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Social Security Disability Articles

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Visual and Hearing Loss Disability Benefits

There are many disabilities that qualify for benefits under the Social Security Administration. Among these disabilities, hearing loss and visual disorders are included. This post breaks down the definitions and evaluation standards of these conditions under Social Security. Visual Disorders Visual disorders or blindness are understood as any abnormality of the eye or brain that causes a visual loss. Statutory blindness is defined under the act as a central visual acuity of 20/200 or less in your better eye, even with the use of a correcting lens. This type of visual impairment doesn’t allow you to to read or do fine work details. You are not able to perceive visual stimuli. To determine if you have an eligible visual disorder, the Social Security Administration usually needs a copy of an eye examination that has the measurements of your best-corrected visual acuity. Hearing Loss Social Security offers benefits for severe hearing loss or deafness, but not for mild cases and conditions. They ask for evidence showing you have a medically accepted impairment that causes the severity of your hearing loss. Normally, they require audiometry testing or a word recognition test to determine the severity of your hearing impairment. If you do not have cochlear implants, your average hearing sensitivity must be 90 decibels or worse in your better ear with a hearing sensitivity of 60 decibels in the worse ear. If you take the word recognition test, you must not be able to repeat more than 40% of a list of spoken words. Summit Disability Law Group At Summit Disability Law Group, we understand visual and hearing impairments can be challenging....

When Will I Know my Disability Hearing Date?

Are you waiting for your disability hearing date? The Federal Register has recently posted the Social Security Administration’s new regulations. The changes made the procedure more consistent nationwide. The Social Security Administration hopes these updates will work more efficiently and better serve the public.  Now, your hearing date will be given at least 75 days before your hearing. You must still submit your evidence 5 days before the hearing, but post-hearing statements are still allowed. What Has Been Updated: Along with adjusting the disability hearing date, other changes were also made in the hearing process. The time-frame for notifying you of the hearing date The information disclosed in the hearing notice The time-frame when you can submit written evidence and statements What is considered the official record The manner the Appeals Council looks at additional evidence Summit Disability Law Group If you’re wondering if these updates and changes may effect your approaching disability hearing, contact our office. At Summit Disability Law Group, we specialize in Social Security Disability cases, and we understand the process. The different rules and steps can be frustrating and stressful, but we can help you every step of the way. We also have a free book, The Utah Social Security Disability Handbook, that can answer your questions about the claims...

New Mental Disability Listings

The Social Security Administration has revised its criteria for mental health disabilities. The new rules went into effect at the first of the year in January. They were the result of modern advances in the medical field and meant to reflect the terms used by the American Psychological Association. These changes may effect your social security disability application if it is connected to mental health.  The New Listings of Mental Disorders: Substance addiction disorders were removed from the list, but several new disorders were added. Neurocognitive disorders Schizophrenia spectrum and other psychotic disorders Depressive, bipolar, and related disorders Intellectual disorder Anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorders Somatic symptom and related disorders Personality and impulse-control disorders Autism spectrum disorder Neurodevelopmental disorders Eating disorders Trauma and stressor-related disorders The New Four Areas of Functioning The Social Security Administration also made changes to the evaluation and criteria for mental functioning. Understand, remember, or apply information Interact with others Concentrate, persist, or maintain pace Adapt or manage oneself Summit Disability Law Group Is on Your Side At Summit Disability Law Group our attorneys are ready to assist you with professional and compassionate experience. Mental illness can be frustrating and debilitating, but we are dedicated to helping you receive the compensation and support you deserve. Trust our social security disability attorneys to represent you and your case. If you have any questions feel free to take a look at our book, The Utah Social Security Disability...

Social Security “5 Day Rule”

In a Social Security case, submitting your evidence to an administrative law judge can be intimidating, but there is a simple 5 day rule you can follow. It is important that you submit your information or evidence to the administrative law judge when you submit a request for a hearing. Written evidence, or summary of evidence, must be submitted no later than 5 business days before your scheduled hearing. If it is submitted after 5 days, the law judge may choose to not consider your evidence. The judge will only consider your evidence after the 5 days if you can prove that: The Social Security Administration misled you Some type of disability prevented you ( physical, mental, educational, or linguistic ) An unexpected or unavoidable situation occurred that was beyond your control Evidence can be crucial in a Social Security case; therefore, play it safe and remember the 5 day rule. Submitting your evidence on time and well within the 5 days will guarantee less stress and frustration on your part. At Summit Disability Law Group we have assisted hundreds of Utah clients navigate the Social Security application process, and we would love to help you as well. If you have any further questions about how the process works, please order a free copy of our book, The Utah Social Security Disability Handbook. This book will explain the claims process so you can approach your unique case with confidence. Summit Disability Law Group is Here for You Our Social Security Disability Lawyers are dedicated to you and your goals. We are here to help get you back to financial...

