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Indianapolis, Lafayette & Franklin Social Security Disability Blog

About guardianships

Indiana residents should know that a guardianship is a legal device that gives a person or some other party to make decisions on behalf of a ward. The courts usually designate guardians in situations in which a person is disabled or incapacitated. Unless there are medical directives or a durable power of attorney that has already been prepared when someone becomes incapacitated or disabled in some way, it will be up the court to choose a guardian to be responsible for making non-financial and financial decisions for that person.

Having someone to make responsible financial decisions on behalf of people who unexpectedly becomes incapacitated can help avoid financial complications. Real estate, investments and other types of assets can decrease in value if they are not managed for a long period of time. A guardian would also be responsible for paying bills, making sure that liabilities do not accumulate while the ward is incapacitated.

Social media posts may affect your disability benefits

Like most Hoosiers, you do not mind working hard to support yourself and your family. Unfortunately, though, certain illnesses and injuries can make working impossible. If so, Social Security Disability Insurance benefits may be necessary for paying bills. 

Applying for SSDI benefits is rarely easy. To receive benefits, you must document your medical condition. You may also need to attend a hearing. When determining whether you should receive benefits, though, officials from the Social Security Administration may look outside the formal record. Put simply, what you post on social media may affect your eligibility for benefits. 

Getting disability benefits

When people living in Indiana apply for disability benefits, they are often concerned about the time it will take to receive a decision about their case. There are multiple factors that can affect the timeline of a Social Security disability application. These include the nature of the disability, how well the disability is documented and whether the case must be decided via hearing.

After an individual submits a Social Security Disability application, he or she can usually expect to receive a decision in 120 days or less. It should be noted, however, that about 70% of initial applications are denied. As a result, applicants who still want to attempt to qualify for benefits will have to enter an appeals process. The first step in this process is submitting a request for reconsideration of the application. If this is denied, and over 80% of these requests for reconsideration will be, the applicant can request a hearing.

Work history details matter on a benefit application

Those who are disabled in Indiana and throughout the country may apply for government benefits to help them pay bills or cover other expenses. To improve the chances of getting an application approved, it may be important to include work history information. An examiner should know what type of work was done over the past 15 years in addition to how long a person worked at a given job.

This can play a significant role in whether an application is approved because it can help an examiner determine if an individual can do any type of work. To be approved for disability benefits, an applicant must show that he or she is totally disabled and that the disability will last for at least a year. It must also prevent an individual from making a substantial and gainful income. Therefore, it may be worth including the salary or hourly wage that each job paid.

Family members of a disabled worker could qualify for benefits

Residents of Indiana who receive Social Security disability benefits might also have family members who are entitled to receive a portion of those benefits. Eligible family members could include children, a spouse or an ex-spouse as well as other dependents in certain age groups.

Social Security disability benefits are awarded to people who are unable to work due to a disability and who meet other eligibility requirements. Family members might each be eligible for a benefit that is equal to up to 50% of the disabled worker's benefit. There is a family limit on total benefits that is usually from 150 to 180% of the disabled worker's benefit amount. The amounts for each family member will be reduced if necessary to keep the family limit below the maximum amount.

What to expect during the appeal process

Whether a disability application appeal will be successful depends largely on the merits of the applicant's case. However, an Indiana resident who is appealing a denial of their initial application will likely have more success on their second try. The second appeal is a hearing in front of a judge. To get to that step, an individual must first complete the reconsideration appeal process.

During the reconsideration appeal level, an individual has about a 10%-15% chance of having their application for benefits approved. This is because the same method used to deny an original application will be applied to the reconsideration appeal. Unless there is significant new evidence for a second examiner to review, there is little reason to believe that they would reverse the first examiner's decision. There are several reasons why an individual has more success at the disability hearing appeal stage.

The timeline of a disability benefit claim

Indiana residents may qualify for Social Security disability benefits if they have a qualifying medical or physical condition. Whether a person qualifies will depend on the medical evidence that they provide. An examiner will check to see if the condition will last for at least 12 months and make it impossible to earn a gainful living. The examiner will also look at any work that the applicant has done in the past 15 years.

If the applicant has the skills or education necessary to perform other work, a denial may be issued. Generally speaking, it doesn't take long for a person to hear back if an application is not approved. This is because an individual only has 65 days to appeal the decision. Initial applications are denied about 70 percent of the time while reconsideration appeals are denied over 80 percent of the time.

How to prepare for your SSDI application

If you cannot work due to an injury or illness that results in a significant impairment, you may want to obtain Social Security benefits. But this can be an intimidating pursuit. Filing paperwork and dealing with a government agency may be daunting, but it is easier when you have the right help.

Most people do not even know where to start when it comes to applying for disability benefits, so you are not alone. Here are the first steps to take as you get ready to apply.

Disability benefits and EODs

Indiana residents who submit an initial claim for Social Security Disability benefits and who have their claim approved will then have their established date of onset calculated. The EOD is the date which the Social Security Administration determines to be when the applicant's disability began.

The EOD can be used to determine exactly how far back disability benefits should be calculated. However, it is important to note that the issue can become confusing due to the differences in the Supplemental Security Income and Social Security Disability programs. How far back the benefits can be calculated is also affected by the differences in which claim approvals are handled at application stage or reconsideration appeal stage and how the claim approvals are handled at the disability hearing stage.

SSD decisions after medical examinations

Some Indiana residents who are applying for disability benefits from the Social Security Administration may be required to undergo an examination by a Social Security physician. The exams are arranged by disability examiners so that they have current medical information about claimants who have no medical records or no current records. A consultative medical examination may also be required if the severity of a claimant's condition has to be verified. When claimants have their examinations scheduled has no bearing on when they will get their disability benefits.

After they have completed their consultative examination, a decision regarding their benefits will be made soon after. Simply undergoing an examination by the Social Security medical examiner does not guarantee an approval of the benefits. Most of the people who apply for disability benefits and who undergo a consultative examination will receive a denial; this is because the majority of initial disability claims are rejected whether or not the claimant attends an examination.

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