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Social Security Disability Attorney In Los Angeles


This is NOT legal advice. This blog provides general information about Social Security Disability cases. To discuss your particular

circumstances and claim, please contact a lawyer in your area. Please feel free to contact Disability Advocates Group at (800) 935-3170

or online if you have any questions regarding your Social Security Disability claim.


DAG Blog

Stay up to date on the latest news in social security disability law.

Does Moving Affect Social Security Disability Benefits?

When you are receiving Social Security Disability benefits, it is important to ensure you are able to continue receiving the income that you are dependent upon. If you are making big life changes that could affect your benefits, you should consult with a Los Angeles Social Security Disability attorney to find out how your income will be affected.

One of the big concerns for many SSD recipients is what happens if they have to move to a new location. Whether you are relocating across town or to a different state, you need to understand how- or if- moving will impact your eligibility to continue receiving disability income.

How Does Moving Affect Social Security Disability Benefits

In most cases, a move is not going to have any impact on either Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. You will need to notify the Social Security Administration of your change in address, which you can do either in person or on the SSA's website.

There are, however, some circumstances under which a move may affect you. If you move in with someone else and you are receiving SSI benefits, continued eligibility or benefit amounts may be affected because your household income and resources may change. Whether your benefits are affected depends upon whether the person you are moving in with is going to be providing you with financial help, or is also collecting SSI benefits. Since SSDI is not needs-based or means-tested like SSI, this is not as big of a concern if you are receiving your income through Social Security Disability Insurance.

A Los Angeles Social Security Disability benefits lawyer can help you to understand the impact of a move on your benefits and can also help you to determine if you may be eligible for any new state supplements in the state where you are relocating to. Call an attorney today to find out more.

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Can I Get Disability Benefits with Cancer

Cancer can affect different body systems and often the disease, as well as the treatment, make it impossible for you to continue to work and support your family. After a cancer diagnosis, you will need to determine if you can qualify for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits. If you believe you are eligible, you'll need to submit an application to the Social Security Administration demonstrating that you have a qualifying medical condition.

In some cases, patients with cancer will be eligible for expedited approval of their benefits claim through the Compassionate Allowances program. However, not every cancer patient is eligible for benefits and not every application for benefits will be approved. A Los Angeles Social Security Disability attorney can assist you in understanding the rules for getting disability income and in submitting the strongest application possible.

Can You Qualify for Social Security Disability Benefits With Cancer

The Social Security Administration has added Section 13 to its Listing of Impairments to specifically set forth the rules for when someone with cancer may be eligible for disability benefits. The SSA lists different types of cancer which could result in you becoming eligible to receive disability income including but not limited to:

  • Soft tissue cancers affecting the head and the neck
  • Skin cancer
  • Soft tissue sarcoma
  • Lymphoma
  • Leukemia
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Cancer of the salivary glands
  • Cancer of the thyroid glands
  • Breast cancer
  • Sarcoma
  • Cancer of the nervous system
  • Cancer of the esophagus or stomach
  • Cancer of the small or large intestine
  • Liver or gallbladder cancer
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Bladder cancer
  • Prostate cancer
  • Testicular cancer

If you have these or other types of cancers, you will need to determine if you have the specific symptoms or diagnostic test results outlined in the SSA's Listing of Impairments. You'll also need to submit your medical records to prove eligibility for benefits.

A Los Angeles Social Security Disability lawyer can assist you in determining eligibility, applying for benefits, and appealing if your application is denied. Call today to learn more.

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Can I Get Disability Benefits with a Mental Disorder?

There are many severe mental disorders which can affect your ability to work. Some of these disorders are easier to diagnose than others and some have a more profound impact on your life than others. If you have detailed medical records showing you have a condition that is severe enough to prevent you from working, you may be able to qualify for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits.

Unfortunately, many people with legitimate claims for SSD benefits have their claims denied. A Los Angeles Social Security Disability benefits lawyer can provide you with assistance in fighting for benefits or in appealing if you have sought benefits on the basis of your mental disorder and been refused.

Can You Get Social Security Disability Benefits for a Mental Disorder?

Not everyone with a mental disorder qualifies for Social Security Disability. Your disorder must have lasted a year, be likely to last that long, or be expected to be terminal. Your disorder must also be considered severe enough to substantially impact your life and ability to do any job you're qualified for.

