Manring & Farrell

Ohio Social Security Disability And SSI Legal Blog

Determining eligibility for SSI

Ohio residents and others who are facing financial issues may qualify for Supplemental Security Income, or SSI, from the federal government. It is generally reserved for people who have limited incomes, are blind or who are over the age of 65. Individuals who apply for SSI must generally be either citizens or lawful residents of the United States. An individual may be considered to have a limited income if he or she makes $771 or less per month.

Married couples can qualify for SSI if they make $1,157 per month or less. Furthermore, an individual needs to have less than $2,000 in countable assets to qualify for this program. A married couple can have up to $3,000 in countable assets, and these assets include cash or other assets that can be liquidated. Homes, cars and other items may be exempt from being considered a countable asset.

Ohio senator still pushing for SSI asset limit increase

A senator from Ohio has renewed his efforts to increase the asset cap that applies to individuals receiving Supplemental Security Income payments. The current federal limits for people to get these funds is $2,000 for a single person and $3,000 for a married couple. If people exceed those asset limits, then they are not eligible for SSI benefits. The limits were established in 1989, so the senator has called them out of date and arbitrary.

He says such a low asset limit prevents those who receive SSI benefits from saving, making them prone to problems in case of emergency. His proposed legislation, called the Supplemental Security Income Restoration Act, would increase the asset limits to $10,000 for a single person and $20,000 for a married couple. The senator has introduced the bill repeatedly since 2014. Other provisions of the legislation include an allowance for SSI recipients to earn up to $399 each month and to receive up to $123 each month from veterans programs or pensions without endangering their benefit payments.

What are your rights when applying for SSI?

The process of applying for Supplemental Security Income in Ohio may allow you the ability to secure reliable financial support if your age or disability prevents you from sustaining a job and having adequate financial resources to live. Determining whether or not your claim is approved is the responsibility of representatives who look at your application and make decisions about your eligibility based on the information you have provided. 

Even though you are applying for benefits, you also are entitled to rights that are designed to protect you and provide you with a fair chance of being approved for assistance. Your awareness of these rights is critical to your verifying that you have been treated with respect, professionalism, and fairness as you go through the application and submittal process. Being familiar with your rights can also help you to optimize your SSI benefits.

Can PTSD be disabling?

Many Ohio residents consider disabilities to affect the physical body, such as complications from a traumatic brain injury, burns or broken bones. What about emotional injuries, you may wonder? Can something like chronic anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder be disabling enough to prevent you from working?

Post-traumatic stress disorder is a complicated condition that can cause devastating mental and even physical effects, as the American Psychiatric Association explains. PTSD can occur after witnessing or experiencing a traumatic event. The event does not have to be sudden, such as a car accident or explosion. You can also develop PTSD after experiencing years of trauma, such as childhood abuse or being in a violent relationship.

Will you have to go to a disability hearing?

When you are unable to work due to a medical condition, physical limitation or sickness, it has a significant impact on your financial health. In addition to your physical suffering, you also have to worry about how your lack of income will affect your medical care, basic needs and even your family. You may know firsthand how important it is to secure disability benefits through the Social Security Administration.

It can be frustrating to learn that your claim for disability benefits was not successful. In fact, it can feel like a letdown, and you may be unsure of what to do next. Thankfully, you have the right to appeal and continue your fight for the support you need. As you walk through the appeals process, you may have to attend a disability hearing at some point. 

What is fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is one of the conditions that may qualify you for Social Security Disability Insurance in Ohio. Doctors and researchers do not yet fully understand fibromyalgia. For these reasons, initial misdiagnosis is fairly common. The cause is unknown, but the presence of other conditions, like lupus, osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis, may be a risk factor, as is a family history of fibromyalgia. According to the Mayo Clinic, the condition may affect either men or women but occurs more often in the latter. 

People with fibromyalgia often have difficulty maintaining mental focus, finding it difficult to pay attention and concentrate. Cognitive difficulties such as these may occur alongside chronic fatigue and/or sleep disorders. However, the hallmark of fibromyalgia may be the pain that is widespread throughout the body and endures for at least three months. Patients with fibromyalgia describe it as a dull ache that occurs constantly. 

Waiting for SSDI benefits: What you should know

Filing for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits can be a difficult process. Some people may even refer to it as a waiting game, as it often takes an average of 18 months for applicants to receive a decision. In some cases, applicants have passed away from their disability, even before they were granted benefits. According to the Social Security Administration, more than 800,000 disabled Americans are waiting for a response to their SSDI application. A surprising 10,002 people on the waiting list in 2017 died while waiting for a response to their applications. Why does the SSDI application process take so long?

The problem lies in the fact that the number of SSDI claims have skyrocketed over the past decade. Many of the claims come from aging baby boomers, who are unable to work as they get older or have received a long-term disability from an on-the-job accident. Each claim must be researched by SSA representatives, who must first determine whether the disability or disease is covered under the SSDI benefits. They must then ensure that the claim includes sufficient medical evidence, including physician documentation. In some cases, the SSA representative must call and follow-up with the physician if there is any missing information. 

Reasons for claim denial and what to do next

Sometimes when you file for Social Security Disability benefits in Ohio, you receive a denial of your initial claim. At Manring & Farrell, we understand how disappointed and frustrated this can make you feel. However, this is not the time to give up. You may still be eligible to collect benefits, and you have the right to appeal the decision. 

Unlike SSI, eligibility for Social Security Disability is not dependent on financial need. Rather, your work history and the taxes you have paid earn you the right to collect. However, it is not always clear from your initial claim that you have earned that right. When the Social Security Administration denies your claim, one of the following reasons is probably behind the decision. 

Will your condition fast-track you for disability benefits?

Qualifying for Social Security Disability benefits is not always easy. If the condition with which you suffer is rare or complex, it may not be among those in the Social Security Administration's "blue book," the official list of approved conditions that qualify you for benefits. For many in Ohio, obtaining eligibility for disability means proving their symptoms prevent them from earning a living, and this can add time to an already long approval process.

However, more than just having a list of symptoms, you may be unable to work because your medical condition is especially serious. If this is the case, you may not have the time to wait the months it typically takes for the approval process and even longer between approval and the arrival of your first benefits check. Fortunately, the SSA offers a Compassionate Allowance program to fast-track certain applicants.

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