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Indianapolis, Lafayette & Franklin Social Security Disability Blog

Winning SSD claims before hearing level

Despite popular belief, Indiana residents who submit a Social Security Disability claim do not always have to wait until the matter is brought before an administrative law judge to receive an approval. Even though the hearings that are overseen by administrative law judges have the highest approval rate at over 65 percent, there are other levels of the Social Security disability process at which claimants can be approved.

More than 35 percent of people who submit initial disability claims win their benefits at the application level. Around 15 percent of the claimants who file a consideration, the first appeal they are able to file for a denied application, win their claim.

Representation improves chances at SSDI or SSI hearings

An Indiana resident who has representation with them at their Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income hearing is more likely to win their case. Representation results in a higher win ratio because the hearings are comparable to court proceedings in which winning a case requires preparation and proper arguments. In most cases, it's necessary to demonstrate why the claimant should be given disability benefits.

To prepare for a disability hearing, the attorney or non-attorney representative should collect all of the applicant's updated medical records. The updated records will be examined to determine if they can be used to bolster the case. The administrative law judge hearing the case should be sent a copy of the updated records.

Supreme Court to hear case on expert testimony

Expert testimony can have a major impact on disability benefits cases for people in Indiana and across the country. Now, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear a case on whether experts need to provide evidence and data to back up their assertions about a disabled person's ability to work during a benefits hearing. The nation's highest court will hear a case brought by a former carpenter and construction laborer who applied for disability in 2009, citing his depression, Hepatitis C and degenerative disc disease.

In 2010, shortly after submitting his initial application for Social Security Disability benefits, the man's application was denied, and he went through the Social Security Administration's appeals process. Even at the hearing stage, his application for disability benefits was denied. After that denial, he appealed the result to a federal district court, which sent the case back for further processing, noting that medical expert testimony had not been obtained.

Can my child with autism work and still receive benefits?

Many adults with disabilities enjoy holding down jobs. Work is an opportunity for them to socialize and to make meaningful contributions to the community. It can also enhance their self-confidence. You think that your adult child with autism could benefit from work and is capable of performing well in a few positions.

However, there is the issue of government benefits such as SSI and Medicaid. Can your child work and still get help?

Protecting people against exploitation using guardianships

Indiana seniors may be protected against elder abuse by a bill that passed in 2017. The Elder Abuse Prevention and Prosecution Act is intended to protect older people and their families from fraudulent guardianships.

Getting guardianship on behalf of an older person may be necessary if the person is incapacitated. For example, a person may develop Alzheimer's disease, and it might be necessary for a family member to step in to manage the person's affairs. The person can go to court and apply for guardianship. This is a serious step since it removes all rights from the ward. The guardian becomes the sole decision maker.

Advice for Social Security disability applicants

In Indiana, people with disabilities are often denied qualification for Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income benefits. The reason that the Social Security Administration denies claimants is because disability examiners are responsible for determining whether applications are valid. Plus, the same examiners also handle reconsideration appeals.

However, disability claims are frequently denied because disability examiners never meet with applicants in person. People applying for disability benefits are not informed as to whether they even have valid cases until they are mailed decision notifications.

What to do after a disability claim has been assigned

When an Indiana resident submits an application for disability benefits, it will be assigned to an examiner. It is possible that an application could be approved on the first try, but it is also possible that a person will be asked for more information. In some cases, it will be necessary to go for a consultative examination, or CE. This is done to create a recent record or to verify information that might have been left out of an application.

Furthermore, an applicant may be required to provide an activity log or to fill to a work history form. To avoid these steps, an individual should put as much information as possible in an initial application. By providing critical information, it can reduce application processing times by weeks or months. This could also be true by making and keeping a CE appointment.

SSD decisions dependent on medical records

Indiana residents who are struggling with disabling diseases or injuries often wait weeks, months or even a year before receiving initial decisions regarding their applications for Social Security Disability benefits. Although the examiners reviewing applications strive to process cases in a timely matter, difficulty getting current or complete medical records often stymies their efforts.

Incomplete contact information for physicians and other health care providers on applications represents one source of delay. If an examiner cannot contact a medical provider, then obtaining crucial medical records, such as X-rays, MRI scans or surgical reports, becomes nearly impossible. Even when an examiner has access to accurate and complete contact information, physicians' offices are notoriously slow to respond to requests for medical records.

3 reasons long-term disability claims get denied

If you want to apply for long-term disability benefits from your employer, you probably want to do it right away. You may want to rush through the process because it is so difficult to manage without the benefits. While you certainly want to apply for benefits before the deadline, you should not do so fast that you make mistakes.

There are a lot of reasons why claims administrators deny long-term disability benefits. Here are some mistakes you should avoid so you can improve your chances of getting the benefits you need

Achieving Social Security Disability application success

For many disabled workers in Indianapolis, securing Social Security Disability benefits can be critical for their financial future and well-being, especially after a life-changing illness, injury or other disabling condition. While Social Security Disability benefits help to support nearly 9 million people across the country, obtaining those benefits can be difficult and time-consuming. The application process can be challenging, and the rate of initial denials is high, even when many more applicants are approved on later appeals.

Handling the Social Security Disability application process can be even more complicated when applicants are also dealing with the effects of their disabling conditions, so keeping a few tips in mind can help to improve one's chance of success. It can be important to be aware of the Social Security Administration's guidelines for SSD eligibility when completing the application. For example, the impairment must be severe and expected to last for at least one year or lead to death. In addition, to be eligible for SSD benefits, people must have worked and paid FICA taxes for at least five of the prior 10 years.

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