The Social Security Administration has listed certain mental disorders which, when they cause specified symptoms, are usually going to make you eligible for benefits. This list, which is found in Section 12.00 of the Listing of Impairments, includes:

  • Certain organic mental disorders 
  • Schizophrenia
  • Affective disorders
  • Intellectual disabilities
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Somatoform disorders
  • Personality disorders
  • Addiction disorders
  • Autism and other developmental disorders

You will need to provide proof you not only have one or more of these specific mental health issues, but also that you exhibit symptoms associated with the disorder with the frequency required by the SSA. A Los Angeles Social Security Disability lawyer can offer you assistance in determining if you can qualify for benefits and can help you to provide proof of the severity of your mental problems. Call today to get an attorney working for you to help you get the benefits you deserve.

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Can I Get Disability Benefits with a Neurological Disorder?

Neurological disorders frequently make it difficult or impossible to work in any position. Depending upon the type and severity of your neurological disorder, you may be entitled to receive Social Security Disability benefits. However, the definition of disabled set forth by the Social Security Administration (SSA) is a narrow one and the process for applying for benefits can be challenging.

A Los Angeles Social Security Disability benefits lawyer can help you to determine if your neurological condition is likely to be considered severe enough that you could make a successful benefits claim. If your condition is sufficiently severe, your attorney will help you try to put together a solid application reducing the possibility benefits will be denied to you.

Can Your Neurological Disorder Qualify You for Social Security Disability?

The SSA defines "disabled" to include severe conditions lasting 12 months, or likely to be terminal. There are specific listed conditions which are usually severe enough to make someone eligible for benefits, provided the disabling condition is sufficiently long-term and the patient exhibits a defined set of symptoms that go along with that medical problem.

Neurological disorders which can qualify you for benefits are listed in Section 11.00 of the SSA's Listing of Impairments. Some of the disorders and health issues which can result in you qualifying for benefits include:

  • Epilepsy, including both convulsive and non-convulsive epilepsy
  • Accidents affecting the central nervous system. 
  • Brain tumors
  • Parkinson's syndrome
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Spinal cord lesions or nerve root lesions
  • Multiple sclerosis or Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
  • Anterior poliomyelitis
  • Myasthenia gravis
  • Muscular dystrophy
  • Peripheral neuropathies
  • Subacute combined cord degeneration causing disorganization of motor function
  • Cerebral trauma
  • Syringomyelia 
  • Other degenerative diseases not otherwise listed

If you have these conditions, you will need to prove your diagnosis and associated symptoms to receive disability benefits. A Los Angeles Social Security Disability lawyer can provide you with help in trying to apply for benefits and in appealing in case your benefits are denied. Call today to get your application process started.

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Can I Get Disability Benefits with an Endocrine Disorder?

Endocrine disorders can cause hormone imbalances, which can in turn cause complications throughout the body. In many cases, endocrine disorders cause symptoms which are severe enough that the symptoms interfere with the ability to earn a living. When this happens, the sufferer of the endocrine disorder should be eligible to receive Social Security Disability (SSD) income.

Unfortunately, actually qualifying for SSD benefits is very difficult, even for people with legitimate claims. A Los Angeles disability attorney can help those who believe they are eligible to fight for the benefits they deserve. If you have an endocrine disorder, call an attorney today for help putting in a benefits application or appealing the denial of a legitimate claim.

Qualifying for SSD Income With an Endocrine Disorder

The Social Security Administration has a “blue book” or Listing of Impairments, which includes medical conditions that usually are severe enough to make you eligible for disability benefits. Each listed condition has certain symptoms which must accompany it in order for a patient with that condition to get benefits.

Section 9.00 provides information on endocrine disorders. The SSA does not specifically list endocrine conditions that can qualify you for benefits, but rather considers the effects of the hormone condition in determining if your medical problems are severe enough to entitle you to disability income. For example:

  • If you have a pituitary gland disorder causing recurrent dehydration, eligibility for benefits could be determined under Section 6.00.
  • If you have thyroid gland disorders, the SSA would consider whether the disorder has called cardiac dysfunction, weight loss, strokes, cognitive limitations, anxiety, or mood disorders. 
  • If you have a parathyroid gland disorder, the SSA would consider whether you have osteoporosis, kidney failure, or muscle spasms
  • If you have adrenal gland disorders, the SSA may consider whether you qualify for benefits on the basis of osteoporosis, repeated bone fractures, recurrent arrhythmias, weight loss, or mood disorders.

Because the endocrine disorder itself is not usually the specific reason for your eligibility for disability benefits, determining if you can qualify for SSD income due to a hormonal problem can be complicated. A Los Angeles disability income lawyer can help. Call an attorney for advice today to get your application started or to get help appealing a denial of a benefits claim. 

