is ready, willing and able to be advocates for veteran clients seeking VA benefits.

Many children hindered by obsessive compulsive disorder

There are many children across the United States who suffer from obsessive compulsive disorder. In fact, S. Evelyn Stewart, Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School, wrote on the International OCD Foundation Scientific Advisory Board’s website that one in every 200 children are impacted by OCD. This can mean problems at school, disrupted routines, problems with self-esteem and anger management issues, all of which can be debilitating to developing children.

In the most serious cases of OCD, parents may want to look into disability benefits from the Social Security Administration. This can help with medical payments and other expenses while the child is treated. Cases may be made worse by children who suffer from peripheral mental health problems, such as depression and anxiety, due to OCD.

Psych Central said it is imperative to recognize the cycle children go through when suffering from OCD. This can be triggered by a stressful or traumatic experience and can include:

  • A trigger thought, image, event or other situation
  • Obsessions
  • Intense feelings
  • Compulsions
  • Temporary relief

“Find a specialist who is trained to treat OCD by implementing cognitive-behavioral therapy that includes Exposure and Response Prevention,” Psych Central said, adding that studies have shown this to be the most effective treatment. No matter what kind of treatment you seek, keep medical records for the case, as this will be needed to obtain benefits from an SSA Administrative Judge.

Psychological testing, including IQ and other cognitive tests, can be very compelling evidence to a judge. Schools records, especially IEPs, can also enlightened a judge concerning the child’s ability to function in the domains used by the SSA to determine childhood disability. The Law Offices of Harold W. Conick & Associates are experts in preparing and presenting evidence of childhood disability.

Headaches, depression could have close tie

There has been success by those with severe or debilitating headaches in applying for disability benefits through the Social Security Administration. However, there could be more to a relationship between headaches and depression, especially after mild traumatic brain injuries, according to a report from the American Headache Society.

After suffering from an mTBI, patients with headaches are 5 times more likely to be depressed than those without headaches, according to the report. Those who were depressed were also far more likely to have headaches. This showcases the extreme importance of treating not only these injuries, but a patient’s mindstate after they suffer from any kind of head injury. Doctor visits will also be essential in obtaining SSA disability benefits, as administrative judges need to see a doctor’s opinion on the matter.

Sylvia Lucas MD, PhD, clinical professor of neurology and neurological surgery, University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle, said that early diagnosis will also be helpful in treating these headaches and depression over time. This means that even though these may be linked and debilitating now, patients will hopefully not have to rely on SSA benefits for money and will be able to eventually return to work.

“Even if we see these people early on in our clinic or in the emergency room and they have no symptoms, it’s certainly worth seeing them in follow-up,” she said.

Claimants who are attempting to win SSA disability benefits based on severe headaches must support their claim with evidence. Judges must see how the symptoms of their headaches impact their ability to function.

It is essential to keep a headache log to document the type, frequency and severity of your headaches. Additionally, medical evidence of treatment and medications employed are essential in getting disability benefits based on headaches.

The Law Offices of Harold W. Conick and Associates have many years of experience fighting for our clients. We are experts in assembling and presenting evidence to the SSA for clients seeking to win disability benefits due to severe headaches.