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Budget crunch could mean tougher review of disability claims

As Congressional debate continues over the funding of Social Security disability programs, it may be more important than ever before for individuals to explore all available sources of assistance.

According to a recent article, around 11 million Americans currently receive disability benefits from the Social Security Administration. Those benefits come out of the SSA’s disability insurance trust fund, which is funded by payroll taxes. Although the SSA also operates another trust fund for retirement benefits, current law does not authorize borrowing or transfers between the funds. Thus, any shortfall in projected payroll funding could directly impact disability benefits, possibly without a fallback option to the other trust fund.

The SSA’s disability programs include Social Security disability insurance and Supplemental Security Income. In North Carolina, other assistance programs might include Medicaid. An individual that qualifies for SSI benefits often has corresponding eligibility for Medicaid in North Carolina.

There may also be private disability insurance policies offered by an individual’s employer. Notably, many private policies still require an individual to apply for Social Security disability benefits, as a condition of eligibility.

Yet qualifying for SSDI benefits in the first place is not an easy task. A disability examiner for the SSA or even a private insurance company will typically have documentation requirements. For that reason, obtaining the cooperation of one’s doctor is essential. Information requests may be made of the doctor and other members of the individual’s care team. Yet without an attorney’s eye, there may be a discrepancy between medically based observations and the language of the law. Our law firm focuses on disability benefits and can help strengthen your claim.

Source: Insurance News Net, “Gridlock Over Fixing Social Security Disability Would Mean Benefit Cuts, Warns The Senior Citizens League,” Feb. 11, 2015

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