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Colorado Springs Law Blog

Apply for SSD benefits with competent help

While Colorado residents are working, they enjoy a certain amount of independence and the freedom their income allows them to have, regardless of the amount of money one is actually earning. It is the independence that is appealing. This is why, when an injury prevents someone from working, they often find it difficult to ask others for help. Asking a family member is difficult enough, asking the Social Security Administration for Social Security Disability benefits, a system that one has contributed to, can be even more difficult because the process can seem much more complex and daunting.

The requirements that must be met to obtain benefits can change subtly but significantly each year. The year 2018 saw changes take place in many aspects of SSD benefits. Keeping abreast with them can be difficult, especially if someone is already suffering from a disabling condition. The conditions that may qualify for SSD benefits can range from those that affect one physically to cognitively, and all of them can make gathering papers and going from office to office a challenge.

How is work history relevant to my SSD benefits application?

Since the Social Security Administration can access an applicant's work history many applicants make the mistake of not furnishing evidence regarding their work history when applying for Social Security Disability benefits. This mistake could be one of the reasons almost 70 percent of all first-time applications are rejected.

Colorado residents may not realize that they need to provide work-history information to the SSA so that the vocational aspects of the claim can be assessed. This means not only knowing where one worked and for how long, but also the duties that were associated with the job. What was the nature of the job-did it require lifting heavy objects or sitting at a desk for a long period of time? How long did one need to work in a day and in a week and what was the remuneration for this work?

Medical reasons for SSD benefits claim denial

Colorado residents who are about to apply for Social Security Disability benefits may have heard an alarming figure thrown around: approximately two-thirds of all initial claims for SSD benefits are denied by the Social Security Administration. This may seem frustrating to applicants, as a portion of one's paycheck is contributing towards the very benefits that one is applying for, but rather than give up hope, one should understand the reason why their application has been denied so that additional next steps can be taken in hopes of remedying the matter.

When the Social Security Administration sends a denial notice to applicants it includes a description of the reason for denial and the records and evidence considered to make the decision. Oftentimes denials are issued due to a lack of medical evidence

How long do I have to wait for an SSD appeals hearing?

Almost two-third of all first time applications for Social Security Disability benefits are denied. The good news is that most of these applications are approved in the appeals process. The bad news for Colorado residents is that it can take up to two years for the first administrative hearing to take place.

The number of people receiving benefits through the two programs administered by the Social Security Administration has gone from 11.5 million in 2005 to 18.5 million in 2015. More than a million people are awaiting an administrative hearing decision at any given time, given the immense backlog in what the SSA termed a 'public service crisis.' In the meantime, applicants oftentimes deplete their retirement savings, lose their homes, and even declare bankruptcy as they try to make ends meet without holding down a job.

Different insurance programs for injured employees

When someone is injured due to a work accident, not only does one have to deal with hospital expenses that were not expected but he or she also has to contend with taking time off from work and potentially losing out on much-needed income. Colorado residents may not be aware that there are various types of insurance systems they can tap into, but it is essential to understand the differences between to ensure the right program is applied to and unnecessary delays not caused.

Workers' compensation is one of the insurance programs that can be availed. It is considered an alternative to litigation and most employers are required by state law to carry it to cover injured employees. The employee is generally injured during the course of their employment or at their workspace in order to receive workers' compensation disability-instances in which the employer would be liable for the workplace injury.

Busting myths about Social Security

Although the Social Security Administration has been running the federal program of Social Security Disability benefits for many years, there are still a number of myths that affect Colorado residents' understanding of the system and the rules and regulations surrounding it. A lot of misinformation is accepted as truth and can be detrimental in the long run.

Social Security takes good care of divorced spouses, if the marriage lasted 10 years or longer. If that's the case, then the ex-spouse can receive spousal benefits even if they have limited or non-existent work histories themselves. Their entitlement is to a benefit that is one-half of their divorced spouse's full disability benefit and this doesn't affect the primary recipient.

Memory loss and qualifying for SSD benefits

Social Security Disability benefits exist to help qualifying Colorado residents get the financial aid they need to make ends meet, as they are no longer able to work. One of the reasons a person may find himself or herself unable to work and earn a living is because they are suffering from memory loss.

There are a number of reasons for memory loss, from medications and psychological disorders to dementia and head injuries. Depending on one's condition, memory loss can be either short term, where patients do not remember what happened merely seconds ago while they can clearly recall childhood events, or long term, in which current memories are retained but not why they walked into a room. Either way, confusion, disorientation, getting lost in familiar places, mood changes, trouble following directions, misplacing items and forgetting how to use them are common symptoms of memory loss.

Cutting down on construction injuries

Colorado has a booming construction sector. Development throughout the state has created lots of work for our construction workers.

Unfortunately, it also creates more opportunities for accidents on job sites. Construction work is routinely one of the most dangerous jobs in the country. Colorado is no different.

How are budget cuts affecting SSA's public services?

Applying for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits is complicated and often overwhelming for Colorado residents already struggling with a physical or cognitive disability. A potential applicant may find him or herself turning to the Social Security Administration (SSA) for guidance and find they are facing long waiting times.

The SSA is unique because it touches the lives of millions of Americans. In 2017 alone, it paid around $990 billion in benefits to more than 60 million retired or disabled workers, and recipients of Supplemental Security income. They provide a toll-free tele-service, website and more than 1,200 field offices to interact with the public. Unfortunately, all these services are being severely affected by recent budget cuts.

What are "critical" cases for SSD benefits?

Much is said about how long it takes for the Social Security Administration to review a Social Security Disability benefits application and Colorado residents planning on applying may hesitate to do so because they are afraid it might take too long to be approved. However, there are certain instances in which an SSD application can be expedited. If the SSA comes across such a claim, they are required to accept or deny it more quickly than usual.

When the claimant's illness has been categorized as terminal, that is, irreversible, untreatable and expected to end in death, their case is considered "critical." However, just because someone's case is deemed terminal, it doesn't mean their application will automatically be accepted. An adjudicator still needs to evaluate the application. Similarly, when the claimant is in dire need of assistance, their claim will be expedited. Dire need situations are considered to exist when the claimant is unable to obtain food and lacks shelter, and lacks medicine or medical care and is unable to obtain it. in this situation, absent evidence to the contrary, when SSA employees encounter a claim that a person is without resources to meet an immediate threat to health and safety, they will err on the side of designating the claim as critical.