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St. Louis Legal Issues Blog

Does my skin disorder qualify me for SSD benefits?

For people in Missouri who are suffering from a skin disorder, it is possible to be approved for Social Security disability benefits for illness. To do so, however, it is crucial to understand how the Social Security Administration will assess the severity of the disorder. In general, the SSA will base its assessment on the skin lesions, how often they flare up, the symptoms and their accompanying limitations, the treatment and how the treatment affects the applicant.

With skin lesions, "extensive" will be considered those that are located on multiple sites on the body or in critical areas and lead to severe limitations. Examples could be those that negatively affect joint motion and limit the use of multiple extremities. They could be on the palms of the hands and inhibit gross motor movements. They might be on the soles of the feet or other areas making it difficult for the person to move effectively.

U.S. Army veteran fights to restart SSD benefits for injury

Former service members in Missouri and across the country might think that suffering injuries while in combat and returning home unable to work will yield Social Security disability benefits for injury. However, in some cases, people who are clearly disabled are having trouble getting approved and maintaining their Social Security disability benefits. When a person has injuries from military service, it is important to understand how to apply for and receive SSD benefits for injury. If there is a denied claim, it can be appealed.

One veteran has been having this exact problem. In May, a former member of the U.S. Army who was injured by an explosive device while serving in Afghanistan in 2010 was told by the Social Security Administration that he was no longer disabled and his disability payments were stopped. Since then, he has fallen behind on all his bill payments and even his electricity was cut off. Because of that, the robotic prosthetic leg he uses could not be charged. The electricity was restored, but he is still having problems due to the SSA's decision.

Data analysis shows high rate of military divorce

Divorce is often inevitable. Some people are not able to deal with differences in a marriage and the dispute gets to the point at which staying together is no longer feasible. For people in the military, this is a prevalent issue. Missourians who are in the military in any capacity should be aware of various situations that are prominent in a military divorce. One recent study highlights the problems that are inherent with military couples and their divorce rates.

U.S. census information was used to assess which career fields have the highest divorce rates by age 30. In that group, those who are front-line enlisted military supervisors have a divorce rate of 30 percent. This is the highest of all careers. People in this field are responsible for coordination of enlisted personnel. They will also lead operations. Those in military service have different responsibilities and emotional stress that civilians do not have. The pay is often low, the military member is frequently not home and is either in harm's way for much of the time or there is a looming threat of that person being placed in harm's way at a moment's notice.

Understanding how working can affect SSD benefits

Missourians who have been approved for and are receiving Social Security disability benefits whether it is for an injury, illness or condition frequently want to go back to work if they are capable. However, they have concerns that their SSD benefits will stop once they start earning money. There are federal regulations tied to those who are on disability and work. It is important to understand how benefits can be affected by working.

The Social Security Administration has work incentives for people who are getting benefits. For those getting Social Security Disability Insurance, there are two Work Incentives. First is the Trial Work Period. When getting SSDI, the amount that can be earned changes annually. In 2017 to continue receiving the same benefits, it is a maximum of $840 per month in gross wages or the person working fewer than 80 hours per week if he or she was self-employed. If it goes beyond the maximum amount or the person works more than 80 hours per week while self-employed, there will be a Trial Work Period service month. This lets the person earn any amount and keep getting the full SSDI. There are nine months that can be used in this way over a 60-month period. They do not have to be consecutive.

Falling down on safety leads to higher chance of job site falls

Construction sites can be inherently dangerous places to work, but that does not mean that the men and women employed in this field do not have the right to a reasonably safe workplace. In fact, implementing and enforcing safety measures can greatly reduce the chance of an accident, and therefore, reduce the chance that a Missouri construction worker will suffer an injury. 

One of the most significant risks on any job site is the risk of a fall. A fall from any height can be dangerous, even fatal, and construction workers may find that they are left with serious and debilitating injuries as a result of this type of job site accident.

Epilepsy, seizure and the requirements for SSD benefits

Missourians who have been diagnosed with epilepsy might not be aware that they can get Social Security disability benefits for illness. In some instances, people who suffer from seizure do not even know that they have epilepsy to begin with. For those who think they or a loved one might have epilepsy and suffer from the different kinds of seizures that go along with it, it is possible to receive SSD benefits if they meet the necessary criteria.

Those who have epilepsy will have recurring and unprovoked seizures. They stem from abnormal brain activity. For adults, there are generally two different kinds of disabling seizures: generalized tonic-clonic seizures and dyscognitive seizures. It is vital to understand what these are and have them diagnosed when seeking SSD benefits.

Receiving Social Security disability and workers' compensation

Missourians who are injured, become ill or have a condition because of their work will often be able to collect workers' compensation benefits. They might not be aware that they can also collect Social Security disability benefits. Before trying to collect both, however, it is important to know that workers' compensation and other disability payments can affect the benefits that are available through Social Security.

Social Security disability benefits can be reduced if the person is collecting workers' compensation. There are limits to how much can be collected in total. A person who received both workers' compensation and Social Security disability cannot exceed 80 percent of their average earnings prior to becoming disabled. There are certain benefits that do not affect Social Security disability. They are benefits from the Veterans Administration; benefits from state and local government if Social Security taxes had been deducted from the person's earnings; and Supplemental Security Income (SSI), a need-based program that is contingent on a person's resources.

Legal assistance can be vital in a military divorce

Missourians who are either in or have served in the United States military are not immune to the family problems that can lead to a divorce. In fact, being a military family carries with it certain responsibilities and pressures that might make it more difficult for some couples to remain together. No matter the situation, whether it is a couple with both spouses in the military, active duty service members or military retirees, it is essential to have legal assistance if there is a dispute and a pending divorce.

There are numerous divorce issues that come up with a military family, past or present. Retirement and benefits are often a point of contention. For example, the non-military spouse must meet certain criteria for the length of the marriage to retain their rights to various military services such as a military identification card and medical benefits. These vary depending on the length of the marriage.

Clarifying confusion over Social Security disability benefits

In today's political environment, many Missourians could be confused about certain aspects regarding Social Security and the benefits that people are entitled to. One is Social Security Disability Insurance. Given the way certain political figures are trying to remake the government, including Social Security and its benefits, it can be ignored that SSDI can be just as important for a person living with an injury, illness or condition as Social Security benefits are for a person of retirement age. The truth about SSDI should be accounted for.

A worker will qualify for benefits if he or she works for the equivalent of 10 years. The criteria to receive disability are different from retirement and Medicaid due to the possibility of someone younger needing it. SSDI is often misidentified as welfare when it is in fact a benefit that the person earned through payment of payroll taxes. SSDI claims have risen in the past few decades, but that is most likely due to demography. For example, those classified as baby boomers reached ages when it is often necessary to have Social Security disability benefits for illness; at the same time, more women were working, adding to the number of people who are eligible for SSDI. The retirement age for Social Security rising from 65 to 66 has also probably affected this.

The basics of SSDI and SSI and how it relates to diabetes

Suffering from debilitating effects of diabetes makes your life a challenge. Your daily life consists of the pain, accommodations and maintenance requirements of your condition. In addition, you may worry that you can't adequately provide for yourself or your family anymore. This could lead to depression, anger and other negative consequences, even though the situation may be out of your control.

If you can't work because of your diabetes, your friends and family may be telling you to apply for benefits from the Social Security Administration but can't provide you any additional information. You may have heard that the SSA provides benefits but need further information regarding what you may qualify for based on your disability, income and resources.

Alan E. DeWoskin, P.C.
225 South Meramec Avenue, Suite 426
St. Louis, MO 63105

Toll Free: 800-652-5775
Phone: 314-925-0242
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