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Oklahoma City Social Security Disability Law Blog

Do blind individuals qualify for Social Security Disability?

Individuals who have low vision or are blind may still be able to work despite their disability. Some people with visual impairments may not be able to work though. Even if they can, these people may be restricted as to what they can do and how long they can work. It's in these instances that a blind individual may be able to receive Social Security Disability (SSD).

The Social Security Administration (SSA) defines legal blindness as a case in which a person's better eye has a 20/200 or lower visual acuity, even when corrected. The SSA's Listing of Impairments details how anyone who has such poor vision may qualify for disability benefits. That same document spells out how individuals who experience tunnel vision may be able to receive Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) as well.

Securing Social Security Disability benefits may get harder

Lawmakers have proposed changes to the Social Security Disability (SSD) qualifying criteria process that, if passed, would strip many individuals who currently receive benefits of the funds that they rely on for their survival.

The Social Security Administration's (SSA) procedure for vetting individuals to see if they qualify to receive SSD is quite involved. Their medical ailments generally have to fall on the SSA's list of disabling conditions, and it has to be either terminal or expected to last more than a year. It's only if an individual meets these two criteria that they're generally allowed to apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).

Is it possible for both spouses to receive SSDI benefits?

Like many residents of Oklahoma, you and your spouse both work to support the family. While you do not mind going to the jobsite every day, you may eventually be unable to complete job tasks. If your husband or wife is in the same boat, you may wonder if you both can receive Social Security Disability Insurance benefits

Because SSDI is not a needs-based program, both you and your spouse may be eligible to receive SSDI payments. Still, if you also receive Supplemental Social Security income, there may be a conflict. By understanding eligibility parameters, you can better plan for providing for yourself and your family members. 

Begin the New Year with disability benefits support

The holidays are a happy and fun time of year for many Oklahoma residents. With time off of work, individuals may choose to travel or host loved ones and friends in their homes so that they can share in meals, gifts and love. However, not everyone who is not working over the holidays does so by choice. Men and women throughout the country who live with disabilities may be unable to secure or hold down the jobs they need to get by.

Disabilities can range from the visible to the invisible, with some clearly apparent, manifesting as physical ailments and others that are hidden, taking control over their victims' mental health. Disabilities afflict individuals of all ages and backgrounds and can last for years if not for the duration of their victims' lives. Some individuals who struggle with disabilities may be able to work part-time or in a limited capacity. Others may be unable to function without the support of others.

What is a compassionate allowance?

Any disability can effect an Oklahoma resident's life and may keep them from getting or holding down a job. If a person's disabling condition meets the definition of a disability, as set by the Social Security Administration, they may be entitled to receive disability benefits. However, for many individuals who apply for disability support from the Social Security Administration, an assessment or evaluation of their disability evidence must be completed before they are granted help.

Not everyone who seeks disability benefits will receive them because their medical histories, doctors' evaluations and other evidence may not support such action. Individuals with certain illnesses and injuries, though, may be automatically approved for disability benefits, if their disabling conditions appear on the compassionate allowance list.

Depression may be amplified during the holidays

According to medical and mental health professionals, the holiday season can be an especially hard time of year for individuals who struggle with mental conditions, like depression. As stresses mount and concerns weigh heavily on the minds of Oklahoma residents, those who deal with mental illnesses may experience elevated symptoms and issues related to their conditions. Those extra symptoms may lead them to engage in dangerous and uncharacteristic behaviors that can put them in harm's way.

Individuals who struggle to stay ahead of their depression, anxiety and other diagnosed mental health conditions do not have to fight their battles on their own. Depending upon how much their illnesses encroach into their daily lives, they may be able to pursue disability support from the Social Security Administration.

Proposed changes to law could affect SSD benefits for many

Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits are vital for people who are disabled, ill, injured or suffering from a condition. This is true in Oklahoma and across the nation. There are certain requirements for a person to be approved for SSD benefits. Once they are approved, there are still rules that must be followed to continue getting the disability payments. One -- the disability review -- could be changing and this may affect many people who are already getting benefits. With SSD claims, it is important to understand the value of legal representation.

A proposal from the Trump administration would add a new layer to the disability reviews, and the determination as to whether the benefits should continue. Disability reviews are a key part of a case as the Social Security Administration has periodic assessments of the person's condition. The reviews are scheduled based on the severity of the condition that warranted the approval of benefits. If a person has a severe condition that is not expected to improve, they will be placed in the category of "Medical Improvement Not Expected." Other categories are "Medical Improvement Expected" and "Medical Improvement Possible."

How does having multiple impairments effect my disability claim?

Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits are available to Oklahomans and people across the U.S. who meet the requirements based on the federal regulations. These can be confusing, especially if the person has several impairments and is uncertain of whether they are of sufficient severity to warrant an approval. The mistake people make in these circumstances is misunderstanding the way the Social Security Administration (SSA) makes its decisions. If a person has multiple impairments, the SSA assesses the case differently than if the person has a single impairment.

If the impairments are unrelated and severe, the SSA cannot combine them, so the applicant will meet the duration requirement of 12 months. If the person is suffering from a severe impairment or more than a single severe impairment, and these are not expected to last for the 12-month duration, the claim will be denied despite the impairments meeting the 12-month duration when they are combined.

What should I know about transferring resources for SSI benefits?

Oklahomans who are blind, disabled and 65 or older can apply for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) if their income and resources are below a certain level. A mistake people frequently make when they are considering applying for SSI benefits is to misunderstand the concept of resources and how that must be handled to get approved. There are various aspects of resources and how they can be transferred to ensure that the person is eligible to get SSI.

Cash and items that the person owns are considered resources, if they can be turned into cash. Obvious examples include bank accounts, a motor vehicle, homes and other forms of property. Since SSI is a need-based program, the resources will be a critical part of a person's eligibility.

Can my SSD benefits be suspended and why?

Oklahomans who believe they meet the requirements to get Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits for an illness, condition or injury might feel optimistic about their chances to be approved when making a claim. However, there are situations in which the Social Security Administration (SSA) will stop the benefits prior to a determination.

This is done when there is information that the person is not disabled, and there is no method for the SSA to determine when the disability was no longer in effect. This is a suspension. The benefits will be suspended at the time the person is no longer disabled and a determination was not completed to continue paying the benefits.

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
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