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Kissimmee Social Security Disability Law Blog

Benefits for diseases related to addiction or alcoholism

It is a sad fact that many Florida residents in Osceola County suffer from the burden of a drug or alcohol problem. Many of these people are high functioning enough to be able to hold down a job, and many may put years of service in to their profession.

However, in many cases, a person's addiction eventually catches up with him or her in the form of a serious or even debilitating health problem. Take, for example, the case of liver disease. While liver problems can result from perfectly natural causes, in many cases, a person who drinks too much, too often will wind up with a liver condition that could mean the person can no longer work in his chosen profession.

What will I need to prove my mental condition is a disability?

Kissimmee residents who have suffered under a mental condition, ranging from depression to schizophrenia to bipolar disorder and other mental illnesses, know how serious and debilitating these conditions can be. If serious enough, they can keep a person out of the workforce and, at times, barely able to function.

It is no surprise, therefore, that many Floridians with mental disorders apply for Social Security Disability benefits, simply because they are not able to support themselves and need the help. However, one cannot easily see that a person with a mental illness is even sick at all, much less too sick to maintain gainful employment and thus disabled.

Some perspective on Social Security's future

Many Osceola County, Florida, residents have probably heard stories that the trust funds administered by the Social Security Administration, and which pays for disability benefits like SSDI, is on the brink of a collapse because the money going to the trust simply isn't matching what is coming out.

Indeed, the most recent government report predicted two things. First, that, at least by one measurement, the amount of money that goes in to the program's trust funds will not match what is being pulled out of the funds.

Can I get both disability benefits and workers' compensation?

Too many times, a work-related injury leaves a resident of Osceola County, Florida, permanently disabled. These injured workers not only have to deal with the physical aspects of their new limitations, they also have to figure out how they are going to carry on financially without being able to work, especially if they have others who are counting on their paycheck.

Like other states, Florida has a workers' compensation system available to injured Florida workers who need help with expenses like medical bills and replacement earnings. However, workers' compensation will not pay for everything and, in particular, does not cover every penny of one's lost wages.

What can be done to speed up the appeals process?

As previous this blog have discussed, the Social Security Administration is currently facing an unprecedented backlog of cases where people in the Kissimmee, Florida, area and throughout the country who have been denied Social Security are awaiting a chance to have their cases reviewed by an administrative law judge. This wait can go on for months or even years, and many people wind up dying before they get Social Security Disability benefits.

To some extent, the backlog is a problem only Congress and the Social Security Administration can fix, and until they do so, the time it takes to get a hearing on appeal will not change much. However, there are a couple of things that a person who is waiting for an appeal can do which may shorten the wait time, although neither of these techniques is guaranteed to do so. Usually, people employ these techniques with the help of an experienced Social Security attorney.

Support for Kissimmee residents with bipolar disorder

For years, the term "manic depression" was used to describe a mental illness characterized by severe mood swings. Today, the clinical term used by professionals is bipolar disorder, and it's something that can lead to an inability to work for Kissimmee residents who struggle with it.

Bipolar disorder can complicate your work experience in two ways. The symptoms of the illness itself, of course, can present problems on the job. You may have difficulty focusing on a particular task for any length of time. You may also find it hard to interact appropriately with an authority figure, such as your supervisor or a human resources representative. But additional complications may arise from the medications used to treat bipolar disorder. The side effects may further impair your ability to work.

Social Security Disability for blind individuals (part 2)

We'll pick up where we left off previously with our discussion of the kinds of benefits and support available from the Social Security Administration for people who are blind. The information is intended to be general in nature only, and not specific legal advice for any individual situation.

As noted previously, blind individuals may be eligible for disability benefits based on certain thresholds. But many may not seek out these benefits due to the perception of obstacles in communicating with the SSA. The agency is aware of this matter and makes a number of options available.

Social Security Disability for blind individuals (part 1)

Previously, in our discussion of the impending 2 percent cost-of-living adjustment to SSD benefits, we noted that blind individuals have some specific thresholds applicable to them. Let's take a deeper dive into the information provided by the SSA as to the kind of support that is available for blind or low-vision individuals who cannot work due to their disability.

First, just what does the SSA consider to be blindness? One criteria is that vision correction cannot improve sight beyond 20/200 in one's better eye. Alternatively, for a minimum of one year, the visual field in one's better eye has been no greater than 20 degrees -- this can be one year that has passed, or an expected duration of one year or more.

Will Social Security Disability payments increase in 2018?

There's some good news on the horizon for disabled recipients of Social Security benefits. The Social Security Administration has announced a 2 percent increase in payments for 2018. We'll review what this could mean for our Osceola County readers; this information is intended to be general in nature, not specific legal advice.

The increase is what the SSA calls a cost-of-living adjustment. COLAs began in 1975 as a way to keep benefits up to par with inflation. The COLA increase is linked to other economic indicators in such a way that a COLA will occur automatically when inflation is also on the rise. Previously, it required an act of Congress to increase the amount paid to Social Security recipients.

Will cancer treatment affect one's ability to work? (Part 2)

There are a number of strategies of which cancer patients may avail themselves in order to try to manage working and treatment at the same time, as we discussed last week on our Kissimmee Social Security Disability law blog. Depending in part on the nature of their job as well as the specifics of their illness, it is possible for many to do so. But what happens when cancer treatment leads to a patient's inability to work?

Cancer patients may feel, for many reasons, like they need to push themselves to keep working through treatment. However, this can end up hurting patients in several ways. For one thing, patients may actually harm their physical recovery by not getting the necessary rest and by over-exerting themselves on the job. And in addition, an application for short-term disability might be more susceptible to denial if it comes after a patient has been seen to be working "successfully" for some time during treatment.