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All You Need to Know About Social Security and Disability Insurance Program

Social Security Disability AttorneySocial Security Disability insurance, also known as workers’ disability, is an insurance program run by the U.S. federal government which provides monthly benefits to disabled citizens. The insurance program is funded by the federal tax collected from payrolls and intends to help those who cannot work due to their disability. There are certain requirements and criteria which one needs to meet in order to be eligible for these monthly payments. A layman might find the requirements quite complex and difficult to understand so it is best to consult social security disability lawyers for assistance.

What is the purpose of the insurance program?

The Social Security and Disability Insurance program is designed to help those who have been disabled before their age of retirement. Becoming disabled is not what someone prepares for or anticipates for their future. It can happen to anyone regardless of their age, gender or job description. Let’s say someone becomes disabled at the age of 30, they have not had enough time to work in order to save for the rest of their life. Therefore, in order to support such individuals, the federal government initiated this program. Since its inception in 1935, the laws governing the program have been amended in later years to include benefits for family members of a disabled person as well.

How is eligibility for the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program determined?

The eligibility for the program is determined using a wide range of criteria such as the age at which the person became disabled and the number of years they have worked prior to their disability. For people already on a benefits program, there are certain conditions to determine whether they can receive disability or social security insurance as well. The application process is quite extensive but with the help of an experienced social security disability lawyer, you can apply quite easily and successfully.

It is important to understand that every case varies from one another. A lawyer might be able to guide you but only after knowing the exact details of your current situation. It is recommended that you consult a lawyer before applying to the program so that your application is not rejected on any grounds that you were unaware of.

If you wish to seek further information about this subject or discuss your SSDI or SSI application with an experienced social security disability lawyer, contact the offices of Harold W. Conick & Associates at (800) 608-8881 to schedule a free consultation.

Social Security Disability Benefits for Skin Disorders

Social Security Disability AttorneyMost people have experienced minor skin problems that may appear unsightly, but get better with time. However, there are certain skin disorders that can reduce your ability to work, such as inability to hold or firmly grip items with your hands and cause restricted movements. If you are suffering from a skin disease that hampers your ability to fully utilize your work capability, there is a good chance that you may qualify for Social Security disability benefits.

What you need to Qualify for SSD Benefits for Skin Disorders

You must establish that you are under the care of a physician or specialist, and have been diligently following their instructions pertaining to treatments and medications. Often times, this is the most difficult requirement for claimants to fulfill, especially when they do not have extensive health insurance coverage, as dermatological treatments are generally expensive to administer.

However, regardless of your specific situation, the Social Security Administration requires you to provide accurate information about:

  • Presence of skin disorders in family
  • The appearance of skin lesions
  • The size and location of the condition
  • A complete list of stressors that may have caused your specific skin problem
  • A history pertaining to any allergens, toxins, or irritants that you have been exposed to
  • A complete description of ability to work when you are not exposed to any special environments
  • Documentation to highlight the effect of changing seasons on your skin disorder

What Skin Disorders Qualify for SSD Benefits

The Section 8 of the SSA’s Blue Book features a list of skin orders with details and basic requirements for eligibility for SSD benefits. They are as follows:

  • Dermatitis: It covers numerous skin conditions, and to be eligible for SSD benefits, you must have skin lesions for at least three consecutive months.
  • Burns: To be eligible for SSD benefits due to burns, there must be skin lesions that have lasted for 12-months or more.
  • Ichthyosis: Skin lesions must be spread over extensive parts of the body for three months or more.
  • Chronic Mucous Membrane: This refers to skin infections with extensive skin lesions that are fungating or ulcerating for more than three months.
  • Bullous Diseases: This entails having skin lesions for at least three months over extensive body parts.
  • Hidradenitis Suppurativa: Both inguinal areas and both axillae must be affected for at least three months to qualify for SSD benefits with this condition.
  • Genetic Photosensitivity Disorders: You can qualify for SSD benefits automatically if you are suffering from xereoderma pigmentosum. This is because such skin conditions are generally present from the time you were born. If not, your physical condition and medical reports should show that significant parts of your body are affected by skin lesions and the condition is expected to last or has lasted for 12 months or more.

