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St. Louis Legal Issues Blog

How are immune system disorders assessed for SSD benefits?

Missourians who are suffering from an illness or a condition that affects their immune system will be vulnerable to a variety of issues. These can reach a level of seriousness that hinders their ability to work, which means that they may need Social Security disability benefits to make ends meet. When immune system disorders are mentioned, the first thing many people think about is HIV and AIDS. However, there are other immune system disorders that result in significant health problems and could warrant an approval for SSD benefits for illness. Legal help is integral to obtaining these benefits.

When the Social Security Administration evaluates immune system disorders, it will gauge those that lead to one or more areas of the immune system being dysfunctional. These conditions can result from issues with producing antibodies, impairment of cell-mediated immunity, or some combination of the two. This can cause a person to suffer from infections on a recurring basis.

Losing SSD benefits when ill can be a major problem

When Missourians and anyone across the nation is suffering from a debilitating illness or condition and they receive Social Security disability benefits for illness, there is a profound sense of relief. While they are getting SSD, they will have the ability to focus on improving their condition and trying to get into a state where they can, if possible, no longer need those benefits. A common worry for people who are declared disabled and get benefits is when the Social Security Administration decides they should stop providing the benefits. For those who are in this situation, legal help is a must.

A Florida woman who was on disability with cystic fibrosis saw her benefits stop in early 2018. The disease is extremely limiting and requires extensive treatment and medication. Other problems can stem from it. The woman, 22, had qualified for disability and allowed her to get Medicaid. She was informed, however, that her benefits would stop due to a medical review and she was no longer eligible because she could work. Despite that, she said she had not gotten better. In fact, she got worse. With the loss of benefits, she also lost Medicaid.

Custody does not have to be an ongoing battle

When Missouri parents divorce, they often find themselves at odds over issues relating to child custody. Parenting time, access and visitation are some of the most emotionally charged issues in a divorce, and it is often difficult to come to terms with the final order. Hard feelings and conflict can continue well after the process is final. 

Custody is not an easy issue to navigate, but that does not mean it has to remain a source of significant stress in your life. In fact, it is possible for parents to get along for the sake of the children and co-parent peacefully, even if they do not necessarily like each other. It often takes dedication, maturity and a resolve to protect the needs of the children, but it is possible.

New tax laws impacting spousal support deductions now in effect

Missouri couples who were considering divorce but did not move forward with it before the end of 2018 should know about how the new tax laws put in place by the Trump Administration will impact them with the dawn of the new year. For those who were completely unaware of how the changes could help or hinder various areas of divorce, it is wise to have a grasp on what is changing and how the person paying spousal support and the person receiving spousal support will need to adapt at tax time. Of course, having legal assistance is always a wise step.

The new law that was enacted in 2018 altered how spousal support is handled with taxes. In the past, the spouse who earned more could make a deduction on the spousal support when filing taxes. The recipient indicated that the support was taxable income. Now that the new year has begun, those who did not complete their case before the end of 2018 face different circumstances. The payments are not deductible for the paying spouse. Some have suggested that spouses who are prospective payers will not have any incentive to pay and will fight any suggestion they do so.

Remember the importance of legal help for SSD with a back injury

After suffering a back injury, Missourians will often be at a crossroads on what they should do next. This is true whether it is a person who goes to work every day without fail, a stay-at-home parent, a student or anyone else. The debilitating problems that accompany a back injury or spine injury can be complicated and long-lasting. It can be difficult to perform even the most basic tasks, let alone get back to work and a normal schedule. This is when it is essential to consider the prospect of applying for Social Security disability benefits for injury.

Many back injuries and the impact they have are clear in the medical records and the diagnosis. People in this situation might not have any problem getting an approval for SSD benefits. That is not always the case. Since a back injury can sometimes be difficult to identify and prove, it is imperative to have legal help to move forward with the application for disability.

Military divorce, deployment and how it impacts child custody

Missourians who are in the military or are the spouse of a military member will face concerns that civilian families do not. This is especially true when there is a military divorce and the issues that accompany it are addressed. One that is concerning and complex is how child custody and visitation is dealt with during deployment. A deploying parent compounds any custody and visitation issue and can cause emotional stress and disputes. Having legal assistance from a law firm that understands the challenges that confront military families is critical from any perspective.

When there is an agreement for child custody and visitation and it will be impacted by a deploying parent, it can be modified on a temporary basis. The temporary order will give the deploying parent child custody or visitation based on the original order while he or she is on leave. If it is deemed to be not in the child's best interests, this will not be the case. When the court modifies a previous order because of deployment, it will detail that the deployment is why the order is being modified. It will then be entered as a temporary order.

How is traumatic brain injury evaluated for SSD benefits?

Missourians who have suffered a traumatic brain injury could have their lives upended in that one unlucky moment. This can happen in a variety of ways whether it is in a motor vehicle accident, because of a work accident, a slip and fall incident and more. Hitting one's head can cause untold damage and lead to the inability to work and function normally.

For those who have TBI, Social Security disability benefits could be a viable option to make ends meet and receive treatment as they try to improve. Understanding how the Social Security Administration evaluates TBI is critical from the start. When there is TBI, it means the person has suffered brain damage because of force against the head, a skull fracture, or penetration of the brain. For some, this will result in them being in a persistent vegetative state or a coma. This is assessed differently from TBI where the person is not vegetative or comatose.

Watch your step. Winter weather raises risk for slip-and-fall

Just because the snow is falling and the temperatures are below freezing does not mean you get to stay in your warm and cozy home. You may have to go to work, get the groceries or finish your shopping for the holidays. When the weather turns slick, you have to rely on Missouri business owners and property managers to take care of things so you can walk without fearing you will take a spill.

Even if you should slip on an icy sidewalk, you may be fortunate enough to get up with little more than a twisted ankle or a bruise on your backside. Unfortunately, there is also the chance that you could suffer a serious, disabling injury.

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.

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

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Phone: 314-925-0242
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