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.
Social Security sends out many forms during the social security disability process. The Function Report - Adult form [SSA-3373-BK] is one of the most important forms.
Each disability case follows a 5 step process set out by the federal government. The first step is to determine if a person is working at SGA (substantial gainful activity). Generally, in order to be eligible for disability there needs to be a 12-month period in your application period in which you were not making SGA. Substantial gainful activity changes with the year but for 2015 it was $1090. Therefore, there needs to be a 12-month period in which a person consistently made less than $1090 every month. There are some circumstances where making more than SGA can be explained legally, however, they are on a case by case basis.
Ehlers-Danlos syndrome is an inherited connective tissue disorder that interferes with the structure, production, or processing of collagen. The disorder typically affects the skin, joints, and blood vessels, with symptoms including easy bruising, ligamentous laxity, joint pain, and weak tissue. Many consider it to be an "invisible disability," as it is often misdiagnosed with hypochondriasis, depression, or chronic fatigue syndrome. While proving an "invisible disability" to Social Security Administration may be difficult, there are two main ways to establish disability from Ehlers-Danlos syndrome if your rheumatologist supports your claim.
It has been estimated that at least 70 percent of Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income claims are denied by the Social Security Administration. Claims may be denied when disabled workers and other folks in Minnesota and throughout the U.S. fail to provide the SSA with the information that is needed to process a claim. Claims may also be denied when the SSA makes mistakes while processing claims or when the SSA makes the determination that some applicants are simply not entitled to obtain disability benefits.
Our Minneapolis Social Security disability law blog often discusses the types of challenges working Minnesotans face when they become disabled because of a serious injury, illness or other medical condition. However, there are also thousands of families in Minnesota who face similar challenges when caring for children who are disabled.
Last month on our Minneapolis Social Security disability law blog, we had mentioned that the government recently decided to ease some of its requirements during the hiring process for disabled individuals who are looking to join or return to the workforce. The government has decided to do this in order to make it easier for folks with disabilities to apply for jobs and to also speed up the hiring process for disabled workers.
Disabilities and impairments suffered from an injury or illness may not always be permanent or prevent workers from ever being able to return to the workforce in Minnesota. Some physical or mental impairments may only severely affect workers for a few months or years. And in some cases, workers discover that there are other jobs they can do, even when they do suffer from serious injuries or medical conditions that may prevent them from returning to any of the previous jobs they held.
As we have mentioned before on our Minneapolis Social Security Disability blog, traumatic brain injuries may lead to severe and permanent disabilities, especially when brain injuries are not properly diagnosed or treated. In order to create more awareness about the serious short-term and long-term consequences of brain injuries in the U.S., March has been designated as National Brain Injury Awareness Month.
Since May 2011, the government has been trying to cut spending by encouraging Social Security recipients to have their monthly payments deposited directly into their bank accounts or to have their payments loaded onto prepaid debit cards each month instead of receiving their benefits in the mail.