The Elder and Disability Law Firm, APC
SSA disregards short-terms needs of disabled people
California residents who are confronted by long-term disability could face significant financial hardships while waiting for an answer about disability benefits from the Social Security Administration. Strict requirements guide eligibility for benefits, and the agency denies many applicants. Although an appeals process is in place, years might pass before the agency makes a decision.
According to statements from the SSA, the agency's system expects people to provide for themselves while awaiting an approval for long-term financial benefits. The agency suggests that people use savings, short-term disability insurance, or workers' compensation benefits, or rely on relatives. As it turns out, employees of the SSA do not receive short-term disability benefits through their employer.
For someone to potentially qualify for long-term benefits, the physical or mental injury or illness must persist for at least one year. The severity of the condition must prevent a person from performing work that will produce a substantial and gainful income. Although a condition might prevent a person from continuing previously held employment, the SSA will consider whether or not the person has the ability to engage in an alternative form of employment.
A person struggling with severe injuries or chronic illness might want an attorney to manage an application for Social Security Disability benefits. An attorney familiar with the agency's coding scheme for disabling conditions might be able to complete forms accurately and help the client avoid denial or delay. Physical and vocational evaluations necessary for the application could be scheduled by an attorney with appropriate providers. If the agency denies benefits, an attorney could initiate the process of an appeal. During a hearing, an attorney could communicate the client's needs and present documentation supporting a disability claim.