Disability Denial Attorneys Blog

Long-Term Disability - Social Security Disability - Veterans' Disability

Does Chronic Granulocytopenia Qualify for Social Security Disability Benefits? Yes! Try Using SSA Listing 7.15.

Published on July 28, 2015 by

The bodies of those that suffer from chronic granulocytopenia are unable make granulocytes, which are the white blood cells that help to fight off infections. What that ultimately means is that people with this condition are incredibly prone to getting sick, and when they catch something, they have a hard time shaking it.

As you might imagine, it is not exactly easy holding down a job if you are constantly trying to fight off one illness or another. Many people just cannot do it. Thanks to the Social Security Administration, those with the worst cases of this condition should not have to – but you still need to prove that you medically qualify for Social Security disability benefits.

How exactly do you do that? There are two methods that the SSA has come up with.

The first is to match the listing for that specific disorder in the SSA’s Listings of Impairments. What is the Listings of Impairments? It is a kind of compendium of disabling conditions that the SSA recognizes. Each one is defined in the document and comes with a list of requirements that you need to meet in order to get Social Security disability benefits.

What if you do not meet the criteria? That’s where the second method comes in. Those who cannot match a listing have an alternative way of qualifying: prove that their medical impairment is just as severe as anything in the Listings. It is called proving equivalency, and unfortunately, it is not nearly as straightforward or simple as just matching a listing. You will need a smart disability lawyer with a track record of success in this area if you want to win your case.

Because of that, we are going to talk about matching the listing first.

Matching the Listing for 7.15

There are three things that the SSA requires of you in order to get Social Security disability benefits for chronic granulocytopenia. First, that you actually have the condition. It doesn’t matter how you got it, just that you have it. Second, that you repeatedly show absolute neutrophil counts under 1,000 cells/cubic millimeter. And last, that you have systemic bacterial infections that have been documented on three or more occasions in the five months leading up to adjudication.

How can you prove to the SSA that you meet these requirements? Along with other documented evidence, you should have positive results on one of the following medical tests that the SSA has approved for this condition.

  • Antineutrophil antibodies
  • Biopsy
  • Bone marrow aspiration and biopsy
  • Bone marrow scan
  • Complete blood count
  • Hematocrit
  • White blood cell scan
  • White cell count
  • Xpert EV test for viral meningitis

When the Criteria Is Too Difficult to Meet

Never forget that the option of proving equivalency is always on the table. The path to getting benefits this way might not be as clear, but many people have found it to be a viable one.

As mentioned above, you will definitely want to work with an experienced disability lawyer. With their knowledge of how this process works, they can help you navigate these often murky waters and tell you exactly what you must do for the best chance at success.

Your ultimate goal in proving equivalency will be to use the Five Step Sequential Evaluation Process to show the Social Security Administration that your condition has prevented you from working for at least 12 months. Accomplish this, and you should ultimately be able to get the Social Security disability benefits you need.

Learn even more about the claims process by reading our Social Security Disability eBook for free and be sure to check back weekly for more information on how you can get the Social Security disability benefits that you deserve.

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Veterans Disability: Firing VA Employees at a Faster Rate Does Not Help Veterans

Published on July 27, 2015 by

In an effort to help those veterans who may have been waiting years for their VA benefits, many of those in Congress are supporting a new legislation which would fire the so called “bad apples “at the Department of Veterans Affairs. Even though those supporting this legislation may have the best of intentions, the mass firing of VA employees may do more harm than good to improve the care provided to veterans.

Over the last few years, it has become abundantly clear that our government needs to deal more effectively with employees of the VA who are failing at their jobs or violating the best interest of their clients. But even with an expedited firing of many federal employees, a third of which are veterans themselves, the fundamental problem remains; the VA sorely needs management reforms.

The first steps of this new legislation were taken by Congress last year in response to the scandal that involved false wait times for veterans in need of health care services. The VA secretary was given authority to quickly fire senior executives and at the same time create shortened processes for future employee appeals of their cases. Early studies of these new tactics show that some of the best candidates for promotion to executive positions are actually bypassing the opportunity for promotion due to this law.

The new measures, (S 1082), (S 1117), and (HR 1994) if approved, would allow for the ejection of VA employees for almost any reason and at the same time deny the employee the right to fair notice and a suitable period of time in which to defend themselves. Some fear that this lack of employee rights smacks of a bygone era in history when civil servants could be easily fired by political appointees at will based on political persuasion.

This new legislation may also have detrimental effects on the Department of Veterans Affairs itself. Though many of the problem employees will be gone, the cutting of employee rights may leave the VA without new infusions of top management talent who may shy away from the new VA practice. It may also create an unfairly stacked deck against all employees, whether they are guilty of violating interests or not. The current trend of VA whistle blowing, by those who wish to expose mistreatment of claims in support of our veterans, may also come to a swift halt.

The worst part of this entire initiative is that VA management still shows no sign of improvement. There must be more constructive ways to create change at the VA instead of arbitrarily firing employees and career managers. With this level of unrest in the VA system it is always best to have the best veteran’s disability attorney at your side.

Keep up with the latest in Veterans Disability news by following this blog, and read our free eBook to learn more about the disability claims process.

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Does Myelofibrosis Qualify for Social Security Disability Benefits? Yes! Try Using SSA Listing 7.10.

Published on July 24, 2015 by

You’re constantly exhausted. You seem to bruise and bleed just by touching things. You have trouble breathing whenever you engage in physical activities. And even your very bones cause you pain.

These are just a few of the reasons the SSA decided to include myelofibrosis in their list of disabling conditions that are eligible for Social Security disability benefits. After all, it’s not easy to work when you’re constantly tired, in pain, or worried about hurting yourself.

