Blogs – Social Security Disability

What happens to my Social Security Disability benefit when I reach my normal retirement age?  

Social Security Disability benefits automatically change to Social Security Retirement benefits when the person reaches his or her normal or full retirement age.  The change will not change the amount of benefit but rather the fund that the benefit is drawn from.  The law does not permit one to receive both Social Security Disability benefits and Retirement benefits once the person reaches the “full” retirement age.  It is important to note, however, that full retirement age is not always age 65, in fact, age 65 is the normal or full retirement age for those born in 1937 or before, so your full or normal retirement age may well be at a later age.

Step-5 of SSA’s 5-Step evaluation of a claim for disability benefits

Regardless if you have applied for Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Insurance Benefits (SSI), the Social Security Administration uses a 5-Step sequential evaluation process to determine if an individual is disabled.  If the proof fails at any Step, except Step-3, a finding not disabled will be issued. Step-5: Other Work A finding of disabled is warranted at Step-5 if the evidence establishes that an individual cannot perform other work that exists in significant numbers in the national economy.

Step-4 of SSA’s 5-Step evaluation of a claim for disability benefits

Regardless if you have applied for Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Insurance Benefits (SSI), the Social Security Administration uses a 5-Step sequential evaluation process to determine if an individual is disabled.  If the proof fails at any Step, except Step-3, a finding not disabled will be issued. Step 4:  Past Relevant Work An individual has the burden to establish that the individual cannot perform the work the individual has performed (as defined in the Dictionary of Occupational Titles) in the last 15 years.

Step-3 of SSA’s 5-Step evaluation of a claim for disability benefits

Regardless if you have applied for Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Insurance Benefits (SSI), the Social Security Administration uses a 5-Step sequential evaluation process to determine if an individual is disabled.  If the proof fails at any Step, except Step-3, a finding not disabled will be issued. Step-3: Listing of Impairments A finding of disabled is warranted at Step-3 if an individual’s medical’s condition meets or equals one of the set of medical conditions found in the Social Security Administration’s Listing of Impairments (20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1).

Step-2 of SSA’s 5-Step evaluation of a claim for disability benefits

Regardless if an individual has applied for Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Insurance Benefits (SSI), the Social Security Administration uses a 5-Step sequential evaluation process to determine if an individual is disabled.  If the proof fails at any Step, except Step-3, a finding not disabled will be issued. Step 2:  Severity An individual has the burden to establish that the individual suffers from a medically determinable impairment (MDI) that reduces an individual’s ability to do “basic work activities”.  A MDI can be physical, mental or a combination of a mental and physical condition.

Topic: Step-1 of SSA’s 5-Step evaluation of a claim for disability benefits

Regardless if you have applied for Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Insurance Benefits (SSI), the Social Security Administration uses a 5-Step sequential evaluation process to determine if an individual is disabled.  If the proof fails at any Step, except Step-3, a finding of not disabled will be issued. Step 1:  Substantial Gainful Activity If an individual is working, which is deemed to be both Substantial and Gainful Activity (SGA), a finding of not disabled will be issued.  To determine whether work is Substantial, the Social Security Administration will assess the duties an individual performs and/or the level of supervision.   The Social Security Administration will assess an individual’s earnings to determine whether the work is gainful.  To determine whether income is gainful visit ssa.gov/cola.

Proving Arthritis-Based Disability

Proving Arthritis-Based Disability The Arthritis Foundation estimates that up to 2.1 million Americans are affected by rheumatoid arthritis.  The incident is higher after age 50 and can affect the whole body.  The severity of rheumatoid arthritis can be proven by statements from your doctors and how they affect your functional limitations.  Often, if severe enough, it precludes most competitive employment which would permit one to be eligible for social security disability

Must I be disabled for a year to apply?

No. If you believe your disability will last a year or longer, apply for disability benefits as soon as you become disabled. The rules for eligible for disability benefits require that you have been disabled for one year or more or that your condition will likely last one year or more. Consequently, you do not have the full year before you apply.

Can Social Security Benefits be garnished?

For most types of debt, including credit cards, medical bills and personal loans, social security cannot be garnished to pay the debt.  There are certain debts, however, that social security can be garnished to pay for.  Those debts include federal taxes, federal student loans, child support and alimony and other federal debts.

Access to the Hearing Office and ID

It was recently reported that individuals have not been able to attend their social security disability hearing because SSA hearing office personnel have denied individuals access to the hearing office as a result of insufficient identification.  Although SSA hearing office personnel should not deny an individual access to the hearing office because of insufficient identification, an individual attending a hearing either as a claimant or witness should bring proper identification to the hearing office such as a current driver’s license, State ID, or certified birth certificate.   If you are denied access to the hearing office because of insufficient ID, you should politely ask to speak with the hearing office manager.

Fractures of an Upper Extremity

In some cases, SSA will award disability benefits as a result of an upper extremity non-union (non-healing) fracture such as the humerus radius or ulna.  Most fracture claims of the upper extremity that SSA evaluates are the result of trauma such as a motor vehicle accident.  Upper extremity fractures may also be associated with weakness of bones as a result of disease such as a tumor. SSA has special rules in evaluating this type of impairment.  Essential to winning benefits as a result of a fracture to an upper extremity is ongoing care of a surgeon who his attempting to treat a non-healed fracture.  These types of cases can be difficult to win disability benefits and it is recommended that consideration be given to retaining an attorney who has experience with social security disability cases.

Fractures of the Tibia, Pelvis or One or More of the Tarsal Bones

In some cases, SSA will award disability benefits as a result of a lower extremity non-union (non-healing of the bone) fracture involving such bones as the tibia, pelvis or oneor more of the tarsal bones.  Most non-union lower extremity fracture claims that SSAevaluates are the result of trauma such as a motor vehicle accident.  Lower extremity non-union fractures may also be associated with weakness of bones as a result of disease suchas a tumor. SSA has special rules in evaluating this type of impairment.  Essential towinning benefits as a result of a fracture to a lower extremity is the inability to return tofunctional ambulation and duration.  Cases involving non-union fractures of the lowerextremity  can  be  difficult  to  win  disability  benefits  and  it  is  recommended  thatconsideration be given to retaining an attorney who has experience with social securitydisability cases.