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West Virginia Social Security Blog

Medical records and Social Security disability benefits

West Virginia residents who apply for disability benefits from the Social Security Administration do not need to have a past medical history. However, disability examiners tend to prefer applicants to present records that demonstrate past medical treatment. Individuals who have received treatment in the past for their disabling condition can present physician notes to provide a perspective on their conditions that may not otherwise be available.

The physician notes are important because hospital treatment notes do not usually include information about patients' physical or mental limitations or about their responses to different treatments. The information that is provided in hospital records is generally objective medical data, such as lab tests and imaging results; hospitals also provide records of acute medical treatments. However, the hospital records do not provide disability examiners with the information need to ascertain the ongoing severity of an applicant's disabling condition or how the applicant may be unable to work to be self-supporting because of the limitations caused by the condition.

Rheumatoid arthritis and SSD

West Virginia residents who have rheumatoid arthritis and who want to apply for Social Security Disability benefits should understand how work activity factors into the decision of whether they are able to receive them. Applicants cannot be employed and earning an income that exceeds the SGA monthly earnings limit. Because the SGA limit is adjusted every year, it is important that applicants know what the limit is before they submit an application. People who earn an income that exceeds the SGA limit will receive a technical denial for their claim without it ever undergoing a medical evaluation.

People with rheumatoid arthritis who earn under the SGA limit should apply for Social Security Disability benefits. When reviewing disability claims, the disability examiners will consult the blue book, or the disability guidebook, which details the impairment listings for all of the systems of the human body. The listings define the criteria that have to be met in order for the severity of an applicant's condition to be determined.

Disability benefits for Sjogren's Syndrome

Your recent diagnosis of Sjogren's Syndrome may have you scratching your head. What is this strange condition that is difficult to pronounce and even more difficult to diagnose? Your West Virginia primary care physician may have sent you from one specialist to another, and each one ran tests and asked questions until finally someone put the pieces together.

By the time you got your diagnosis, the symptoms, the pain, fatigue and constant infections may have been almost more than you could bear. Many of your routine tasks are more difficult to perform and leave you exhausted. The side effects of your medication interfere with your daily life. However, does Sjogren's Syndrome qualify for disability benefits if you are unable to work?

Few disabilities automatically qualify one for SSD benefits

The Social Security disability determination procedure is a complicated system of rules, regulations and prior decisions. Many West Virginia residents who have had a work accident or otherwise have an inability to work apply for SSD benefits only to find that they are denied. Despite the physical or mental impairment the claimant may suffer, the term "disabled" is a specific finding to be made by Social Security Administration examiners only after following a defined sequential process.

One of the features of the process is the Listing of Impairments, which contains a list of injuries and illnesses that the SSA considers disabling but only if accompanied by specific symptoms. If a claimant's condition precisely matches a listing, a finding of disability is a likely outcome, but few people have those exact medical conditions. Disability experts indicate that even when a specific listing is matched, the claimant may have to undergo further steps in the sequential process.

Ending of disability benefits

Virginia residents who receive Supplemental Security Income or Social Security disability benefits should expect to undergo periodic reviews to establish the status of their disabling condition. The reviews tend to take place every three to seven years. When they occur will depend on the possibility of whether a person's condition that is causing the disability is going to get better, or improve medically. Disability beneficiaries who seem unlikely to medically improve are generally given a continuing medical review every seven years; these include individuals whose impairments are classified as permanent disabling by Social Security.

There are other reasons disability benefits recipients may undergo a review. A continuing disability review may be prompted by an individual's work activity.

Judges and Social Security Disability

The majority of West Virginia residents who have applied for disability benefits from the Social Security Administration will have to see a judge. They need to go through a very stringent evaluation process that entails going through impairment listings. These listings address disorders and illnesses for all of the body's systems and establish the criteria that have to be met in order for the applicant to qualify for the disability program.

Seeing a judge will not be necessary for people who have met an impairment listing. Also, people who have severely restricted residual functional capacity ratings may be able to obtain disability benefits based on a medical-vocational disability approval.

Functional limitations are an important SSD consideration

When most West Virginia workers consider filing for Social Security Disability benefits, they have little understanding of the process. It is commonly assumed that if one has worked for most of their life and can no longer do so due to a mental or physical disability, SSD benefits will be awarded. That may or may not be the case, but the manner that the Social Security Administration uses to determine disability is a specific, sequential process governed by complex statutes and prior decisions.

Disability experts can explain that although a claimant may not be working, that is only the beginning of the SSD analysis. Next, the nature of the impairment the claimant is suffering from is considered and evaluated, and if it is not deemed sufficiently severe, the claim will be denied. If the impairment is severe, the type of activity the claimant is capable of becomes relevant. Functional limitations are how the specific impairment the claimant has restricts his or her ability to perform specific physical or mental functions.

How does a person qualify and apply for disability benefits?

Some individuals are unable to work due to a disabling medical condition or a severe physical injury. This is a difficult position to be in as it often means a person is not financially able to support his or her West Virginia family, pay for medical needs or even have enough money for everyday needs. If you find yourself in this situation, you understand how difficult it can be.

This is a difficult situation, but it is not hopeless. There are specific types of disability benefits available to you through the Social Security Administration. If your claim gets approval, you will receive regular financial support payments. This may be good news for you, but there are strict eligibility requirements and specific things you have to do to qualify. It may be helpful for you to learn about what to do to apply for this support you need.

Understanding continuing disability review

Individuals who receive Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income benefits rely on this income to meet their day-to-day living needs. It should be noted, however, that the Social Security Administration periodically reviews the cases of SSD and SSI recipients. This is called continuing disability review.

The purpose behind SSD and SSI is to provide income to individuals who are disabled to the point that they are unable to work. The Social Security Administration recognizes, however, that a person's condition may improve over time. As a result, all benefits cases are subject to periodic reconsideration. During this process, a recipient's medical and work history is reviewed, taking into consideration his or her current medical condition.

Why some people receive disability back pay

Some West Virginia residents are entitled to back pay after their applications for disability benefits are approved. This is because they may have had a condition that resulted in a total disability before they decided to ask for compensation. Applicants might also be entitled to back pay for the time it took for their applications to work through the system. In some cases, this can take months or years.

It is important to note that there is a five-month waiting time for disability benefits that begins from the established date of disability (EOD). Therefore, some individuals may not receive a back payment at all. Instead, their benefits might not begin until after their applications are approved. Therefore, applicants are encouraged to provide as much evidence as possible to establish when their impairments began. This can be done with medical and work history records.

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