The Social Security Administration understands how serious health conditions can be and that disabilities prevent millions of Americans from working. They have two programs in place, Social Security Disability Insurance, or SSDI, and Supplemental Security Income, or SSI, to provide some financial relief to those who are out of work. To qualify for either program, applicants must prove that they are suffering from a debilitating condition that is expected to last at least a year, or end in death. The two programs are funded differently, and if an applicant does not qualify for SSDI, they may still qualify for SSI if they meet the proper criteria.
A previous post on this blog talked a new rule issued by the Social Security Administration which would have potential impact on those applying for disability benefits in Houston, Texas, as well as in other parts of the country. Basically, the rule ended the practice of the Social Security Administration's giving heightened credibility to a Social Security Disability applicant's treating physician about the applicant's disability.
Although most creditors cannot garnish the Social Security Disability checks in order to collect a debt, the federal government is an important exception to this rule. Not surprisingly, many people in the Houston area owe money for things like back taxes and, perhaps more commonly, federally backed student loans.
There are myriad ways in which a person can develop post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It is common among military veterans, law enforcement officers, firefighters, paramedics and other first responders. It is also common in other lines of work. A factory worker could witness a machine malfunction that kills someone or an accident involving dismemberment. A professional truck driver might develop the condition after being in an accident where the passengers in the other vehicle suffered serious injuries. People also develop it because of assaults, violent attacks and accidents.
As mentioned previously on this blog space, Social Security Disability benefits provide financial benefit to those who are unable to work any more. Millions of people across the country apply for these benefits every year and Houston residents may be surprised to hear that nearly 70 percent of first time claims are denied. It can seem very upsetting when one's claim is denied, but the option of appealing the decision does exist. However, before doing so, it is important to understand why the claim was denied in the first place, so the same mistake is not made.
Most of the disabilities in the country result from injuries and illnesses incurred while at work. When someone is involved in a work accident that leaves them with an inability to work, they may likely face financial difficulties as a result. Not only have they suddenly got medical expenses to keep up with, they also now may not be earning wages because they are taking time off of work to recuperate. Houston residents may be aware they can qualify for some form of benefits, but unsure of which one. Workers' compensation and Social Security Disability both provide financial assistance to those suffering from work related injuries, so what is the difference between the two?
2016 was the first time there was a year to year decrease in the number of people receiving Social Security disability benefits since 1988, the earliest year from which data is available. The trend has carried on into the New Year, as the number fell from 8.89 million in 2016 to 8.79 million in 2017. This is the lowest level in five years. The annual applications for SSD benefits have also seen a decline, from 2.93 million in 2010 to 2.32 million in 2016.
Houston residents are fortunate enough to live in a country where the governmental offices are comparatively efficient and responsive. They still must heave a sigh of relief when their Social Security paperwork is not only complete, but also accepted. They can finally receive the much-needed financial assistance they deserve. However, as mentioned in last week's post, the Social Security Administration (SSA) conducts periodic review of claimants to figure out if they still need to receive payments and this can fluster people who are receiving the payments.
Suffering from a serious disability that prevents you from working can be nerve-wracking. If you're lucky, you have family members and friends who can support you until you get approved for benefits. In the meantime, you will want to be as proactive as possible in submitting your Social Security disability insurance application.
For Houstonians who have been approved for Social Security disability benefits, there are still rules that are part of the process and must be fully understood and followed. One is that the Social Security Administration will conduct periodic reviews of claimants to determine if they still need to receive disability payments. This is not directed at any particular individual. It is simply one of the requirements when receiving benefits.