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West Virginia Social Security Blog

If you have chronic migraines, are you eligible for disability?

If you are one of the many people who suffer from migraines in West Virginia, you understand the significant impact these serious headaches can have on your life. Migraines are severe, very painful headaches that are much more than an inconvenience – they can be debilitating and often affect a person's ability to work. Chronic migraine sufferers may not be able to hold gainful employment because of their condition. 

Migraines are a neurological condition that is much more than just a bad headache. It can lead to various issues and symptoms that can leave you unable to work and enjoy a certain quality of life. If you have severe migraines on a regular basis, you could have a valid disability, which means you may be eligible for benefits through the Social Security Administration.

Honesty is the best policy when disabled

West Virginia residents and others who are applying for disability benefits should reveal everything that ails them. This is a best practice when talking with a disability examiner or with a doctor during a consultative examination. During the application process, both examiners and doctors will look for even the slightest signs that a person is not entirely impaired. In some cases, doctors will observe patients walking into an appointment or how they move during them.

It isn't uncommon for an applicant to feel badly about applying for benefits. Therefore, he or she will try to minimize the pain that accompanies one or more physical impairments. However, it is not in a person's best interest to minimize their pain or act as if a condition doesn't impact his or her daily life. Anything that an applicant says or does during a consultative examination is likely to be included in any report sent to an examiner.

Consultative exams tend to produce denials of disability benefits

The Social Security Administration has a process for evaluating applicants for disability benefits who lack current medical records or any medical records at all. The agency hires physicians to conduct consultative exams on applicants who do not have sufficient documentation of their physical or mental disabilities. Although this might solve problems for disability applicants in West Virginia who have been unable to see a physician, the exams typically result in disapproval.

The exam is often very short, and the physician seeing a person might not have the right qualifications to assess the person's disabling condition. An allergist might see a person suffering from a bad back. Any consultative exams that depend on subjective evaluations based on the physician's expertise could result in a denial of benefits. Examiners who make decisions on disability requests simply want some form of medical documentation that can enable them to close a case.

Applying for Social Security disability

Many people in West Virginia need to file for Social Security disability benefits when they are no longer able to work. The process can take months or even more than a year before a final determination is reached.

Some people become discouraged during the process because most claims are denied at the initial application level and even upon reconsideration. It is important for applicants to understand that most claims are approved after an appeal and hearing before an administrative law judge, or ALJ.

Important issues that matter most to veterans and their families

Veterans and military families in West Virginia have many important and serious issues they may be faced with on a regular basis. Homelessness, trauma, risk of suicide and problems with behavior-related health matters that sometimes involve the criminal justice system are among the critical veterans concerns that have been identified by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, or SAMHSA, which is an agency that provides access to essential resources for military members and immediate family members.

Veterans account for approximately 10 percent of the homeless population in the United States. Many former military personnel within this group also have mental health problems or substance use disorders. SAMHSA addresses these veterans' issues with its Homelessness Programs and Resources and Projects for Assistance in Transition from Homelessness programs. Post-traumatic stress disorder, physical combat injuries and sexual violence are among the several types of trauma that may affect military service members. SAMHSA has published a report offering advice on recovery-focused treatment planning strategies and patient assessments.

How will a spinal cord injury affect your ability to work?

A spinal cord injury is a significant and traumatic event that can have detrimental consequences for the victim. If you suffered this type of injury, you understand that the implications can affect your entire life, for the rest of your life. Depending on the nature of your injuries, it is possible you will be unable to work.

When a serious injury disables a West Virginia resident, he or she could have a rightful claim to disability benefits through the Social Security Administration. If you believe you may have a claim because of your injury, you may find that it can actually be quite difficult to secure the benefits you need. No matter how serious your injury or the extent of your limitations, it can be useful to seek help as you pursue disability benefits after a spinal cord injury.

Obtaining student loan relief after an injury

If a federal student loan is cancelled, forgiven or discharged, it means that there is no further requirement to make payments. It is important for West Virginia residents and others to know that not finishing school is generally not a valid reason for not paying a loan. Typically, loans are discharged because a school shuts down or because of a permanent injury that makes it impossible to work.

Federal student loans may be forgiven in the event that a person went to school to obtain a job that he or she wasn't eligible to do. This could have been because an individual didn't meet age requirements for employment or had a mental condition. In most cases, individuals are not required to make loan payments while they are pursuing loan forgiveness, cancellation or discharge. To begin the process, a person would contact the company servicing the loan.

How medical records influence disability cases

West Virginia residents should be as specific as possible when telling their doctors about their physical or mental impairments. This is because an examiner is looking for specific evidence of how an impairment limits an individual's ability to work when reviewing a Social Security Disability benefit application. In most cases, an applicant's medical records will determine if that individual is entitled to assistance from the government.

When a patient mentions specific details to his or her doctor, they are more likely to be included in that person's treatment notes. To qualify for benefits, a person generally needs to show that he or she is unable to work at all. This includes an inability to perform his or her current job or any others that he or she may be qualified to do. In many cases, an examiner will add extra weight to the opinions provided by an applicant's physician.

SSD claims and late appeals

For Social Security Disability claim appeals, claimants have 60 days from the date their denial was issued, in addition to five extra days for mailing time, to submit the appeal. Because of the generous amount of time allowed, the Social Security Administration generally require that applicants submit a brand new application if they submitted their appeal after the deadline. However, West Virginia residents who did not submit an appeal of their Social Security Disability claim by the deadline may have recourse in certain situations.

The SSA will consider each case individually, but typical acceptable reasons may include the claimant not receiving the notification of the denial or being unable to submit the appeal in a timely manner due to a mental or physical condition. Generally, if the reason provided for the late appeal is logical and rational, the appeal is likely to be accepted. The claims representative in the Social Security office who was responsible for the original claim is the person who will determine if the late appeal has a good cause.

Benefits may be available for those with carpal tunnel syndrome

West Virginia residents who have carpal tunnel syndrome may be able to obtain Social Security disability benefits. This condition, which can be present since birth or acquired at some point in a person's life, is considered a musculoskeletal impairment. While it is believed that carpal tunnel is the result of too much computer use, typing is just one way in which it can be developed. It can also be a symptom of arthritis or diabetes.

To obtain benefits, an applicant would need to show that they cannot earn gainful income at their current job or any other job. An applicant would prove this to be the case through medical records and employment records. Employment records typically list a person's job history as well as other skills that could be used to find employment. It is important to know that simply having a disability isn't enough to qualify for benefits. Instead, it must impair a person in a specific way that makes it impossible to earn a living.

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