Monday, January 16, 2017

Camp Lejeune New Law for Veterans

The VA announced on January 13, 2017 that they will now recognize 8 medical conditions as presumptively service connected due to contaminated drinking water at Camp Lejeune.  If a veteran served a minimum of 30 days between August 1, 1953 and December 31, 1987 and was diagnosed with one of the following conditions: Parkinson's, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, multiple myeloma, liver cancer, kidney cancer, bladder cancer, aplastic anemia with other myelodysplastic syndromes, or adult leukemia then the VA will find them presumptively service connected.  This new law on Camp Lejeune will make it easier for veterans to get their VA disability benefits.  A few questions still remain when it comes to the Camp Lejeune issue.  What about veterans who are just outside the time frame but who suffer from one or more of the listed medical conditions?  What about the Camp Lejeune veteran's children who were born with birth defects?  Lastly, what other conditions will be added to this list over time?  Hopefully, this is the start of a new series of regulations on this subject.  For more information on Veterans disability benefits.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Getting SSDI for Vision Disorders

If your main disabling medical condition is a vision disorder the best way to get found disabled is if you meet or equal the SSA Medical Listing of Impairments for vision disorders.  So if you are applying for SSDI based on a vision disorder, the first thing you should do is read the medical listing for vision.  If your doctor feels you meet one of these listing it is important to try and get a report from him or her that describes how your condition meets or equals the listing.  This report should also include any test results that support this opinion.  If you do not meet or equal a listing then it becomes more difficult to get SSDI for a visual impairment, because you will have to show how your visual limitations prevent you from working.  This is why it is important to include all your medical conditions even if your visual impairment is your main disability.  For example, Diabetes can cause severe visual impairment but also may affect other parts of your body as well.  One common symptom of Diabetes is numbness of the hands or feet.  So in this situation you may want to document not only your visual limitations, but also the fact that you have numbness in your hands that cause difficulty grasping things, writing, lifting, or typing.  So in this example, even if your visual limitations by themselves are not enough to show you can't work the additional limitations from the numbness in your hands may be enough to show you are unable to work.  For more on getting SSDI for vision disorders read my page on my website.

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Social Security Disability and SSI What is the Difference?

Social Security Disability, also called SSDI, is a program that allows those who are unable to work due to medical conditions receive monthly benefits based on the individuals payment of Social Security taxes when they worked.  To be eligible for these benefits you must have enough work credits and recent enough work credits.  The amount of money you get per month is based on how much you have paid into the Social Security system when you were working.  Supplemental Security Income or SSI is a needs based program for those who are unable to work due to medical conditions.  To qualify for SSI you need to be unable to work due to medical conditions and have low income and resources.  The monthly payments are based on need and the money comes from the general tax and not the Social Security Fund.  To better understand if you qualify for SSDI or SSI follow the link to my website that explains these two programs further.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Applying for Veterans Disability Benefits

If you are applying for VA disability benefits it is a good idea to try and list all the medical conditions you are trying to get service connected in one application if possible.  I say this because many veterans apply for some of their medical conditions in one application and then make another application later with more medical conditions listed later.  Although there is nothing wrong with this it can cause some issues later.  With one application you then should get one decision which means you will only have one decision to appeal.  If you have more than one application then you will get more than one decision and each new decision may have to be appealed.  The less appeals you have to make the less chance you have of missing an appeal deadline.  I also believe if you have all your medical conditions on one application it will help keep your claim easier to work with at the VA Regional Office which may lead to a faster processing time.  It is not always possible since many times new medical conditions may pop up or you later find out a medical condition you have can be service connected that you were not aware could be.  So, I am not saying it is terrible for your claim if you don't apply for everything at once I just believe if you can apply for everything at the same time it may just make things easier for you as you go through the VA disability process.

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

How to Get RFC Forms Completed by Your Doctor

If you spent any time online researching how to win your Social Security disability claim than you know the importance of getting RFC forms completed by your treating doctors.  RFC forms are also called residual functional capacity forms and when filled out show a doctors opinion of your limitations from your medical conditions.  Having a good and long term relationship with your treating doctor certainly helps when trying to get these forms completed.  Doctors also like to be paid for there time so asking your doctor how much it would cost to complete these forms and paying him or her is one very good way to convince your doctor to do this.  Another way is to make an appointment with your doctor specifically to fill out these forms.  This way your doctor is being paid for his time and he or she has the benefit of being able to ask you questions that could assist the doctor in completing the forms.  If you tried to get these forms filled out by your doctor but were unsuccessful you can also pay for an independent Residual Functional Capacity exam.  This is when you pay a doctor to do a series of test on you to determine your level of functioning in a work environment.  This last way can be expensive so it may be a good idea to do this as a last resort.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Prior Work in a Social Security Disability Claim

Why is prior work important in SSDI claim?  Whether or not one can perform prior work is decided at the 4th step of the Social Security disability test.  If SSA finds you can perform past work you will be found not disabled.  If they determine you cannot perform past work you then move on to the 5th step of the test which is whether or not you can perform any work that exist in significant numbers.  For a full explanation of the 5 step test follow link above to my page on how Social Security determines if you are disabled.  To give an example of how step 4 works lets say you are limited to sedentary work with no non-exertional limitations.  If you have prior work that is sedentary then according to SSA you would be able to do prior work.  Now lets assume you are limited to sedentary work but all the work you did the last 15 years is considered light or heavier.  In this situation SSA would find you are no able to do prior work and you would move on to step 5.  What is important to note here is that if SSA finds you cannot perform prior work this does not mean you are disabled, since Social Security will still have to determine at step 5 if you can do any other work.  For a better understanding of a Social Security Disability claim is decided be sure to read my website.

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Social Security Disability and Back Conditions

One of the most common medical conditions listed on SSDI claims is back conditions.  Some common examples are herniated discs, degenerative disc disease, osteoarthritis, spinal stenosis, facet arthritis, vertebral fracture, and spinal arachnoiditis.  It is very important if you are claiming a back condition in your SSDI claim that you get regular medical treatment if at all possible.  This will document that you have a serious back condition that requires frequent treatment.  It also helps because if you are seeing a doctor regularly that doctor may be more willing to provide you with opinion evidence in support of your Social Security disability claim.  For any SSDI claim for a back disability one should start by looking at the Social Security Medical Listing of Impairments.  If you meet or equal one of the listings then you will be found disabled without SSA having to consider other factors.  If you do not meet or equal a listing then you will have to show how the limitations from your back condition prevent you from working.  Also, if you are suffering from some degree of depression as a result of your chronic pain or change in daily activities you should make sure depression is also a part of your claim because there may be additional non-exertional limitations on your ability to work.  For more information and getting SSDI for back condition make sure to read my page on this.