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Archive for June, 2011

Appeals Court Discounts Disability Applicant’s Neurologist

Friday, June 24th, 2011

The 11th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals handed down a decision last week that discussed how much weight to give a disability applicant’s physician during the application process. The 11th covers the southeast portion of the country, handling appeals from federal courts in Alabama, Florida and Georgia. More details about the law surrounding Social Security disability benefits are available from a Tulsa Social Security disability lawyer.

The applicant in the case appealed a decision denying his application for Social Security Disability Insurance (“SSDI”) and Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”) benefits. In his appeal, he argued that the administrative law judge did not give enough weight to the opinion of the man’s neurologist. The man had seen the neurologist multiple times from 1999 through 2005. He complained of headaches that, by 2005, had grown so bad that he was “totally incapacitated” 8 to 10 days every month.

The appeals court found that the judge properly discounted the neurologist’s opinion, which other evidence appeared to outweigh. Images of the applicant’s brain and other neurological examinations showed that the man appeared to have no problems. Some of the neurologist’s examinations of the man also showed that he was capable of work. The inconsistencies were enough for the government to deny the man’s SSDI and SSI applications. A Tulsa Social Security disability attorney can provide more information on the SSDI and SSI application process.

Endocrine Disorders No Longer Qualify for SSDI or SSI

Thursday, June 23rd, 2011

A couple of weeks ago, the Social Security Administration (“SSA”) eliminated endocrine disorders from its list of maladies that qualify for benefits from programs for disabled Americans, Social Security Disability Insurance (“SSDI”) and Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”). Potential applicants for Social Security benefits may wish to consult a Tulsa Social Security disability lawyer for information on the recent changes.

Endocrine disorders involve the glands that secrete hormones into a person’s bloodstream. The endocrine system plays an important role in regulating the body, as hormones are involved such vital roles as metabolism, tissue function and a person’s mood. Endocrine diseases include diabetes, thyroid disorders and pituitary gland disorders.

The SSA revised its listings citing advances in technology as being able to detect endocrine disorders at earlier stages today. Improvements in treatment also help people better manage endocrine disorders today than in years past.

The changes will not affect those already receiving benefits for endocrine disorders. As of a few weeks ago, however, endocrine disorders do not automatically qualify a person for Social Security benefits. Depending on their symptoms and disabilities, applicants may still be able to receive benefits under different SSA criteria. A Tulsa Social Security disability attorney can provide further guidance on this matter.

Possible Troubles for Social Security’s Move to Paperless

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011

In the coming years, the Social Security Administration (“SSA”) will be moving nearly all Americans from paper checks to electronic versions like direct deposit or debit cards. New Social Security beneficiaries must already receive their benefits electronically. Those already receiving benefits will have until the spring of 2013 to switch to electronic receipt. A Tulsa Social Security disability attorney can provide more information about various Social Security benefits.

The SSA suspended paper statements back in April as a result of major financial problems that financial experts predict for Social Security in the coming years. The move will save the SSA money by not having to print the checks, as well as by not having to process lost check claims. The SSA says that it processes 600,000 claims each year for lost or stolen checks.

The move to electronic benefits may impact SSDI and SSI beneficiaries. Because the SSA will deposit benefits via direct deposit or put them onto a MasterCard debit card, beneficiaries will need to have a checking account as well as access to an ATM, tasks which may pose difficulties depending on the severity of a beneficiary’s disability. Benefits statements and locating information will also require internet access, a luxury to which some beneficiaries may not yet have frequent access. More information on forthcoming changes to Social Security benefits is available from a Tulsa Social Security disability lawyer.

Senator Coburn Asks for Investigation into Adult Baby

Tuesday, June 21st, 2011

Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn is calling upon the Social Security Administration (“SSA”) to investigate the Social Security benefits that a man, whom the press refers to as an “adult baby,” and his caregiver receive. Information on eligibility for various Social Security benefits is available from a Tulsa Social Security disability lawyer.

30- year-old Stanley Thorton, Jr. hails from California and recently appeared on National Geographic’s TV show Taboo, which Senator Coburn happened to watch. Segments showed Thorton sleeping in a crib, wearing XXL diapers, sucking on a pacifier and drinking from a baby juice bottle. Thorton claims that the baby treatment helps him feel love, affection and safety.

Coburn and many others were skeptical that the man and his caregiver merited continuing benefits from the SSA at taxpayers’ expense. In his letter to the SSA’s investigative branch, Coburn mentioned how Thorton was able to dress himself and act appropriately in public, drive himself on errands, design and fabricate custom baby furniture for himself and run an internet support group.

Both Thorton and his caregiver have been collecting Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”), which provides disability benefits to individuals who fall below a certain income level. Thorton’s roommate is a former nurse. Senator Coburn believes both could work and, thus, should be ineligible to receive SSI benefits. A Tulsa Social Security disability attorney can help Social Security applicants distinguish between SSI and SSDI benefits.