Posts in:March, 2021

Senate Confirms Xavier Becerra as First Latino Secretary of Health & Human Services

Posted March 26, 2021 by Premier Disability Services, LLC®

The Senate confirmed Xavier Becerra to be Health and Human Services (HHS) secretary last week on a 50-49 vote. Becerra, California’s Attorney General, will be the first Latino to hold the Cabinet position.

As HHS secretary, he will play a crucial role in combating the COVID-19 pandemic. The U.S. neared 540,000 COVID-19 deaths last week, according to data from John Hopkins University.

In February, Becerra faced two days of contentious Senate hearings, where he stressed that he wishes to work in a bipartisan fashion to achieve the ambitious goals President Joe Biden has set to battle COVID-19, including reaching a milestone of 100 million vaccinations in the administration’s first 100 days, “safely and equitably.”

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer stated that Becerra “has decades of standing up for working and middle-class Americans in Congress, fighting to protect and expand Medicare, Medicaid, and working to safeguard our health care system.”

The core components of HHS are the boots-on-the-ground part of the government’s coronavirus response. The Food and Drug Administration oversees vaccines and treatments, while much of the underlying scientific and medical research comes from the National Institutes of Health. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention takes the lead in detecting and containing the spread of diseases.

As California’s attorney general, Becerra filed more than 100 lawsuits against the previous administration on a multitude of issues. He led a coalition of Democratic states defending Obamacare from the previous administration’s efforts to overturn it, a legal case that is awaiting a Supreme Court decision this year.

Becerra was one of the highest-ranking Latinos in Congress and represented parts of Los Angeles for 24 years before he was appointed California attorney general by then-Gov. Jerry Brown in 2017 to fill the vacancy left when Vice President Kamala Harris was elected to the U.S. Senate. In 2018, California voters elected Becerra to a full four-year term as attorney general.

Full article:

Contact our office today if you or anyone you know would like to learn more about qualifying for Social Security Disability benefits.

By: Joyce Trudeau of Premier Disability Services, LLC®

When Will People on Disability Receive Their Third Stimulus?

Posted March 19, 2021 by Premier Disability Services, LLC®

Those who receive federal aid through Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) can expect to receive their third stimulus payment in “the same way as their regular benefits.” However, a payment date has yet to be announced by the IRS.

“Social Security and other federal beneficiaries will generally receive this third payment the same way as their regular benefits. A payment date for this group will be announced shortly,” the IRS advised on March 12.

The U.S. Bureau of the Fiscal Service explains: “Federal benefit payments, such as Social Security, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Veterans, are required to receive your payment electronically. You must either have the money deposited directly to a bank or credit union account or get your money each month on a Direct Express prepaid debit card.”

Third stimulus funds sent to Direct Express card accounts that were recently closed “will be returned and the IRS will reissue the payment,” the website notes.

See more here:

Can I Fast Track My Disability Claim Based on My Condition?

Posted March 12, 2021 by Premier Disability Services, LLC®

There are hundreds of illnesses and disorders, as well as certain medical and personal circumstances, that may qualify you for expedited processing of a claim for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). There are also procedures for fast-tracking applications for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), a benefit program for low-income people who are disabled, blind or over 65 that is administered by the Social Security Administration.

Social Security’s Compassionate Allowances (CAL) program maintains a list of conditions* that can shorten the processing time for disability claims from months to a matter of days. The roster includes fast-moving cancers, immune-system and neurodegenerative diseases, rare genetic disorders and other illnesses that by definition meet Social Security’s standard for disability: They prevent sufferers from working or are likely to result in death.

You do not have to apply specially for a compassionate allowance. Social Security uses a software system to identify applications that cite impairments on the CAL list. Whether you qualify for a quick decision depends on your diagnosis and its severity­. More than 600,000 people have received accelerated approval through the program, according to the Social Security Administration.

Social Security uses another electronic system, Quick Disability Determination (QDD), to screen applications for disability benefits or SSI that are filed online. QDD scans for key words and phrases that indicate a claim is highly likely to be approved, and it checks that the application includes all required documentation. These cases are marked for quicker processing. Applications that are not filed electronically are reviewed by claims examiners, who can also flag them for fast-track status.

Social Security has several other programs and procedures to speed up particular disability claims:

  • Applications that indicate the claimant’s condition has reached a terminal stage can be moved to the front of the line. Certain situations — for example, a metastasized cancer, or a patient in hospice care — trigger automatic fast-tracking. These claims are designated as TERI cases.
  • Circumstances that don’t involve specific diseases or terminal conditions can also merit expedited processing: a low-birth-weight infant, for instance, or a disability claimant in imminent danger of becoming homeless.
  • If you are an SSI applicant with one of about 15 severe physical or intellectual impairments — among them amputation, Down syndrome, total blindness or deafness, and HIV/AIDS — Social Security may find you have a “presumptive disability.” This qualifies you for up to six months of benefits while your claim wends its way through the lengthy review process.
  • Social Security can also expedite SSDI and SSI claims for veterans who became disabled while on active duty. The disability need not have occurred in the course of military action — for example, it could be the result of an injury while on leave — but it must have occurred since Oct. 1, 2001. Be sure to notify Social Security at the start of the application process that the condition stems from your period of service.

Contact our office today if you or anyone you know would like to learn more about qualifying for Social Security Disability benefits.

*See the full Compassionate Allowance List here:

By: Joyce Trudeau of Premier Disability Services, LLC®