Indianapolis, Lafayette & Franklin Social Security Disability Blog

Many with medically determinable conditions are denied SSD

Many Indiana residents struggle for years with physical or mental conditions that not only impact their personal lives but also make working stressful, difficult or all but impossible. They may seek treatment and find that, indeed, medical professionals concur that they have a medically determinable condition. When the tedium becomes too much to endure or the condition worsens, an individual might for Social Security Disability only to have their claim denied. This seeming contradiction is very much routine procedure within the SSD system.

To be certain, a medical condition must be certifiable through medical records for the Social Security Administration to find a claimant disabled, and some well-defined, severe medical conditions almost always qualify as disabling. But the majority of claimants have symptoms of a condition or multiple conditions that don't fit so nicely into a specific category of textbook conditions. For those claimants, SSD experts indicate that the SSA looks more to the person's functional ability rather than the bare medical condition.

Back pain and disability benefits

Many people living in Indiana and around the country suffer from back pain. In some cases, this pain can become debilitating and make it difficult to perform daily tasks at work. When an individual can no longer earn a living, they may consider applying for Social Security disability benefits. However, they may wonder if it's even possible to get disability benefits due to back problems.

It can sometimes be difficult for a person to prove that back pain is debilitating to the point that they are no longer able to work at their current job and cannot be retrained for a different type of work. This is because people with documented back issues, such as osteoarthritis, have a wide range of functionality. As a result, it becomes difficult to determine disability simply based on a diagnosed medical condition.

Foot drop and SSD eligibility

Many people living in Indiana and around the country have a condition known as foot drop. This is a condition in which a person's gait is affected by a drooping forefoot. The cause of the condition is often neurological or may also involve partial paralysis of the leg. For many people, this condition can be debilitating and make it difficult to get around as well as perform routine job duties.

Individuals who have this condition may wonder if they can qualify for Social Security Disability benefits, or SSD. As with all disability claims, there are several factors to consider when determining eligibility. The Social Security Administration classifies foot drop and similar conditions according to the criteria it has set for spinal or lower extremity impairment. Individuals who apply for disability as a result of foot drop will need to present medical evidence in support of their case.

SSD and the five-month rule

When people living in Indiana become disabled and are unable to work, it is understandable that they might want to receive Social Security disability benefits as quickly as possible. However, regulations restrict how quickly one might qualify for benefits, something that applicants should consider when making financial plans during and after the application process.

When it comes to Social Security disability, there is a five-month waiting period during which a person is not entitled to receive benefits. This five-month period begins in the month following the date on which they became disabled. SSDexperts note that nobody is entitled to benefits during this five-month period of time, but an individual who was disabled for at least 17 months prior to filing for disability can receive the maximum of 12 months back disability compensation after being approved for benefits.

Social Security Disability due to chronic fatigue syndrome

Indiana residents may qualify to receive Social Security Disability benefits if they suffer from a medical impairment serious enough to prevent them from working. Making a determination can be relatively straightforward when applicants have had heart attacks or suffer from widely diagnosed conditions like cancer or Parkinson's disease, but the SSD guidelines contain no specific criteria for evaluating the symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome.

The problem is that CFS is a complex medical condition that cannot be explained by a single underlying medical disorder. When assessing CFS disability claims, Social Security examiners look for at least two constitutional symptoms and three limitations. Constitutional symptoms include fever, involuntary weight loss, fatigue and malaise. Examples of limitations include difficulty maintaining social functioning, restrictions on daily living, and being unable to complete tasks on time because of problems with pace, persistence or concentration.

Several factors impact the timing of SSD decision letters

For people who are waiting for a decision letter from the Social Security Administration in Indiana, not knowing how long it will take can be stressful. It's difficult to predict how long a decision letter might take to arrive, but there are a few factors that are likely to shorten or lengthen the process. For example, the time it takes for the decision itself is one of the biggest factors. If the claim is denied, the decision letter will be dispatched as soon as the decision has been made.

If the claim is approved for benefits, however, it will be sent back to the local office for further processing before the approval letter is sent out. The local office of the Social Security Administration will perform a number of tasks on the case before the decision letter is mailed. Personnel will analyze the claim to determine if there is any offset for workers' compensation or if the applicant needs someone to help him or her with disability benefit management. Additionally, some claims must be manually processed, which takes longer than computer processing.

Avoid these mistakes when applying for disability benefits

The road to securing Social Security Disability benefits can be a long one. It is not as simple as filling out and sending in a form. If you assume it is an easy and quick process, you are likely to make mistakes that hurt your chances of getting the financial support you need. 

It is vital to make careful and strategic decisions when you apply for disability benefits. Avoid these mistakes to get a better chance at approval. 

Social Security and medical records

Indiana residents who file for SSDI or SSI are not required to have a past medical history. However, the disability examiners who process the claims do prefer to receive records of any past medical treatments that can help them render a decision. People who have received some form of treatment for their disabling condition may provide copies of their physician's notes to give the examiners a perspective into the condition that they may not otherwise have.

Hospital treatment notes provide significant information but not about a person's mental or physical limitations or reactions to different types of treatment. They tend to provide unbiased medical evidence, such as lab tests and imaging results, as well as records for acute medical treatment. However, the hospital notes do not give the examiners sufficient information regarding the ongoing severity of a disabling condition or how the limitations can prevent the claimants from being able to work enough to be self-sufficient.

Glaucoma sufferers may be entitled to disability benefits

Indiana residents who have glaucoma will likely lose their vision gradually over time. In some cases, it can cause individuals to go blind. While there is no true glaucoma trigger, eye pressure can play a role in a person developing the condition. Those who have symptoms of this condition may be entitled to disability benefits, but there are a couple of conditions that must be met. First, an individual must have an income that is less than the SGA limit.

Additionally, an individual must be able to show objective medical proof that he or she has this condition. It is not uncommon for an applicant to be asked to submit to further testing before an examiner makes a decision. The government will pay for these exams, which means that applicants don't need to worry about finances impacting their ability to comply with such a request.

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