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Can I Get Disability Benefits with a Skin Disorder?

Skin disorders may sometimes interfere with your ability to get a job and earn a living. If you have a hereditary, congenital, or acquired skin disorder that affects your working ability, you should determine if you can qualify for disability income from the Social Security Administration (SSA).

A Los Angeles disability income lawyer can help you to determine if your skin disorder is severely disabling enough to make you eligible for monthly income from the SSA. If you have a severe skin condition and want to try to get benefits, we can also assist you in putting together a strong claim so you reduce the chances of an application denial.

Can You Qualify for Disability Income Because of a Skin Disorder

The SSA limits eligibility for disability benefits to people with severely disabling long-term conditions. As a shortcut to help determine eligibility, a Listing of Impairments has been created identifying some of the conditions which commonly entitle an applicant to benefits. Section 8.00 identifies the types of skin disorders which can make you eligible for disability income. These conditions include:

  • Ichthyosis
  • Bullous disease
  • Chronic skin infections or chronic infections of the mucous membranes
  • Dermatitis
  • Hidradenitis Suppurativa
  • Genetic disorders causing photosensitivity
  • Severe burns

When you have one of these skin disorders, you will need to check the Listing of Impairments to see if you have accompanying symptoms which SSA has indicated must accompany the particular medical problem. If you have the required symptoms and can prove it, you should be eligible to get benefits. Unfortunately, more than half of all claims for disability benefits are denied and many of those claims are legitimate ones.

A Los Angeles disability income lawyer can help you to reduce the chances of a denial by putting together a strong application, and can assist with the appeals process if your claim is denied. Call today to find out how we can assist you if you need disability income due to your skin disorder.

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Can I Get Disability Benefits with a Digestive Disorder?

Digestive disorders can interfere with your body's ability to absorb nutrition and with your overall ability to function normally. In some cases, your digestive order may be severe enough to make it impossible for you to earn a living to provide for yourself and your family.

If you have a severe, disabling digestive order that has lasted a year or will last at least 12 months, you may be entitled to receive Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits. SSD benefits are provided through the Social Security Administration in the form of either Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). While it may be possible to qualify for either program because of a digestive disorder, proving eligibility is difficult. A Los Angeles SSD benefits attorney will help you to make the strongest application you can to show why your digestive order means you deserve benefits.

Can You Qualify for SSD Because of a Digestive Disorder?

You should be able to qualify for Social Security Disability income due to a digestive order provided you can prove your condition is sufficiently severe to inhibit working in any job you're qualified for. The SSA has a List of Impairments that are usually considered severe enough to warrant benefits, which includes digestive orders. Section 5.00 lists disorders of the digestive system which may qualify you for benefits including:

  • Gastrointestinal hemorrhaging which is severe enough to require blood transfusions
  • Chronic diseases of the liver
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Short bowel syndrome
  • Severe weight loss
  • Receiving a liver transplant

Not everyone with one of these listed disorders will necessarily be considered severely disabled enough to be eligible for benefits. The key question is whether you have the symptoms the SSA has specified must accompany the disorder and/or whether your condition prevents you from working. In some cases, you can also qualify with a condition that is not listed if you can prove it is severe enough.

A Los Angeles SSD benefits attorney will help you try to prove your digestive disorder should make you eligible for disability benefits. Contact an attorney as soon as you can to get help putting together your application.

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Can I Get Disability Benefits With a Cardiovascular Disorder?

The Social Security Administration defines cardiovascular impairments to include disorders or conditions that affect any component of the circulatory system or the heart. This could include disorders affecting the veins, arteries, capillaries, and the lymphatic drainage. The condition could be caused by chronic heart failure or a wide variety of other conditions that impair circulation or heart function.

Many cardiovascular conditions can be severe, life-threatening and long-term. However, while people with medical problems affecting the circulatory system are often entitled to Social Security Disability benefits, actually getting benefits can be a major challenge since the vast majority of claims end up denied. A Los Angeles disability benefits attorney can help people with cardiovascular conditions to fight for their right to receive disability income if their condition affects the ability to work.

Can You Qualify for Disability Benefits With a Cardiovascular Condition?

