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Sacramento Social Security Disability Legal Blog

How a disability application is reviewed

California residents who are unable to work or make a sufficient living could be entitled to Social Security Disability benefits. There are several criteria used to determine if a person is qualified. First, anyone who is making more than $1,180 per month will not likely be eligible to receive benefits. Applicants making at or below that amount must be able to show that their condition is or will last for more than 12 months.

In addition, it will be necessary to show that an applicant cannot perform work done in the past. Generally speaking, those who have a condition that doesn't preclude them from doing a previously held job are unlikely to have their applications approved. However, there is still a chance an application is denied because an individual can still do some sort of work. This is determined by looking at a person's age, education and other factors deemed relevant.

People should appeal durational denials of disability benefits

A durational denial by the Social Security Administration represents a decision based on the expectation that an applicant will regain function within 12 months. Applicants in California who were denied disability benefits based on this assumption should launch an appeal because disability examiners do not necessarily make accurate predictions about a person's chance of recovery.

Although application examiners have access to medical professionals at their regional offices, they do not possess formal medical training. Their decisions could be based on beliefs or even biases instead of concrete facts. These examiners regularly deny applicants who have no realistic expectation of recovering within 12 months. Applicants with serious mental disabilities also have been rejected. Examples of examiners denying people with traumatic injuries are also common.

Medical records and opinions are important in disability claims

Social Security disability claims are not decided based on whether or not the claimant has a specific condition. Rather, they are decided based on the extent to which the claimant is limited by the mental or physical condition. The specific condition is often irrelevant. In California and across the country, the primary goal of the Social Security Administration is to determine in what ways the claimant is limited.

When approving or denying a disability claim, the SSA will examine how a particular condition affects the applicant's ability to perform a previous job and other kinds of work. A statement obtained from the person's doctor can have a high level of importance in the analysis. Indeed, the agency gives special deference, and sometimes controlling authority, to the opinion of the treating physician.

Understanding temporary disability in California

If you reside in the state of California, you are entitled to certain protections in the event of your becoming disabled. These terms will vary from federal social security disability benefits, so it is important that you understand exactly what you are entitled to in your home state.

State funded disability benefits can be particularly beneficial if you are suffering from a short-term disability that you are expected to recover from within a year. This short-term disability could be one that you acquired in the workplace or in your personal time.

Acceptable reasons for missing disability appeal deadline

The Social Security Administration grants a generous time period of 65 days to disability applicants in California who want to appeal their denials. People get 60 days from the date on their decision letter plus five days for mailing. The administration only grants appeals to applicants who missed their deadlines under limited circumstances, such as hospitalization or inability to understand the decision letter. A failure to receive a decision letter could also provide a valid excuse for missing the deadline.

A claims representative will review a late appeal and determine whether or not an applicant provided an acceptable excuse or good cause. When the reviewer deems the reason acceptable, the appeal can proceed. Otherwise, a person must initiate a new disability application.

How to get benefits after a heart attack

California residents who have had a heart attack could be eligible for disability benefits. However, this depends on the severity of the heart attack and whether it leaves the person unable to engage in substantial work activity. If the applicant is unable to work, they must either be out of work for 12 months or expect to be out of work for at least that long.

Furthermore, an individual must be unable to perform any type of work that they are qualified for. This determination will be based on previous jobs held as well as taking a look at jobs a person could be qualified for based on age, skills and education. As technology advances, more and more people are surviving heart attacks and enjoying fuller recoveries.

About SSD reconsiderations

It is not unusual for California residents to see their reconsiderations for Social Security Disability denied. Records show that just 35 percent of people who apply for disability benefits are approved. As a result, individuals whose disability claims were not approved are forced to consider whether they want to go through the Social Security appeal process to obtain the disability benefits they need.

Applicants who want to appeal their initial determination are required to file a reconsideration appeal within the allotted time for submitting an appeal. This means that they have 60 days, in addition to five days to account for the mailing of the decision notice, to file their reconsideration.

The steps involved in evaluating an SSDI claim

California residents can be awarded disability benefits when the Social Security Administration determines that they are no longer able to perform gainful work in a substantial way. Disability claims are evaluated using a five-step process. The SSA first eliminates applicants who are still working and then examines medical records and other supporting evidence to determine if the applicant has a medically verifiable mental or physical impairment.

Once a physical or mental disability has been established, the SSA evaluates the condition using criteria laid down in the Disability Evaluation handbook, which is also known as the blue book. When these standards are met, claims are medically approved and disability benefits are authorized. When medical conditions do not meet these standards, the SSA evaluates the applicant's ability to work during the final two steps. The overwhelming majority of applicants do not have disabilities that satisfy the blue book criteria.

Deadlines and delays for SSD benefits appeals

When California applicants are denied Social Security Disability Insurance benefits at the first stage of the process, they have the right to file an appeal. After a decision is made on a disability claim, applicants have a 60-day period in which to seek an appeal. This period begins with the date the notice was issued, so there are an extra five days to cover the mailing time before the notice reached the applicant. In order for an appeal to be considered timely, it must arrive at Social Security office on or before the 65th day from the notice of denial.

There are several ways to file an appeal. Applicants for SSDI benefits can file on the Social Security website, by mailing in a paper form or in person at a local office. A disability attorney can act for an applicant by filing the appeal on his or her client's behalf. However, some people miss the appeal deadline and may be concerned about how they can still move forward. People who filed late for an appeal may seek a determination that their delay had a good cause, which will allow them to proceed with their current application for benefits.

Am I eligible for Social Security Disability benefits?

If you are suffering from an ailment or injury in the state of California that affects your ability to carry out meaningful work, it is likely that you will be concerned about your financial future as well as your health. It is important to note that if you are a skilled professional who has paid taxes for many years and you are only now suffering from a condition that is disabling you, it is very likely that you will be able to claim disability benefits in order to help you through your time of not being able to work.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) lists all recognized conditions that make a person eligible for benefits in their official document called the Listing of Medical Impairments, informally known as the blue book. This document uses a great deal of medical language that is better understood by a medical professional.

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