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Improvements in injury can affect disability benefits

When Georgia residents suffer a serious injury, the hope is that the individual will regain his or her health and recover fully. There is a greater likelihood of this occurring, of course, when it comes to some injuries more than others, as certain injuries are more likely to improve with time and treatment.

While improvement in health is a good thing, it can also alter a person's eligibility for Social Security disability benefits. Last week, for example, this blog discussed what individuals must show when applying for disability benefits based on a musculoskeletal disorder. The Social Security Administration looks at these types of impairments somewhat differently from others, because musculoskeletal impairments frequently improve with time or in response to treatment.

Accordingly, the Agency typically requires that individuals submit a longitudinal clinical record to assess the severity and expected duration of a musculoskeletal impairment, although this is not always necessary. When there is evidence that a person has received the benefit of medically prescribed treatment, this evidence must be considered by the Agency.

If no evidence of ongoing treatment exists, the individual's evaluation will be made on the basis of the current medical evidence, as well as a consideration of the person's medical history, symptoms and opinions by medical sources.

Ultimately, individuals who suffer from a musculoskeletal disorder still must satisfy the basic eligibility criteria found in all disability benefit cases. Each type of condition is different, however, including musculoskeletal injuries, and therefore the medical evidence in the record needs to show the person qualifies for benefits for this particular type of injury.

Source: Social Security Administration, "1.00 Musculoskeletal System - Adult," accessed on March 12, 2016

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