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has created a list of conditions or impairments which usually make people eligible for benefits, depending upon whether their conditions are accompanied by required symptoms. Section 4.00 of the SSA's list provides details on some of the cardiovascular conditions that could make you eligible for benefits including:

  • Chronic heart failure
  • Ischemic heart disease
  • Recurrent arrhythmia
  • Congenital heart disease which is symptomatic
  • Undergoing a heart transplant
  • An aneurysm in any major branches or in the aorta
  • Chronic venous insufficiency
  • Peripheral arterial disease


If you have one of these conditions, the SSA will look at whether it is long-term, whether it interferes with your ability to hold any jobs you are qualified for, and whether you have specific symptoms manifesting because of your illness. If the SSA believes your condition is sufficiently impairing, you should be entitled to either Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) depending upon your work history.

A Los Angeles Social Security Disability benefits lawyer can provide you with help showing the SSA how severe your cardiovascular condition is. Give us a call today to learn how we can help you.

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Can I Get Disability Benefits with a Respiratory Disorder?

Respiratory disorders can affect breathing, but also affect overall abilities as well. When you have problems with your lungs, it is common to feel fatigue and to be limited in the actions you can take. Deprivation of oxygen to the body can affect all bodily systems and can be life-threatening. As a result of the overall impact a respiratory disorder can have, many conditions affecting the lungs are considered severe enough that you can qualify for Social Security Disability income.

Unfortunately, while those with respiratory conditions should often qualify for SSD benefits, it can be difficult to actually get your benefits application approved. A Los Angeles Social Security disability lawyer can assist you in determining whether you should be entitled to benefits and can help with submitting a comprehensive application aimed at maximizing your chances of benefit approval.

Can You Get SSD Benefits With a Respiratory Condition

The Social Security Administration has a Listing of Impairments (often called the Blue Book). For those with conditions that are on the list, you should be eligible for benefits provided you have the specific symptoms, at the required frequencies, which the SSA has identified for your particular condition. Section 3.00 lists respiratory conditions that can qualify you for benefits including:

  • Chronic pulmonary insufficiency
  • Asthma
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Pneumoconiosis
  • Bronchiectasis
  • Chronic persistent lung infection
  • Chronic pulmonary vascular hypertension causing cor pulmonale
  • Sleep-related disorders affecting breathing
  • Receiving a lung transplant

When determining if your respiratory condition qualifies you to receive Social Security Disability income, the SSA considers limitations in pulmonary function, frequency of breathing difficulties, the necessity of inpatient hospitalizations, and/or other specific factors designed to determine how your condition impacts your life.

A Los Angeles Social Security disability attorney can help you to prove your respiratory condition is so severe, long-term and disabling that it makes work impossible. Get help from an attorney as soon as you can following your diagnosis so you can begin to assemble medical records necessary for a strong benefits claim.

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Can I Get Disability Benefits with a Musculoskeletal Disorder?

Disorders of the musculoskeletal system can make you eligible for Social Security Disability benefits. Disorders affecting your muscles, soft tissues, or the skeletal system of your body can be hereditary, can be congenital, or can be acquired because of illness or injury. The disorders which can qualify you for Social Security Disability income are defined in Section 1.00 of the Listing of Impairments published by the Social Security Administration.

If you wish to qualify for disability benefits based on a musculoskeletal disorder, you will not only have to prove you have a specific condition listed in Section 1.00 but will also have to show you have the symptoms that the Impairments List indicates must accompany that particular condition. A Los Angeles Social Security Disability lawyer can help you to determine if you can qualify and can help you prove you are actually eligible based on your diagnosis and symptoms.

Qualifying for Social Security Disability Income With a Musculoskeletal Disorder

The Social Security Administration outlines a number of different musculoskeletal disorders and conditions that could result in you becoming eligible to receive SSD benefits. These include:

  • Major joint dysfunction as a result of any cause
  • Reconstructive surgery or surgical arthrodesis of any major joints in the body which bear weight. 
  • Spinal disorders
  • Amputation
  • Femur, tibia, or pelvic fracture or other tarsal bone fracture
  • Upper extremity fracture
  • Injury to the soft tissue

Simply having joint dysfunction, an amputated limb, or any of these other listed conditions isn't sufficient to become eligible for SSD benefits. The SSA will look at the symptoms of your condition, whether you can ambulate effectively, and the extent of lost function.

A Los Angeles Social Security Disability lawyer can help you to determine if your specific condition or problem with the musculoskeletal system is severe enough you should get benefits through Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income. Call as soon as you get diagnosed so you can begin the process of documenting your health issues and making your benefits claim.

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How to Avoid Losing SSDI Benefits After You're Approved

Getting approved to receive Social Security Disability benefits can be a months-long process, which often requires the help of a Los Angeles Social Security Disability attorney.  More than half of all applications are denied, and many people need to go through a lengthy appeals process just to get the benefits that they need to provide for themselves and their families when a disability prevents them from working. 

