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Sacramento Social Security Disability Legal Blog

Understanding SSD back pay

Californians who are approved for Social Security Disability benefits will receive back pay of their monthly benefits that date back to the date that they were entitled to receive them. There are several factors that affect when the date of first entitlement is.

The Social Security Administration will first look at the date of the application. In the application for benefits, people list the date when their conditions left them disabled and unable to work. The agency calls this the alleged onset of disability. Next, the SSA will review the medical evidence in order to determine when the disability began. Finally, the agency looks at when the applicants were entitled after first applying the five-month waiting period.

Past work and Social Security Disability

When people with disabilities in California or elsewhere in the United States file applications for Social Security Disability or SSI benefits, the examiner who reviews the application uses a series of steps in order to evaluate the claim and the applicant's current status. The applicant's medical records are used in order to determine their physical and mental capabilities and develop what is known as a rating for residual functional capacity, or RFC.

In some cases, applicants are considered to have a light RFC due to physical disabilities. This would mean that they are capable of light-duty work, which for the Social Security Administration is work in which a person may have to lift 10 pounds frequently and 20 pounds only occasionally. While an applicant's RFC rating may be light, all of their past work could have been medium- or heavy-duty labor that required the lifting of 25 or 50 pounds on a regular basis. In this case, an applicant would not be considered able to return to their past work.

Disability depends on multiple factors

Social Security disability benefits are available to California residents who have physical or mental disabilities or a combination of disabilities that leave them unable to work for at least a year. Administrators, and in many cases, an administrative law judge, consider work history, vocational capacity and relevant medical information when deciding whether to approve or deny claims.

A person's vocational capacity is determined by his or her education or specialized training along with his or her work history and medical conditions. If it is determined the claimant cannot work in gainful capacity considering all those factors, and the condition either will or has lasted at least a year, the claim for disability will be approved. Vocational specialists are hired by the Social Security Administration to weigh in on these issues and at the hearing phase, these specialists testify under oath about their opinions. Medical records are collected and reviewed by physicians who have treated the claimant. Doctors are often asked to render opinions about whether a person is disabled, and the SSA considers those opinions if they are consistent with the medical reports. For example, if medical records indicate a person is fit, but the doctor writes a letter in favor of disability, the SSA will give greater weight to the medical records.

Injuries you might suffer as an agricultural worker

Working in agriculture in the Yolo County area can be a very dangerous job. Every year, thousands of farmworkers across the United States suffer serious injuries and sometimes even death due to work-related accidents. In fact, agriculture is one of the most dangerous industries you can work in. This is because farmworkers face the same kind of hazardous conditions as people in other industries who work with heavy machinery and perform intense physical labor.

In order to reduce your chances of suffering a work accident, it is important to know what kind of hazards to watch for. The following are some common farm industry dangers that you might be exposed to every time you go to work.

Dealing with a late appeal for SSD benefits

Some California residents may find the Social Security Disability application process to be lengthy and cumbersome. Many people who eventually go on to successfully receive SSD benefits first must go through an appeal process after an initial denial. Every disability claim decision carries a 60-day appeal period during which the applicant can appeal the denial of benefits.

There are several ways to file for the appeal, including using a paper form, visiting a Social Security office in person or using the online form on the Social Security website. All methods are equal; the applicant just must complete all of the forms required for the appeal. However, there could be a chance that a person dealing with severe medical issues or other serious concerns could miss the deadline for filing an appeal. There are some documented reasons that can be cited in order to be granted permission to file a delayed appeal after the deadline has passed.

Actions to take after being denied SSD twice

California residents whose application and reconsideration appeal for Supplemental Social Security Income or Social Security Disability benefits have been denied should file a second appeal. During the second appeal, the applicant will request a disability hearing.

At the hearing, it is important to have proof to back the claim for the benefits. While the medical documentation should have at least a few months' worth of medical treatment history, it is recommended that claimants submit evidence that verifies the date their disability began. The onset date is particularly important as it factors significantly in determining how much disability back pay claimants may receive.

How moving could affect Social Security benefits

California residents who become disabled may choose to file for Social Security benefits. Some of these disability recipients wonder what would happen to their benefits if they move to another state with a lower cost of living. Because Social Security disability payments are governed by federal law, moving to another state won't affect the amount of benefits received. However, some states offer supplements to disability payments that may be affected when a recipient moves.

The amount of Social Security disability payments received are not based on state or local living expenses. Instead, the amount is based on earnings prior to the onset of the disability. Over time, the monthly amounts received may increase due to cost of living increases determined by the federal government.

Appeal period for SSD

People in California who have applied for Social Security Disability benefits and been denied typically have 60 days from the date of their decision notice to file an appeal. While the appeal period is 60 days, the Social Security Administration adds an extra five days to allow for the decision notice to be mailed, giving applicants have a total of 65 days to make sure that their appeal is filed with their local SSA office.

There are situations in which applicants may be allowed to submit an appeal beyond the customary appeal period. This includes cases in which the applicants have a bona fide reason for being late. When applicants submit their appeal late, they should include a good cause statement that explains why they were unable to file their appeal timely. Some good cause reasons that may be acceptable include situations in which a catastrophic event resulted in the damage of an applicant's relevant papers and records. Being admitted to a hospital or having an immediate family member die are acceptable reasons.

What are California disability insurance benefits?

Most California workers know that they're eligible to receive workers' compensation benefits if they get hurt on the job, but what if you get hurt in an off-the-job accident? This is where California state Disability Insurance (DI) benefits may be able to help.

If you've lost wages and you can't work because of an illness or injury that isn't related to your job -- or if you can't work because you're pregnant -- you may be able to receive these valuable benefits.

Nurses can find themselves with a disability because of work

Working as a nurse can be quite rewarding. Nurses get to engage directly with patients in a way many doctors simply cannot due to time constraints. They administer physical treatments, talk with patients about their conditions and monitor their progression as they recover (or in some cases, decline). Most patients understand the importance of the role filled by nurses, but few people really comprehend the risks nurses take every day.

Nursing is actually a relatively dangerous profession. Nurses have to handle dangerous compounds, bodily fluids and even unstable patients. They can end up exposed to all kinds of pathogens, but many times, the primary risk factor is in the strain of daily work. Nurses who develop serious, debilitating conditions as a result of their job deserve benefits, including Social Security Disability in cases where recovery is unlikely.

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