The recent AP article(s) (House investigators: Social Security lax in judging disability claims; fund nearing insolvency; and/or Judges: Social Security pushes approval of claims, Associated Press, June 24 and/or June 27[MF1] ) that your paper ran was/were extremely misleading. The articles’ central claim – that Social Security is “lax” in evaluating disability – is clearly contradicted by the facts. As an advocate for people with disabilities, I know firsthand how strict the disability criteria are. Most people who apply are denied, and only about 40% are awarded benefits-even after all stages of appeal. Many beneficiaries are terminally ill-about 1 in 5 male and 1 in 6 female beneficiaries die within 5 years of receiving benefits. Literally every day, I see people with significant disabilities who have been denied benefits.
No one knows when disability or illness will strike. That’s why Social Security Disability Insurance is an important part of our nation’s safety net. Instead of tearing down this vital program with myths and rumors, let’s focus instead on strengthening it for current and future generations.
We all see it travelling on our highways. An overloaded pickup truck hits a bump on the road and out flies a part of its payload into the path of oncoming cars travelling at 65 miles per hour. Most of the time the cars behind the problem avoid the object and move on down the road. Not so all the time. Yesterday, a hay bale fell off a truck on Highway 46 in Bartholomew county. The bale hit a motorcycle traveling in the opposite direction causing the motorcycle to crash. Two Hoosiers William Eland III and his wife Lindsay Eland were on that bike when the hay bale struck Mr. Eland causing serious personal injury. Mr. Eland was air lifted to Methodist Hospital. He was, at last report, in critical condition. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Elands.
As with many objects flying off of other vehicles, the Elands had no time to react. However, the person who placed the bale on the truck knew that if the object, in this case a bale of hay but it could be any kind of object, flew off the truck travelling at highway speed, it would act like a missile causing serious personal injury and possibly wrongful death. Because that driver knows this, he/she is obligated to use reasonable care to make sure that all objects on the truck do not escape.
This is the basis of our civil justice system. If you know that something you are doing will likely cause serious personal injury to another unless you use reasonable care, then you are obligated to use that reasonable care to make sure others are not harmed. This only makes sense. It is essentially the Golden rule. You do not want to be hurt by someone else not using reasonable care. In turn you are obligated to use reasonable care not to injure another.
We send our thoughts and prayers to Indiana State Police Officer First Sgt. Jon Watson. Trooper Watson was injured on I-70 when a vehicle, while attempting to change lanes, moved into a space occupied by Trooper Watson. Trooper Watson lost control and crashed. He suffered serious personal injury including fractures in several places in his leg and abrasions. We wish Trooper Watson a speedy recovery.
Lets use this experience as a teaching moment for us all. The best way to avoid automobile collisions, and motorcycle collisions is, as the driver, to be aware of your surroundings at all times. This means to continually scan your surroundings for other vehicles. We all know that a vehicle, whether it be a car or a motorcycle can enter your blind spot where your mirrors are not effective at indicating their presence. However, a continually scanning driver has a better chance of seeing the other vehicle because the scanning driver sees the vehicle before it enters the blind spot. In addition to continually scanning, a quick turn of the head to the right, when entering the lane to the right will, in most cases reveal the presence of the motorcycle or other car.
We know that most motorcycle/automobile collisions happen because the driver of the car does not see the motorcycle. Knowing this means that we must be all the more careful to look for the motorcycle on the road. Put down your phone, pay attention to the road. Doing so will help everyone else get home safely and it will also relieve you of the guilt of making a mistake that causes another Hoosier serious personal injury or wrongful death.
Can You Claim Disability Benefits for Depression or Anxiety?
The following is an email I recently sent to a person who called me seeking information about a potential claim for Disability benefits based on depression and anxiety. As this is a common response to the many questions I receive on the topic, I thought it would be a good email to share with those seeking disability based on a psychological disability.
I am sorry that you have to deal with these issues. I am writing to ask if you are seeing a psychiatrist, psychologist and or a counselor for your issues? If so, how long have you been regularly seeing these folks?
The reason I ask is because the Social Security Administration requires that any applicant for benefits be able to prove they are disabled. This proof necessarily takes the form of doctors records based on an ongoing relationship of treatment. The reason for this is two- fold. The first is that there is a general agreement among health care professionals that treatment for psychological issues is helpful to the person dealing with those issues. If the treatment is successful it may help the patient avoid being placed on disability. The second reason is that the Social Security Administration has mandated that records be presented to prove the disability. If the claimant is unable to present records of treatment, because of a lack of treatment, the Administration will deny the claim.
If you are dealing with these psychological issues without treatment, I encourage you to seek out a psychiatrist, psychologist and or a counselor and begin treatment. If you have already established a relationship with one of these types of health care providers, and the treatment is not yet sufficient to allow you to return to work, please give me a call.
If you have not yet filed your application for benefits, that must be done as soon as possible. If you are eligible for Title II SSDI, then you can file on line, or at your local social security office. If you are only eligible for Title XVI SSI, then you must file in person at the local office. If you are confused about which program for which you may be eligible, please give me a call and I can help you figure that out.
I wish you the best in coping with your anxieties and depression.
Stupidity was out in full force and on full display this weekend. The worst thing about this stupidity is that these drunk driving collisions could have seriously injured an Indiana State Trooper. The events unfolded on Sunday morning June 30th. The mayhem was to take place at the intersection of 465 and east 56th street. Indiana State Troop Josh Graves was on duty and looking out for the good of us all. He was responding to a deer being hit by a car. The deer’s remains were still in the road when Trooper Graves arrived. Those remains were a potential hazard to other drivers on the road and had to be removed. Trooper Graves did what needed to be done and was clearing the road when a drunk driver, Fredrick Allen, hit Grave’s squad car. We are thankful that Allen did not hit the Trooper. Yet, the trooper’s lights were in operation, so we assume Mr. Allen had to be significantly impaired when he chose to get behind the wheel and drive.
The stupidity does not end there, however. Another trooper was called to the scene to investigate the first drunk driving collision. Trooper Mike McCreary and Mr. Allen were sitting in Trooper McCreary’s car when a second drunk driver, Edwardo Frias, hit McCreary’s car. Again, thankfully, Trooper McCreary was not hurt.
Come on fellow Hoosiers. If you drink, do not drive. Save yourself. Save others.
A semi tractor-trailer hit an overpass recently on I-70. Imagine what would have happened if a family of five, on their way to Kings Island for a day of fun in the sun was behind that truck when it came to a screeching halt? Can you imagine yourself driving alongside the truck when it hit the overpass and showered debris all over the highway. It is not reasonable to drive a truck on the roads knowing that it is too tall may well hit an overpass. It is not safe for the driver of the truck. It is not safe for the users of the road next to and behind the truck. It is not profitable for the trucking company to lose the use of their truck. There is just no excuse for this. As we know, Semi tractor-trailer crashes pose significant risk of serious personal injury to cars using the roads. These serious injuries include broken bones, spinal cord injuries resulting in paralysis, brain injury, and even wrongful death.