Author: Social Security Disability Advocates USA

What is the SSA Blue Book of Mental Impairments?

What is the SSA Blue Book of Mental Impairments?

SSA blue book When applying for Social Security disability benefits, you’ll need to meet a number of different requirements in order to qualify. One of these requirements is that your physical or mental impairment must meet the definition of what the SSA (Social Security Administration) considers to be a disability. If you have a mental impairment and are planning to apply for disability benefits, then you can look through the SSA Blue Book to find out if your mental impairment qualifies.

What Mental Impairments are in the SSA Blue Book?

The SSA Blue Book is a list of all of the injuries or illnesses that the SA defines as being disabling. It includes a list of mental impairments, which include the following:

  • Brain Disorders – This includes anyone who has suffered from cerebral trauma, brain cancer or advanced multiple sclerosis.
  • Learning Disabilities – This includes anyone who suffers from a functional impairment in addition to a low IQ. It can also include autism and ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder).
  • Anxiety – This includes social anxiety, which can be so severe that it limits your ability to leave your home. It also includes PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).
  • Depression – This includes anyone who suffers from various forms of depression, such as major depression, manic depression or dysthymia.
  • Personality Disorders – This includes anyone who suffers from bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, antisocial personality disorder or oppositional defiant disorder.
  • Other mental conditions – Other mental conditions, such as dementia and Alzheimer’s, are considered disabling as well.

Proving You Have a Listed Mental Impairment

Remember that you can’t just check off a box saying that you have one of the mental impairments listed in the SSA Blue Book. You will need to be able to prove that you have the condition and that the symptoms you suffer as a result of that condition are considered disabling.

It will require that you have the medical statements (such as the professional diagnosis as well as any treatment you receive for the condition) to back it up. If you don’t have enough evidence collected, you may need to have further testing done in order to prove your diagnosis or to be professionally diagnosed.

What if Your Mental Impairment isn’t in the SSA Blue Book?

If you search through the SSA Blue Book and you don’t see your mental impairment specifically listed by name, it does not mean that your mental impairment isn’t disabling or that the SSA doesn’t consider it to be disabling.

If your mental impairment is not listed, then you can still qualify if the symptoms that you suffer are similar to any of the symptoms considered to be disabling under the specific conditions and disorders that are listed in the SSA Blue Book. If you can prove that your mental impairment’s symptoms are similar to the symptoms of any of the conditions that are listed, then you should be able to qualify (as long as you have medical proof of those symptoms).

The SSA Blue Book is helpful in determining if you can qualify for Social Security disability payments as a result of your mental impairment. For professional assistance in determining your eligibility, contact us at Social Security Disability Advocates USA for a free consultation by calling us at (602) 952-3200 today.

Is Your Adopted Child Eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance?

Is Your Adopted Child Eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance?

 

Adopted Child Eligible for SSDI

Experiencing a disability that prevents you from working can not only be financially difficult on you but also on your family. Fortunately, if you have children, they may also qualify to receive disability benefits on your record. However, you might be wondering whether your children will still be eligible for Social Security disability payments if they are adopted. The following is everything you need to know about disability benefits for adopted children.

General Eligibility Requirements

For a child to be eligible to receive disability payments based on your record, their eligibilitymust begin before they turn 16. Payments for your child will stop once they turn 18. However, if they are still in high school, then they can receive benefits until two months after their 19th birthday or up until they graduate, whichever happens first.

Disability Benefits for Adopted Children

If your children meet the requirements to receive benefits, then it doesn’t matter if they are adopted. Every child in your family that qualifies, whether adopted or biological, can receive payments of upwards of 50 percent of your full disability amount every month.

Keep in mind that this does not mean that if you have six adopted children that you can collect disability payments for all of them. There is a limit to how much Social Security will pay your family. This limit varies, but generally, it’s capped at around 150 to 180 percent of your disability benefit.

If you pass away, then your adopted children may qualify for survivors benefits, in which they could receive up to 75 percent of your entitled benefit amount. If the total family benefit is more than 150 to 180 percent of your entitled benefit, then your adopted children will receive less.

Adopted Children With Disabilities

If your adopted child has as a qualifying disability, they may be entitled to permanent benefits. To qualify, they must be unmarried and their disability must last longer than a year or be considered terminal, and must prevent your child from being able to work. The disability must occur before your adopted child reaches the age of 22.

Your adopted child may also qualify for SSI (Supplemental Security Income) payments if they are disabled. If your adopted child has a medical condition that meets the SSI’s definition of disability, is unmarried and is not considered the head of your household, then they can receive SSI benefits from birth through the age of 18 (or through the age of 22, if they are still in school).

