The Law Center For Social Security Disability
View Our Practice Areas

Oklahoma City Social Security Disability Law Blog

Mental illness related to somatic disorders

For Oklahomans who believe they are suffering from mental illness and their issues are of sufficient severity that they warrant filing for disability benefits, it is important to understand their disorder and how it impacts their daily lives.

While many forms of mental illness will be relatively understandable to a layperson, some might be more complex. One that is often misunderstood is a somatic system disorder. Once this issue is known, having legal help can be useful to apply for disability benefits.

You can now file a Social Security appeal online

Thousands of Americans receive denials on their Social Security claims each year. Some of the most common reasons for this is that the Social Security Administration believes the disability will not last longer than 12 months or that the person in question is still able to perform work. 

It feels disheartening to receive a denial, but you should not give up hope. You may still qualify for the benefits you deserve, but the SSA made an error in your application. It is also possible you did not provide enough information for the SSA to make an informed decision. Today, it is easier than ever to appeal a denial, thanks to the SSA's online appeals process

Understanding Social Security Ruling 18-3p

Social Security allows numerous Americans to provide for themselves when they can no longer work. However, the Social Security Administration can still deny benefits to certain people based on a litany of reasons. One of the most common explanations you need to watch out for is a failure to follow prescribed treatments, as described in Social Security Ruling 18-3p

This ruling went into effect on October 29th, 2018. It applies to all claims that required a decision on that date and for any date afterward. This statute basically allows the administration to deny people Social Security benefits if they fail to follow their doctor's orders. It is paramount for individuals applying for Social Security to follow prescriptions precisely or have an extremely good reason for avoiding them. 

Does getting a loan impact my SSI benefits?

When Oklahomans apply for Supplemental Security Income, they will undoubtedly understand there are certain rules to being approved and retaining benefits. In addition to needing to meet the income and resource requirements, the person must also be disabled, blind or 65 and older. Circumstances can also have an impact on the SSI benefits the person gets per month. If, for example, the SSI recipient takes out a loan, this can alter the amount they are getting in SSI benefits. Understanding how this works is an important facet of the entire process.

Anything the person receives from another person or entity that will be paid back later is considered a loan. There can be a loan agreement with a bank or a person. It can be a written agreement or it can be an oral agreement. For it to be considered a legal loan, it must be enforceable based on state law. A loan does not necessarily need to be money. It can be, of course. But it can also be food, shelter and items related to shelter like rent and utilities.

How does the SSA define levels of work for SSD benefits?

When an Oklahoman is suffering from an injury, illness or condition that results in a claim for Social Security disability benefits, there are certain factors that the Social Security Administration must assess in the context of federal regulations. Not everyone's ability to physically exert themselves is limited in the same way. To make its determinations and decide if the applicant meets the requirements for SSD benefits, it is important to understand the physical exertion requirements for work that exists in the national economy.

There are five levels of work. They are sedentary, light, medium, heavy and very heavy. With sedentary work, the person will be asked to lift a maximum of 10 pounds at one time. There will also be an occasional need to carry items such as small tools, files and ledgers. Despite sedentary jobs being defined as involving the need to sit, walk for certain distances and stand, the job will be considered sedentary if there are only occasional requirements to stand and walk.

People getting SSI benefits can also open ABLE accounts

When Oklahomans are disabled, blind and over age 65, they can get Supplemental Security Income if they meet the other fundamental requirements. For those who are struggling financially and have met these basic criteria, it can be a relief to be approved for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. Frequently, they will not consider other benefits available to them. This is a mistake that can keep them from saving money in accounts that will not affect their resource requirements and other needs to get SSI.

People who are disabled can have goals just like anyone else. Concerns about financing those goals and whether saving money will impact their SSI can hinder them. In that past, this was a major problem. Now that there is ABLE (Achieving a Better Life Experience Act), those who are disabled and getting SSI can save money. The law was passed in 2014. It lets families place as much as $15,000 annually into an ABLE account. The limit will be higher if the disabled individual works and does not have a retirement account or other program. There will be no tax on qualified withdrawals and the money is deposited after taxes.

How is cancer evaluated and what evidence is needed?

Oklahomans diagnosed with cancer will have a great deal on their minds as they prepare for treatment and wonder what the future holds. This can be stressful physically, emotionally and financially. For many, the worry they face will go beyond the disease and extends to the treatment and making ends meet while they are getting it. The disease and the treatment can make it difficult if not impossible to work, causing financial hardship. Those who have cancer and believe can get Social Security disability benefits must understand certain factors. A legal firm that specializes in helping with SSD benefits is essential.

The Social Security Administration will consider certain factors when deciding if the applicant's cancer meets the requirements for qualifying SSD benefits for illness. The following will be considered: the cancer's origin; how extensive its involvement is; the anticancer therapy and its duration, frequency and the person's response to it; and if there are side effects post-therapy. To come to an accurate determination and make an informed decision, the SSA also needs certain evidence.

Does a change in income impact my SSI benefits?

Apart from the disabling issues an Oklahoman is suffering from, Supplemental Security Income is largely based on how much the applicant earns. If the income and resources are deemed to be below a certain level, the SSI benefits can be provided. Income can change the amount a person gets for their SSI benefits. Understanding the requirements for reporting a change in income for the individual or a member of the household is a fundamental part of an SSI case.

When an SSI recipient is earning income in addition to the SSI benefits, the Social Security Administration must be informed. If there are changes, the SSA must be told of this as well. It does not necessarily need to be an increase in the income to be reported. It is important that the SSI recipient tell the SSA about the income change immediately.

Dispelling common misconceptions about SSDI benefits

Social Security disability benefits exist to give the most severely disabled Americans the financial assistance they need to get by. There is a lot of misinformation about the process of obtaining benefits. If you are among the many residents of Oklahoma who have cause to apply for benefits from the U.S. Social Security Administration, it may serve you well to separate fact from fiction as you work through the application process.

That way, if the administration does, ultimately, approve you for disability benefits, you will have an accurate picture of what to expect, and you can plan for your future accordingly. So, what are some common myths about the Social Security disability benefits application and approval process?

Applying for disability benefits if you have a mental illness

The stigma that once defined mental illness and how it impacted Oklahoma residents and people across the nation has largely dissipated. Increasingly, people from all walks of life are feeling emboldened to seek treatment when they are suffering from mental illness, emotional illness or any other issue that is not clear to the naked eye with physical manifestations. While these issues might not be obvious when looking at a person, they are undoubtedly real and can be just as severe and debilitating as physical impairments and conditions.

Oftentimes, people are not even aware they are suffering from a mental condition. They might understand depression, mood swings, anxiety, obsessive-compulsion and other mental and emotional issues, but they have not been diagnosed. That could be due to a reluctance to seek treatment. Or, they simply do not understand that there could be a diagnosable reason for why they are suffering from these problems. These conditions can keep a person from living a fulfilling life, working and contributing to society. Seeking SSD benefits can be a reasonable step to get treatment and receive support to make ends meet.

The Law Center for Social
Security Disability

414 NW 4th Street Suite 140
Oklahoma City, OK 73102

Phone: 405-896-8852
Fax: 405-272-0367
Oklahoma City Law Office Map