Monthly Archives: October 2012

What is the Blue Book?

For an injured or ill person attempting to gain Social Security disability benefits, the evaluation process may seem vague and illogical. However, the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) examiners partially refer to a manual known as the “Blue Book” to help them decide whether a claim qualifies for disability benefits or not. The Blue Book is comprised of “listings,” meaning injuries or conditions, and the requirements to qualify for each of those listings. For instance, if an applicant suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI) and claimed he could not work, the SSA would look at the requirements for a TBI. If the examiners found that the applicant’s condition met these requirements, then he would qualify for disability benefits. The Blue Book is divided into two parts: A: Part A of the book is dedicated to adult impairments. B: Part B of the book is dedicated to impairments that affect children Both…
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Handling a Disability Benefits Claim After an Applicant’s Death

Depending on the each person’s individual application and medical case, receiving an answer from the Social Security Administration (SSA) on the status of disability benefits can take over a year, and sometimes as long as two years. Unfortunately, some applicants do not live long enough to hear decision back from the SSA. For family members dealing with a loved one’s final affairs, it is important to notify the SSA as soon as possible and file a form called a “Notice Regarding Substitution of Party Upon Death of Claimant.” As we have previously discussed, it is possible for an applicant’s spouse to collect payments after the applicant has passed away. Once the deceased applicant’s family submits the proper paperwork, they must still wait for the SSA to come to a final decision about the applicant’s disability state prior to his or her death. if the SSA decides that the applicant qualifies…
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Troutman & Troutman, P.C. Attorneys Lead Workshop

On October 19, attorneys Steve Troutman and Gayle Troutman had the opportunity to work with and instruct other Social Security lawyers in a national legal conference of the National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives (NOSSCR) in Seattle, Washington. The NOSSCR is a legal association comprised of over 4,000 attorneys and legal advocates who work with people on Social Security and Supplemental Security claims. Troutman and Troutman held a workshop entitled “Tenth Circuit Practice,” which focused on the realities of representing clients in their efforts to gain disability benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA). The attorneys argued that anyone working with disabled people seeking benefits need to be abreast of the latest developments in Social Security law, as well as landmark cases and how they affect individuals in the future. Troutman and Troutman believe that participation in an organization such as NOSSCR is essential for attorneys and others in…
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That Depends on the Definition of “Work”

Disability benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA) are meant to provide financial assistance to people who can prove that their disabilities, illnesses or conditions prevent them from working and earning an income. Legally, recipients may not receive disability benefits if they are engaged in “substantial gainful activity” (SGA). For SGA to prevent approval for benefits, a person could be: An employee of another person or organization, making more than $1,010 per month. Self-employed, though the SSA would inquire as to the “value” of the work the person is performing, not just the monthly pay. This is because the amount of effort put into certain kinds of self-employment, such as farming, might not directly relate to a dollar amount. A participant in a sheltered work environment (sheltered workshop). These are programs where people are taught vocational skills and perform related tasks. In these cases, the monthly payment might actually be…
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