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Sacramento Social Security Disability Legal Blog

Evidence that people have qualifying hematological disorders

There are a variety of different hematological disorders that can be severely debilitating. Both malignant and non-cancerous hematological conditions may leave victims unable to work. People in California who suffer from these disabling disorders may be eligible to receive Social Security disability benefits when they apply for them.

When the Social Security Administration receives a claim for disability benefits for hematological disorders, it goes through an evaluative process. The SSA requires that applicants submit certain documents as evidence that they have these conditions. People will need to submit a laboratory report that is signed by a doctor from a test that shows that they have the disorder. They may alternatively submit an unsigned lab report together with a written and signed statement from a doctor that they have the condition.

How the SSA evaluates visual disorders

Californians who have certain types of visual disorders may be unable to work. People who develop disabling conditions may be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits. It is important to understand how the Social Security Administration evaluates visual disorders when people apply for benefits.

Visual disorders include a variety of disorders of the optic nerve, the eye, the optic tracts or the brain that affect the visual acuity. The SSA defines blindness as when a person's central visual acuity is no more than 20/200 in the stronger eye with correction. The agency also considers people to meet the statutory definition of blindness if their visual fields are limited to enough of a degree that their central visual acuities are less than 20/200.

Can I get Social Security Disability (SSDI) for a Mental Illness?

Question: I have been struggling with depression for a couple of decades. I have tried many things to combat it—medication, therapy, etc. The last year I have had to take two leaves of absence related to it. My doctor finally suggested that I apply for Social Security Disability benefits (SSDI). Can I get SSDI for a condition that isn’t a physical illness?

Answer: One of the most in important things you need in order to qualify for SSDI benefits is evidence that proves the disability. It sounds like you have a lengthy history and documentation to prove it. That bodes well in your favor.

Evidence requirements for SSD

California residents seeking Social Security Disability must provide sufficient evidence of the disability in order to be considered eligible for benefits. Making this determination is critically important to receiving benefits. It may also be one of the most difficult challenges a person must overcome.

Medical evidence is considered the primary source for making the disability determination. The Social Security Administration will use a person's medical records as the first source of information. The medical evidence must be considered objective and it must be from an acceptable medical source. In addition to determining the existence of an impairment, the SSA will also determine the severity of the impairment, how long the person has suffered the impairment and whether or not the person could continue to do some work-related mental or physical tasks with the impairment.

Early retirement and Social Security Disability benefits

The Social Security Administration pays out retirement benefits to retirees who are at least 62 years old. But putting off retirement for a few more years could mean a bigger payout. California workers who are hoping to retire early may be interested in how the SSA determines how much of a benefit a retiree will get.

For people who were born in 1960 or later, the full retirement age is 67. Working until that age means that after retirement, 100 percent of benefits will be paid. Retiring before turning 67 will cut benefits. The rate is calculated using a formula based on how far from the age of 67 the retiree is. The younger people are when they retire, the more of their full benefit they will lose.

Social Security Administration makes benefit mistakes

The Social Security Administration is not above making mistakes, and sometimes those mistakes can disrupt the lives of California residents who may be relying on such benefits. Investigations found that the SSA paid benefits to some veterans who were deceased and had death records for others who were found to still be alive.

In late August 2017, an audit by the inspector general found discrepancies in the administration's benefit payments. It had paid almost $38 million to 746 veterans who were deceased. These discrepancies are often the result of inaccurate information being reported to the SSA. It receives information about a beneficiary's death from a variety of sources, including state agencies, friends and family, financial institutions and funeral homes. The investigation looked specifically at information for veterans. The VA provides death information every month via either the Beneficiary Identification Records Locator System or the Veteran's Service Network. These reports are supposed to be verified by the SSA before benefits are terminated, but this does not always happen.

Chronic pain and disability

Even the healthiest people get aches and pains every once in a while. For some people, these everyday aches and pains make it difficult to lead a normal working life. If you have chronic pain or a chronic condition that causes pain, you may have found that other people have trouble understanding the almost daily obstacles you face. What kind of problems does pain cause in your life?

Aches and pains may keep you from holding down a steady job even if you had a good work history before suffering symptoms. If so, you could be eligible for disability compensation from the state or federal government. Let's take a closer look at the definition of chronic pain and the programs available to people who qualify.

Getting assistance with a disability application

Individuals with disabilities who are living in California may find working to be difficult, if not impossible. For those who qualify, applying for Social Security Disability benefits is an option.

Because Social Security benefits programs are administered by the federal government and have strict qualification requirements, the application process can be lengthy and challenging. Many legitimate claims are denied on the first application attempt, and there may be a need for several reconsiderations or appeals before benefits are finally granted.

How FERS, CSRS and Social Security are integrated

It is important for federal workers in California to understand how the federal disability and Social Security Disability systems interplay. Both the Social Security and civil service systems offer benefits when workers become disabled and are unable to return to their jobs.

The Social Security system is integrated with the federal disability system in order to keep disabled workers from obtaining full benefits from both programs. Federal employees who apply for federal disability retirement under the FERS or CSRS-Offset programs must simultaneously apply for disability through the Social Security Administration. This is to make certain that the benefits that they receive will be coordinated between the programs.

How to apply for disability benefits

A California resident who files for Social Security Disability benefits must show evidence of an actual disability. This evidence must also prove the severity of the condition. It may be possible for the Social Security Administration to help an individual find this evidence assuming that permission has been granted to provide assistance. Providing evidence in a timely manner may work to reduce the amount of time needed to process a claim.

Evidence of an impairment provided to the SSA must be objective and come from a reputable medical source. In some cases, a nonmedical source may also be able to present evidence that an individual is unable to function in a work setting. Nonmedical sources may include friends, neighbors or clergy.

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