Disability Application: Do I Need a Doctor?

If you are planning on submitting an application to the Social Security Administration because of a disability, there are some changes you should be aware of! The Social Security Administration has recently ruled major changes in the evaluation of medical evidence. Knowing about these changes will help you file a strong legal application for Social Security Disability Insurance. They will go into effect for applications filed after March 27, 2017. Who are Acceptable Medical Sources? Prior to this ruling, medical evaluation was only accepted by strict physician personnel. Now many other types of medical professionals can evaluate your case and determine if you have a physical or mental disability. Registered Nurses Certified Nurse Midwives Nurse Practitioners Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists Clinical Nurse Specialists. Physician Assistants Audiologists Other Changes In accordance with the changes of acceptable medical sources, they have been included in other parts of the application as well. Medical Summary Reports that are co-signed by an acceptable medical source will be considered a valid medical opinion. The Social Security Administration will now give more importance to the evaluation of acceptable medical sources who have had an ongoing treatment relationship with the patient. Do You Have a Social Security Disability Case? At Summit Disability Law Group, we have helped hundreds of clients obtain the social security disability benefits they deserved. The process and different regulations can be confusing, but we are dedicated to you and your goals. If you would like to know more about the claims process and how to avoid major mistakes, take a look at our free book, The Utah Social Security Disability Handbook.      ...

International Women’s Day: Women and Disability Benefits

March 8th marks International Women’s Day. This day originally simply celebrated women in the workforce, but it now has broader meaning. It promotes political and social awareness of women’s achievements and continued struggles worldwide. We at Summit Disability Law Group want to help spread the word about this day and its message. Participate in the International Women’s Day Campaign The International Women’s Day 2017 campaign aims to promote the active involvement of women in economies and governments across the world. If you would like to participate in this effort,  the campaign asks supporters to post on social media with the hashtag #BeBoldForChange. At Summit Disability Law Group, we strive to serve the community through our work. As more women enter the workforce and pay taxes, more become potentially eligible for Social Security disability benefits. Unfortunately, millions of Americans live with disabilities that prevent them from working and earning money. In 2013, almost 50% of disability benefits recipients were women. If you suffer from a disability that makes work impossible, we can help you get these benefits. Women and Disability Benefits As the female labor force increases, so does the number of female Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) recipients. Social security disability benefits help disabled women in the workforce pursue their goals and provide for themselves and their families. How to Apply If you are disabled and no longer able to work and earn money, you may be eligible for disability benefits. You can apply online on the Social Security Administration’s website. You can call 1-800-772-1213 to schedule an appointment at a local Social Security office or submit your application over the phone. Need Help with a Disability...

Workplace Accessibility Laws

Workplace accessibility laws protect disabled workers. Hopefully, your workplace offers plenty of accommodations and follows these laws. However, it is a good idea to familiarize yourself with the law and your rights as a disabled worker. At Summit Disability Law Group, we are dedicated to helping disabled workers get the benefits they need. This post breaks down accessibility laws and identifies some of the resources available for you. Workplace Accessibility Laws The Americans with Disabilities Act (or ADA) defines disability as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits major life activities. You are eligible for accommodations if you fit within this definition. The ADA requires employers to provide “reasonable accommodations” for disabled workers. Essentially, they must provide resources that allow disabled employees to perform at an equal level as others. Accommodations vary according to needs. They can range from wheelchair ramps to service dogs. If there is a reasonable tool your employer can provide that helps you do your work, they should provide it. There are also many websites and resources that can help you understand your rights. Resources for Disabled Workers These websites provide helpful information about workplace accessibility laws. ADA National Network This website explains many different aspects of the ADA and how it works. Jan Job Accommodation Network This network answers questions about the ADA and disability rights. Computer/Electronic Accommodations Program This federal program offers free assistive technology and disability services. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission The EEOC makes sure that employers follow ADA guidelines. The U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division Here, you can find help about who to contact if your employer is not following ADA guidelines. Disabled...

