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Detroit Social Security Benefits Law Blog

Is Social Security disability enough for injury-related expenses?

In a scenario you never hoped to deal with in your life, a workplace injury has left you temporarily or permanently disabled. While workers' compensation under Michigan law may be an option for medical expenses, what if you need long-term care well beyond what any monthly pension or settlement payment can cover? Can you find appropriate coverage for your medical expenses with Social Security disability benefits?

If you are approved as disabled and a qualified recipient of Social Security disability benefits, then those benefits may cover your medical expenses - but there is no fixed guarantee. Social Security benefits are often fixed, and that amount is contingent on income from other sources so that your other benefits may actually undercut your Social Security eligibility. However, according to the SSA.gov website, a small group of qualified beneficiaries may be qualified for Social Security Disability Insurance.

Surprising facts about accident probability

Some people love to travel by car, to drive across the country and get a glimpse of the world up close. They know the dangers, but may even have a certain enjoyment of their morning commute. Others prefer to stay close to home, reserving their travels for work, errands and visits to family. Perhaps the risk of being on the road keeps them content with local living and driving only where they are familiar.

It may seem to you that staying close to home is the safer choice, but studies have long shown that this is not always true. In fact, the closer you are to home, the more dangerous your drive may be.

Understanding mental health and Social Security disability

When you already struggle with mental health issues impacting your daily quality of life and capacity to function, it can be exhausting to think of dealing with the red tape and hassles involved with obtaining Social Security disability. Mental health issues can often be far more difficult to prove against requirements for disability, yet when disability benefits are essential to your capacity to survive it can help to know exactly how the federal government measures criteria for mental health related Social Security benefits. We at Adler Stilman, PLLC, understand the frustration inherent in pursuing the benefits you deserve.

The SSA categorizes mental health disabilities in adults into eleven subsets, which include but are not limited to: schizophrenia and related psychotic disorders, intellectual disorders, somatic disorders, depressive and bipolar disorders, neurocognitive disorders, autism spectrum disorder and more. Each of these categories has its own criteria for determination of disability qualification. Some are evaluated only for medical criteria presented as evidence of the disorder, while others require further determination against assessments of how much the disorder limits your ability to function. Still another assessment determines whether or not the disorder is considered chronic, also described as "serious and persistent." 

What is a Social Security Ticket to Work?

One of the biggest concerns when you receive Social Security disability benefits is how your ability to work may impact your benefits, particularly if your income from disability benefits does not account adequately for your life expenses or other costs you may incur during treatment or rehabilitation. You rely on your benefits to survive, but also need the supplemental income of a job that accommodates for your disability. Are there provisions in the state of Michigan that allow you to work while still receiving Social Security disability?

The answer is the Ticket to Work program, which is run not by the state but by the federal Social Security Administration. Per the SSA.gov website, the Ticket to Work program is a special voluntary, free service offering assistance to beneficiaries who seek to return to work without losing Medicare or Medicaid support. The program offers resources for state-specific help and assistance, including providing information on how much or how little you are allowed to work under the program.

Workers' compensation for subcontractors

Companies in Michigan are usually required to ensure they offer workers' compensation for their employees. When companies hire subcontractors, they may wonder if they need to provide workers' compensation for these workers as well.

According to the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, subcontractors in Michigan are usually considered to be independent contractors. This means that a subcontractor has a separate business that he or she runs and that this business has been employed by a company. A subcontractor is viewed as an employee, though, if he or she does not run a business with several employees. If a subcontractor is the only owner of his or her business, this person may not always be covered under the state workers' compensation program.

Preventing burns in the food service industry

When Michigan residents think about workplace accidents, they may not consider burns. Burns can be a common occurrence in the food service industry, though. It is important to understand how these burns occur and how they can be prevented.

There are numerous ways a food service employee can incur a burn. According to the National Restaurant Association, someone might be burned while they prepare food. Oil in a deep fryer can spatter if fryer baskets are overfilled or if a cook drops a basket into the oil instead of lowering it gently. Additionally, people can incur a burn if they reach across a steamer or drop food into boiling water.

Getting your life back when you lose a limb

It may have been like any other day. You got up, started your day and went to work. You knew that your job came with certain risks, but you never expected your day to end with you in the hospital facing the loss of a limb.

A limb amputation represents a game changer in your life. More than likely, you face numerous challenges as you strive to find some semblance of normality with your new circumstances. Hopefully, you have a good support system in your friends, family and medical team, but that may not be enough. As you struggle to adjust to your new life, you may also struggle with receiving the workers' compensation benefits to which you may be entitled. Fortunately, you can find help in this area as well.

Social Security disability benefits and spine injuries

Spine injuries can happen over time from degenerative disorders, or can be the immediate and catastrophic result of injury. Anything from a workplace incident to a motor vehicle accident on the streets of any Michigan city can leave you incapacitated, and in need of support from Social Security disability benefits. At Adler Stillman, PLLC, we understand the pain and suffering that can come with loss of capability, loss of independence, loss of income and loss of quality of life associated with spine injuries.

The SSA.gov website's subsection on musculoskeletal disability evaluation for adults requires evaluation of your medical condition to determine if your spinal injury or illness meets one of three criteria for disorders of the spine, such as spinal arachnoiditis, osteoarthritis, herniated nucleus pulposus, degenerative disc disease, and ver tebral fractures. One of the criteria, spinal arachnoiditis, presents as severe burning or painful dysesthesia (an unpleasant or abnormal situation). Spinal arachnoiditis is diagnosed by biopsy.

Why might your Social Security disability benefits be denied?

When your disability becomes catastrophic and life-changing, Social Security disability benefits may be your only option for a living income. When applying for Social Security benefits, you must meet certain criteria for disability or your request will be denied. These requirements are set out not by the state of Michigan, but by the United States Social Security Administration. States have little to no determination in Social Security disability benefits cases.

For the Social Security Administration to grant disability benefits, you must meet their criteria for medical conditions that qualify as complete disability. According to the SSA website, reasons for rejection include:

  • A disability that only qualifies as a short-term disability, rather than permanent or likely to end in death
  • Partial disability versus complete disability
  • Disability that does not completely eliminate your capacity to do the work you were accustomed to prior to your disability
  • Disability that does not prevent you from seeking work in another, more accommodating occupation

The numbers behind drunk driving accidents

Although Michigan residents recognize that drunk driving can be dangerous, they may not always think about the numbers associated with this phenomenon. It is important for people to understand how these numbers change and what can be done to keep people from driving while impaired.

People may not always realize how deadly drunk driving accidents can be. MLive.com says that in 2014, a drunk driver was part of 36 percent of the fatal accidents which occurred. Additionally, people are more likely to be hurt if they are in involved in a collision with a drunk driver. People may not always associate a particular gender with drunk driving but in 2014, only 9,224 women were arrested for driving while impaired, while men made up 75 percent of these arrests.

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