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If you’ve had a terminal illness diagnosis, your finances should be the least of your concerns. Luckily, if you need hospice care, you’re most likely entitled to Social Security benefits from medical qualification. These benefits can help you pay for medical bills, hospice services, housing and other expenses.
At What Age are You Eligible for Social Security Benefits?
Most working people get Social Security benefits during their work life, and this converts to retirement compensation at 65 years old. Disability is different than retirement. You aren’t eligible for benefits from both programs at the same time. If you’re diagnosed with a terminal illness and you’re already receiving retirement benefits, you won’t be eligible for additional terminal illness disability benefits.
How Do You Apply for Social Security Disability?
To apply for Social Security terminal illness disability, you need to fit the requirements of the Social Security definition of disability, which is a medical condition that prevents an applicant from performing work duties for 12 months or more, or results in death. Hospice patients automatically meet this definition of disability.
Social Security also uses its own guide of qualifying conditions when evaluating terminal illness disability, which lists numerous conditions that necessitate hospice care. For example, a patient with metastatic cancer is medically qualified for disability benefits.
How to Do a Terminal Illness Disability Application
You can apply for Social Security disability benefits online from your home, or with the help of a caretaker or family member. In most cases, patient applications with a terminal illness and in hospice care will be expedited during the process, leading to a determination within a few weeks.
How a Lawyer Can Help with Your Terminal Illness Application
If you have a terminal condition and you’re concerned about qualifying for social security benefits, London Disability can help. We’ll go over your case with you and help you manage your supporting documentation, paperwork and deadlines to get your benefits. Contact our firm today to schedule your consultation!
Neurocognitive disorders encompass a range of illnesses that cause a decrease in healthy cognitive function, such as the ability to think or plan. Many illnesses can contribute to neurocognitive disorders, including brain injuries, brain damage and dementia.
Though many illnesses can result in a neurocognitive disorder, when determining disability benefits, Social Security is concerned more with the loss of the ability to work than the specific disorder itself.
What Neurocognitive Disorders are Listed for Social Security?
· Executive function, such as judgment, planning or impulse control
· Listening and comprehending others
· Hand-eye coordination or coordination with motor function
· Social graces
If the applicant shows a decline in one or more of these areas, Social Security considers how these limitations affect normal work duties to determine eligibility for disability benefits. An applicant is deemed eligible if they show a severe limitation in two or more of the following areas:
· Comprehending, remembering or applying information
· Interacting with others
· Concentrating on tasks
· Controlling behavior and adapting to workplace changes
What Evidence Does Social Security Consider?
To determine eligibility, Social Security evaluates the applicant’s medical records from a primary care physician, neurologist or psychiatrist. If the severity of the neurocognitive disorder can’t be determined from the information in the medical records, Social Security may request a consultative evaluation by a Social Security psychiatrist.
Applicant should be sure to express limitations and concerns they have with the activities of daily living and work-related activities. It’s also recommended to bring a family member or caregiver to appointments to make sure that all limitations are covered.
Why You Should Hire a Disability Lawyer
Applying for disability with neurocognitive decline can be stressful and difficult, but the professional and caring staff at London Disability is here to guide you through the whole process. Contact us today for your consultation!
If you have been diagnosed with small cell lung cancer (oat cell lung cancer) and non-small cell lung cancer, you will likely qualify for disability benefits. The Social Security Administration (SSA) states that about 85 percent of lung cancers are the less aggressive type, or non-small cell lung cancer. Lung cancer is listed under “malignant neoplastic diseases” in the SSA’s Blue Book of medical conditions. A malignant neoplastic disease is a disease characterized by a malignant tumor or growth caused by rapid and abnormal cell division.
What Is the Qualifying Criteria for Lung Disability Benefits from the SSA?
Applicants seeking disability benefits for non-small cell lung cancer must prove their cancer is inoperable, has metastasized into the lymph nodes or is unresectable (cancerous tissue remains after surgery). All applications for lung disability that indicate a diagnosis of small cell lung cancer will be automatically approved.
Cancer located in the superior sulcus (upper regions) of the lungs that has been treated with surgery or radiation also qualifies for lung disability. You will need to provide proof of treatments and results of treatment when you submit your application to the SSA.