Can Adopted Grandchildren Receive Benefits?

If you are raising your grandchildren or your step-grandchildren, then they will be able to qualify for the same Social Security disability benefits as your biological or adopted children.

Your grandchildren will be able to collect disability payments if their biological parents are disabled or deceased, if you are providing regular support for them or at least half of their financial support, and they have lived with you for at least a year before they became eligible for disability insurance (or if they have lived with you for most of their lives if they are under 12 months old).

These are some things you should know about whether or not your adopted children or grandchildren are eligible for Social Security disability payments. If you have any other questions concerning disability benefits for adopted children, contact us at Social Security Disability Advocates USA by calling (602) 952-3200 today for a free consultation.

Three Things to Know About Service Animals and Social Security Disability Benefits

Three Things to Know About Service Animals and Social Security Disability Benefits

Service Animals and Social Security Disability Benefits

If you are suffering from certain disabilities, then not only will you want to apply for Social Security disability benefits, but you may want to consider investing in a service animal as well. Service animals can help to improve the quality of life for people with disabilities, especially if you are blind, have limited eyesight, are hard of hearing or have a physical disability that severely limits your mobility.

If you could benefit from a service animal, then the following are three things that you should know about Social Security disability benefits in regards to service animals.

1. The initial cost of a service animal can be offset by a lump sum benefit payment.

Neither Medicare nor Medicaid will help to cover the costs of getting a service animal, feeding it or providing it with veterinary care. However, your disability benefits should be able to help you cover the costs of your ongoing service animal expenses. Not to mention that a bulk of your initial expenses for obtaining a service animal can most likely be covered by your lump sum benefit payment.

This lump sum payment is often a significant sum that applicants receive at the commencement of their disability benefits. This lump sum is the payment of any back benefits. These back benefits cover any payments that you should have gotten following the onset of your disability but may have been delayed as a result of not having applied for benefits right away or as a result of any delays that occurred while your disability claim was being reviewed.

2. Countable income can be reduced by impairment-related work expenses.

Although your income prior to your disability should have no impact on your ability to qualify for disability benefits, there are some limits on how much income you can make while collecting your disability payments. Currently, you cannot earn more than $1,170 a month of $1,950 a month if you are blind.

However, if you are using a service animal to get to work, then you can count the costs of having a service animal as an IRWE (impairment-related work expenses), which you can then subtract from your countable income. This means that if you make slightly over the limit, your IRWE could help to bring your income below the limit.

The cost of your service animal may also bring you below the SGA (substantial gainful activity) limit required to qualify for SSI (Supplemental Security Income).

3. Certain service animal expenses can fall under IRWE.

If you require a service animal to get to and from work, then the expenses of keeping a service animal, including the cost of your service animal’s license, the cost of feeding your service animal and the cost of providing your service animal with regular veterinary care, can all be considered IRWEs. Understand that just because you have a service animal does not mean it automatically falls under IRWE. If you’re using a service animal in and around your home but aren’t working, then any service animal expenses you incur will not be considered work-related.

These are three important things that you should know about service animals in regards to your Social Security disability benefits. If you have more questions concerning your Social Security disability benefits, then be sure to contact us at Social Security Disability Advocates by visiting us online or by calling us at (602) 952-3200 for a free consultation today.

How Does Social Security Keep Personal Information Safe?

How Does Social Security Keep Personal Information Safe?

How Does Social Security Keep-Personal-Information-SafeWhen it comes to collecting Social Security disability benefits, one of the features that the Social Security Administration offers to make things more convenient is through an online my Social Security account. As the account name suggest, you can login and check your Social Security Statement online. However, you might be a little wary of sharing your Social Security number and information anywhere online because you want to protect your identity. Identity theft has been a real serious problem over the years, after all.

Protecting Against Identity Theft

Millions of Americans are victims of identity theft every year. This can happen when someone steals personally identifiable information and then pretends to be you. Once they’ve stolen such information, identity thieves may use it to open up new credit card accounts, make large purchases in your name, or even commit tax fraud using your information.

One of the most valuable pieces of personal information that identity thieves target is the Social Security number. They can obtain this by stealing the physical Social Security card itself (which many people carry in their wallets), by tricking you into providing the number via scam emails or phone calls, or by stealing the information through an unsecured website that you provided your Social Security number to.

You can greatly reduce the risk of having your identity stolen by being careful about where you store your Social Security card, where you use your Social Security number, and who you provide your Social Security number to. Unfortunately, your personally identifiable information can be stolen in other ways as well, as the recent Equifax debacle has shown.

