Social Security Disability And Fibromyalgia

Establishing “Disability” For Claimants With Fibromyalgiaand Chronic Fatigue SyndromeSocial Security disability benefits are often the ultimate safety net for persons suffering from medical impairments that make it impossible for them to work. For many people,¬†however, struggling through the Social Security Administration’s bureaucracy is frustrating, confusing and slow. For people suffering from conditions such as Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, the requirements of the Social Security Act can become overwhelming. This article will explain and simplify in general terms the requirements of the Social Security disability program and describe the application and appeals process.Two Different Programs – SSDIand SSIThere are two programs under the Social Security Act providing benefits for persons who are unable to work. The first is the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program found in Title II of the Social Security Act. The second is the Supplemental Security Income program contained in Title XVI of the Social Security Act. The medical test for both programs is identical. The differences are in the non-medical eligibility requirements.Non-Medical RequirementsSSDI benefits are paid to totally disabled individuals who have worked and paid into the Social Security system with the FICA taxes that are deducted from paychecks. These FICA taxes are analogous to insurance premiums paid for automobile, homeowners or other private insurance. The FICA payments, which are matched by employers, buy coverage under the Social Security Retirement, Disability and Medicare programs. For SSDI, there are two requirements: a worker must have worked and paid FICA taxes for at least 40 quarters lifetime (10 years) and, also 20 quarters had to have been paid in during the ten years prior to the date of becoming totally disabled. For example, a 40 year-old Claimant who became disabled in 2003 would have had to have worked and paid FICA taxes for at least 10 years during his lifetime, and for at least 5 years between 1992 and 2002.If approved for SSDI the Social Security Administration pays a monthly benefit based upon how much was earned and paid into the Social Security system. Benefits are also paid to dependent children who are under 16 years old, or who are under 18 years old and still in high school. Medicare eligibility begins twenty-nine months after the onset date of total disability.The SSI program requires that an individual be totally disabled and “indigent.” “Indigent” basically means that a single Claimant has little or no income and less than $2,000.00 in non-exempt assets. A home and furniture are not counted. One car is exempt. Bank accounts, IRAs, profit sharing plans, cash value life insurance and similar assets are all included in determining assets, even if penalties and taxes would be incurred if the asset were converted to cash. In addition, a spouse’s assets and income are “deemed” to the disabled Claimant – this deeming rule wreaks havoc on many disabled persons, particularly the stay-at-home parent.In 2004 SSI will pay a basic monthly benefit of $564.00 which may be supplemented by some states. A disabled person receiving SSI will also be eligible for food stamps and a Medicaid card from the state.The Social Security disability program is designed to pay benefits to claimants suffering from medical problems causing symptoms so severe that it becomes impossible to sustain function at any type of work. Issues of employability, job existence, insurability and location or desirability of alternative work will not be considered, although age and education are often important factors. The fact that a person can not do the work performed in the past is usually not determinative. This is a medical program that focuses upon medically proven symptoms and their impact on the ability to perform work activities.Therefore, the focus in on function, not on diagnosis; SSA often admits that Claimants have medical problems and are “impaired,” but denies that they are “totally disabled.” The debate is over what the Claimant can “do” despite the medical problems.The Social Security Administration’s Regulations require determination of disability be based upon on “objective proof” of both the medical problem and of the severity of the symptoms. “Objective proof” means the findings contained in medical tests that are not dependent on the patient’s subjective responses. health and social care

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *