November 21, 2018

DIABETES AND SSD: IT’S NOT SO SIMPLE

DIABETES AND SOCIAL SECURITY: WHAT IS AND WHAT ISN’T A DISABILITY?

With close to 10% of Americans dealing with some form of Diabetes, it is no wonder that our attorneys are often asked if having Diabetes will qualify for Social Security Disability benefits.

The answer is yes, and no.

Since 2011, the Social Security Disability Administration recognizes Diabetes only as a potential cause of disability, and not as a disability in itself. Before 2011, diabetes was considered a ‘Listed Impairment’, or the inability to work. It was included in the list of conditions that automatically established that an individual is disabled if he/she meets all the criteria in the Listing. Since then, Diabetes is no longer a Listed Impairment.

Diabetes is a chronic condition that results from the body’s inability to produce or use insulin. Although Diabetes usually requires lifelong treatment, medical advances in the diagnosis and treatment of Diabetes have resulted in better management of the disease in adults and children.

But some of the complications that arise from Diabetes are known to be disabling including: diabetic retinopathy (eye damage to the small blood vessels in the retina); cardiovascular disease (Diabetes can accelerate the development of artery disease or peripheral arterial disease which can lead to amputations); diabetic nephropathy and diabetic neuropathy (organ and nerve damage); and more.

HOW SSA EVALUATES DIABETIC COMPLICATIONS WHEN DETERMINING IF YOU QUALIFY TO COLLECT SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY BENEFITS

SSA will examine the complications of your Diabetes to see if it has caused a Listed Impairment. Some of this include:

    • Amputation of an extremity, under the musculoskeletal system Listings
    • Diabetic retinopathy( (eye damage to the small blood vessels in the retina) under the special senses and speech Listings
    • Hypertension, cardiac arrhythmias, and heart failure, under the cardiovascular system Listings (Diabetes can accelerate the development of artery disease or peripheral arterial disease which can lead to amputations);
    • Gastroparesis and ischemic bowel disease (intestinal necrosis), under the digestive system Listings
    • Diabetic nephropathy, (organ and nerve damage);  under the genitourinary impairments Listings
    • Slow-healing bacterial and fungal infections, under the skin disorders Listings
    • Diabetic neuropathy, under the neurological Listings
    • Cognitive impairments, depression, anxiety, and eating disorders, under the mental disorders Listings

Establishing Diabetes as a cause of disability in your social security disability case requires a thorough understanding of the disease and resulting complications. To win your disability case, you must be able to prove not only that you have Diabetes, but that the disease has resulted in serious damage which meet a Listing or are otherwise disabling

3 tips on improving your chances of being awarded your social security disability benefits can be found here.

FIVE CRITICAL MENTAL ABILITIES AND SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY

mental impairment, whether standing alone or accompanying a physical impairment, is a critical factor in how Social Security  decides whether you are disabled (unable to be gainfully employed).

Social Security’s Program Operations Manual System (POMS) states that if you lack any of the five mental abilities listed below (which are needed for all jobs) you will be classified as disabled. 

THE 5 MENTAL ABILITIES THAT EVERY WORKER MUST HAVE: [Read more…]

18,000+ PEOPLE DIED WAITING FOR SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY BENEFITS IN 2 YEARS

WHILE MORE THAN 1,000,000 APPLICANTS WAIT OVER 600 DAYS

The Social Security Administration (SSA) reported that in the last 2 years, 18,701 people dies while waiting to learn if they will receive their Social Security Disability Insurance benefits (SSDI).

18.701.

This number reflect the brutal state of affairs of the Social Security Disability Insurance program. By the end of 2017, about 1 million former workers will be forced to wait  over 600 days just to find out if they are eligible for disability benefits. In some cities, the wait can be as long as 800 days. Note that these filers cannot work full time nor earn more than $ 1,170 per month while waiting for a decision.

“The simplest explanation is that there isn’t enough money.” According to a recent Washington Post article: “The Social Security Administration’s budget has been roughly stagnant since 2010, while the number of people receiving retirement and disability benefits has risen by more than 7 million, despite a slight decline in the disability rolls beginning in 2015 as some beneficiaries reached retirement age.”

recent report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office declared SSA’s Compassionate Allowance program needed improvements to ensure individuals with the most severe disabilities obtain benefits in a timely manner. This program is designed to fast-track cases with serious conditions, including certain cancers, through the disability benefits application process.

The initial application process might take what seems be forever, but ff your social security disability benefits are denied (and the vast majority are), the worker only has 60 days to file an appeal. After 60 days, the petitioner has to start the process all over again. If your case has been denied call our office for a FREE, no obligation consultation. Appeals that are handled with an experienced Social Security attorney have a 60% higher success rate. And there are NO fees unless the appeal is successful.

Let’s hope that the Social Security system receives the support it, and the workers it aims to help, it desperately needs.