Posts in:July, 2018

World Hepatitis Day is July 28th

Posted July 27, 2018 by Premier Disability Services, LLC®

Approximately 300 million people worldwide are living with viral hepatitis unaware. Without finding the undiagnosed and linking them to care, millions will continue to suffer, and lives will be lost. On World Hepatitis Day, July 28, the World Hepatitis Alliance calls on people from across the world to take action, raise awareness and join in the quest to find the “missing millions”.

Hepatitis causes 1.34 million deaths per year and causes 2 in every 3 liver cancer deaths. The five hepatitis viruses – A, B, C, D and E – are distinct; they can have different modes of transmission, affect different populations, and result in different health outcomes.

  • Hepatitis A is primarily spread when someone ingests the virus from contact with food, drinks, or objects contaminated by feces from an infected person or has close personal contact with someone who is infected. Hepatitis A does not cause chronic liver disease and is rarely fatal, but it can cause serious symptoms. Hepatitis A can be prevented through improved sanitation, food safety, and vaccination.
  • Hepatitis B is often spread during birth from an infected mother to her baby. Infection can also occur through contact with blood and other body fluids through injection drug use, unsterile medical equipment, and sexual contact. The hepatitis B virus can cause both acute and chronic infection, ranging in severity from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a serious, chronic illness. If infected at birth or during early childhood, people are more likely to develop a chronic infection, which can lead to liver cirrhosis or even liver cancer. Getting the hepatitis B vaccine is the most effective way to prevent hepatitis B.
  • Hepatitis C is spread through contact with blood of an infected person. Infection can occur through injection drug use and unsafe medical injections and other medical procedures. Mother-to-child transmission of hepatitis C is also possible. Hepatitis C can cause both acute and chronic infections, but most people who get infected develop a chronic infection. A significant number of those who are chronically infected will develop liver cirrhosis or liver cancer. With new treatments, over 90% of people with hepatitis C can be cured within 2-3 months, reducing the risk of death from liver cancer and cirrhosis. The first step for people living with hepatitis C to benefit from treatments is to get tested and linked to care. There is currently no vaccine for hepatitis C but research in this area is ongoing.
  • Hepatitis D is passed through contact with infected blood. Hepatitis D only occurs in people who are already infected with the hepatitis B virus. People who are not already infected with hepatitis B can prevent hepatitis D by getting vaccinated against hepatitis B.
  • Hepatitis E is spread mainly through contaminated drinking water. Hepatitis E usually clears in 4-6 weeks, so there is no specific treatment. However, pregnant women infected with hepatitis E are at considerable risk of mortality from this infection. Improved sanitation and food safety can help prevent new cases of hepatitis E. A vaccine to prevent hepatitis E has been developed and is licensed in China, but is not yet available elsewhere.

If you or someone you know is unable to work due to a medical condition, please contact us for a free evaluation of your claim!


By: Joyce Trudeau of Premier Disability Services, LLC®

Disability Determination Services and Social Security Disability Claims

Posted July 20, 2018 by Premier Disability Services, LLC®

There is an agency in every state that employs disability claims examiners who decide the disability claims for Social Security and Medicaid cases for all applicants of that state. In many states, the agency is called “Disability Determination Services,” or DDS, but the agency goes by various names. For instance, Florida calls its agency the Division of Disability Determinations (DDD), California calls it the Disability Determination Service Division (DDSD), and Pennsylvania calls it the Bureau of Disability Determination (BDD). All states have at least one office for the disability determination agency and some states — those that have chosen a “decentralized system” — have several.

The disability determination agency is the state-level agency whose basic task is determining the eligibility of disability applicants (claimants) to receive monetary disability benefits or benefits from the state’s adult Medicaid program. Examiners at DDS decide both Social Security Disability Insurance claims and Supplemental Security Income disability claims. DDS is where the question of medical eligibility for disability is resolved at both the initial application and reconsideration levels.

When your file arrives from a Social Security office, it is assigned to a disability claims examiner. The examiner immediately begins to order medical records from all of the doctors’ offices, hospitals, and other medical providers that you listed on your application. The disability examiner may call you for more information about your work or medical history. Alternatively, the examiner may send you a questionnaire form that you need to fill out and return. The examiner will usually ask questions to clarify the details of information that you included on your disability application.

Once most of your medical records arrive at DDS, the examiner can begin to go about the task of deciding whether you will qualify for disability. The examiner will consider whether you are currently working, whether you suffer from at least one severe impairment, whether your condition(s) meet a disability listing, and, lastly, whether you are able to work full time according to the Social Security Administration’s rules. Typically, the vast majority of disability claims evaluated by DDS are denied, requiring disability claimants to have their cases heard by an administrative law judge at a disability hearing before they can be approved for benefits.

If you or someone you know is unable to work due to a medical condition, please contact us for a free evaluation of your claim!

By: Joyce Trudeau of Premier Disability Services, LLC®

Disability for Crohn’s Disease and Other Digestive Disorders

Posted July 13, 2018 by Premier Disability Services, LLC®

Among the most devastating cases that come to us are those involving Crohn’s disease, colitis, or inflammatory bowel syndrome. About a million Americans are affected with these and other digestive disorders. Severe digestive disorders can also result from a myriad of other diseases and even the side-effects of certain medications. Prominent symptoms include abdominal pain and cramps, diarrhea, loss of appetite, and nausea. Crohn’s can also affect other organ systems and cause additional symptoms such as malnutrition, weight loss, fever, fatigue, anemia, neurological symptoms, inflammatory arthritis, skin rashes, oral ulcers, and vision problems.

Crohn’s disease primarily strikes the young, but it can occur at any age. Although many people with this condition are able to lead happy productive lives, some can only function within severe limitations. When prescriptions and dietary changes stop working, there simply is no cure for Crohn’s. Less severe digestive disorders also have varying degrees of management and cure.
When we gather evidence to prove such a case, we work to gather detailed information from medical providers. Some cases are difficult to prove empirically, so we must show exactly how this condition prevents the patient from working full-time. Experience has shown us that people are rather reluctant to discuss symptoms like incontinence and loss of bowel control. Any psychological aspect of the disorder should also be developed into viable medical evidence through testing and treatment. The emotional impact of such diseases should not be ignored.

Remember, a few good days now and then is not the same as being consistently “available” for full-time work – one must be able to work predictably, on a sustained basis, for 40 hours a week, otherwise disability benefits should be granted.

If you or someone you know is unable to work due to a medical condition, please contact us for a free evaluation of your claim!

By: Joyce Trudeau of Premier Disability Services, LLC®