Chicago area residents living with disabilities who receive benefits from the Social Security Administration can likely attest to the important role these benefits play in their lives. Over the course of the last 40+ years, the number of people who receive disability benefits from the agency has grown a lot. In 1970 the number of new claimants was 250,000. By 2008, that number had grown to close to 900,000. The large increase has left many wondering why the number is now so high. A recently study conducted by the SSA seeks to make that determination.
Throughout the Chicago metro area there are people living with disabilities. Some of the disabilities are due to illness. Other times, an accident is to blame. In still other situations people are born with disabling conditions. The disability may be a mental or physical impairment. Whatever the type or the reason for the disability, if severe enough, that person may be eligible to receive benefits from the Social Security Administration.
There are of course certain qualifications that must be met. First, the disabling condition must have either existed or be expected to last for at least 12 months. Also, the condition must result in a complete disability rendering an individual unable to work. If these requirements are met, an application for either Supplemental Security Income or Social Security Disability Insurance may be granted.
There are many conditions that someone in the Chicago metro area may be living with that could qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance. One of those conditions is acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, more commonly referred to as AIDS. While many individuals living with AIDS or the virus that leads to it called human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), can take steps to keep the viruses in check, for some, the condition can advance to the point where that person is unable to work.
Individuals living with HIV/AIDS face many challenges. Some of those challenges are physical. Learning how to care for one’s body to stay as healthy as possible is a daunting task that for best results must be met head-on. Other challenges are mental and have to do with how one emotionally deals with having the medical condition. As it turns out, society plays a role in this aspect.
As 2013 winds down, information regarding disability payments made in 2012 is now available. A report, which was recently issued by the Social Security Administration, indicates that more than 10.1 million individuals received disability benefits in 2012. This group is comprised of disabled widowers and widows, disabled adult children and disabled workers. By far the biggest demographic of that group is disabled workers. At the end of 2012, 8.8 million workers were receiving Social Security Disability benefits.
Benefits from the SSA have been available for disabled individuals since 1956. The benefits available under the program are only for individuals who are totally disabled and expected to remain that way for a minimum of a year. On average, in 2012 beneficiaries received an average of $1,134.86.
For individuals who are living with disabilities each day can be a challenge to get through. When someone applies for Social Security Disability benefits only to have their application denied, they may feel like giving up. The time and energy that is necessary for an appeal can feel overwhelming and they may not know where to start. The good news is that the denial of an initial application is not the end of the process. It is likely that many residents of Cook County have successfully appealed the Social Security Administration’s initial decision. Many of those residents were probably working with a lawyer who handles these types of cases.
There are many medical conditions that could prompt someone residing in Cook County, Illinois to decide to seek benefits from the Social Security Administration. One condition that may lead someone to seek Social Security Disability Insurance is Alzheimer’s. This is concerning to many as there are no effective treatments for the condition and it always leads to death. In the United States, it is currently the sixth leading cause of death.
Readers may not be aware that November is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month. It has been 30 years since the designation was first made by then President Ronald Reagan. Since that time the number living with the disease has increased greatly. Between the years of 2000 and 2010, the number of individuals who died as a result of Alzheimer’s increased 68 percent.
It a fair assumption that most people who seek Social Security Disability benefits from the Social Security Administration are doing so because their inability to work is causing a financial strain. If this is the case, it is easy to see how upsetting it could be to an applicant to learn that his or her application has been denied. A denial adds to what is, in most cases, already a very stressful situation. In addition, many whose claims are denied may not know what steps to take next.
There are a variety of reasons that someone may need to seek benefits such as Social Security Disability Insurance from the Social Security Administration. What most people who apply for these benefits have in common however is that they are living with a condition that makes it difficult for them to work and make a living. Because even with these benefits it can be difficult to make ends meet, benefit recipients were likely pleased when it was announced last month that Social Security benefits were going to increase by 1.5 percent in 2014. For some recipients, that good news may have been tempered by another change that went into effect earlier this month.
There are of course many different types of disabilities that individuals throughout the Chicago area could be living with. Each disabled person or caregiver likely has a list of things that others could do to make life easier. Recently a woman whose daughter was born with a chromosomal abnormality shared things that she believes others should know about families dealing with a disability.
The first thing is that not all disabilities are obvious. Some are cognitive. When snide comments are made about an individual or family taking advantage of a special line for the disabled or a handicap parking space, it can make what may already be a difficult outing that much harder.
On election day this week, voters throughout the nation made their way to polling places to cast their votes for various political offices. While many quickly accomplished this task thinking only about their favorite candidates, for others living in the state of Illinois, more thought is given to the entire process. These individuals are those who are living with disabilities. Some must deal with barriers to voting that are physical, legal and attitudinal.