What Kind of Medical Documentation Does Social Security Want From People With Malignant Neoplastic Diseases?
Biopsies of primary tumors, evaluations by a pathologist examining tissue samples, proof of lung surgery and documentation showing the lung cancer has spread are the essential kinds of paperwork you need to send to the SSA when applying for disability benefits.
For people with lung cancer who fail to meet criteria for lung disability, the SSA will evaluate their residual functional capacity (RFC) to determine if they are able to work. If symptoms and impairments attributed to malignant neoplastic diseases severely limit an individual’s ability to work, the SSA may approve them for disability benefits based on their RFC score.
For assistance with submitting an application for lung disability and to improve your chances of being approved as expeditiously as possible, contact London Disability today to speak to an experienced disability attorney.
Getting approved for disability by the Social Security Administration for anxiety disorders, an emotional disability or other type of mental disability is harder than getting approved for a physically disabling condition. Why? The primary reason is that symptoms of a mental illness cannot be objectively evaluated like x-rays, MRIs or CT scans can be evaluated. In addition, signs of mental illness like severe depression, panic and delusional thinking are difficult to objectively measure.
How are Mental and Emotional Conditions Determined as Disabling by SSA Reviewers?
To evaluate a mental disability or an emotional disability, SSA reviewers refer to the Blue Book to determine if a claimant’s symptoms match the criteria of a specific mental illness listed this book. The SSA’s Blue Book is their official listing of all medical conditions and impairments that could be prevent someone from working. Mental and emotional conditions listed in the Blue Book include:
Anxiety disorders (phobias, panic disorder, severe anxiety)
If chronic anxiety disorders or a mental disability is not as severe as Blue Book listings require, an applicant may still qualify for a medical-vocational allowance if the mental health issue prevents them from working. SSA reviewers will then determine if the applicant’s mental residual functional capacity (RFC) indicates they suffer from functional, social or intellectual limitations that make it impossible for them to work full-time.
How Can You Improve Your Chances of Being Approved for a Mental Illness?
The most important way to increase your chance of getting approved for an emotional disability or mental disability is to show the SSA you have been seeing a psychologist and/or a psychiatrist regularly for at least one year and that you have adhered to treatment plans (taking medication as prescribed, attending all therapy sessions). Letting an experienced disability lawyer handle your claim will also significantly make it much more likely you will be approved. Contact London Disability today to learn more about getting disability for mental or emotional conditions.
Hematological disorders are plasma or blood related disorders that may render a person unable to maintain gainful work activity. Malignant disorders involving the blood and/or plasma are cancerous or life-threatening. Non-malignant disorders include chronic anemia, hemophilia or other hematological disorders that are not an immediate danger to a person’s health. To receive SSD benefits for a blood disorder, applicants must show their disorder is disabling enough to prevent them from working without risk to their health.
What Hematological Disorders Qualify for SSD Benefits?
Sickle cell anemia–causes pain, extreme swelling of feet and hands, recurring infections and visual disturbances
Chronic anemia–non-malignant disorders affecting red blood cells like chronic anemia requires SSD applicants prove they suffer overwhelming weakness, fatigue, shortness of breath and other medical problems that prevent them for seeking gainful employment
Aplastic anemia–when bone marrow cannot supply sufficient red blood cells to support general health, you may have aplastic anemia. Other symptoms include fatigue, irregular heartbeat, frequent illnesses and nosebleeds
Hemophilia/blood coagulation disorders–these are non-malignant disorders that cause uncontrollable bleeding
Myelofibrosis (chronic leukemia)–a bone marrow disorder disrupting blood cell production, myelofibrosis causes bone marrow scarring, severe anemia, spleen enlargement and extreme weakness. Malignant disorders like myelofibrosis is a progressive disease that is sometimes fatal
Chronic thrombocytopenia–insufficient blood platelets due to thrombocytopenia causes frequent nosebleeds, fatigue, weakness and bleeding under the skin
Granulocytopenia–hematological disorders like granulocytopenia prevent the body from making enough white blood cells to fight infections. Symptoms include constant, low-grade fever, skin abscesses and recurring pneumonia
Can You Still Get SSD Benefits for Unlisted Hematological Disorders?