The Equifax Problem

Equifax is one of the three main credit bureaus, which means that they have the personal information of hundreds of millions of Americans. Unfortunately, they were hacked a few months ago, and that information, which included Social Security numbers, was exposed. One of the potential ways that thieves could use your Social Security number is to apply for benefits in your name. This could pose a number of problems.

For example, if you’re 62 and waiting to file for benefits until you are 70, you may find that someone has been collecting on your behalf for 8 years.

To protect yourself, print out and save your Social Security records and consider sending the Social Security Administration a certified letter stating your current address and that you haven’t filed for benefits yet. Setting up a my Social Security account will also allow you to check your statement at any time.

How Social Security Will Protect Your Identity

When setting up an online account, Social Security uses a new identity verification process to help prevent identity theft. In addition to requesting a username and password, you’ll have to provide your cell phone or email address as a second identification method. Their verification process not only offers extra security, it complies with all federal laws, regulations, and guidelines.

Social Security also allows you to block electronic access if you’ve been the victim of identity theft or don’t want your record to be available to anyone. The Social Security Administration takes many precautions to help protect your identity. If you think that someone has used your Social Security number for identity theft, call 1-877-IDTHEFT (1-877-438-4338) or visit www.identitytheft.gov to report the theft to the Federal Trade Commission.

For more advice concerning applying for or reviewing your Social Security disability benefits, call Social Security Disability Advocates USA at (602) 952-3200 for a free consultation today. Our representatives take extra precautions to ensure your information is safe.

Common Questions About ADHD & Social Security Disability Benefits

Common Questions About ADHD & Social Security Disability Benefits

Questions About ADHD Social Security DisabilityIn order to receive child disability benefits, your child must have either a physical or mental impairment that severely hinders their ability to function. One impairment that many parents attempt to apply for child disability benefits for is attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). ADHD involves problems with inattentiveness, impulsiveness or hyperactivity, all of which can affect the ability of a child to function if it’s severe enough.

If your child has been diagnosed with ADHD, then you probably have a few questions concerning the disability and whether you can apply for child disability benefits.

Common Questions About ADHD and Child Disability Benefits

Not all children with ADD or ADHD will qualify for child disability benefits via Supplemental Security Income (SSI). The condition needs to be deemed seriously debilitating in order to qualify for SSI. If your child has ADHD, then the following answers to some of the more common questions regarding Social Security benefits should prove helpful.

When Can ADHD Be Qualified for Disability Benefits?

The Social Security Administration has a listing of disorders that the condition must match, either by diagnosis or by similar symptoms. ADHD falls under Neurodevelopmental Disorders and must meet two sets of criteria. They must display one of the following:

  • Hyperactive and impulsive behavior;
  • Frequent distractibility;
  • Recurrent motor movement or vocalization; and,
  • Significant problems with learning.

And they must also display trouble with one of the following:

  • Concentrating on tasks;
  • Controlling their behavior;
  • Interacting with others; and,
  • Learning, remember and understanding information.

Are There Any Income Limits to Qualifying?

To get child disability benefits, not only must you be able to meet the criteria outlined for neurodevelopmental disorders, you must also meet the income and assets limits established by SSI. The income and assets of the child’s parents are counted towards those limits, and older children cannot earn over $1,170 a month.

What Do You Need to Apply for SSI?

If your child has ADHD and meets the needed criteria, then you’ll need to prove such by providing medical findings (such as treatment notes), historical information (such as teacher evaluations and reports) and standardized testing results (such as IQ testing or achievement testing).

How Difficult Is It to Qualify?

It shouldn’t be too difficult to qualify for child disability benefits through SSI depending on what the disability is (and as long as you meet the basic criteria). Unfortunately, if it’s ADHD, then it can be quite challenging. This is because the diagnosis of the impairment is often subjective. In fact, the medical consultants who diagnose children with mental disorders often rely on the subjective observations of the people around the child, such as their teachers.

Additionally, Social Security isn’t as concerned with the diagnosis as they are with the effects the diagnosis has on the child. So if your child has ADHD but you can’t prove that the disorder greatly hinders your child’s ability to function, you may still have your application rejected.

If your child has been diagnosed with ADHD and it affects their ability to function normally, then you might be able to qualify for child disability benefits via SSI. Because being approved for ADHD disability benefits is tricky, you should give us a call 24/7 at (602) 952-3200 for a free consultation at Social Security Disability Advocates USA today.