If you have finally been successful at getting your disability claim approved, it is imperative that you do not do anything to risk your ability to continue getting benefits. As a result, you need to know what the rules are for continuing to receive disability income and must avoid taking actions which could result in a loss of benefits. If you have any concerns about whether something you may do could result in your benefits being stopped, talk with a SSD benefits lawyer in LA before you act. 

How to Avoid Losing Social Security Disability Benefits

There are a few key things you need to do to avoid losing access to Social Security Disability benefits:

  • Know the rules for earning income: Both Supplemental Security Income and Social Security Disability benefits are intended to go to people who cannot work. While there are trial work programs, you could potentially face the loss of some of your income and even the permanent end of your benefits once you begin working and earning over a certain level. Your attorney can explain to you what the trial work rules are, based on whether you are receiving SSI or SSDI. 
  • Know the rules for continuing disability review: There are periodic reviews of your case to determine if you are still disabled. You will need to provide medical documentation and information about your disability as requested.  You may also need to undergo an exam to determine if your condition has improved enough you are no longer considered disabled. 
  • Understand the rules for inheritances and gifts. SSI is means-tested and limited to people with few household resources. If you are going to inherit or be given a gift, it may be important for the money or property to be placed into a special needs trust rather than given to you directly. 

A Los Angeles Social Security Disability attorney can help you to avoid losing access to important benefits. Call before you act if you are concerned about the possible loss of Social Security income. 

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How Many Doctors' Statements Should You Submit in your Social Security Disability Application?

The most important factor the Social Security Administration uses to determine if you are eligible for Social Security Disability benefits is your medical history.  The SSA is going to carefully review your medical records, including the length of treatment, the diagnoses you have received, the testing you have undergone, and the treatment protocols that you have been put into place. The SSA will be looking for conclusive proof that you have a qualifying severe medical condition that affects your ability to earn a living. 

Since more than half of all applicants for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are denied, it is imperative you make sure your medical records are as comprehensive and as convincing as possible.  The need for a comprehensive application can lead to questions from applicants, including how many statements from different doctors should be submitted to the Social Security Administration with your disability benefits application. 

How Many Doctors' Statements Should You Submit in your Social Security Disability Application?


In general, you can- and should- submit as many doctors' statements to the Social Security Administration as you need to in order to prove the extent of your disabling condition. These statements, referred to as evidence statements or medical source statements should come from doctors who are specialists in the particular condition or ailments you are experiencing. For example, if you are applying to receive SSI or SSDI benefits on the basis of a heart condition, at least one statement should come from a licensed, professional cardiologist.  

If you are claiming multiple impairments making you eligible for disability, such as a heart problem and an anxiety problem, a statement should be provided from each doctor providing treatment for each separate condition (in this case, a cardiologist and a psychiatrist or psychologist would be ideal). 

You should be sure each statement comes from a physician who is treating you regularly, as statements from a doctor with an ongoing relationship with you are going to carry much more weight. You should also ensure the statements are specific about your functional limitations and about how the disability affects you, as vague statements are not going to be effective at convincing the SSA to award benefits. 

Because every application should be tailored to the specific disabilities and symptoms you have, it is a good idea to speak with an experienced Los Angeles Social Security Disability lawyer when preparing your specific benefits application. Call today to learn how an attorney can help you to prepare evidence of disability to present to the SSA. 

 

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What Should You Tell Your Doctor if You Are Applying for SSD Benefits?

The Social Security Administration (SSA) requires medical evidence (including medical records) showing that you have a condition that the SSA considers to be long-term and severely impairing. The SSA has a "Blue Book" listing specific conditions that should qualify you, with symptoms that you must experience outlined for each particular condition.  

You are going to need to provide access to medical records from a licensed and treating physician showing that you have the particular medical ailment you claim to have, as well as demonstrating the extent of the ailment. Ideally, the licensed medical care provider whose records are provided to the SSA will be an expert in the particular area of medicine that treats your condition. For example, if you are applying based on heart problems, you want to provide information from a cardiologist to the Social Security Administration. 

Because it is imperative that you have your doctor on board, you need to make smart and informed choices about what to discuss with your doctor and when. 

What Should You Tell Your Doctor if You Are Applying for SSD Benefits?


You should begin to talk with your doctor as soon as it becomes apparent you have a medical condition that is affecting your job ability. Talk with your doctor about what symptoms you are experiencing, the frequency of the symptoms, and how they are affecting your work life. You should alert your doctor to the fact you are applying for Social Security Disability and should provide information on what specific condition you are claiming as justification for your disability status.  Your doctor can help you to determine if he or she believes you are actually disabled enough to stop working, as being unable to do your job due to your condition is a key prerequisite to securing benefits. 

