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Atlanta Social Security Disability Law Blog

Car crashes on the job: What you need to know as an EMT

Every year, emergency medical technicians are injured or killed in car accidents while responding to emergencies. Between bad road conditions, drivers who aren't paying attention and the inherent dangers of driving through an intersection on your way to answer a call, every time you climb into an ambulance, you are putting yourself in danger to save other people's lives.

While there is a high risk of becoming injured on the job as an EMT, you are still entitled to receive benefits provided by your employer's workers' compensation insurance coverage. From medical expenses to lost wages, you should be compensated for your losses.

Compassionate Allowances helps disabled Georgia residents

The Compassionate Allowances list provided by the Social Security Administration is an important program for many disabled people. It provides an expedited processing option for Social Security Disability benefits for applicants who clearly meet the Social Security Administration's definition of disability. This can save important processing time for individuals who have a clear disability. The Compassionate Allowances list provides a list of physical or mental impairments that obviously qualify for disability.

The Compassionate Allowances list is not separate from the Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security Income programs, and applicants apply the same way they otherwise would. If the applicant's disability is not on the Compassionate Allowances list, it will still be processed as a claim for disability benefits based on the medical condition they are suffering from. The Compassionate Allowances program, however, allows for qualifying medical conditions to be quickly identified based on minimal objective medical information.

Understanding the Social Security Disability application process

It is important to understand how to apply for Social Security Disability benefits, but also to understand how the appeals process works when an initial application for benefits has been denied. The appeals process can be complex, but because of its importance it is essential to be familiar with the appeals process, as well as the application process.

When applying for SSD benefits, it is important to initially evaluate the applicant's situation; to ensure that the applicant has a qualifying physical or mental condition; to ensure that the applicant is receiving appropriate medical care and treatment that is being properly documented; and it is important to thoroughly document the medical condition through medical records, document medical history and document the applicant's education; and present the applicant's case for SSD benefits. Understanding the steps in the application process can help thoroughly demonstrate the applicant is qualified for disability benefits.

New SSA process helps expedite veteran disability applications

As we honor our veterans, it is important to understand the resources available to help disabled individuals and their children. The Social Security Administration and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs recently launched a joint program that will allow for disability applications made by veterans to be processed more quickly. The new health initiative allows the VA to share medical records electronically with disability processors at the SSA through a secure process.

The new process is designed to save time and money and expedite processing of disability claims for veterans and dependents. Cooperation between the two agencies is expected to speed up disability decisions. As part of processing claims for disability, the Social Security Administration requests close to 15 million medical records from various health care providers each year to process and decide upon approximately 3 million applications for disability.

Dispelling Social Security disability myths

There are a variety of Social Security disability myths that may prevent some disabled individuals from seeking benefits, so it is important to be familiar with the facts concerning SSD benefits. It is important to understand that thinking about disability can be important for everyone. Greater than 1-in-4 20 year olds become disabled before they reach retirement age, so suffering with a disability, unfortunately, may be more common than many workers realize.

It is important to keep in mind that qualifying for SSD benefits may be through the Compassionate Allowances list, which is reserved for conditions that are so serious they obviously meet the requirements for disability, and, as such, can receive expedited claims processing. In addition to suffering from a disability due to a physical or mental medical condition that prevents the applicant from working, the applicant must have a sufficient work history to obtain benefits. The process used to determine work history earnings can be complex so it is important to be familiar with the process of how earnings are determined.

Lifting patients and the threat of injury

Nursing is one of the fields in which workers are more likely to be injured. As a nurse, you face a greater risk of injury on the job than people who work in fields that are classified as strictly physical labor.

Lifting patients is the No. 1 cause of injury for nurses. According to recent studies, nurses account annually for over 35,000 back and musculoskeletal injuries that are severe enough to force them to take sick days.

Disability benefits may be available for fibromyalgia sufferers

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 5 million adults in the U.S. are impacted by fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia patients suffer with significant pain. Treating and caring for fibromyalgia can be costly but Social Security disability benefits may be able to help. The CDC estimated in 2012 that the annual cost of treating fibromyalgia was close to $6,000.

Fibromyalgia entails widespread pain and can be diagnosed in different ways. Patients who test positive for 11 out of 18 tender spots may be diagnosed with fibromyalgia. In addition, fibromyalgia-related pain involves pain that last for 3 months or longer. Disability benefits are based on the existence of a physical or mental medical condition that prevents the sufferer from working and is expected to last for 12 months or longer. Necessary work history is also required for the receipt of SSD benefits. The Social Security Administration evaluates disability benefits.

Supplemental Security Income will increase for next year

Recipients of Social Security, including Supplemental Security Income, will receive a cost-of-living increase for next year after no increase in 2016. The Social Security Administration recently announced the 0.3 percent increase for 2017, which will begin in December for recipients of Supplemental Security Income. Benefits were last adjusted in 2014.

Some parties were critical of the small size of the increase. The Social Security Income increase is based on inflation measures and the consumer price index for urban wage earners and clerical workers. Adjustments can be complicated to understand for a number of reasons, including the fact that adjustments are based on calculations for the last year that benefits were increased. Historically, annual increases were closer to the current one for 2017 since the automatic inflation adjustment formula was adopted in the 1970s, but subdued inflation since the recession has prevented more substantial and annual adjustments.

How to approach a denial of Social Security disability benefits

In addition to understanding how to apply for Social Security Disability benefits, it is also important to understand how to appeal a denial of benefits. It is important to keep in mind that the majority of claims for Social Security disability and Supplemental Security Income benefits are initially denied; however, there is the option to appeal. It is always important to keep in mind that there are options if SSD benefits have been denied.

There are different levels of appeals that are part of the appeals process. Following a denied application for SSD benefits or SSI, applicants have 60 days to appeal. The first step is a reconsideration request, which can be followed by a hearing. There are additional steps in the SSD appeals process, so it is important to be familiar with the entire appeals process.

Workers' Compensation FAQs

Not content to sit in an office cube typing on a computer all day, you enjoy the physical aspects of your job. Sure, what you do is demanding, but you appreciate that you have something to show for your effort at day's end. You can't complain because the pay is good and your coworkers know how to have a fun time. Unlike other individuals, you don't take your work home with you. Everything is left at the construction site at the end of the shift.

Well, almost everything.

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