Slepian Smith, PLLC

Phoenix Arizona Disability Law Blog

Why it is important to keep comprehensive medical records

There are many challenges in applying for Social Security Disability benefits, including filling out paperwork, attending hearings and meeting deadlines. This is in addition to the fact that applicants are injured and trying to focus on recovery. The unfortunate reality is that the Social Security Administration rejects most initial applications.

It is especially important as applicants go through this process to keep meticulous records of all medical treatment they receive and consultations they attend. This is even more critical if the injury is not commonly acknowledged by the SSA (typical injuries include musculoskeletal problems, heart disease, impairment of hearing, sight or speech, or respiratory illnesses).

Application numbers are down but approvals are getting harder

The number of workers claiming Social Security Disability benefits is going down. So much so, that this reverse has helped bring the program back from the verge of insolvency. Recent projections on the viability of the program now put it at 2032, which is four years later than previously thought as recently as last year. Two years ago, the government warned that the program could run out of funding as soon as 2023.

Why is this happening?

What is a CE and how can it affect my claim?

Social Security Disability examiners generally like to have 12 months worth of medical treatment history from a treating physician when they make a determination. Unfortunately, disability applicants may not have the luxury of affording medical treatment, which means they do not have enough medical evidence for disability determination with the usual protocol. 

These examiners will sometimes base their decisions on recent care or they may use a special consultative examination (CE) for neurological, orthopedic or other treatment. A CE helps them to better evaluate the evidence they already have on file or to accurately recognize a disabling or severe condition.

SSDI rules regarding speech disorders

Impairment of one’s ability to speak is not the most common claim for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), but it does happen. These impairments can range from stuttering to lisps to the inability speak conversationally or at all. These may result from a complex or hard to diagnose neurological disorder or something more straightforward like hearing loss.

Qualifying for benefits

Raising awareness of Alzheimer’s disease across the world

During World Alzheimer’s Month in September, people are encouraged to learn more about this devastating disease and what we can do to help find a cure.

Unfortunately, deaths related to Alzheimer’s disease have been increasing for more than a decade, and that is expected to continue. Considering what a serious problem this is, it is important to understand the risk factors, signs and resources in place for people with this devastating illness.

Why is it challenging to pursue benefits for back pain?

Back pain is one of the most common conditions people experience, and there is no one cause of this type of condition. It can affect people who get into car accidents, people who suffer sports injuries and people with medical disorders that affect their bones or joints.

There is no one type of back pain, either. The pain can be chronic or fleeting, intense or dull. It could be limited to a specific spot or radiate throughout a person’s body.

Managing the long-term impact of sudden injuries

Any type of serious medical condition has the potential to dramatically change a person's life, from his or her mobility to cognitive functioning. It can be particularly troubling when a severe condition comes without warning; people must make instant adjustments and decisions they might not have ever anticipated.

This is often the case after serious car accidents, falls or physical attacks. In seemingly the blink of an eye, a person's life and abilities can change, and it can be critical to know how to respond.

Intellectual disabilities: Not the same as learning disabilities

In a previous post, we discussed the fact that the Social Security Administration (SSA) doesn’t always consider learning disabilities to be disabling for the purposes of benefits, especially for adults.

However, it is important not to confuse learning disabilities with intellectual disabilities. The former refers to limitations on a person’s academic skills; the latter refers to people with low IQs who struggle or are unable to carry out daily living tasks.

Why you should always see a doctor

Making a doctor's appointments for every little ailment can seem tedious and unnecessary, but for those who are seeking Social Security Disability, a history of visits can be the difference between application approval and denial. In the event you become unable to work due to an injury or illness, you will need medical records stating that you have a condition that impairs you.

However, not all aliments come with a clear diagnosis. If this is the case, medical records are just as - if not more - important than if the condition were diagnosable.

Are learning disabilities eligible for disability benefits?

Millions of adults and children across the country have been diagnosed with a learning disability, from dyslexia to language processing disorders.

While it might seem as though a learning disability would be a disabling condition for the purposes of government benefits, the fact is that this is not always the case.