Service Dogs: How Can They Help?

Dogs are man’s best friend, but service dogs are specially trained to make their owners’ lives easier and healthier. Service dogs provide companionship and perform life-saving tasks. At Summit Disability Law Group, we strive to help people with disabilities take advantage of all the benefits available for them. Many people with disabilities can find help from these animals. This post explains the basics of the assistance they provide. How Can Service Dogs Help? Any dog breed can be a service dog. The only distinction is that they are trained to work for you, and not just be a pet. These dogs are trained to help people with many different disabilities. Service dogs can provide emotional support, help navigate, assist during seizures, and even call 911 during an emergency. According to the United States Dog Registry, trained service dogs can help people with the following disabilities: Limited Mobility (Paralysis) Blindness/Deafness Diabetes Multiple Sclerosis Cancer Autism Epilepsy Bone and Skeletal Disease (Osteoporosis or Scoliosis) Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) allows any disabled person to own a service dog. It also allows these dogs in most public places, including restaurants, hotels, transportation, and stores. Businesses can only ask what tasks the dog is trained to perform, not what disability the owner has. Some businesses, such as airlines, can require your dog to wear an identification vest or card.  Protections under ADA also let owners live with their service dogs at any building or residence, even those with a no pet policy. Landlords and managers must allow service dogs and cannot charge extra fees. Summit Disability Law Group Service dogs assist many disabled people. They are just one of the many resources available to make...

Jake Ties the Knot

Many of our clients have been curious about my wedding day. Naturally,  I thought it was a day to remember. So, because of the interest, I have decided to write a blog post about the wedding festivities. Some people couldn’t care less about this. But, others want to know all the details. So, if that’s you, read on! Nashville Reception My wife is originally from Nashville, TN. She moved to Utah just to go to college. But when she graduated, she got a job she liked and decided to stay. When we decided to get married, it was clear that she had many friends from home that would not be able to attend a reception in Utah. So, we decided to hold a reception in Nashville, as well. Three days after Christmas, we flew out to Nashville and our our families met for the first time. I confess that I approached this moment with a little bit of fear and trembling. You always hope that your families will hit it off and enjoy each other’s company. But, as many of you may know, it doesn’t always work out that way. Thankfully, it went better than either of us could have hoped. Our families hit it off, and we spent the next day traveling around Nashville together seeing the sites. To my in-laws’ credit, they were extremely gracious and went the extra mile to make my family feel at home. The reception took place the next night in my wife’s friend’s home. The house was the epitome of modern southern charm. There was food, family, friends, and fun. I didn’t...

Disabilities in the Movies

  The Oscars are around the corner, where the best movies of the year are rewarded. In recent years, many award-winning movies included disabled characters. Actors often work very hard to successfully represent the disabled on screen.  The accurate depiction of disabilities in the movies allows audiences to learn about different conditions. This post identifies some great recent films that highlight the realities of living with a disability. 4 Portrayals of Disabilities in the Movies These movies are all critically acclaimed and depict major characters with disabilities. While they may not all represent disabilities 100% accurately, they effectively spread awareness about the difficulties of living with these conditions. Theory of Everything Actor Eddie Redmayne plays the part of Stephen Hawking. The role shows Hawking throughout his life, both before he was diagnosed with ALS and after. Redmayne said he spent four months studying Hawking’s life. He also created a chart of how the disease advanced in order to accurately capture it. He also worked with a choreographer to learn how to mirror Hawking’s speech and movement.  Still Alice  Julianne Moore stars as “Alice Howland,” a young professor who is diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. This film represents Alzheimer’s from a patient’s point of view. Moore prepared by speaking with the head of the Alzheimer’s Association. She also visited and spoke with women recently diagnosed with the disease. Ray This movie is a biography of the famous blind jazz musician Ray Charles. Jamie Foxx played the role of Ray. Foxx wore prosthetic eyelids that prevented him from seeing while filming. Rain Man In this film, Dustin Hoffman plays the role of a man with autism....

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