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Los Angeles California Social Security Disability Insurance Law Blog

When a loved one has a mental illness

If someone close to you is suffering from a psychiatric disorder in California, you may feel helpless and alone. Whether it is their first bout or a recurring condition, it is important to know that many are in your same situation. At Disability Rights Law Center, we understand the sensitive considerations involved in having a loved one living with a mental illness. 

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, or NAMI, each year one in five American adults faces a mental illness. This category encompasses a broad variety of diagnoses, including bipolar disorder, anxiety disorder, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorders, schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, dissociative disorder and psychosis. Sometimes, the person afflicted suffers so much that it impedes their ability to live and work as usual. 

Improving job market is impacting disability claims

People in California have to fight to receive disability benefits when they are unable to work because of a medical illness, injury or condition. As the job market and economy strengthen, more and more people in this state are finding paying positions that are enabling them to stop relying on disability.

For some, including those who have frequent functionality reviews, not having to worry about complying with the demands of disability can be beneficial. Knowing a bit about disability and how the appeal process works can help you to know what you need to do next.

Applying for SSDI? Be prepared to wait

If you are one of the many disabled Americans, you know first-hand how difficult it can be to hold down a job and earn a paycheck that will help you make ends meet. Depending on your disability, you may be unable to perform certain duties, making it hard to work. Social Security Disability Insurance benefits are designed to help provide financial assistance to those who suffer from a disability and cannot work. After you fill out the social security disability insurance application, you may be waiting for an extended period of time to receive an answer as to whether you are approved for benefits. In fact, some people die while waiting for that answer. 

According to the Social Security Administration, more than 800,000 people are on the waitlist to have their SSDI applications processed. In 2016, more than 8,600 people died before they received a decision and in 2017, more than 10,000 people died. 

Functional assessments can provide valuable information

People who have a disability often have a difficult time being approved for Social Security Disability when they need it. One of the primary issues with the system is that it relies heavily on generalizations. Things can improve for people who need to receive benefits from SSDI by using a specialized system of work-related functional abilities before determining whether the person should be approved or denied benefits.

Medical conditions and injuries impact people in different ways. One person might have specific symptoms due to the condition or to a medication, but those might not be safe for another person with the same issue. By taking a look at how conditions impact each person, people who truly need SSDI could receive benefits and those who really don't likely wouldn't be able to get them.

Providing support and encouragement to your child with anxiety

When you recognize that your child is experiencing anxiety and is visibly upset, it can be difficult to watch him or her struggle while trying to figure out how to react. Ignoring their worry may send the message that you do not understand their needs, but being overly attentive may intensify the situation and set the foundation for more serious consequences. At Disability Rights Law Center, we are committed to helping people in California who have loved ones who are coping with mental illness. 

Anxiety can be caused by any variety of factors including the environment your child is in, the reactions of the individuals around him or her, excessive noise levels or temporary separation from you or your spouse. Recognizing childhood anxiety and being proactive about addressing those issues from the onset, is critical to your child's ability to learn healthy and effective methods for coping with feelings of angst. 

The diagnosis and treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a serious medical concern, as it can hinder your ability to do your job and partake in the activities you enjoy. For example, if you type for a living, you may begin to develop carpal tunnel syndrome over time. Unless treated in the appropriate manner, you'll find it difficult to perform your day-to-day tasks.

The diagnosis of carpal tunnel syndrome typically includes the following:

  • Review of your history: Your doctor will review your symptoms, while also asking key questions about your injury. Make sure you're honest with your doctor about your symptoms and when they occur.
  • Physical exam: Expect your doctor to test for feeling and strength in your wrist and fingers.
  • X-ray: While not always necessary, an X-ray gives your doctor an inside look at the area, thus helping rule out other concerns such as a bone fracture or arthritis.

Helping a child cope with and overcome depression

Children, like adults, are going to experience emotions that are triggered by experiences, the environment they dwell in and the way they are treated and perceive their worth. However, because children are still learning to verbalize their feelings and communicate their emotions, understanding their needs can be uniquely difficult. For parents in California who are concerned about the possibility of their child being depressed, having an idea of how they can support their child is critical to their ability to facilitate their child's healing and recovery. 

Perhaps the most important fact to note is that just because a child is experiencing sadness or anger, does not automatically qualify him or her as being depressed. However, persistent and strong emotions that do not seem to let up and are beginning to affect how a child interacts with people, respond to affection and communicates could be indicative of depression. Parents seeking answers may consider visiting their child's pediatrician for an actual diagnosis, as well as insight into their treatment options. 

Applying for disability benefits as a new parent

People lose their ability to work for various reasons, whether they are physical or mental in nature. Unfortunately, being disabled can make life incredibly hard from a financial point of view and from an emotional standpoint as well. For some people, such as those who have recently become a parent, these disabilities and the problems they create can be especially troubling. If you or your partner recently gave birth, it is very important to understand any resources that may be on the table if you are unable to work due to a disability.

As a parent, it is imperative to provide for your child and do what you can to ensure that you have the resources you need to raise them properly. Regrettably, disabilities can make this very challenging, if not impossible, and it is essential to examine any options that may be able to assist you through this difficult time. For example, if your partner is pregnant or recently gave birth and you were injured in a car crash or a workplace accident, you may want to explore disability benefits if you will not be able to return to your job (or work in any other capacity).

Social Security Disability and private policies work together

The Social Security Disability Insurance program is supposed to help workers who are unable to return to work in their full capacity. This program is administered by the Social Security Administration and is paid for by deductions from worker paychecks and employer contributions. Despite the fact that workers have paid into the system, they have to wait to collect these benefits if something happens and they need them.

People often confuse the SSDI program with private disability insurance. They both provide important protections, but many people don't understand the benefits of these programs. There is more to both types of disability insurance than just the partial wage replacement benefits.

When a disability claim due to PTSD is denied

Applying for Social Security Disability benefits can be incredibly difficult, regardless of the physical or mental condition which has prompted someone to pursue these benefits. However, some people have an especially tough time during the process, such as those who are suffering from certain mental conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Unfortunately, these cases can be hard for a number of reasons. Unlike physical disabilities, which can be very evident, mental scars and disabilities can be harder to prove. However, those who struggle with PTSD may be significantly affected by their condition, and a denied claim can worsen their state of mind.

If you filed a disability claim as a result of PTSD and your claim was rejected, you should immediately look into your options and some of the reasons why your claim may have been denied. Or, if you are thinking about pursuing disability benefits because of PTSD, you should make sure that you gather all relevant information and present your case to the best of your ability. This process can be very hard for those who are struggling with PTSD, and some people may be reluctant to pursue benefits that they should be entitled to for various reasons (stress, hesitance to deal with legal matters, the stigma surrounding disability benefits due to mental conditions, etc.).

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