Manring & Farrell

Ohio Social Security Disability And SSI Legal Blog

Changes may jeopardize Social Security disability benefits

Disability recipients in Ohio may be required to prove their status to case reviewers more often if new rules are approved. The change proposed by the Trump Administration would affect an estimated 16 million Americans who receive payments under two programs handled by the Social Security Administration. Some groups are opposing the new rules by claiming the review process is already damaged. Administration officials claim the new rules will net the program about $1.2 billion per year.

Disability cases currently approved in two programs, Supplemental Security Income and Social Security Disability Insurance, must be reviewed based on the categorization of the individual's medical condition. For instance, reviews may only occur between five and seven years for cases classed as "medical improvement not expected." More frequent reviews occur for cases where improvement is likely, such as preterm infants. The new rules would add a category and revise the time to review for some of the categories.

Foot issues may lead to disability benefits

Ohio residents or others who experience foot drop could be declared unable to work because of a disability. In most cases, foot drop in itself is not a reason to allow a person to obtain disability benefits. However, it could be used to show that he or she has a neurological or musculoskeletal condition that may make it difficult or impossible to hold down a job. Generally speaking, medical evidence will be used to determine if this is the case.

Medical evidence could include a note from the doctor who has treated an individual asking for benefits. The note will ideally include the different treatment methods used to help overcome the condition as well as how a person has responded to those treatments. Those who are applying for disability benefits should also include test results or images of the foot itself to help bolster a claim of drop foot.

SSI benefits may be available for disabled minors

Children with disabilities in Ohio may be entitled to benefits through the Supplemental Security Income program of the Social Security Administration. Most often, SSI applies to adults, but children might qualify if they meet the requirements of the SSA definition of disability. To be eligible, the relevant party also must not exceed the household income and resource limits established by the SSA. Adults who have been disabled since they were under 18 years of age might be eligible for a different type of benefit through Social Security Disability Insurance.

When making an SSI disability determination, the Social Security Administration considers earned income, unearned income, deemed income and in-kind income. Earned income includes wages and other compensation. Unearned income includes disability benefits, unemployment payments and other non-compensation income. Deemed income is calculated as a portion of the income of others in the relevant household. In-kind income is calculated based on the estimated value of shelter or food provided at a discounted rate. If the child's income exceeds SSA limits, he or she may not be eligible for SSI payments.

Does depression qualify me for disability benefits?

Getting out of bed in the morning may be one of the most difficult things you have to do each day. Your day may also hold little promise of anything better coming along. In fact, you may feel overwhelmed with thoughts of hopelessness, low energy, difficulty remaining focused, agitation or fatigue. Your family and friends may be frustrated that you can't just get over it, but all your efforts to do so have failed.

You may be suffering from a depressive disorder that prevents you from functioning at a normal capacity. This may include your daily chores around your home, interactions in social settings and meeting other obligations. Your depression may also prevent you from maintaining gainful employment. If this is the case for you, it may be time to consider applying for disability benefits through the Social Security Administration.

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. 

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