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Atlanta Social Security Disability Law Blog

Understanding Medicaid and disability benefits

Disabled individuals facing certain challenges should be familiar with both disability options and options that may help them with their health care needs. Medicaid is a health insurance program for low income individuals and individuals of limited resources that is both state and federally funded. Medicaid is available to disabled individuals, as well as aged individuals, the blind and children who are eligible to receive federally assisted income maintenance payments.

In Georgia, individuals who are eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are also eligible for Medicaid and the application for SSI benefits is the same as the application for Medicaid. Eligibility for Medicaid begins the same month as eligibility for SSI. To qualify for Medicaid, the applicant must have been eligible to receive SSI for at least one month, be disabled, meet all additional eligibility rules, need Medicaid to work and meet certain other requirements.

What is the Social Security Disability application process like?

The process of applying for Social Security Disability (SSD) Insurance benefits can be difficult, so Georgians may wonder what they should know as a disabled individual to apply for disability benefits. It is best to apply as soon as possible once they become disabled if they discover they will be disabled for a period of time expected to last longer than a year.

Georgians can file online, in person or by phone. The initial application is reviewed by a state disability agency and one should receive a response in several months. If their initial application is denied, they can appeal. But, appeals must be made within 60 days from the day the appeal notice is dated.

Understanding medical conditions for disability benefits

To help streamline the process, the Social Security Administration maintains a list of medical conditions that can immediately qualify an applicant for Social Security disability benefits if certain conditions are met. It is important to note, however, that just because a condition is not on the list does not necessarily mean that a disabled individual cannot obtain disability benefits. The Social Security Administration provides options for different types of disabilities and different circumstances.

Understanding closed-end period disability options

A closed-end period of disability is a period of disability with definite beginning and end dates determined at the time of the disability decision. A closed-end period of disability may be available if the applicant was disabled or blind for a continuous period of 12 months or greater but is no longer disabled at the time the disability decision is made.

A brief overview of Social Security disability options

Social Security options can be confusing but the good news is that there are different options available for disabled individuals. There are two primary types of benefits available to disabled individuals through the Social Security Administration. The two types of benefits that may be available are Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income. There are different qualification requirements between the two programs which provide different options for disabled individuals.

During 2015, 10.8 million disabled individuals were receiving benefits through the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSD) program. SSD is considered an insurance program that provides disability benefits to individuals who have sufficient work history to qualify for benefits. The number of work years an individual needs to qualify for benefits depends on the age at which they are applying for SSD benefits.

Help learning how to obtain disability benefits is available

It is important to understand that both short-term and long-term disability benefits may be available to disabled individuals depending on their circumstances. It is also important that disabled individuals are familiar with the different options available to them and the process through which to apply for the option that is best for them to receive financial help through Social Security disability insurance payments or Supplemental Security Income benefits.

Applying for disability benefits begins with an application process that can sometimes be difficult to understand. In addition, the majority of initial applications are denied so it is also important that applicants are familiar with the appeals process recently discussed in this blog. Appeals options include several stages of appeals that can help disabled individuals obtain the disability benefits they badly need.

How can I qualify for Supplemental Security Income?

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) may be a Social Security option that disabled individuals are not as familiar with as other options. Disabled individuals who are familiar with disability options may wonder what there is to know about SSI benefits. SSI benefits are for disabled individuals with limited income and resources. For individuals who are disabled, over 65 or blind, SSI benefits may be a viable option to consider, especially if they lack the necessary work history to qualify to receive Social Security disability (SSD) benefits.

It is important to note that the same individual may qualify for different Social Security Administration (SSA) programs and benefits may overlap. As noted, SSI benefits do not require work history as SSD benefits do. Disabled individuals receiving SSI benefits may also receive Medicaid which can provide medical assistance for medical costs such doctor bills, prescription drugs, hospital costs and other healthcare costs. Determining eligibility for both programs can include evaluation of the same financial criteria which includes income and resources.

Social Security disability benefits for digestive disorders

Disabled individuals suffering from digestive disorders may be able to receive Social Security disability (SSD) benefits. Digestive disorders include inflammatory bowel disease, such as Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis; gastrointestinal hemorrhage; short bowel system; malnutrition; and liver dysfunction. Additional problems and complications, including obstructions, may also lead to disabilities.

Additional conditions, such as a colostomy, may be considered a disability when it causes the sufferer to be unable to maintain adequate nutrition which leads to an inability to participate and perform in gainful activity. Complications from colostomy can lead to disability which may qualify the sufferer for SSD benefits.

Establishing and protecting a closed period freeze under Title II

The process of filing for and receiving temporary (or closed end) Social Security disability benefits can be long and drawn out. In some cases, the claimant may have a significant delay between the effective date that his or her disability diminished to the point that it was possible to return to the workplace and the date that the claimant filed the application.

Closed End Benefits can be sought retroactively when two conditions are met -- the claimant must have experienced debilitation that prevented “substantial gainful activity” for a period of at least 12 months, and the debilitation ceased prior to filing the application for benefits. It is important to note that if the claimant waits to file until 14 or more months after the debilitation ceased, no retroactive benefits will be payable without a “closed period freeze.” Within these parameters, one can establish a closed period of disability.

Closed end benefits and mental disabilities

Obtaining temporary Social Security disability benefits for issues related to mental health has a reputation for being a very difficult and uncertain process. However, with proper preparation and an understanding of how the acceptance process works, the odds of having your disability claim accepted and receiving the benefits you need increase significantly.

Temporary benefits related to mental health generally are considered for individuals who are undergoing treatment for emotional traumas, some anxiety disorders, and other mental issues that can be brought under control. In circumstances where progress in treatments allow the individual to return to work either in a full or limited capacity, temporary disability benefits may be successfully obtained.

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