Monthly Archives: December 2011

How does the SSA Define Disabled?

How does the Social Security Administration (“SSA”) define “disabled”? This is one factor about which disability benefits applicants often have incorrect information. It is, however, the most important one, as the SSA uses the same disability definition to determine eligibility for a number of its programs, including Social Security Disability Insurance (“SSDI”) benefits and Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”) benefits. In this post, we cover the basic disability requirements in order to be able to apply for SSDI or SSI benefits. What type of work can the applicant perform? In order to be able to apply for benefits, you must not be able to perform the work that you did in the past. Additionally, your condition or injury must be so severe that you cannot adjust to other work. The SSA often brings in vocational experts at a later stage in the benefits application process to assess your situation. For example,…
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Survivors Benefits Provide Additional Help for Disabled Widows and Children

Survivors benefits come from a person who passes away and who had worked during his or her lifetime. The more that the deceased person worked, the larger the amount of benefits available for his or her survivors will be. Determining who is entitled to what survivors benefits can be a complicated matter, as survivors benefits involve the intersection of quite a few of the programs that the Social Security Administration (“SSA”) offers. Details on eligibility for survivors benefits are available from a Tulsa SSI lawyer. As an example of the types of determinations that the SSA makes for survivors benefits, when a worker passes away, the worker’s survivors benefits will go towards his or her widow or children. If the widow is above retirement age, he or she will receive the full amount of the deceased worker’s benefits. If the widow is not yet at retirement age, the amount that…
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Online Social Security Services Make Applying Easier

Actress Patty Duke’s birthday was on December 14. While most of us celebrate our birthdays with cakes and family and friends, Duke, a longtime spokeswoman for the Social Security Administration (“SSA”), did something else – she applied online for Social Security and Medicare benefits. Her promotion of the SSA’s online services appears on the SSA’s website with Duke proclaiming, “I retired online at home in my pajamas. You can too!” Her SSA YouTube video shows her and her husband walking through the benefits application process, entirely online. While Duke is specifically promoting applying for retirement benefits online, the SSA offers a number of online services to make things easier for disability benefits applicants as well. The initial application is available entirely online so that you do not have to travel to your nearest Social Security office. For those already receiving disability benefits, they can perform the following actions online: Confirm…
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Disability Benefits Investigations Still Lacking

One area that both sides of the political aisle agree needs work on is investigations of Social Security fraud. Investigations are often insufficient or lacking altogether given the limited resources that the Social Security Administration (“SSA”) and state offices have, but the benefits of improved investigations should outweigh the costs. Newspapers routinely report stories of Social Security fraud where the non-disabled receive benefits or where someone took advantage of a disabled or retired person to steal his or her benefits. Catching these crimes towards their start is far less costly than waiting until thousands of dollars in benefits are missing and hours of legal fees and investigative work are necessary to get to the bottom of the crime. In many instances, the criminals are never able to repay the stolen benefits to the SSA. The benefits theft and human trafficking case out of Philadelphia has brought some of the investigative…
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