Abromson & Carey, Attorneys at Law
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Newark Social Security Disability Law Blog

Study examines those with heart disease, depression

Many people in New Jersey know of someone with heart disease, or may suffer from a heart condition themselves. It is easy to understand how a physical ailment can be severe enough to become disabling. However, mental illnesses can be disabling as well, especially when combined with a physical ailment.

According to one study of approximately 24,000 individuals suffering from heart disease, the individuals who also had depression were two times more likely to pass away within 10 years on average, when compared to those who did not have depression. The mortality risk of those studied linked to depression was greater than other factors that could affect the mortality risk of those studied, such as diabetes, future heart disease or even old age.

Is there a benefit to a long SSD benefit wait time?

The Social Security disability benefit (SSD) program has a massive backlog. Stories abound of applicants waiting months and months for notice of whether their application for benefits was approved or denied.

One unforeseen benefit to this problem: the amount of money available in this program is much more stable than once predicted.

Despite needs, long wait times for SSD benefits continue

When a person in Newark cannot work due to a serious medical condition, they may be concerned not just with their physical health, but also with their financial health. A glimmer of hope may take the shape of Social Security disability benefits. After all, people have paid into the Social Security system when they were healthy enough to work, believing that there would be a financial safety net there for them should they become disabled and can no longer work. Unfortunately, obtaining these benefits can be a difficult process.

Unfortunately, around a third of the applications for SSD benefits are initially denied, and it can take years to resolve the situation through the appeals process. Moreover, there is a significant backlog of cases waiting to be addressed. Part of the reason why there is such a backlog of cases, according to some, is due to the ongoing cuts to funding for the nation's Social Security program. Moreover, as the "baby boomers" age, there is a greater number of people in need of disability benefits.

More people in rural areas receive SSD benefits than urban areas

From 1996 to 2015, the number of individuals in the United States who were of working age but who were receiving disability benefits shot up. New Jersey residents may be interested to hear, however, that in rural areas of the country, the rate of those receiving disability benefits is two times that of urban areas of the country. In rural areas, an average of about 9 percent of those who are of working age are recipients of disability benefits. That number sits at 6.5 percent nationally, and at 4.9 percent in urban areas.

If more people are receiving Social Security disability benefits or Supplemental Security Income, it might seem like these benefits must be easy to obtain. However, this is not true. Only approximately four out of every 10 applicants are ultimately awarded benefits. The process can take two or more years and necessitate one or more appeals.

When does depression constitute a disability?

Depressive disorders can be difficult to treat, and a person in New Jersey may not respond to treatments that are given, eventually leading to an inability to function in society. In fact, the Social Security Administration includes depressive disorders in its "Listing of Impairments." When a person has depression, if they meet the elements found in the Listing of Impairments for depressive disorders, they may be able to seek Social Security disability benefits for mental conditions.

First of all, a person's depressive disorder must include at least five of the following symptoms. One symptom is feeling depressed. Another symptom is a loss of interest in nearly every activity the person is involved in. A third symptom is having a change in appetite that results in a weight change. A fourth symptom is having trouble sleeping. A fifth symptom is having little to no energy. A sixth symptom is feeling guilty or feeling worthless. A seventh symptom is having trouble maintaining concentration or thinking. Finally, an eighth symptom is having suicidal thoughts.

Two may be better than one when treating depression

When a person is living with depression, merely getting out of bed in the morning can be next to impossible. The future seems dull, bleak and hopeless. What can be more frustrating is to actively seek help only to find the antidepressant given isn't working. It used to be the case that if one antidepressant did not help a person with depression, the person would be given a different one, and another, et cetera, until they fell upon the "right" one. However, New Jersey residents may be interested to hear that a new study claims that this might not be the most effective way to treat depression.

The study examined over 1,500 people with depression. It found that these people experienced more relief from symptoms if they were given either a second antidepressant or an antipsychotic medication, along with the first antidepressant, instead of quitting the first antidepressant altogether.

What is schizophrenia?

Many people are not aware that Social Security Disability benefits also includes mental conditions. Although they are often harder to diagnose and are less tangible than an injury or illness, mental conditions can be equally debilitating, and can often leave a victim unable lead a normal life. One of the serious mental conditions that affects Americans is schizophrenia.

Schizophrenia affects how a person behaves, thinks and feels. It is typically broken into three categories, positive, negative and cognitive. Positive symptoms include delusions, hallucinations, thought disorders such as an atypical way of thinking, and movement disorders.

Signs and symptoms of Lupus

Lupus is a serious and debilitating autoimmune disease that could seriously affect an Americans ability to do work, including residents in and near the Newark, New Jersey, area. The condition typically affects people at a younger age around one's teenage years to the early 30's, with symptoms covering a wide range of disabilities and issues for the victim. Early symptoms could include but are not limited to fever, hair loss, rashes, kidney issues, pulmonary problems, swollen joints and gastrointestinal issues, thyroid issues and fatigue.

Fatigue is among the most common symptoms, affecting as many as 90 percent of victims. Lowgrade fevers which cannot be attributed to other illnesses is also not uncommon. One of the earliest symptoms of lupus is hair loss. In some people, the loss can be drastic and coming out in clumps. For others it can be less obvious.

Assistance for Social Security Disability benefits applications

Having your life upended by a serious illness is an extremely stressful and difficult situation. Between worrying about your health, the wellbeing of your family, and desperately trying to keep a positive mental attitude, there are many different elements that can take their toll. However, these types of situations can be magnified even more when you're left unable to work due to the illness.

Thankfully, there are safety nets in place for those who have been struck by such terrible illnesses. Social Security Disability benefits are available for those who qualify. Thanks to this program, many who are too ill to work have an alternative source of income, allowing them to provide for themselves and their family while fighting through the sickness. These benefits, however, are not always so simple to obtain.

Can I get disability benefits for migraines?

Social Security disability benefits are available for number of illnesses that make it difficult or impossible to work. In some cases, even illnesses that are not directly listed can still qualify for benefits. This is the case for those who suffer from serious migraines.

What is a migraine? The medical experts with Mayo Clinic define migraines as a headache that can cause “severe throbbing pain or a pulsing sensation, usually on one side of the head. It is often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and extreme sensitivity to light and sound.” These headaches may be preceded by an aura which can include a visual, tactile or speech disturbance. The aura can last between 20 to 60 minutes before the onset of the migraine headache. 

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