Posts in:May, 2019

Assessment of Work-Related Functional Abilities in Disability Determinations

Posted May 17, 2019 by Premier Disability Services, LLC®

Assessments of a person’s ability to function at work provide important information for disability determinations, and many validated tests are available to assess work-related physical and mental functions. However, because no single test of function is likely to provide all of the information needed to evaluate an individual’s ability to work, it is important to consider information from multiple sources, including health records, functional assessments, and standardized reports from the applicant and relevant health care providers, says a new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.

The report, Functional Assessment for Adults with Disabilities, contains findings and conclusions regarding the collection of health data and the assessment of functional abilities that can help determine an individual’s eligibility for Social Security disability benefits.

While an individual may be able to perform certain physical demands of a job, such as lifting or standing, during a single performance-based assessment, that does not mean he or she can do so repeatedly or continuously throughout the work week. An individual’s capacity to work may also be adversely affected if he or she experiences comorbid physical-mental health conditions or medication side effects. For example, common side effects for treatment of pain — including nausea and difficulty concentrating — can further impair a person’s ability to function at work.

Additionally, when assessments of functional ability are conducted outside of an actual work setting, they may not sufficiently capture whether an individual can work full-time on a regular, continuing basis. Testing is typically administered in a quiet, controlled setting, and thus is not always reflective of the environmental factors (e.g. temperature, noise, and heights) and social demands the individual may encounter at work.

Assessments of work-related functional abilities are extremely important in disability determinations and can make or break a case. To be disabled under Social Security’s rules, you must be unable to return to your past relevant work or any other work available in the national or regional economy.

If you or someone you know is unable to work due to a medical condition, please contact us for a free evaluation of your claim!

Source: http://www8.nationalacademies.org/onpinews/newsitem.aspx?RecordID=25376

By: Joyce Trudeau of Premier Disability Services, LLC®

Supplemental Security Income: An Overview

Posted May 10, 2019 by Premier Disability Services, LLC®

Signed into law by President Nixon in 1972, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) works in tandem with Social Security to protect low-income seniors and people with severe disabilities against the worst effects of poverty. The modest income support from SSI gives seniors and people with disabilities who have limited income and resources the ability to keep a roof over their heads and food on the table, and pay for needed, often life-sustaining medications.

There are strict requirements to qualify for SSI. Assistance is reserved for people who are blind; age 65 or older; or have a severe disability – and who meet very strict income and asset limits. The Social Security Administration will consider money you earn from work, from other sources, and any free food and shelter as income that affects your eligibility. Income such as food stamps, needs-based assistance funding, loans, or small amounts of income received irregularly or infrequently are not considered countable income. The Administration will also consider assets such as cash, bank accounts, land, vehicles, personal property, and anything else you own that can be converted to cash and used for food or shelter. The resource limits are $2,000 for an individual or $3,000 for a couple.

The SSI program also has strict citizenship and residency requirements. You must be either a U.S. citizen or meet the alien eligibility criteria under the 1996 legislation and its amendments. Furthermore, you must live in the United States or the Northern Mariana Islands. Individuals living in Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, or abroad are not eligible for SSI payments.

Benefits for SSI are extremely modest, and average around $542 per month, or $6,504 per year — way below the Federal poverty level. The monthly maximum SSI amounts for 2019 are $771 for an eligible individual, $1,157 for an eligible individual with an eligible spouse, and $386 for an essential person.

If you or someone you know is unable to work due to a medical condition, please contact us for a free evaluation of your claim.

Sources: https://www.ssa.gov/ssi/text-income-ussi.htm ; https://www.ssa.gov/ssi/text-eligibility-ussi.htm ; https://www.ssa.gov/oact/cola/SSI.html ; https://nosscr.org/supplemental-security-income-overview/

By: Joyce Trudeau of Premier Disablity Services, LLC®

May is National Stroke Awareness Month!

Posted May 3, 2019 by Premier Disability Services, LLC®

In the month of May alone, approximately 65,000 Americans will experience a stroke, with many individuals unaware that they were even at risk. Less than a third will arrive in the emergency room within three hours, the optimal time period for better outcomes.

A stroke is a “brain attack”. It can happen to anyone at any time. It occurs when blood flow to an area of brain is cut off. When this happens, brain cells are deprived of oxygen and begin to die. When brain cells die during a stroke, the abilities that are controlled by that area of the brain such as memory and muscle control are lost.

You can use the acronym FAST to remember and identify the most common symptoms of a stroke:

  • FACE – Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
  • ARMS – Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
  • SPEECH – Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is their speech slurred or strange?
  • TIME – If you observe any of these signs, call 9-1-1 immediately.

How a person is affected by their stroke depends on where the stroke occurs in the brain and how much the brain is damaged. For example, someone who had a small stroke may only have minor problems such as temporary weakness of an arm or leg. People who have larger strokes may be permanently paralyzed on one side of their body or lose their ability to speak. Some people recover completely from strokes, but more than 2/3 of survivors will have some type of disability.

If you have suffered a stroke that results in long-term or permanent impairments that make working no longer possible, you may be eligible to receive Social Security disability benefits. For example, you may have difficulty concentrating, remembering details or how to do tasks, or communicating messages or issues to the proper staff. Or, if one side of your body was left paralyzed, you may have to drag your leg or foot, which impacts your mobility and your ability to stand in one position for prolonged timeframes. Or if you have inability to use an arm, you may find yourself unable to lift, carry, or grasp things as you normally would.

If you or someone you know is unable to work due to a medical condition, please contact us for a free evaluation of your claim!

Source: https://www.stroke.org/may-is-national-stroke-awareness-month/ ; https://www.stroke.org/understand-stroke/what-is-stroke/

By: Joyce Trudeau of Premier Disablity Services, LLC®