For certain aggressive illnesses or severe injuries, applicants maybe be able to receive benefits in an expedited fashion. The Social Security Administration has a list of conditions for which one may be able to receive a "Compassionate Allowance". The Compassionate Allowance initiative is intended to help the Social Security Administration reduce the waiting time to reach a disability determination for individuals with the most serious disabilities. Certain illnesses on the Compassionate Allowance List are regarded as so serious that a simple diagnosis of the condition from a doctor automatically qualifies an applicant for benefits. The complete list of Compassionate Allowance conditions is available on the Social Security Administration's website. There are 200 plus conditions that may entitle you to a compassionate allowance. Applications with proper documentation can be processed and awarded within a month. Moreover, Social Security will consider how long the successful applicant has been disabled and will pay benefits retroactively for the months between when the disability began and when the application was approved, in addition to providing monthly funds going forward.
The Social Security Administration actually encourages claimants to work while their application for Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income is pending.
The majority of claims for Social Security disability benefits are awarded by administrative law judges (or ALJs).
On August 2, Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) proposed the "Economic Security for New Parents Act," a bill which would amend Title II of the Social Security Act to provide paid parental leave benefits to parents following the birth or adoption of a child. The attempt to address relief for new parents is long overdue, as the United States is one of the only countries (alongside Swaziland, Australia, and Papua New Guinea) which does not provide paid parental leave. At present, those unable to work due to pregnancy or childbirth may take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave under the Family Medical Leave Act, but many find these safeguards insufficient.
Before a case for Social Security disability benefits may be filed in federal court, applicants must give the Social Security Administration (SSA) an opportunity to review the claim and render a final agency decision. Administratively, there are typically four stages of review: initial determination, reconsideration, hearing before an administrative law judge, and review by the Appeals Council. SSA denies most applicants upon initial determination and reconsideration but approves approximately two-thirds of applicants at the hearing level, where claims are adjudicated by the Office of Hearings Operations.
At every disability hearing, there's the claimant, their representative, the judge, a hearing reporter who records the proceedings, and a vocational expert who testifies whether the claimant can perform any jobs.
The most confusing part of a disability hearing for claimants is always the vocational expert testimony.
Last month, the Supreme Court in Lucia v. SEC (2018) held that Administrative Law Judges (ALJs) are "Officers of the United States" subject to the Appointments Clause. In a subsequent effort to mitigate concerns over the selection of ALJs and reduce the likelihood of litigation based on Appointments Clause challenges, the President signed Executive Order 13843, excepting ALJs from competitive service by directing the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to amend Civil Service Rule VI. As a result, agency heads now have greater discretion and authority to appoint and hire ALJs.
Children and adults with autism may be eligible for Social Security Disability Benefits and/or Supplemental Security Income. As with all impairments, Social Security Disability Benefits is only available for people who have a work history and have paid FICA taxes. Supplemental Security Income is available for people who meet the medical requirements of disability but have no work history or haven't paid enough in taxes.
There are certainly many functions that your attorney will perform outside of the actual hearing. Namely, your attorney will be examining your medical records as well as other exhibits in your Social Security file, crafting legal arguments, and working with paralegals to make sure that your file is complete before your hearing. There may also be issues that surface after your hearing that your attorney may need to resolve. However, this posting is going to discuss how your attorney can and will advocate on your behalf at your disability hearing.