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Charlotte Social Security Disability Blog

Preparing well for your Social Security disability hearing

When you are unable to work due to a disabling medical condition, physical injury or type of mental illness, it can lead to grave financial circumstances. It's important for your North Carolina family to secure benefits through the Social Security Administration, but the disability claims process is long and arduous. Before you start, you may want to take the time to learn more about what to expect, including how you can prepare for your hearing. 

You may have to attend a hearing if your initial claim comes back denied. This is frustrating, but it is actually quite common. After this, you may request a reconsideration of your claim, but you shouldn't be surprised if this is not successful as well. The next step of the appeals process is the disability hearing. Preparing for this step may make the difference between whether you are successful or not.

Obtaining SSDI benefits for Crohn's disease

Crohn's disease is an inflammation of the lower bowel. It can cause severe abdominal pain, diarrhea, fatigue, weight loss and malnutrition. In its most severe form, Crohn's disease can interfere with a person's ability to work. Thus, persons with a serious form of Crohn's disease can qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits.

Crohn's disease usually manifests itself when the patient is about 20-30 years old, but it can occur at any age. The disease is an inflammatory attack by the body's auto-immune system on the connection between the ileum and the large colon. The disease has no known cause and no recognized cure other than surgery, but its symptoms have been well-documented. These include diarrhea, fever, fatigue, abdominal pain and cramping, blood in the stools, mouth sores, reduced appetite and weight loss. An especially difficult symptom involves pain or drainage near the anus caused by inflammation from a tunnel into the skin (known as a fistula).

How will be SSD claim be assessed if I have a blood disease?

When a North Carolina resident is diagnosed with a serious and debilitating illness, it will inevitably impact multiple areas of their life. Getting medical treatment to address the issue, working and functioning on a day-to-day basis can not only be difficult, but it can inhibit the healing process and negatively impact the chance at recovery. For those who meet the federal requirements, Social Security disability benefits can be a critical part of getting well. This is true with many issues, but it is especially so with a blood disease. Understanding what blood diseases (also referred to a hematological disorders) are evaluated for SSD benefits and what evidence is needed is fundamental to a claim.

If the person has a non-cancerous blood disease like a thrombosis, bone marrow failure and others, this will be evaluated by the Social Security Administration. With these disorders, the person will have issues with developing and normal function of red or white blood cells, clotting-factor proteins and platelets. If it is a cancerous disorder like leukemia, this will be assessed based on the listings for cancer. There are two forms of lymphoma that are exceptions and they are connected to those suffering from HIV. There are different criteria for that evaluation.

How do multiple impairments impact by disability claim?

When applying for Social Security disability benefits in North Carolina, the impairments the applicant suffers from will be a critical factor in the decision Disability Determination Services makes on behalf of the Social Security Administration. When the person is suffering from several impairments, this can impact the claim and whether the application for SSD benefits will be approved. It is important to know how multiple impairments are assessed so the person has the best possible chance to gain an approval. Having legal assistance from the beginning is imperative.

It is against the rules for an applicant to combine two or more impairments that are unrelated when it is determined whether the person meets the requirement of being disabled for 12 months. For those with a severe impairment or multiple severe impairments who then suffer from another severe impairment that is not linked to the others - but none will meet the 12-month duration requirement - the SSA will not find the person disabled regardless of the combination reaching 12 months.

How is a source selected for a consultative exam for disability?

Not every Social Security disability application can be decided upon by the initial evidence presented. North Carolina residents who are confronted with this reality should know how a consultative examination will impact their claim. Simply being told that a consultative examination is needed is not something to worry about immediately. It is not a sign that the person will be denied Social Security. However, it is important to understand the details of a consultative examination and to have legal help.

The consultative examination will be conducted when the medical sources provided in the initial claim were deemed insufficient for the Social Security Administration to decide. The consultative examination will be paid for by the SSA. The claimant can use his or her own medical source for this, but the SSA might also want an independent medical source.