You may also wish to ask your doctor to complete a detailed statement about your residual functional capacity (RFC). Your doctor should address things like your ability to sit, stand, walk, stoop or bend, crouch, and grip. Your doctor should also offer information about your reflexes, mobility, and range of motion. The more your doctor knows about your symptoms and limitations, the more accurate your doctor can be in completing your RFC and the better the chances you will be eligible for benefits. 

An experienced Los Angeles Social Security Disability lawyer can help you to determine what your doctor needs to know about your condition and can help you to make sure you submit the most convincing and compelling evidence to the SSA to maximize the chances of a disability benefits claim being approved. Call now to learn more. 

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Are Social Security Disability Benefits Recipients Entitled to a COLA?

Inflation causes the price of consumer goods to rise each year. Individuals who work are able to get raises from their employers so their incomes keep pace with inflation and so their purchasing power does not erode. Unfortunately, people receiving Social Security Disability benefits are not able to work, so they do not get annual raises from an employer. The income for most disabled people comes from either Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or from Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). When you are dependent upon one of these programs as the source for your income, you also need a periodic raise to make sure you are still bringing in enough money to pay for the necessities of life. 

The increase in SSDI and SSI benefits that you will receive (the raise) is referred to as a Cost of Living increase. It is calculated using a specific formula. Each year, the Social Security Administration publishes information on whether a Cost of Living increase is available or not. If you are entitled to a Cost of Living Increase, your benefits will increase automatically. You do not need to do anything to secure higher benefits. 

Are SSDI and SSI Benefit Recipients Entitled to a Cost of Living Increase?


To determine if there should be a cost of living increase, the Social Security Administration looks at the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W). The Bureau of Labor Statistics, which is a part of the Department of Labor, determines what the CPI-W is based on many factors used to assess what it actually costs someone to pay rent, buy food, and pay for other necessities. 

If the CPI-W has increased in the current year as compared with the CPI-W in the third quarter of the prior year, then a cost of living adjustment is necessary. If the CPI-W has not increased from one year to the next, then there is no COLA for SSI and SSDI beneficiaries.  

This year, the CPI-W did not increase. As a result, there will be no COLA for SSDI and SSI recipients. However, this calculation is re-done each year and Social Security disability beneficiaries may receive a cost of living adjustment in future years. An experienced Los Angeles disability benefits lawyer can provide important information on when benefits will increase and on what benefits you may be entitled to. Call today to schedule a consultation and learn more. 

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What if Death Occurs Before Social Security Disability Benefits are Approved?

People who apply for Supplemental Security Income or Social Security Disability benefits are usually profoundly ill or severely injured, since the qualifying process for receiving benefits is so strict. Despite the fact that so many people who apply have serious medical conditions, the Social Security Administration takes a long time to review applications for benefits and to determine if a disabled individual is eligible. The SSA also denies a huge number of applications for benefits even from people with serious conditions, so someone who is badly injured or sick may end up stuck in the appeals process for many years... not getting deserved benefits. 

In some tragic instances, people who are waiting for the approval of their claim or the processing of their appeal end up dying before a determination is made that they were entitled to benefits. When this happens, it does not necessarily mean the Social Security Administration's obligations disappear. 

What Happens if a Disabled Individual Dies Before a SSD Benefits Claim is Approved?


When a disabled individual dies before the Social Security Administration approves a claim for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), the SSA may owe money to the person who has passed on.  The disabled worker is entitled to back pay for benefits that were owed during the time it took for a claim to be approved or an appeal to be processed.  

For those eligible for SSDI benefits, the disabled worker is entitled to back pay beginning five months from the established onset date of the disability (the date at which the condition should have been recognized as a covered disability by the SSA).  For those eligible for SSI benefits, back pay may be owed to the date of the benefits application.  The disabled worker is still entitled to those benefits even if he has passed away before they could be paid. However, the estate will need to pursue the benefits claim to get the money due. 

An experienced Los Angeles Social Security disability lawyer understands the process of continuing a Social Security disability claim after the disabled individual has died.  To learn more about how we can help you to secure the benefits your family member was owed upon his or her death, give us a call today. 

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Benefits for Dependents of Disabled Workers

Disabled workers are eligible for Social Security Disability income if they have a qualifying medical condition affecting their ability to work. For those who have paid into the Social Security Disability system through payroll tax deductions, benefits are provided through Social Security Disability Insurance and are based on salary over the course of the disabled individual's working life. 

