Often, I see clients who are already receiving monthly benefits from the Veteran's Administration, and are now seeking Social Security Disability Insurance benefits.
When an insured individual is no longer able to work due to a disability, it is important to file a Social Security Disability claim as soon as possible to avoid any potential loss of benefits. Insured status for benefits under Title II of the Social Security Act has an expiration date, or "date last insured" (DLI) for the onset of disability, though an individual may file a claim at any time. Social Security Administration can pay up to twelve months of retroactive pay from the date filed, so a claimant who files long after their onset of disability may risk losing back pay.
Applicants for disability benefits typically file claims under both Title II (Social Security Disability) and Title XVI (Supplemental Security Income) of the Social Security Act. After a favorable decision has been rendered, the decision is sent to a payment processing center to calculate payment amounts. Processing times vary, and could run anywhere from 30 to 90 days from the date of the decision.
A working paper by researchers from Temple University, Johns Hopkins University and the University of Cincinnati has found an unusual connection between disability claims and states that have legalized medical marijuana.
It's not uncommon to hear clients complain about how long it takes for them to get benefits.
Anyone who has gone through the process of applying for disability benefits knows that it is not quick or easy.
Most clients I meet with do not understand that there are actually two types of disability benefits available.
The relationship between work activity and receiving SSA disability benefits is complex. In order to be eligible for disability benefits, a person must be unable to engage in substantial gainful activity ("SGA"). This amount nominally increases each year. In 2017, if a non-blind individual is earning $1170 gross per month on an ongoing basis, SSA's position is that the individual's conditions are not 'severe' enough to impact his or her ability to work. Keep in mind SSA is not setting an income amount that an individual can necessarily live off. The SGA income limit is intentionally low, because Congress intended SSA disability to be for individuals who are significantly impaired and unable to work.
It is very important to comply with prescribed treatment for your conditions. SSA will agree that your conditions or symptoms are worse when you are not doing the things your treating providers recommend; however, it is harder to be approved if you are not compliant with treatment. This is particularly important in cases with conditions that are expected to be amenable to treatment. Diabetes and epilepsy are two major impairments where SSA evaluates an individual's compliance with prescribed treatment. In general, a seizure disorder is expected to be well-controlled if an individual takes their anti-epileptic medications as prescribed. Similarly, blood sugars and A1C levels have a better chance of being well-controlled when an individual follows a diabetic diet, and takes insulin or diabetic medications as prescribed.
One of the more frustrating quirks of disability law for both attorneys and our clients is the five-month waiting period in Social Security Disability Insurance cases.