Other skin conditions that are known to cause disability to some degree and make you eligible for benefits include:

  • Shingles
  • Dermatomyositis
  • Chronic Skin Diseases
  • Cellulitis

While there are well-defined guidelines for what is considered eligible for acquiring SSD benefits, the SSA conducts strict checks that make qualifying for benefits difficult. However, if you make your application in the right way and present all the supporting evidence while fulfilling the SSA’s requirements, you can drastically improve your chances of eligibility. It is recommended to work with an experienced Social Security disability attorney who can help you navigate through the process. Contact us today at (800) 608-8881 to schedule a consultation with our Social Security disability attorney.

How can a Personal Injury Settlement Affect your Disability Benefits?

Disability AttorneyA majority of the government financial assistance programs provide monetary relief to eligible individuals on a monthly basis, but have strict criteria and limits for qualification. If you have been injured in an accident and have received compensation for your damages, there is a possibility that it may impact your ability to qualify or continue to get disability benefits. It is essential that you discuss this with your personal injury attorney before reaching a settlement. This is because without proper planning, your personal injury award can affect your disability benefits, or deprive you of the monetary support for a specific period.

What Disability Benefits Might be Affected by a Personal Injury Settlement

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are generally two benefits that people suffering from a disability may be given, based on whether they meet the eligibility requirements. SSDI is an entitlement program that provides workers benefits because of their disability, rendering them unable to work. It kicks in when a taxpayer sustains a disabling injury or is diagnosed with such a disease.

SSDI does not takes into account personal resources or income – instead, it considers the ability of an individual to perform their work duties after they have experienced a mental or physical impairment. Since it is a federal entitlement program and not a needs-based program, your personal injury award will not affect the disability benefits you are availing through SSDI. This means that you do not have to worry about losing SSDI benefits when you receive the settlement reward.

On the other hand, SSI is a needs-based program that provides people monetary support when they reach a certain income level or have cross the poverty line. You are not required to have an employment history to be eligible for these benefits – instead, the qualification requirements are based on your amount of income and assets. When you receive a personal injury settlement reward, your income level change and move above the preset limits, disqualifying you or reducing the amount of disability benefits you are getting under SSI.

How to Protect Your Disability Benefits

It can be catastrophic for people receiving disability benefits to be stripped of their monthly source of income on which they depend for numerous daily life necessities. Some of the critical medical expenses, such as therapy, prescription medications, nursing, home modifications, and surgical procedures that are covered by such benefits can quickly consume the settlement proceeds. However, the good news is that there are several ways to prevent this from happening.

Establishing a special needs trust can help disabled individuals to keep their settlement reward into a trust, allowing them to preserve their disability benefits. However, since it is a complex process to establish a special needs trust, you may have to work with your attorney to help you understand the rules and regulations, and the right way to enforce this trust.

Every case is different, and it is best to work with an attorney who have sound knowledge of Illinois laws and regulations pertaining to disability benefits and personal injury, and how they may affect each other. Harold W. Conick & Associates Ltd. has been successfully representing clients for over 30 years to get their rightful benefits. Contact us today at (800) 608-8881 to schedule a consultation with our Social Security disability attorney.

What to Expect from a Social Security Disability Interview

Social Security Disability AttorneyIf you suffer from a disabling injury or medical condition, you may have several questions about filing for Social Security disability benefits and how the process will go forward after your application has been approved. Generally, the first step involves giving an initial interview to a Social Security representative. It is best that you prepare for it prior to going to the interview to increase the chance of your receiving SSD benefits.

What to Prepare

The Social Security representative requires a claimant to provide two important pieces of information: a complete work history and a full medical record comprising of the treatments you have received for your disability. The SSA uses this information to determine the eligibility of a claimant for disability benefits. It is recommended to provide as much and accurate information as possible to increase your chances of approval. Here are a few things that you should provide:

  • Names and contact information of medical institutions and doctors who have treated your disability
  • The dates for medical testing and when you received specific treatments
  • A list of all medications you were prescribed and are currently taking

It is important that the information you provide comprises of the data and record of the past 90 days. This is indispensable to showing that the disability still exists and affects your ability work. Moreover, your work history for the last 15 years will be required as well. You should write down these things on a paper or notepad and bring it with you so that you do not miss any important points during the interview.

