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St. Louis Legal Issues Blog

SSD benefits, mental illness, ADL and social functioning at work

For Missourians suffering from mental illness, the problems that accompany it can be so severe that they are unable to work and require Social Security disability benefits for mental conditions. Getting approved for SSD benefits will naturally entail meeting the requirements. When a person has been diagnosed with a medically determinable impairment, they are on the way to getting an approval. However, there are other steps that are important. That includes the Social Security Administration determining if the impairment(s) impact the person's ability to work enough so they can be approved. Part of that is assessing the functional areas that people need to work.

There are four functional areas that the SSA deems as essential to a person being able to work: ADL, or activities of daily living; social functioning; concentration, persistence or pace; and being able to handle a rise in mental demands that go along with a competitive working environment. There are many subsets for ADL that a person must be able to do such as riding public transportation, paying their bills, overseeing their home, proper grooming and hygienic practices, going shopping, cleaning and more. There are five areas in which ADL and socialization will need documentation to determine if the person can work: appropriateness; independence; sustainability; quality; and effectiveness.

Social Security disability claims with multiple impairments

When a Missourian is suffering from an injury, illness or condition that leads to an inability to work, they are fortunate that Social Security disability benefits are available to assist them as they seek treatment and try to improve, if possible. Applicants will have many questions about the benefits' requirements and what is important when going through the process to get the benefits. For those who are having their case assessed during the sequential evaluation process, one issue they should understand is how the Social Security Administration handles claims in which the person is suffering from multiple impairments.

When a person has one impairment that, when considered on its own, meets the required duration and severity for there to be an approval, the case will likely result in qualifying SSD benefits for injury. If there are multiple impairments, the SSA will consider how they impact the person in combination. There are three categories: unrelated severe impairments; concurrent impairments; and continuing disability review (CDR) cases with a new impairment.

What is a notice of hearing for Social Security disability?

For Missourians who are seeking Social Security disability benefits for injury or illness, some of the basic facts about the claim can be confusing or misleading. It is difficult enough to be dealing with these medical issues that lead to an inability to work and more. This is where SSD benefits come in. However, it is imperative to know about the fundamental requirements for the claim such as the notice of hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). A lawyer can help with this and any other SSD-related matter.

A claimant for SSD benefits will receive notification as to where the ALJ hearing will take place a minimum of 75 days prior to the date at which it will be held. Generally, the hearing will be held in the same location where the claimant resides. However, the person might need to travel as many as 75 miles and not get reimbursed for travel costs. If it is necessary to travel beyond 75 miles, there can be travel reimbursement. The ALJ can decide to have the hearing via video or in person. Travel expenses will be paid to the applicant and witnesses if they need to travel more than 75 miles. A representative can also receive payment for needing to travel. There is a maximum amount as to how much can be paid.

Necessary documentation for SSD with cardiovascular issues

Cardiovascular issues are a prevalent in people in Missouri and across the U.S. These health conditions and illnesses can prevent them from being able to work a normal job with sufficient income to support themselves. It can also be time-consuming and costly to receive medical treatment. For those suffering from heart disease and similar cardiovascular illnesses, Social Security disability benefits might be available to help them. However, it is important to understand what information the Social Security Administration will want when determining whether to declare a person disabled or not. Documentation of the cardiovascular impairment is critical to a disability claim.

The SSA needs detailed reports with the applicant's history, physical examinations he or she had, lab studies, and treatment that was prescribed. This lets the SSA gauge how severe the issue is and how long it will last. It will also need a longitudinal clinical record (information from a long period of time) for a minimum of three months. This is not applicable if the determination or decision can be made based on the current available evidence.

Protecting your civilian rights during a military divorce

Marriage to a member of the U.S. armed forces comes with its own unique challenges. In addition to the frequent moves and long deployments, you may have times when it is difficult communicating with your spouse because of the circumstances of his or her work. Like any marriage, there are times when you seem strong together and times when you struggle.

