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Los Angeles California Social Security Disability Insurance Law Blog

Is the Social Security Administration short on staff?

Many California residents suffering from disabling conditions are finding it difficult to get approved for the financial benefits they deserve from the Social Security Administration. The reason? The Social Security Administration appears to be short on staff.

The waiting period when it comes to SSA claims for benefits is frustrating and exasperating. Even worse, if you're trying to file for benefits on your own -- without knowing what to expect and what is "normal" -- can make the process especially stressful and upsetting.

Filing for Social Security Disability after a divorce

In many of our blog posts, we have discussed some of the different reasons why people need to file for Social Security Disability and some of the advantages of receiving benefits. For example, people may find that their stress levels drop considerably and they have a sense of hope with respect to their future, financially and otherwise. However, there are times when people may find themselves in an especially challenging position, such as someone who is applying for Social Security Disability following a recent divorce.

In some instances, these issues are intertwined with each other. For example, someone may have recently sustained an injury at work that left them unable to continue their job. Simultaneously, their marriage may have come to an end, largely due to the consequences of their injury. A disability can change life in many ways and, unfortunately, can result in the termination of relationships with close friends and spouses. Not only can a divorce under these circumstances be particularly tough from a financial point of view, but the emotional toll can be overwhelming and people going through this may feel as if they have lost everything.

Understanding degenerative disc disease

As you have gotten older, new aches and pains in your back have developed that make it hard for you to live your life in California as you used to. Maybe the pain is constant, or maybe it comes and goes, or affects you only during certain activities, such as standing up and sitting down. Regardless, it is seriously affecting how you function. We at the Disability Rights Law Center often advise people whose lives are changed because of back pain from degenerative disc disease.

According to WebMD, an accident or injury in the past may have caused tears in the outer wall of one or more of your spinal discs, or the damage to the discs could be from wear over time, or from the drying effect age naturally has on discs. Any of these changes damages the shock-absorbing function of the spinal discs, which are located between the vertebrae. You could sustain damage to the bones, or nerve damage, or both, as a result of degenerating discs.

Gathering evidence of a mental illness for the SSA

Every person in California who has a mental illness may share common symptoms with others who are diagnosed with the same condition, but even so, each experience is unique. One factor that is common for many is the difficulty working and the challenges of getting Social Security benefits.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, one of the issues people suffering from mental illnesses face is that their applications are not likely to be reviewed by people who have mental health credentials. In fact, the Social Security Administration reviewers merely go over the evidence provided by applicants and determine if they meet criteria set by the SSA. These criteria are not the same as those mental health providers use to diagnose a mental illness. This makes it extremely important to review what evidence the SSA requires rather than assuming that a professional diagnosis will be enough.

Spinal cord injury impacts can change every aspect of your life

A spinal cord injury at work can be devastating because it impacts your family life, as well as your work life. Depending on what type of job you have, you might not be able to continue working after the accident. This is tragic because it means that you will lose your source of support and all your previous hard work is for naught since you can't continue your career.

There are many different things about a spinal cord injury that can lead to life impacts. Understanding these can give you a sense of the limitations and abilities you may face when it comes to work and, possibly, the rest of your life.

A minor brain injury can be a career killer

When a person receives a blow to the head, it can cause a number of symptoms, some of which may not seem obvious for quite some time. If left untreated, these injuries may create complications or serious pain for up to a year, which is more than enough time for a victim's entire career to crumble if he or she does not take proper steps to address the injury and inform employers and personal community about its effects.

A mild traumatic brain injury (TBI) is actually far more dangerous and debilitating than it may sound. After all, its name includes the word "mild" so how bad can it be? In fact, these injuries can prove very serious, and deserve professional medical attention as soon as possible.

Reviewing some other benefits of Social Security Disability

Those who are struggling with a disability may face a wide variety of hardships, regardless of the nature of their limitations. For example, they may experience physical pain, emotional issues such as depression or anxiety over their circumstances, and financial problems brought on by missing work. For some of these people, Social Security Disability is an excellent way to help restore some sense of normalcy in daily life, which can be crucial for those who no longer have the ability to earn an income due to their disability. However, it is essential to recognize that Social Security Disability benefits can do more for someone who is disabled than simply offer financial help.

Those who receive Social Security Disability may find that their mental health improves and negative emotions subside or diminish, which may include anger, stress, or depression. These benefits can offer peace of mind and, in some instances, may even improve an entire family's quality of life. If you are thinking about applying for Social Security Disability benefits, it is important to take a careful look at the details that surround your own circumstances and make the decisions that will be best for you and your family.

Can alcoholism qualify me for Social Security Disability?

Being an alcoholic doesn’t qualify you for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits in and of itself. However, if you suffer from an associated medical condition—liver disease, for example—that affects your ability to work, then you could qualify. This determination depends on certain factors.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) will want to find out how alcohol abuse contributes to the liver disease and resulting impairment.Specifically, they want to know:

Cancer might lead you to file for disability

Living with cancer is difficult. You have to think about what treatment options you are going to pursue and how those will impact you. Thinking about how radiation and chemotherapy will affect your life might be difficult, but they things that a person going through cancer may have to deal with.

When you are diagnosed with cancer, you might soon realize that you are in for a rough time financially. You may not be able to keep your work hours up, which means that you will have a decrease in income. You may not be able to work at all. Throughout all of this, the bills aren't going to stop coming in. One of the options that you have for making ends meet is to file for disability.

What are Compassionate Allowances?

When you have a debilitating medical condition that keeps you from working or otherwise enjoying your life, it’s fairly obvious to you why you deserve Social Security Disability benefits. However, not all conditions are so straightforward or obvious to Social Security Administration (SSA) officials. This is why it has such a rigorous application process.

However, within the last decade or so, the SSA has been working to make the process simpler for applicants. In 2008, the SSA started the Compassionate Allowances program, or CAL. CAL short-lists certain chronic conditions or diseases that naturally meet the medical requirements for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) because of their severity.

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