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What should I know about exertional limitations for SSD benefits?

When a person in Oklahoma is suffering from an injury or illness that they believe warrants an approval for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits, it is important to note that it is not as simple as applying and automatically getting the benefits. The Social Security Administration (SSA) wants to make certain that people who are applying meet the necessary requirements. There are many factors to consider. For those who are limited in how much they can exert themselves because of their impairment, it is imperative to understand how the SSA gauges exertional and non-exertional limitations.

There will be a certain amount of exertion with any job. For people who are limited in what they can do before it negatively affects them, their exertional limitations can be a critical factor in their claim. If a person does not have the ability to meet the strength requirements to complete a job, it is considered exertional.

How is chronic liver disease assessed for disability benefits?

Oklahomans who are suffering from chronic illnesses can have their entire lives affected by trying to mitigate the symptoms and get relief. Since these issues can prevent them from being able to hold a job, Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits can be critical to making ends meet and getting medical care as they try to survive and improve their condition. Chronic liver disease can be debilitating and warrant SSD benefits. Understanding how the Social Security Administration (SSA) evaluates it and what symptoms are present when it manifests is key.

Those with chronic liver disease can be characterized by a variety of issues, including inflammation, cell necrosis, fibrosis, cirrhosis and other problems that last for more than six months. Various medical conditions can come about, including hypertension and liver cancer. If there is a substantial loss of liver function, there can be hemorrhaging and more. The laboratory findings can indicate there is a progressive deterioration of the liver's function. For those with end stage liver disease, the only option is a transplant.

SSA must assess a plan to work for those getting SSI benefits

While Supplemental Security Income is a program for those who are 65 and older, blind, disabled and have limited income and resources, it does not mean that a person who is getting these benefits cannot work. Many Oklahomans who need SSI-related benefits can do certain jobs, have various capabilities and want to try to get back in the workforce. For those in this category, the Plan for Achieving Self-Support (PASS) is in place. While there are certain criteria for PASS, one important part of the process is for the Social Security Administration (SSA) to evaluate the plan. For help with this or any other part of PASS, it is wise to have legal advice.

When applying to take part in PASS, there will be a plan for self-support. An expert from the SSA will do the following: assess the plan to ensure it is complete; determine if there is a good possibility that the person will achieve his or her goals with the plan; determine if the expenses that were listed are needed for the person to reach the goal and if the prices are reasonable; decide if there are changes that must be made and talk to the person about them; and send a letter of approval or denial. If it is approved, the expert will contact the person on occasion to make sure the plan is being adhered to.

How does the SSA assess evidence about mental disorders?

Mental illness is a continuing problem for many people in Oklahoma and across the nation. If the problem is so severe that the person cannot work, it can warrant an approval for Social Security disability benefits. When filing for disability benefits, one of the key factors in getting approved is the evidence provided. For those with a mental disorder, it is imperative to provide sufficient evidence to have a good chance of getting the benefits. Before moving forward with a claim, it is useful to consult with a legal professional experienced in SSD cases.

With a mental disorder, there is certain evidence the SSA will need. For medical evidence, it must be from acceptable sources and show that there is a medically determinable impairment. It must show the severity and how it impacts the person's ability to work. Medical evidence will be considered based on the source like a doctor, psychologist, nurse practitioners and counselors. The symptoms, medical history, tests, imaging results, laboratory findings, diagnosis, medications, therapy and its impact, side effects, clinical course and more will be part of the process.

Available options after SSDI denial

Social Security Disability Insurance can help to provide the financial stability that disabled parties cannot provide for themselves. Unfortunately, parties who are in need of the benefits may face denials for various reasons.

Thankfully there are a few different options that parties may choose from to reach the best possible outcome. In order to select the right choice, it is important to know the available options in regards to next steps after an SSDI denial.

People getting SSD and SSI benefits will receive more in 2020

Oklahomans who are either getting Social Security disability or Supplemental Security Income will receive a certain amount in benefits every month. Regardless of whether they are getting SSD or SSI, they should be cognizant of periodic increases in the amount they get. This frequently depends on various factors including the cost of living. It was recently announced by the Social Security Administration that people getting these benefits will receive an increase in 2020. For those already getting these benefits or seeking them, this can be an important piece of news.

The SSA stated that the benefits will increase by 1.6 percent in 2020. This is based on the cost-of-living adjustment. The calculation stems from inflation and goes into effect when there is a rise in the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics' Consumer Price Index. For more than 8 million people who are getting SSI benefits, the change will begin on New Year's Eve. For the approximately 63 million who get Social Security, it will increase in January.

What if I have too many resources for SSI benefits?

Oklahomans who meet the basic requirements to be approved for Supplemental Security Income might find themselves unable to get the benefits for other reasons. Simply being blind, disabled, 65 or older is not enough to be approved when applying for SSI benefits. The Social Security Administration must also assess the person's resources. If there are excess resources, this can prevent a person from getting benefits when they would otherwise have been approved. To address this and other SSI-related issues, it can often help to have experienced legal advice.

Fortunately for those who have excess resources, there is the option to sell enough to reach the threshold to get SSI benefits. For individuals, there is a $2,000 limit on their resources. Couples are limited to $3,000. If some of the countable resources are to be sold, the person might be eligible to get conditional payments until then. People can sell a variety of properties including a home they are not living in and personal property like vehicles that have not been excluded.

The importance of age for SSD benefits and an inability to work

If an Oklahoma resident is injured, ill or has a condition that results in an inability to work, Social Security Disability benefits can be a critical factor in making ends meet and getting treatment. However, many people are denied SSD benefits even if they seem to have a solid case from the beginning. This might not be due to factors related to their condition, but because of the information - or lack thereof - they provided to the Social Security Administration during the application process. There is a five-step process the SSA uses to make its determinations and it is important for people to adhere to this to have the best chance at an approval.

The SSA will not only want to know if the person can work and if they can do the same type of work they did before, but it will need information as to whether the person can do other kinds of work. A key part of that is the person's age. The SSA has certain criteria when it assesses a person's age in the context of the ability to do other kinds of work. The SSA will consider the person's chronological age and their residual functional capacity. It also looks at work experience and education. Age is not the sole determinative factor when the SSA considers if the person can adapt to a different type of work. If the person is advancing in age, this could limit that adjustment.

Can my family members get benefits when I receive disability?

When an Oklahoman is approved for Social Security Disability benefits, it will be a relief. Suffering from an illness, injury or condition can be a financial and personal struggle and disability benefits will alleviate a significant portion of the worry and fear that accompanies being confronted with these issues. Many might take that relief and leave their benefits as is, failing to understand that there are other potential benefits they and their family can receive.

Once a person is approved for benefits, some family members can also qualify based on the recipient's record. To get the SSD benefits and for eligible family members to also get benefits, it can be useful to have legal help. The following can potentially get benefits once a person is approved for SSD: the spouse; a former spouse; children; a disabled child; and an adult child who became disabled before turning 22.

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.

The Law Center for Social
Security Disability

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Oklahoma City, OK 73102

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