Social Security Disability Archives

Pregnancy and Disability

Some individuals mistakenly believe that Social Security will pay them benefits if they miss work due to a pregnancy or childbirth. While pregnancy can greatly impede one's ability to maintain full time employment, it is generally not considered a disability under the Social Security Act. Social Security's disability program only applies to long-term medical conditions. To establish a disability, a claimant must demonstrate a severe medical impairment expected to result in death or lasting at least twelve continuous months. A pregnancy or childbirth will not meet the duration requirements for disability benefits, unless the child is born with a permanent disability or giving birth causes a long-term impairment.

When do SSD payments begin after approval?

It takes time and effort on your part, but you eventually do get approved for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits. What you're wondering, almost immediately, is when the payments actually start. When will you get the money they approved for you? When does that coverage begin? Could it be prior to your approval date?

Handling unfavorable medical expert testimony at your hearing

Social Security disability hearings will almost always involve the judge and the claimant's attorney taking testimony from the claimant and from a Vocational Expert (there are other blog posts here that discuss the role of the Vocational Expert in detail). However, you may also have to contend with the testimony of a medical expert. The medical expert (or "ME" in disability law circles) is a physician brought in by the Social Security Administration to review the medical records from your numerous providers and give an opinion on what the totality of the medical evidence supports as far as diagnoses and related limitations. Whether or not there is a medical expert present at your hearing depends in large part on which judge is assigned to hear your case. Some judges seem to find medical expert testimony very desirable, while other judges rarely make use of these experts. Medical experts are more common in cases that involve less common disabilities, where judges are more apt to feel that their understanding of the case can benefit from the expert's testimony.

The role of assistive technology after a disability

Technology has advanced a lot in the last 100 years, especially in the medical field. But it's not all about finding cures and treatments. Some advancements simply help people live better, fuller lives with the conditions that they suffer from.

Personality disorders and disability benefits

With sufficient severity, a personality or impulse control disorder may qualify an induvial to receive Social Security disability benefits. Like all disability claims, the limitations imposed by the personality or impulse control disorder must have lasted or be expected to last for a period of 12 months. There are two possible avenues for becoming approved for disability benefits for this type of disorder. First, you can demonstrate through medical records and testimony at your hearing that the symptoms relating to your disorder will render you unable to perform your past work or other work. This will generally require the judge to accept that you will be unable to tolerate the human interaction, routine changes, or criticism inherent in such work or that you will be rendered "off-task" in the workplace to an unacceptable degree. Conversely, it is also possible to qualify for benefits by meeting or equaling the criteria of a "Listing". The regulations followed by the Social Security Administration establish listed disorders or groups of disorders and establish clinical and diagnostic criteria for each that, if met, should lead to a finding that the individual is disabled. The applicable listing for personality and impulse control disorders is listing 12.08, which requires the following:

Changing the Location of Your Hearing

The Social Security disability process can be long and complicated. Because your claim can take several years to proceed to the hearing stage, it may be the case that you will relocate for family or other reasons during the pendency of your claim. If you relocate during the process, it is important to keep the Social Security Administration or the law firm you are working with aware of any address changes. It may be possible for the SSA to arrange for your hearing to be held closer to your new address, particularly if you have moved a great distance.

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In Minnesota, we handle Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) claims. Throughout the nation, we handle SSDI applications and appeals for people from Ohio to Kansas, North Dakota to Texas and everywhere in between.

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