Rheumatoid arthritis and your ability to work

When a medical condition keeps you from working, it can significantly impact your own well-being and your family's stability. It's important to get the financial support you need simply to make ends meet, and you may be able to do this through a disability claim. These benefits come from the Social Security Administration, and their intent is to help individuals who cannot support themselves. 

Many medical conditions could make you eligible for these kinds of benefits, including rheumatoid arthritis. This is a condition that is quite common, but in severe cases, it can leave a person unable to meet the physical demands of a job. If you have this type of medical issue and you cannot work, you may have a valid claim to disability benefits through the SSA.

How an attorney can help with a claim for benefits

Many people make the fundamental mistake of not getting legal assistance before filing a Social Security disability claim. There are multiple reasons why this is unwise. Having an attorney can often mean the difference between a denied claim and an approval.

Although federal regulations might appear clear enough for a person to apply without legal help, a lawyer can help obtain a vocational evaluation and prepare for a hearing. When the treating doctor makes a diagnosis and the diagnosis appears sufficient to warrant SSD benefits, the person must be able to understand their condition and its symptoms. Some people moving forward with a claim might need a specialist's input to accurately evaluate the case. This can be critical for SSD benefits.

How to utilize the prerelease procedure for SSI benefits

When a person is institutionalized in North Carolina, there are often concerns as to what will happen when he or she is released. Financial and medical concerns will abound, especially if the person is suffering from a disability, an illness, a medical condition, is blind, or is 65 or older and has financial limitations. These issues meet the requirements for Supplemental Security Income. However, it can be confusing as to what steps a person should take before they are released from an institution. Knowing how to apply for SSI benefits when there is an anticipated release is therefore imperative.

With a prelease application, an individual can apply for benefits months before their expected release, and it is available to those who are institutionalized in a nursing home, a hospital, or even in jail. To succeed on one of these applications, the claimant must be considered likely to get an approval when applying for SSI benefits. The release must also be scheduled within several months of the filing. The Social Security office in the area might even already have an agreement in place with the institution. This can make the process easier, but it is not a prerequisite to applying for prerelease acceptance.

Can I get SSD benefits if I have schizophrenia?

People in North Carolina who are suffering from mental illness are granted greater freedom to admit they need help and seek treatment for the problem today than they were in the past. This is true across the nation. Whereas mental illness was once either ignored or diminished as little more than a brief problem that could be solved with simple measures, today a greater number of people are being diagnosed and are getting the help they need. Social Security disability benefits for mental conditions can be part of this assistance, and it often allows an individual to secure adequate treatment.

For people who are confronted with mental health issues, the first step toward obtaining SSD benefits is to know what they are suffering from. For example, those who think they might be schizophrenic should be aware of the symptoms. An individual who is diagnosed with schizophrenia has a problem interpreting reality. Often, it prevents them from holding a steady job, going to school regularly, and interacting with others. It also impacts behavior and emotions. Some symptoms of schizophrenia include being delusional, hallucinating, having disorganized thinking and speech, having extreme disorganization or abnormal motor behavior, and experiencing negative symptoms.

Residual functional capacity, my work abilities, and SSD benefits

Residual functional capacity (RFC) is a key factor when North Carolina residents are seeking Social Security disability benefits. Being disabled and saying that the issues that are part of the disability is frequently insufficient to automatically get approved for disability benefits. The inability to work is critical, and if an applicant shows an inability to work it will go a long way toward being approved. Understanding how physical abilities, mental abilities, and other abilities that are hindered by an impairment is part of the RFC assessment. Having legal advice for this and other aspects of a claim for SSD benefits is essential.

For those who are suffering from a disability, their symptoms will lead to limitations. RFC is the maximum the person can do despite those limitations. Physical abilities center on the limitations the person has in his or her physical capabilities and how it impacts working regularly and continuously. If the person cannot go beyond certain limits when working, like the ability to walk, stand, carry, push, pull and perform other fundamental requirements for most jobs, it will naturally inhibit what work the person can do, if he or she can conduct any work at all.

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