Still, in order to get the Social Security disability benefits that you need, you do have to prove that you are medically eligible, and the Social Security Administration has two ways that you can do this:

  1. Use the book. To help people through the disability process, the SSA has created the Listings of Impairments, a sort of guidebook that defines all of the disabling medical issues that they recognize, along with specific criteria for each one. All you have to do to receive automatic eligibility is meet these criteria.
  2. Match the severity. There are many people out there who have truly serious medical issues but still can’t quite match the specific requirements of a condition in the Listings of Impairments. Thankfully, there is a secondary way for these people to qualify: by matching the severity. What does that mean? Your goal, if you have to use this method, will be to prove to the SSA that your condition is the equivalent of something that is already in Listings.

As you might imagine, the secondary method isn’t quite as simple or straightforward as the first one. Getting Social Security disability benefits through this method can be done with the help of a smart, experienced disability attorney, but attempting to meet the criteria in the listing should always be your first choice.

Myelofibrosis Benefit Requirements

In order to get benefits for myelofibrosis through Social Security, you need to show that you suffer from the condition along with one of the following:

  1. Intractable bone pain (must also include radiologic evidence of osteosclerosis)
  2. Systemic bacterial infections (that are recurring, documented, and happen three or more times in the five months leading up to adjudication)
  3. Chronic anemia (as defined under the criteria for listing 7.02)

In order to help you prove your claim and show that you meet the requirements that they have set down, the SSA has listed a number of tests that they deem acceptable:

  • Biopsy
  • Bone marrow aspiration and biopsy
  • Bone marrow scan
  • Buffy coat smear
  • Complete blood count
  • Hematocrit
  • Leukocyte alkaline phosphatase
  • White cell count

Getting positive results on one or more of these tests is one of the best ways to help your case and increase your chances of obtaining the benefits you need.

Proving Your Problem Is Just as Severe

Can’t match the criteria? Remember that there’s another way.

To prove that your condition is just as severe as something in the Listings, you and your disability attorney will need to use the Five Step Sequential Evaluation Process. In going through the process, you will need to find a way to show to the SSA that your medical issue has kept you from being able to work for at least 12 months.

Doing this may not be as easy as it sounds, but it can be done – especially if you have a good disability lawyer who has successfully handled cases like this before.

Learn even more about the claims process by reading our Social Security Disability eBook for free and be sure to check back weekly for more information on how you can get the Social Security disability benefits that you deserve.

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Can You Win Social Security Disability Benefits for Polycythemia Vera? Yes! Try Using SSA Listing 7.09.

Published on July 22, 2015 by

Most of the common symptoms associated with polycythemia vera (itching, arthritis) may not be particularly pleasant, but they probably don’t seem that severe to someone on the outside looking in. However, there are other associated issues that can be truly horrific. A significant percentage of sufferers get peptic ulcer disease. Some experience extreme, burning pain in their feet and hands. And the blood clots that come with the condition can lead to terrifying issues, such as strokes, heart attacks, and more.

Trying to hold down a job with polycythemia vera is tricky at best, and many simply aren’t able to do it. Because of this, the SSA has recognized this condition as an official disability and includes it in their Listings of Impairments.

What’s the Listings of Impairments? It’s a sort of encyclopedia of medical disabilities that qualify for financial benefits. Each listing contains a definition of the condition in question as well as requirements that you need to meet to get Social Security disability benefits.

As you might imagine, meeting the criteria in the listing is one way that you can qualify to receive Social Security disability benefits – but it’s not the only way.

Because the SSA knows that there are many very sick people who are unable to match the requirements they’ve set down for a specific condition, they have created an alternative way to prove eligibility: the Five Step Sequential Evaluation Process. This process provides you with the opportunity to prove to the SSA that although your impairment is not included in the Listings, it is just as severe as a condition that is included.

Unfortunately, doing this tends to be tricky, particularly if attempted without the aid of a Social Security disability lawyer who has a successful track record with these kinds of cases. Even then, it’s always best to attempt to meet the criteria first.

Qualifying for Benefits with Polycythemia Vera Using SSA Listing of Impairments

Polycythemia vera’s SSA listing is both incredibly simple and deceptively complicated. All you need to do is show that you actually have polycythemia vera with one of the following:

  • Erthrocytosis
  • Splenomegaly
  • Leukocytosis
  • Thrombocytosis

Sounds pretty easy, right? Sure. Except that each of those impacts a different body system, so once you prove your diagnosis, you then have to evaluate your impairments under the criteria for that body system.

Luckily, there are a number of tests that the Social Security Administration has approved to help you do this:

  • Biopsy
  • Blood viscosity
  • Blood volume
  • Bone marrow aspiration and biopsy
  • Bone marrow scan
  • Complete blood count
  • Erythropoietin
  • Hematocrit
  • Leukocyte alkaline phosphatase
  • Total hemoglobin

Show positive results on any of these tests, and you will help your case tremendously.

When You Can’t Meet the Criteria

Never forget that it’s still possible to get benefits even if you are unable to meet the listing criteria. With the Five Step Sequential Evaluation Process, your goal will be to convince the SSA that your issue is the equivalent of something that they have already included in their Listings, even though it doesn’t quite meet the specific requirements they’ve set down.

How do you do this? By offering evidence that shows you have been unable to work for 12 months or more due to your condition. If you and your lawyer are able to do this, you will be able to qualify for the benefits that you need and deserve.

Learn even more about the claims process by reading our Social Security Disability eBook for free and be sure to check back weekly for more information on how you can get the Social Security disability benefits that you deserve.

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