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October 2016 Archives

Earnings Queries

Accurate documentation of a claimant's work history is essential to determine disability coverage, primary insurance amount, and overall eligibility under the Social Security Act. An earning query has been one method employed by adjudicators to resolve inconsistencies in reported work histories. The field office should reference a Disability Insured Status Calculator Online (DISCO), to establish coverage under Title II of the Social Security Act. Adjudicators at the field office can also obtain a claimant's Summary Earnings Query (SEQY), based on their total yearly earnings, or a Detailed Earnings Query (DEQY), which includes basic information on each employer who posted the earnings. Although disability adjudicators at the field office are not required to obtain these queries on initial application, analysts at the hearing level are required to secure at least a SEQY in all cases.

Personality Disorders

The concept of a personality disorder dates to psychiatrist Philippe Pinel's 1801 description of manie sans délire, a condition characterized by outbursts of rage or violence in the absence of any psychosis. Today, the DSM-5 lists ten different types of personality disorders, consisting of paranoid, schizoid, schizotypal, antisocial, borderline, histrionic, narcissistic, avoidant, dependent, and obsessive-compulsive personality disorders. Any one of these mental impairments can support a finding of disability under the Social Security Act, where inflexible and maladaptive personality traits cause significant limitations in long-term occupational functioning.

Headaches and Seizures: The Importance of Compliance and Documenting Your Symptoms

When SSA disability examiners evaluate migraine headaches and seizures, they review medical evidence to determine the frequency and duration you experience exacerbations of these conditions despite prescribed treatment. Compliance is key. Migraines and Seizure disorders are largely understood to be well-controlled if individuals follow prescribed treatment. This means, it is assumed that you will experience fewer migraines or seizures if you take your medications as prescribed. SSA will agree that your conditions are not well-controlled if your antiepileptic medications are not at therapeutic levels. Compliance with medication will be established by the laboratory testing doctors routinely perform on individuals suffering with seizure disorders. The best things you can do for your SSA disability case, are the best things you can do for your health. That is, comply with recommendations from your treating providers and take medications as prescribed.

Approved Medical Sources

In establishing the existence of a medical impairment, Social Security Administration relies on objective medical evidence from an acceptable medical source (AMS). The current rules recognize licensed physicians, psychologists, optometrists, podiatrists, and speech language pathologists as AMSs. Specifically excluded from the AMS list are nurse practitioners, physician assistants, licensed clinical social workers, naturopaths, chiropractors, audiologists, and therapists, though their opinions may be used to evaluate the severity of an impairment. Such exclusions, however lump these medical sources alongside other non-medical sources such as family, neighbors, and employers.

Genetic Testing

Earlier this year, Social Security Administration issued a policy interpretation ruling (SSR 16-4p) concerning the use of genetic tests in determining disability under the Social Security Act. This ruling, effective April 13, 2016, outlines the specific manner in which genetic tests are used throughout the sequential evaluation process.

Things to review before you file your application

The process of filing for social security benefits involves filling out several forms. One of the first forms, and the most important form, is your application for benefits. But as you move along in the process you will fill out more forms. One of the forms will be a work history form. When you fill out this form, it is helpful if you can remember the places and years that you worked. Social Security will be asking you about the jobs you had in the last 15 years. This can be difficult because most people will switch jobs throughout their lifetime. If you have a resume you can attach that to your work history form, but still fill out the form. That is helpful because it describes the job duties as well as the years that you did the job. Not everyone has a resume, so sometimes it could be helpful to go back through your taxes to remember where you worked and how much you earned.

A New Mental Health Listing

Many health impairments, both mental and physical, have listings in the federal regulations. Listings are a set of criteria that need that need to be met. Meeting the criteria is proven through medical records and testimony. Mental health is no exception to the requirements. However, starting January 2017, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) will have its own listing. Currently, PTSD is evaluated under the anxiety listing. But the new listing recognizes PTSD as an impairment apart from anxiety. To show that you meet the listing for PTSD, you need to show that there was exposure to actual or threatened death, serious injury or violence; that you suffer from involuntary re-experiencing of the traumatic event, like dreams or flashbacks; that you avoid reminders of the event; and that you have increased re-activity such as an exaggerated startle response.

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Midwest Disability, P.A.
408 Northdale Boulevard Northwest
Coon Rapids, MN 55448
Toll Free: 888-351-0427
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