Monday, July 25, 2016

Social Security Amends the Respiratory Disability Listing

The Social Security Administration has enacted comprehensive changes to disability listings 3.00 and 103.00 for Respiratory Disorders.  See  81 CFR 37138  This listing will be effective for cases filed or pending after October 7, 2016.  This is the first major overhaul of the respiratory listing since 1993. The amendment also changes the name of the of the listing from Respiratory System to Respiratory Disorders.
The new listing places a great deal of emphasis on the tests used to measure lung capacity.  The agency will continue to require spirometry testing to determine a person's forced expiratory volume and forced capacity.  Under the proposed changes proof of equipment calibration will no longer be needed.  One particular aspect to keep in mind is that under the new listing the agency seems to require that tracing results of the spirometry be submitted with the medical records.  If tracing results are not submitted, the SSA may then request the claimant to undergo a consultative examination.  
On positive aspect of the changes includes a reduction in the number of hospitalizations needed in a year in order to meet the listing.  The old listing required six hospitalizations but the new listing has reduced them to three.  In enacting this change, the agency acknowledged that claimants are not always able to visit a hospital or able to pay for care when they suffer exacerbations of their conditions.  
Under the old listing lung transplant recipients were automatically considered disabled for a period of one year,  The new changes increases this time period to three years. 

Monday, July 4, 2016

Social Security Disability Recipients Can Have Their Student Loans Discharged

As a Social Security Disability Lawyer, clients and other claimants constantly ask me questions on how to make ends meet with the humble income that they receive from their monthly check.  Since I am not a financial adviser, my advise in this are is somewhat limited.  However, as I learn of different programs that can help relieve their financial hardships, I like to pass the information to them through this blog.
One program available to Social Security Disability beneficiaries to help them deal with their financial stress is the "Total and Permanent Disability Discharge of Student Loans".  To learn the specific details about this program click into
Under this program, if you are receiving SSD you might be able to have your entire student loan forgiven.  If approved, you will not have to pay your loan money back.  However, there are numerous exceptions to the program and must seek help from a financial planner before taking the bold step of requesting that your debt be forgiven.
The rules for student debt forgiveness are somewhat like the rules for Social Security Disability.   In fact, they are almost identical except that the "durational" requirement for debt forgiveness is much longer.  Therefore, you must be disabled for a longer period of time or expect to be disabled for a longer time than for SSD in order to be eligible for debt forgiveness.  To be eligible to receive Social Security Disability you must be disabled or be expected to be disabled for twelve months or more. On the other hand, in order to be eligible for student loan forgiveness you must be disabled or be expected to be disabled for 60 months or more.  Please note that individuals who are told by Social Security that their disability awards will not be reviewed in the next five to seven years (those SSD beneficiaries who are considered as "Medical Improvement Not Expected") are automatically qualified for the student debt forgiveness program.  If your case is supposed to be reviewed within the next five years and you want to be eligible, then you must complete an application an provide a certification from a doctor stating that your disability is expected to last 60 months or more.