These SSDI benefits may not only provide income to the disabled person who cannot work, but may also provide benefits to dependents, including spouses and children.  It is important for those whose loved one becomes disabled to understand what benefits may be available so the dependents and the family as a whole can maximize the income they have coming in. 

Benefits for Dependents of Disabled Workers

If you are married to someone and your spouse becomes disabled after earning enough work credits to qualify for SSDI, you may be eligible to receive benefits if you are at least 62 years of age or if you are providing care for a child who is disabled or who is under 16 and who is eligible for SSDI dependents' benefits. 

If you are divorced from a disabled worker but were married for at least 10 years, you should be eligible for dependent benefits if you are age 62 or older, you are not remarried, your ex-spouse has become eligible for SSDI benefits, and the benefits you would receive based on your own work history are lower than the SSDI dependent benefits. 

If you are the child of a disabled worker and you are under 18 and not married, you may also be eligible for dependent benefits if your mother or father is collecting SSDI.  Adult children who are enrolled full-time in secondary school may also be eligible for continuing dependent benefits until the earlier of the child's 19th birthday or until two months after graduation. College is not considered a secondary school when determining eligibility for these dependent benefits.

There may also be other situations where dependents are eligible for benefits as well, as a result of their relationship to a disabled worker. An experienced Social Security Disability attorney in Los Angeles can provide guidance on when dependents are eligible for benefits and on how to maximize the benefits you and your family are receiving. Call today to learn more.  

 

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Are There Exceptions to the SSDI Five-Month Waiting Period?

Those who are eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits will begin receiving their monthly income from the Social Security Administration (SSA) five months after their established onset date (the date at which they first qualified as disabled).  This five month waiting period can leave a disabled individual without income for a long time, as most applicants for benefits have to quit their jobs because of their condition and/or to ensure eligibility for benefits. 

Because you are likely concerned about how you will pay for bills and costs of living during the time you wait for benefits to begin, many applicants wonder whether there are any exceptions to the SSDI five-month waiting period. 

Are There Exceptions to the Five-Month Waiting Period for SSDI Benefits?


There are two exceptions to the five-month waiting period before SSDI benefits can begin. The first exception is for benefits available to dependents. If you are the dependent of a disabled worker and are seeking benefits, you will not be subject to the five month waiting period. The second exception exists for people who are applying for reinstatement of Social Security Disability Insurance benefits. If you were receiving SSDI benefits and you subsequently went back to work, you will be eligible for expedited reinstatement of disability benefits. This not only means that you are not subject to the five-month waiting period, but also that you are going to be eligible for benefits without going through the entire application process again. 

Outside of these situations, there are no exceptions to the five-month waiting period. Everyone who receives SSDI benefits is subject to it, even people who have a compassionate allowance condition (CAL) and who are thus eligible for prompt processing of their benefits claim.  Applicants for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), on the other hand, are not subject to a waiting period and their benefits can begin immediately. This means that if you have limited or no income and few assets, you may wish to consider an SSI application. 

An experienced Los Angeles Social Security Disability lawyer can help you to determine if you fall within an exception to the five-month waiting period and can provide guidance on your options for sources of interim income when you wait for a benefits claim to be approved and the Social Security Administration to begin paying. Call today to learn more about your options. 

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What Does the Five-Month Waiting Period Mean for Social Security Disability?

When you apply for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits (SSDI benefits), you need to determine the estimated date when you first become disabled enough to be eligible for benefits. This is called your disability onset date. The disability onset date determines when your benefit payments will begin.  With SSDI benefits, your benefits do not begin right away. Instead, they begin after a five-month waiting period. 

What Does the Five-Month Waiting Period Mean?

The five month waiting period applies to applicants for Social Security Disability Insurance only; applicants seeking Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits are not subject to the waiting period. The waiting period indicates that your benefits begin five months from your established onset date (the date the Social Security Administration agrees is the first day you were too disabled to work).  Back pay will not be provided for those five months, or benefits will not be paid for those five months if your claim is approved quickly.  You become eligible to begin receiving income from the Social Security Administration only after the five months have passed. 

It is not 100 percent clear why the Social Security Administration requires disabled people who cannot work to wait for five months before receiving disability benefits that they have paid for through their payroll taxes. One possible reason for the waiting period, however, is that it is part of the Social Security Administration's (SSA) efforts to discourage applications for benefits from people who are not truly suffering from a long-term disabling condition. 