When the periods of struggle start to outweigh and overwhelm the good times, you may decide it is no longer worth the effort you must make to keep the marriage going. As difficult as this decision may be, you must now turn your attention to making sure to protect your rights as a military spouse.

Temporary orders and authorized motions during a divorce

When a Missouri couple begins divorce proceedings, the immediate aftermath will often elicit questions as to how certain circumstances will be handled. Temporary child support and spousal support is an inevitable concern. Frequently, there is worry that certain behaviors will need to be interrupted via court order. This can encompass many different things. Some place people at risk. For those who are divorcing, understanding how the law addresses temporary orders and authorized motions is a key part of a case.

When there is a divorce underway, either spouse can request temporary support. With this motion, there will be an affidavit with the factual basis for this request and the amounts the person wants. If there was a divorce completed by a court that did not have personal jurisdiction over an absent spouse, either party can ask for maintenance and support. This too will have an affidavit. As part of this motion, either spouse can also ask that the court issue an order for numerous behaviors.

What should I know about the duration requirement for SSD?

When a Missourian is suffering from an illness or condition and is seeking Social Security disability benefits, it is important to understand more than just the basics about the federal regulations and how to be approved. The duration requirement is one of the key factors in the application process. Understanding how the Social Security Administration assesses a person's medical conditions and determines if it will last or is expected to last the required 12 months is a critical part of the claim.

The applicant's medically determinable impairment must last for 12 consecutive months or will be expected to end in the person's death. The condition at the time might not have been ongoing for those 12 months when the SSA decides the person is disabled. This will be met when there is an expectation of recovery following the 12 month period making the person eligible to get benefits. The impairment must prevent the person from working in substantial gainful activity for 12 consecutive months.

Do I need education or alternate dispute resolution in a divorce?

Missourians who have decided to divorce will undoubtedly understand that there are many issues that must be navigated. However, the law has certain requirements that people might not be aware of, but are important nonetheless. In some cases, the court will make it mandatory that there be educational sessions or alternative dispute resolution meetings. If this is the situation, the parties should know when it could be ordered and how it works.

When there is a divorce filing or a legal separation and children are involved with their custody and visitation rights in the balance, the court will have the parties take part in educational sessions. When there is a motion to modify any of these orders and the parties have taken part in educational sessions in the past, it might be ordered again. If the case is related to custody and visitation, the court might order that the parties take part in alternative dispute resolution. This can be avoided if there is good cause shown. Good cause can be if there is an uncontested or temporary case with custody or physical custody, or if there was a finding of domestic violence or abuse.

Orthotic and prosthetic devices and Social Security disability

When a Missourian has a musculoskeletal issue that impairs them, Social Security disability benefits are an option if the injury leads to an inability to work. When seeking SSD benefits for injury, people who use orthotic devices or prosthetic devices will find that these devices are important when it is determined whether the benefits' requirements are met. Understanding the criteria for this situation is key as any problem could lead to a denial. Of course, having legal assistance is crucial for any disability case.

If the person has an orthotic device, the medical examination that will be used for the disability application should be conducted with the device in place with the testing procedures evaluating the person's capabilities while using it. When a person has difficulty with the device in place or cannot use it, the medical professional should document the medical reasons for it. When the person's impairment is on the lower extremities, information about the person's ability to ambulate in an effective manner without the device should be part of the report unless is contrasts with the medical judgment of the person conducting the examination.

What should happen after a workplace accident?

A workplace accident can leave you with significant injuries and bills that you may not be able to pay by yourself. Missouri workers may know that they could have a rightful claim to benefits after an accident, but most are unfamiliar with the process or what they should do next. If you were hurt in an accident, it can be helpful to understand what to expect from the workers' compensation process.

After an accident in the workplace, there are things that both the employer and the employee need to do. When you understand the requirements of both parties and what to expect, you can better protect your interests. When it comes to your needs after a work accident, it is beneficial to know what to do to get the full and fair recovery you deserve.

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

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Phone: 314-925-0242
Fax: 314-727-5297
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