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Cincinnati Social Security Disability Law Blog

Exploring connections between food, wellness and disability

No one can predict when tragedy may strike. An accident or disabling illness may disrupt lives, interrupt work schedules, strain relationships and present other obstacles. 

When a disabling condition does hit home, it may render workers unable to work as before. Fortunately, disability benefits programs, such as Social Security disability insurance, may be available. For workers that have paid into the system, SSDI benefits can be viewed almost as a type of insurance against the unexpected.

Yet an applicant must present a strong claim in order to qualify for benefits. In that regard, having a disability benefits attorney on your side can make a huge difference. An attorney will know how to translate medical documentation into a strong legal case.

Returning to work after suffering a total disability

Workers who are struggling with a physical or mental impairment that interferes with their work duties may have questions about what is meant by the term total disability. More importantly, they may have questions about whether they can continue working in some capacity while applying to various disability benefits programs. 

The question is a valid one, as Social Security disability applications are often not processed until many months or even over a year later. During that time, a disabled individual may still attempt to make ends meet during the application process. However, applicants for Social Security disability insurance may have questions about whether part-time work will harm their disability claim.

Acute care hospitals provide long-term care for disabled

According to recent data, the average disability payment made to Social Security disability beneficiaries is about $1,146. If that amount seems sufficient, consider the case study of one man with Lou Gehrig’s disease at a long-term acute care hospital. 

The facility is one of around 400 such facilities in the country that care for critically ill patients. Although some patients may improve, such as those recovering from an accident, the average stay may be months. Patients with a terminal illness, in contrast, may live at such specialized hospitals for years or even longer.

The Internet is no substitute for a disability benefits attorney

Although the Internet has done wonders to disseminate information and improve access to business and governmental services, there are still times when a disability attorney may be needed. Today’s story provides one such example.

As readers may know, service members are generally referred to Veterans Affairs hospitals for their treatment needs. However, a recent scandal suggests that veterans may have been harmed due to long waits at one facility. The report also claims a systemic problem: In addition to long wait times, veterans may have difficulty accessing services due to long travel distances to the nearest VA medical facility.

Ohio's approach to disability and health care may be expanding

Readers may have confusion over the distinctions between Medicaid and Social Security disability benefits.

According to its website, Medicaid provides health coverage to more than 8.8 million disabled Americans. Notably, that estimate includes individuals who are working. In contrast, Social Security disability benefits generally require than an individual be unable to work for an estimated minimum period of 12 months.

Different types of cancer may qualify for disability benefits

When it comes to disabling conditions that qualify for Social Security disability insurance benefits, one might expect cancer to top the list.

Although the Social Security Administration recognizes many types of cancers on its listing of potentially eligible disabilities, the term cancer actually refers to a class of diseases. To qualify for SSDI benefits on the basis of a particular cancer, a worker must generally document how his or her condition is equal in severity to the SSA’s regulations and makes it impossible to work.

Veteran suffering from trauma turns to psychomotor therapy

A recent article profiled a 36-year-old Iraq veteran participating in a type of role-play therapy. The former soldier recreated a traumatic incident with the other group participants. Simply talking about some of the atrocities he had seen soon had the former soldier in tears. 

Yet by bringing internal feelings out into the open, the therapist who was leading this group therapy -- called psychomotor therapy -- hoped that the soldier’s painful memories would be replaced with a more cathartic narrative, perhaps involving forgiveness or love. At a minimum, having other people witness what a participant may be feeling -- or have kept hidden -- may also help an individual to put a traumatic event into perspective.

Study implies correlation between disability and Medicaid status

On its website, even the Social Security Administration acknowledges that health insurance is vitally important to Americans with disabilities. Under existing rules, individuals who receive Social Security disability insurance benefits for 24 months can qualify for federal health insurance through Medicare. At the state level, low-income SSDI beneficiaries may also be eligible for Medicaid.

Given that relationship between Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security disability programs, the results of a new study may not surprise readers. Researchers compared the surgery outcomes between privately insured patients and those on Medicaid. They found that Medicaid patients were at twice the risk of fatal post-surgery complications. Medicaid patients also needed longer hospital stays and were more likely to require hospitalization after being discharged home.

Lawmakers consider competing proposals to mental health reform

Two bills introduced in the House of Representatives would take different approaches to mental health reform.

Rep. Tim Murphy’s bill would change the administrative structure of mental health funding by vesting powers in a newly created secretary position. That secretary would actually take power away from the administrative entity that currently oversees federal mental health grants to states, called the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Murphy’s bill would also permit the involuntary psychiatric commitment of individuals who may be in dire need of treatment. Currently the issue is handled by the states, and only about half allow involuntary hospitalization when an individual poses a danger to others or to him or herself.

Disability advocates concerned over health care law provision

There has been a lot of talk about the new health care law as the year begins and the machinery gets puts in place to implement the new rules. In the disability community, one of the aspects of the law that has drawn attention is the requirement that insurers cover “rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices.”

Rehabilitative services have been covered by a number of health care plans in the past, but habilitative services—which refer to services and devices that help the insured to learn functional skills—have not traditionally been covered. Having habilitative services covered sounds like a good thing, particularly for those with autism and other developmental disabilities, but there is some concern among disability advocates that insurers may find ways to avoid any obligation to provide such coverage. 

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