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Social Security Disability Archives

A brief look at SSDI's Ticket to Work program

Over the last year around 8.2 million people collected disability benefits through the Social Security Disability Income program. The total number of benefits collected was around $115 billion. The number of people receiving benefits has increased over the last ten years from 5 million. The increase in the number of people who receive Social Security Disability benefits is attributed to the harsh economy and the rising number of baby boomers who are no longer able to work because of disability.

Collecting Social Security disability from a deceased or divorced spouse

Many times people wonder if they are entitled to any Social Security benefits from their deceased or divorced spouse. Whether they are interested in retirement or disability benefits, if the marriage lasted at least 10 years, there is a possibility that the surviving or divorced spouse is entitled to benefits based on the Social Security number of the ex or deceased spouse.

Effects of Drug Addiction and Alcoholism on Social Security Disability Determinations

Disabled individuals often suffer from depression, either independently or as a result or part of their physical disability. In many cases, individuals also self-medicate with alcohol or prescription drugs in an attempt to alleviate the pain.

December 2010 image.jpgThe Social Security Administration no longer grants disability benefits to people with drug and alcohol addiction as their primary disability or when those addictions are a material factor in the disability. An individual may struggle with addictions however as a result of their disability and in those cases, the individual may still be entitled to benefits.

First, the review of an individual with potential drug and alcohol addiction begins with medical evidence. Medical evidence comes from an acceptable medical source like a hospital, clinic or doctor. The review also considers the individual's own statement about his or her condition such as "I'm an alcoholic". If the medical evidence demonstrates a medically determinable substance abuse disorder (one in which the individual's pattern of use causes significant impairment or distress), then a determination must be made as to whether the condition is a material factor contributing to the disability. A material factor means that if the individual stopped using drugs or alcohol, they would not be disabled. Thus, if the abuse is material, the individual will not be awarded benefits.

In determining whether the substance abuse is a material factor, the decision maker will need to carefully consider which limitations would remain if the claimant stopped using drugs or alcohol and whether those remaining limitations would be disabling. If the limitations would remain and those limitations would be disabling, the individual may be awarded benefits.

It is important to note that just because an individual uses drugs or alcohol does not trigger this kind of careful evaluation. The use must be significant enough to be determined a medically determinable condition.

Disabled Workers Should Be Retained for Fiscal Health

According to a new report created by the Brooking's Institution's Hamilton Project and the Center for American Progress, employers should be given incentives to retain disabled workers in order to avoid what has been called an unsustainable growth of people on Social Security disability income.

Social Security Disability Claimants Grow Frustrated Over Delays

The growing backlog of Social Security Disability claims and the long time period to process claims have attributed to an increasing number of violent threats against judges who hear Social Security disability cases. Members of Congress heard about the rising number of threats from a Senate subcommittee field hearing on Monday.

Medical Insurance while collecting Social Security: Medicare vs. Private Insurance

One of the associated benefits with collecting Social Security Disability benefitsMedicare - 11.10.10.png is that the disabled individual is eligible to participate in Medicare after receiving Social Security benefits for 24 months. For a large portion of individuals, this is a valuable benefit because many times the disabled individual is not able to afford private health insurance or in some cases have reached the lifetime maximum benefit paid by their plan. Sometimes however, an individual does have private insurance, whether provided by their spouse's employment or they are able to afford the premium. In those cases, the question becomes how the private insurance and Medicare work together.Medicare is divided into four parts: A, B, C and D. Medicare Part A is considered hospital insurance and pays for inpatient care at hospitals and subsequent inpatient stays at skilled nursing facilities. Part B covers doctors' services and other services and supplies not covered by Part A. Part C allows people with Parts A and B to choose to receive all services from a provider organization under Part C. Finally, Part D is the medication provision.The essential parts are A, B, and D. Part A is essentially free for everyone and was paid for through taxes. Enrollment is automatic and participation does not require a monthly premium. Part B also has automatic enrollment, and there is a monthly premium. Most disabled individuals have the premiums deducted directly from their monthly benefit check. While enrollment is automatic, individuals can opt out of the program by completing the necessary paperwork. Part D requires an individual wishing to participate in the plan to enroll during the enrollment plan and pay a monthly premium. Social Security will not automatically enroll an individual in Part D.For those with private insurance plans, it is important to determine how your plan fits with Medicare coverage. No single plan covers all kinds of health services and sometimes gaps left by one can be filled with the other. For instance, most private plans do not cover nursing home stays, but Medicare will cover inpatient treatment at a skilled nursing facility if it follows an inpatient hospital stay. It is important for an individual with both Medicare and private insurance to notify Medicare of the private insurance and ask the private insurer what types of services are included with the plan.

Court Makes Landmark Decision in Social Security Disability Case

The state Supreme Court of South Carolina decided a landmark case for the state. The decision will ensure larger and more equitable Social Security disability income for workers who face career-ending injuries. Because of the decision the permanently injured worker from the case will receive hundreds of dollars more every month in benefits.

Social Security benefits to remain static for another year

For the second year in a row, Social Security recipients will not receive a cost-Social Security benefits - 11.10.10.pngof-living adjustment for 2011. For the last 30-plus years, retirees, disabled individuals, surviving spouses and dependent children have relied on small annual increases to their benefits checks in response to inflation. In the past two years however, inflation has not grown at a rate that supports an increase in Social Security benefits.

Social Security Disability Applications on the Rise

More and more employees who previously were able to work with physical problems are turning to Social Security Disability after being laid off during the long recessionary period. Take one woman's story as an example.

Disability and Medical Coverage: A Resource

Disabled individuals often lack access to health insurance, medical coverage and/or prescription coverage. When dealing with an application for Social Security Disability Insurance, medical treatment and compliance with doctor's orders, such as taking certain medications on a regular regiment, can be critical to proving a disability exists. Where then can disabled individuals turn for assistance in obtaining their necessary medications and access to doctors when they have little to no income?

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