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Sacramento Social Security Disability Legal Blog

The role of the CE in disability claims

California residents and others who are seeking disability benefits don't need to see a doctor before filing for them. However, it is generally a good idea to do so. Those who can't afford to see a doctor may still benefit from going to an emergency room or a free local clinic. If an applicant lacks medical records that are less than 90 days old, he or she will need to have a consultative examination (CE).

A mental and physical exam may be necessary for those claiming both mental and physical impairments and lack medical records. In addition to taking up a person's time, consultative examinations are rarely used to approve a benefits application. In fact, they are generally seen as a way to justify denying a claim. Exceptions to the rule include conditions like mental retardation or anything else that can be established through objective measures.

How to respond to a disability benefits denial

When an applicant for Social Security disability benefits faces an initial denial in California, there are two main ways to respond. They could file an entirely new disability claim or appeal the denial with the Social Security Administration. In order to launch a new disability claim, the applicant must repeat all of the work that went into their original application from the beginning. This includes filling out relevant forms and providing medical and employment information. The applicant will also need to provide a new medical release form to the local Social Security office before the disability determination process can begin again.

Because a new disability benefits application restarts the process , the disability examiner will once again send requests to the applicant's doctors for medical records and information. The disability examiner can make a decision or request the applicant to come in for a consultative examination. This kind of exam is performed by a doctor working with Social Security to assess if an applicant's physical or psychological disability is sufficiently severe. This can be a substantially longer process than entering the appeals process.

Facts about receiving benefits during an appeal

California residents who receive disability benefits will have their disability status reviewed periodically to see if their condition is improving. If an examiner finds that a condition is unlikely to improve, such a review will occur every seven years. For those with conditions that are more likely to improve, the review will occur every three years. If a person has an increase in work activity, a review may take place regardless of how much time has passed since the last one.

It is possible that a review will determine that there is no need for further benefit payments. At this time, an individual may appeal the decision, and a benefit recipient has 65 days from the date it was made to file an appeal. Furthermore, a person has the option to ask that payments be resumed while an appeal takes place. This request must be made within 15 days of finding out about a benefit cessation. Individuals who have no income other than their disability checks typically do request that their payments continue.

Understanding an SSD benefits application

When people in California apply for Social Security Disability benefits, they may wonder about the next steps for their claim. The process can be lengthy, and initial denials are common, so having more information could help people navigate the system. After an initial application is filed, a state agency that handles disability determination services takes over the claim. Here, a disability examiner is assigned to handle the case. This examiner will go over the medical sources that an applicant provided in the claim for benefits, including requesting and reviewing medical records from the applicant's treating physicians.

In some cases, the examiner determines that the medical records are not current, typically if they are 90 days past or longer. In this case, the examiner may call the applicant in for a consultative examination by a Social Security doctor to assess physical or mental health. These examinations are often not an excellent source of medical information, especially as the physician is not the claimant's personal doctor with a knowledge of medical history and detailed symptoms. In most cases, these examinations are unlikely to lead to approval for SSD benefits.

Study finds that nurses' strenuous hours increase risks

It's well-known that nurses face a lot of risks on the job. They show up in a variety of different ways: lifting heavy patients, working in a fast-paced environment, working around potentially hazardous substances and working with dangerous medical equipment, just to name a few.

However, some studies have now determined that the very hours that nurses work may contribute to the odds of a serious injury. Those at the greatest risk are those who work night shifts and overtime shifts.

Understanding a quick denial of social security benefits

People in California may be unsure what it means for the strength of their claims when they receive a swift denial for a Social Security disability application. While it may be disconcerting to receive a denial soon after applying, especially as the process is often known for being lengthy, this does not necessarily mean that the applicant has a poor claim. These first-level decisions are made by a disability examiner, a staff member at disability determination services.

Disability examiners may try to close all of their cases as soon as possible as they do not operate according to deadlines or a strict "first in-first out" timeline. In many cases, the swiftness of a response rests mostly on how quickly the disability examiner received an applicant's medical records from his or her treating physicians. In some cases, a disability examiner receives the records quickly and may offer a swift response while in other cases, the reply is delayed only because the examiners themselves are still waiting for medical records. Processing time is not a strong indicator of the credibility of an application for disability benefits.

Filing an appeal or a new disability claim

People in California who are seeking disability benefits from the Social Security Administration may not obtain benefits from their initial claim. If this occurs, they should understand what steps to take next. This requires that they know the difference between submitting a new disability claim and filing an appeal for a disability claim.

Claimants who file a new disability claim should expect to complete more paperwork and wait a longer time than it would take to appeal an SSI or SSD denial. Filing a new disability claim requires individuals to complete a new disability application online, by phone or in person at the nearest Social Security office.

Should you appeal a denied Social Security Disability claim?

Seeking Social Security coverage can prove very difficult, especially for those who are unfamiliar with the process of submitting and defending a claim, or for those whose injuries or illnesses are not typically awarded benefits. For any number of reasons, the Social Security Administration (SSA) rejects many claims that ultimately do receive coverage. It important to understand how to continue pushing a claim even when it seems like an administrative dead end.

Before spending your time and resources fighting for coverage that may never come through, consider some reasons for denial that no amount of appeals are likely to overcome. For instance, if you do not qualify for coverage because your income is too high, then you may have to consult with an estate planning attorney to determine if there are financial tools you can use to keep your resources while still qualifying for government benefits.

SSD benefits and proof of mental disabilities

Disabled individuals in California may apply for Social Security disability benefits on the basis of a physical or mental condition that impairs their ability to work. A mental disability may be proven with medical records from an applicant's psychologist or psychiatrist, family physician and any other medical provider who has treated the applicant for the mental condition.

Ideally, the records should contain information about an applicant's ability to perform daily tasks. The administration and hearing examiner will look for evidence that skills such as concentration, learning new tasks, following instructions and getting along with others have been affected by the disability.

Supreme Court will determine an important issue in SSI hearings

In a rare event, an issue in a Social Security Disability case will be heard by the US Supreme Court. As the issue involves the common practice of utilizing the testimony of a vocational expert, the Supreme Court ruling will have a substantial impact on disability claims for those in Sacramento, California, and throughout the country.

When an individual applies for Social Security Disability Benefits (SSDI), the Social Security Administration (SSA) follows a sequential process to determine whether a person is entitled to benefits. These steps include whether the person is working, whether the claimant has a medical condition or combination of conditions that limits employment, and whether the person can perform past relevant work.

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