Yes, as long as you prove your blood disorder meets “limited functioning” criteria established by the Social Security Administration. An SSA claims evaluator will determine if there are jobs available that you can do based on your functional capacity.
To avoid delays and reduce the risk of having your claim initially denied, call the Law Office of Daniel Berger today to schedule a consultation appointment with an experienced disability lawyer.
What your doctor says and how they evaluate your case is important to whether the Social Security Administration approves or denies your benefits. Failing to see a doctor at all will almost certainly result in a denial. However, you can also be denied if the letter you present from your doctor doesn’t specify what officials need to know. See why the impact of that letter largely depends on how it’s written and what exactly it says.
Why Does the Wording Matter?
It is not enough for a doctor to write a letter that states he or she believes you to be disabled. If there are no corroborating details, the administrator will be left asking more questions than before they first read the letter. A much more involved letter, also known as medical source statements, will list all the reasons why a doctor believes their patient is unable to perform gainful employment. This gives the applicant their best chance at getting the approval they’re looking for.
What Needs to Be Included?
A letter from a doctor should ideally include the following:
A full explanation of how the medical evidence supports your disability claim
The exact limitations the doctor feels the patient possesses
Whether it’s a physical or mental disability, the letter needs to clarify what the doctor believes a person can’t do (e.g., lift heavy objects, walk long distances, etc.) and why exactly the person is unable to do it. The doctor should include all images and official documents that an official can use to justify their decision. (Letters are the best way to get this information to the examiner as in-person testimony can typically too expensive for most applicants.)
One of the most important aspects of the social security disability claims process is undergoing a medical examination. In fact, consultative medical exams are one of the main factors referenced when determining eligibility for SSD and SSI. If you haven’t had a recent medical evaluation by your own doctor or you’re lacking proper medical documentation to support your claim, you should be prepared to undergo an official consultative medical exam required by the Social Security Administration (SSA).
What Can I Expect During the Social Security Disability or SSI Medical Exam?
Before you head into your exam appointment, it’s important to remember that the doctor who will be performing your medical evaluation does not work for the SSA. There really is no such thing as a Social Security doctor. While the SSA will cover the costs associated with your consultation, you will be working with an independent doctor who is being paid to asses your condition and determine the validity of your claim.
During the Exam
The extent of your examination will depend on the nature of your claim but may include:
Full mental health examination
Full physical examination
Other important medical evaluations
As a rule of thumb, these examinations are kept brief and to the point. In most cases, appointments are complete in 20 minutes or less. Ultimately, the person in charge of evaluating your claim will outline which tests should be administered during consultative medical exams.
Not Your Average Doctor’s Appointment
While this type of diagnostic appointment may be a familiar process for some, keep in mind that it’s not like a regular doctor’s visit. Make sure that you are on time for your appointment and willing to work with the Social Security doctor. If you miss your appointment, your claim could be denied.
The sole purpose of this appointment is to determine the extent of your condition and to make sure that your claim meets the guidelines set forth by the SSA for benefit approval. This appointment is not intended to treat your condition.
In addition to providing compelling medical documentation of your disability to the Social Security Administration, one of the most important factors in SSA reviewers determining whether they accept or deny your claim is the credibility of the claim. SSA reviewers see medically determinable conditions like cancer, chronic neurological disorders or retardation as more credible than mental illnesses or pain conditions that almost always rely on subjective evaluations. A disability applicant’s credibility relies solely on the applicant’s ability to provide substantial and detailed documentation of their illness to the Social Security Administration.
What are Examples of Claims the SSA May Deny Based on Credibility?
Dan filed for disability claiming his severe back pain prevented him from working. In addition, Dan told the SSA he suffered shooting pains in his lower back and legs, weakness and numbness. Dan’s claim was denied because he failed to provide medical evidence proving he had a medically determinable condition that was causing these symptoms. The x-rays and MRI scans Dan sent to the SSA were normal.