Regardless of the reason why the waiting period exists, it can be a burden for those who are subject to it. You may wish to explore the possibility of making a short-term disability claim under a private or public policy in California to provide you with income during the five month period of time when you cannot work and also are not eligible for SSDI. 

Because of the five month waiting period, it is imperative you ensure your established onset date is correct so you do not have to wait even longer for benefits due to the SSA deciding you did not become disabled at the time you believe you did.  An experienced Los Angeles SSDI lawyer can help you to establish your onset date and to fight to receive benefits as quickly as possible. Call today to get started. 

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Should You Quit Your Job Before Applying for Social Security Disability?

If you have begun to struggle with a disabling condition, you may find that you are no longer able to work.  When this happens to you, you should apply for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits. Depending upon your work history, family income, and available assets, you may qualify for benefits either through Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or through Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Both of these benefits programs can provide you with money coming in when holding a job is impossible due to an illness or injury. 

Many people who become disabled and begin having difficulty working are concerned about whether they should quit their job before beginning the process of applying for SSI or SSDI. It can be frightening to make the leap towards giving up work when you do not yet have your benefits coming in. Although it is a risk, however, you generally will need to stop working prior to actually getting a benefits claim approved. 

Why Do You Need to Quit Your Job Before Applying for Social Security Disability?


The primary reason you need to quit your job before applying for Social Security Disability is because having a job can make you ineligible for either SSDI or SSI benefits. 

The availability of SSI benefits is dependent upon your income level. If you make too much money, you will be unable to qualify for these benefits. Even if you plan to quit your job once you have begun receiving SSI, you will not get through the initial application screening process because the income you are currently earning will count. 

SSDI benefits are not means-tested or income-based. However, the benefits are restricted only to people who are too disabled to work. As a result, one of the qualifying criteria is defined as not engaging in substantial gainful activity (SGA). Substantial gainful activity is defined as earning $1130 per month if you are not blind, or earning $1820 per month if you are blind. If you continue working and earn above this amount, your benefits claim can be denied (even if you were planning to quit once your benefits claim was approved).

Quitting your job is a big deal, especially when more than half of all disability benefits applications are denied. Before you decide to give up work so you can become eligible for SSI or SSDI benefits, it is important to speak with an experienced Los Angeles disability benefits lawyer. Call today to get an evaluation of your case and to get advice on how to protect your finances as you seek benefits from Social Security disability.

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Am I Eligible for Presumptive Disability Benefits from Social Security?

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits are available for people who have a qualifying disabling condition. SSI benefits are needs-based and means-tested, which means you can qualify for this type of Social Security Disability income only if you have very limited income and few assets. Many people who need SSI benefits struggle greatly with paying basic bills and covering the routine costs of daily living. This is why it is such a major problem that it can take months for the Social Security Administration to approve claims. The good news is, presumptive disability benefits may be made available in some cases.

Do You Qualify for Presumptive SSI Disability Benefits?

Presumptive disability benefits are designed to provide necessary income to applicants for SSI benefits while the review process is ongoing and the benefits application is pending. The Social Security Administration provides presumptive disability benefits in cases where you meet the specific criteria set forth for eligibility. This includes having a very serious impairment such that you are presumed to be disabled.

Some examples of conditions where it is possible to qualify for presumptive disability benefits include:

  • Aids or symptomatic HIV
  • Total and complete deafness or blindness
  • Amputation of one leg at the hip, or of at least two limbs
  • A spinal cord injury causing at least partial paralysis
  • Down syndrome
  • A stroke that occurred at least three months prior and that has caused difficulty walking or moving either hand or arm
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Muscular Dystrophy
  • Muscular atrophy causing impaired movements, impaired walking, or speech impairment
  • Severe mental retardation if you are age seven or older
  • End-stage kidney disease that necessitates chronic dialysis
  • Lou Gehrig's disease
  • Terminal illness resulting in referral to hospice care with six or fewer months to live

These are just some of the many conditions considered severe enough to qualify you for presumptive Supplemental Security Income benefits on the basis of a disability.

An experienced Los Angeles Social Security Disability lawyer can provide assistance in helping you to determine if you qualify for presumptive SSI benefits and can assist you in moving forward with the process of applying for benefits so you can begin to obtain the income necessary to support yourself. Call an attorney today to get started as soon as possible.  

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Disability Advocates Group is a law firm dedicated to serving individuals who have become disabled and are seeking to obtain the benefits they need and deserve. At Disability Advocates Group, we specialize in representing disabled clients in their claims for Social Security Disability Benefits.

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