What Happens During the SSD Interview?

Generally, a Social Security interview lasts for about an hour, considering that the claimant is prepared and has all the required information about medical and work history at hand. It is important to know that the purpose of this interview is to get the facts of your disability straight, and at that time, no final decision will be made regarding your claim.

The representative from the SSA will inquire about your past 15 years of work history, the duties you performed during that period or at each job, how you got the disability, the medical treatments you have received, and the medications you have been taking for it. They may also ask about personal information, such as past military service, marital status, children, and any workers’ compensation benefits you are receiving for your injury.

In summary, important things to bring with you at the SSD interview includes:

  • Personal information
  • Medical records
  • Account information for payments
  • Information about workers’ compensation
  • Medical release form

To ensure you are fully prepared for the SSD interview, you should discuss your case with an experienced and reliable Social Security disability attorney. They will provide you tips to excel at the interview and work with you to collect information you will need to present to the SSA representative. Contact Harold W. Conick & Associates Ltd  today at (800) 608-8881 to schedule a consultation with our Social Security disability attorney.

Social Security Disability Benefits for Special Senses/Speech Disabilities

Social Security for Special SensesThe Social Security Administration (SSA) has designed Social Security Disability benefits programs that offer aid to people who have become disabled and are unable to earn a living. The criteria for being considered eligible for different kinds of physical impairments and debilitating diseases have been laid out in the Blue Book.

Special senses include hearing and sight. The Blue Book features a list of disorders and impairments related to special senses and loss of speech, and guidelines for determining other disorders that may qualify claimants for SSD benefits. They are covered in Listing 2.00 Special Senses and Speech of the Blue Book.

Evaluation of Special Senses and Speech Impairments by the SSA

It can be difficult to be considered as a disabled individual based on a speech disorder, but it is not impossible. The SSA determines the extent of your speech impairment and its effect on your ability to work based on your ability to communicate with others. Mostly, this consideration is based on whether the speech can be improved and made recognizable using a mechanical device or electronic device for better voice articulation.

For evaluating a person’s ability to hear and distinguish speech, audiometer is used for measuring the degree of hearing loss. It is essential for this device to meet the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standards to get reliable results. Moreover, an otolaryngologic examination is likely to be conducted by an otolaryngologist or audiologist before conducting a hearing test.

Types of Speech and Special Senses Disorders

  • Loss of visual field: This happens due to impairment of visual field because the outer edge of your vision has been damaged. It may also be a result of distortion in your vision field’s central part. Common causes include optical neuropoathy, retinitis pigmentosa, and glaucoma.
  • Blindness: The SSA defines blindness as a visual impairment of 20/200 or worse, where any reasonable correction attempts have been rendered ineffective. Different tests may be conducted to determine your visual acuity.
  • Loss of visual efficiency: This refers to the loss of visual skills such as color perception, depth perception, and eye focusing speed. If loss of visual efficacy makes it difficult for you to carry out your job duties, you may be eligible to receive benefits.
  • Balance disorders: The vestibular system is the primary organ of balance that is located in the inner ear. If there is a dysfunction in that organ, it may cause balance issues, like vertigo, increasing the risk of falls and injuries.
  • Loss of hearing: If your hearing is at a 90-decibel threshold or higher, have percent or lower in a phonetic test showing word recognition deficiency, you may qualify for SSD benefits for loss of hearing.
  • Loss of speech: This may be a result of any mental or physical impairment.

If you want to make a claim for SSD benefits for special senses and speech related impairments, you should hire an experienced Social Security Disability attorney to help understand the Blue Book eligibility criteria and help you with you case. Contact us today at (800) 608-8881 to schedule a consultation with our Social Security disability attorney.

Do you Qualify for Social Security Disability Benefits?

Social Security AttorneyThe United States has a great system which does not leave the people who have sustained a disability in their later life to fend for themselves. People who are suffering from diseases such as congestive heart failure, late stage kidney disease and cancer, or even people who have sustained a permanently damaging injury due to aging effect or residual conditions may become eligible for a disability benefit.