Sharon filed for disability due to severe depression and anxiety. She said her depression and anxiety was so severe that it prevented her from leaving her home. To determine Sharon’s credibility, the Social Security Administration evaluated the extensive records Sharon provided and found her psychiatrist and psychologist supported this diagnosis. She also had been seeing psychologists for over a year. The SSA agreed Sharon had a medically determinable condition and approved her claim for a full disability evaluation.
Mary filed for disability due to chronic pain resulting from carpal tunnel syndrome. Although Mary had surgery performed to reduce symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome, she said she still had pain and could not work. During Mary’s appointment with an SSA disability examiner, the examiner noticed Mary had no problem holding an ink pen to fill out forms. Nor did she have difficulty texting on her cell phone. Because the examiner noted these actions, Mary’s claim was denied.
How Do I Know I Have a Medically Determinable Condition?
The SSA has strict guidelines when determining a disability applicant’s credibility. Avoid delays or denials with your disability claim by letting the disability lawyers at London Disability handle your SSA claim. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.
When it comes to having your disability case approved by the Social Security Administration, you need proof to back up your statements. It’s not enough to state the discomforts that make it impossible for you to work: you also need an examiner who agrees with your assessment. A Disability Benefits denial occurs when the administration doesn’t have all the data they need to make an informed decision.
What Happens If You Don’t Work with a Doctor?
The Social Security Administration is likely to dismiss your condition if you’re not seeing a doctor or complying with their treatment plan. The idea is that your disability can’t be that severe if you’re not seeking help for it. If you have a long history proving that you’ve seen numerous doctors to try to fix the problem, then you’re more likely to be approved for benefits.
Are There Extenuating Circumstances?
There are a few acceptable reasons if you choose not to comply with your doctor’s plan.
Lifestyle: If your treatment plan advises you to quit smoking, alter your diet in order to lose weight, or exercise.
Medical professional designation: If the treatment plan is issued by an examiner who works for the Social Security department.
Circumstantial: If the medication in your treatment plan is causing side effects that are worse than the condition or you cannot afford the medication.
Mental health or addiction: If you fail to seek treatment due to a mental health issue or due to your addiction. In addition, you can refuse to take prescriptions that are addictive (e.g., opioids).
Religious: If the treatment plan goes against your religious beliefs.
How Should I Present the Information?
If you’re seeking help from the Disability Determination Services, you should present your history with as much detail as possible. For example, if you’ve refused recommended surgery for any reason, you need to be explicit about why you chose to go against doctor’s orders. Disability Determination Services will work with people, but they need to find the applicant to be forthcoming and truthful throughout the process.
Kidney failure is a complex and serious health condition that affects every major system in the body. Also known as renal failure, this chronic health issue is characterized by the inability of the kidneys to filter the blood through the body properly. This eventually leads to blood that has increased levels of toxins and chemicals present to circulate throughout the body. While symptoms can vary from person to person, most of the people diagnosed with kidney failure are too fatigued to complete any regular work. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with renal failure, you may be entitled to social security disability benefits.
How Can I Get Disability Benefits for Kidney Failure?
Some of the most common symptoms associated with kidney or renal failure include:
· Upset stomach
· Muscle soreness and cramping
· Abnormal heart rhythms
· Swelling of the feet and other extremities
· Chronic fatigue
If you have been diagnosed with renal failure that requires dialysis or a kidney transplant, the Social Security Administration (SSA) recognizes your condition with a special listing that typically makes applying for benefits a fairly straightforward process.
In the SSA “Blue Book” kidney or renal failure is listed under section 6 of the disability impairment guide. This section details all kidney function conditions that are recognized by the Disability Determination Services or DDS. Most people who are experiencing this condition will fit into one or more categories defined in this section of the “Blue Book.” However, to qualify for disability benefits, you must still provide a detailed medical and treatment history.
Working with a Disability Lawyer
Navigating the disability claims system can be confusing, even when you have been diagnosed with a recognized condition like renal failure. If you need help understanding the SSA evaluation process or you are interested in additional guidance as you begin the appeals process, working with an experienced disability lawyer is a great option. Call 877.978.3136 or contact the team at London Disability today for more information.