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A Look at the Revised Social Security Criteria for Mental Disorders
Posted January 10, 2017

If an adult or child has a disability due to a mental disorder, they may be eligible to receive Social Security benefits. Since mental impairment affects a person’s ability to perform daily tasks and decreases their capacity to work, the SSA provides disability benefits to such individuals based on the severity of their condition.
On September 26, 2016, the SSA published a final rule, titled Revised Medical Criteria for Evaluating Mental Disorders, which will be enforced in January, 2017. This is a comprehensive revision made to the process for evaluating the disability claims of adults and children who have mental disorders.

The Key Changes

The following are the most significant changes made to the current rules and criteria to qualify for Social Security benefits:

  • The titles of most of the listings have been updated.
  • The 5-point rating scale, which was previously used in rules for rating the functional limitations in adult, is retained.
  • New listings are created, 112.15 and 12.15, which are associated with stressor- and trauma-related disorders, to align with the updates made for medical understanding as reflected in the DSM-5.
  • Updates are made in the paragraph A criteria while keeping its structure from previous rules in all listings, except for 112.05 and 12.05.
  • The four areas of functioning that are covered in the “B” criteria in the listings have been changed. The new areas of functioning are: 1) Interact with others, 2) Understand, apply, or remember information, 3) Adapt or manage oneself, and 5) Concentrate, maintain, or persist.
  • The revised criteria for intellectual disability are identical to the DSM-5 definition, and cover three main elements. They include considerable deficits in adaptive functioning, extensive limitations in general intellectual functioning, and evidence pertaining to the fact that the disorder occurred before age 22.
  • A new listing for neurodevelopmental disorders has been included under 12.11. It will identify plaintiffs who have cognitive impairments from extreme or marked functional limitations, but do not fulfill the eligibility criteria for intellectual disorders.


Why is the SSA making these changes?

The Blue Book listings for mental health conditions was way overdue a full revision since 1990, which the SSA carried out this September.

“Updating our medical criteria for the disability program is a challenging task that has been complicated by deep budgetary cuts in recent years,” said Carolyn W. Colvin, the acting commissioner of Social Security. “We are committed to updating our regulations to reflect up-to-date standards and practices used in the health care community.”

The final rule includes changes made considering the public comments from the 2010 proposal, advances in medical knowledge and technology, and updates that were made to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5).

If your loved one has a disability due to a mental disorder, they may qualify for Social Security benefits as per the revised criteria. 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.


Ways of Submitting a Request for a Disability Hearing
Posted January 10, 2017

People seeking Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits have the option to appeal for a hearing in front of an administrative law judge (ALJ). This option is available to people who have been denied of their SSD benefits and the Disability Determination Services has also turned down their reconsideration request.


How to Appeal for a Disability Hearing

You can request a hearing by an ALJ in the following two ways:

  1. Appeal Forms

The primary form you are required to file is Form HA-501 (Request for Hearing by Administrative Law Judge), which is for getting a hearing date. After filling this form, you have to send or take it to your local Social Security office. This form fulfills several purposes, including:

  • Informing Social Security of additional evidence that you will be submitting to support your claim;
  • Stating your reasons for disagreeing with Social Security and their decision that you are ineligible to receive SSD benefits;
  • Indicating Social Security that you want to attend the hearing session in person.

To ensure that Form HA-501 is the right form to submit considering your particular situation, you should first thoroughly read the denial letter from Social Security. It usually contains details about the specific form that you have to submit for a disability hearing. If the denial letter doesn’t contain any such information, you should contact your local Social Security office.

After submitting the Request for Hearing by Administrative Law Judge form, you will need to fill out the following forms:

Send or submit these forms to your local Social Security office.

  1. Online Request

You have to meet the following criteria to file a request for hearing online:

  • You have already applied for SSD benefits
  • You must reside in the USA or in its territories
  • You must have a Notice of Decision

The online request process consists of two parts:

  1. Disability internet appeal application: You have to provide your personal information and specify whether you are a non-lawyer representative or have a lawyer to represent you.
  2. Disability Report: In this part, you will be asked to provide any new information regarding your health. This includes hospital visits, doctor diagnosis, and difficulties you have been facing that hinder your ability to work.

After you have completed both the sections, you should save your work before you can log off the website. Upon completion, you will receive a reentry number that will allow you to go to your application when you visit the website again in the future.

The process of filing an appeal for SSD hearing can be overwhelming for many people. In order to avoid mistakes and errors in filling the required forms and for effective representation, you should hire an experienced social security disability attorney. They may also help you to speed up the approval of your application and get a date as early as within two months. Contact Harold W. Conick & Associates, Ltd. today at (800) 608-8881 to schedule a consultation.


Genetics may be cause of autism, study finds
Posted September 28, 2015
Autism may be caused by genetics, a study found.

Autism may be caused by genetics, a study found.

It is estimated that autism spectrum disorder affects 1 in 68 children, but there is still confusion about where and how it originates. One study has found that autism may be caused by genetic mutations.

A study from researchers at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, which was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal, looked at how gene-disrupting mutations play a role in the development of autism. These disruptions come at the beginning of a child’s life and many have thought they play a role in development of the disorder.

Lead author and CSHL assistant professor Ivan Iossifov found the genes that contribute to autism likely have fewer mutations than most other human genes. This is different from the idea that more genetic mutations are the cause of autism.

The study was able to find a list of 200 of the most likely genes related to autism.

While this data may not help a family who has a child suffering from autism, it is a great step toward future discoveries and future treatments of this disorder.

The attorneys at the Law Offices of Harold W. Conick & Associates have successfully represented numerous children affected by autism.

It is very important to have complete medical records. These help support the diagnosis and witness observations of the daily behavior and functionality of the child in order to successfully claim social security disability benefits from the federal government.

Vitamin D, melatonin may prove fruitful in fight against MS
Posted September 21, 2015

Multiple sclerosis can be tough on those who suffer from it. At the Law Offices of Harold W. Conick and Associates, we see clients who experience weakness, numbness, thinking problems, urinary problems and more from this terrible disease.

This is why we were glad to see new research from McGill University in Montreal that shows vitamin D, produced by light, and melatonin, produced in response to darkness, may help prevent and ease the symptoms of MS.

Helping reduce symptoms can be important while applying for disability benefits through the Social Security Administration.

Research from the university, printed in PLOS Medicine in August, shows that a decreased level of vitamin D may lead to an increased risk of MS.

Brent Richards, a genetic epidemiologist at McGill, said those who have family who suffer should start taking more vitamin D as soon as possible via oral supplement.

The research also found that patients with lower levels of melatonin have a greater number of MS relapses. Melatonin can help produce anti-inflammatory immune cells and prevent inflammatory cells from forming, according to the study.

While this may seem like a small step toward solving the riddle that is MS, it is essential for clients applying for disability benefits to educate themselves on the disease and visit doctors. This will go a long way toward proving the case to the SSA.

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