There are certain rules that the government has set to ensure that a person who truly deserves the benefits receives them. These include:

  • The person in question must have a mental or physical disability
  • The disability hinders the person’s ability to do gainful work
  • The disability must be one that has lasted or will last 12 months, or can lead to the death of the affected.

Proving a disability can be very difficult which is why, when seeking out a disability benefit, it is advised to talk to a lawyer who is reliable in this field of work. Here are some guidelines for people who are claiming a disability benefit.

Physical or Mental Disability

It is clear that the benefit is only meant for people who are medically declared as being physically or mentally impaired. For people who are claiming a disability benefit, organizing all your documents, including doctors’ and medical bills that have been paid in the last year, can easily prove to the social security administration that you have a legitimate reason to acquire the benefit.

Disability hinders the ability to perform substantial work

For people claiming a disability benefit, having a link between you and your disability not letting you perform at your current job, must be strong. Once this link has been established and confirmed, the administration will then judge whether you are able to perform well at any other job that can pay more than $1,170 per month. If not, then you will be legible to qualify for a disability benefit.

Disability should be lasting

The disability should be one that can last for or has lasted for 12 months. For this, you can contact your doctor and ask for a letter that confirms the disability as one which is either fatal or long lasting.

For people who are seeking this benefit, taking out the time to get into the details of social security law and how it operates can be difficult. With the disability, the person can have a hard time going to places and getting everything in order. For this purpose, hiring a lawyer who is experienced in social security law can help ease things a lot.

Harold W. Conick & Associates Ltd has been representing clients successfully for over 30 years. To schedule a consultation with our Social Security disability attorney, contact us today, at (800) 608-8881.

Reporting a Social Security Disability Fraud

Social Security Disability LawyerSocial Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a great program providing benefits to people who have suffered from a severe medical condition due to which they have become unable to resume their job. If you have been employed and paid your income tax, this means you have made payments for SSDI converge. However, sometimes people try to fabricate their medical condition, and opt for fraudulent ways to collect SSD benefits. Because of this, people who are eligible and in dire need of this monetary support usually suffer and are deprived of their right to receive said support.

Determining whether a person is being unfair and taking advantage of the system is often difficult, and sometimes leads to false accusation. It is imperative that before you report someone of an alleged fraud, you thoroughly investigate the matter and have solid evidence backing as to how they are tricking the SSA.

Examples of SSDI Fraud

Several different ways have been discovered of SSD fraud up till now. Here are some common examples to help you understand what constitutes as a scam:

  • Fabricated Documents: It will be fraud if a falsified document is forged leading to misapprehension, like a Social Security card on which information has been altered.
  • Inaccurate Statements: If a person simply gives misinformation and makes false statements on their disability application, like they have a certain medical condition or incorrect value of income, it will be considered as fraud.
  • Fraud by a Representative Payee: The SSA appoints a payee to ensure the funds are used for taking care of needs and welfare of the beneficiaries with disabilities. If such a person misuses these funds, that will be fraud.
  • Hiding Important Information: This is another form of fraud where a person conceals information, like not reporting recovery or improvement in their medical condition, to continue receiving benefits.

Reporting SSDI Fraud

If you suspect someone is committing fraud against the SSA, there are a number of ways you can report that person. You can start by calling (800) 269-0271, which is a toll-free number to the Office of the Inspector General, and explain the entire situation with all the reasons behind your suspicion. If you are confident and have all the facts supporting your claim, you can report the person committing fraud via its website by filling an online form. The mailing address, the hotline number, and a FAX number can also be found on the website.

It is advisable you provide as much information about that person, such as name, address, birth date, phone number, and Social Security number. Moreover, explain how the person is committing fraud, names of other people who may be aware of their scheme, and an estimate of the time since they have claiming these benefits.

You have the option to file your report as anonymous, but it is recommended you provide your personal information. This will allow the SSA to contact you and ask for more information to help with their investigation.

Harold W. Conick & Associates Ltd has been successfully representing clients for over 30 years to get their rightful benefits. Contact us today at (800) 608-8881 to schedule a consultation with our Social Security disability attorney.