April is National Autism Awareness Month!

Posted April 5, 2019 by Premier Disability Services, LLC®

Autism, or autism spectrum disorder (ASD), refers to a broad range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication. According to the Centers for Disease Control, autism affects an estimated 1 in 59 children in the United States today.

We know that there is not one autism but many subtypes, most influenced by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Because autism is a spectrum disorder, each person with autism has a distinct set of strengths and challenges. The ways in which people with autism learn, think, and problem-solve can range from highly skilled to severely challenged. Some people with ASD may require significant support in their daily lives, while others may need less support and, in some cases, live entirely independently.

Several factors may influence the development of autism, and it is often accompanied by sensory sensitivities and medical issues such as gastrointestinal (GI) disorders, seizures or sleep disorders, as well as mental health challenges such as anxiety, depression and attention issues.

Children with autism may be eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability benefits if their family’s income and assets aren’t above the SSI limits. An adult with autism syndrome can apply for SSI or for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. However, SSDI is available only to those with a work history from jobs that paid Social Security taxes.

Social Security updated its disability listing for autism in 2017. Adult Listing 12.10, “Autistic disorder and other pervasive developmental disorders,” is now titled “Autism spectrum disorder.” The listing requires medical documentation of both:

  • qualitative defects in verbal communication, nonverbal communication, and social interaction, and
  • significantly restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior, interests, or activities;


  • extreme limitation of one, or marked limitation of two, of the following areas of mental functioning:
    • understanding, remembering, or applying information
    • interacting with others
    • concentrating, persisting, or maintaining pace
    • adapting or managing oneself

Individuals whose claims are not approved on the basis of meeting a listing may still be approved on the basis of what is known as a medical-vocational (“grid”) allowance. The Social Security Administration must consider how the totality of all of your medical impairments, including side effects of medications, affect your ability to perform a full-time job.

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

More on autism and the listings: https://www.autismspeaks.org/world-autism-month



By: Joyce Trudeau of Premier Disability Services, LLC®

Social Security Disability Benefits for Liver Disease

Posted March 28, 2019 by Premier Disability Services, LLC®

According to the American Liver Foundation, more than 30 million Americans have some form of liver disease. Chronic liver disease is actually a category of diseases rather than a disease itself. Chronic liver diseases include: cirrhosis, hepatitis C and B, sarcoidosis, autoimmune hepatitis, liver failure, alcoholic liver disease, liver cancer, hepatoma, and other liver diseases. Chronic liver disease can result from alcohol and drug abuse, environmental toxins, viruses like hepatitis C, autoimmune disorders, and hereditary factors. Symptoms of chronic liver disease include jaundice, abdominal swelling, fatigue, diarrhea, and mental disorientation.

If you are earning less than $1,220 per month (in 2019), and the disability caused by your liver damage has lasted, or is expected to last, at least 12 consecutive months, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will consider whether your medical condition will be considered a disability. The SSA will first look to see if your liver damage meets one of its disability listings in its (“blue book”) Listing of Impairments. Adult Listing 5.05 covers all chronic liver diseases. To meet the requirements of the chronic liver disease listing, your doctor must have diagnosed you with either end-stage liver disease or chronic liver disease with at least one of the following complications:

  • excess fluid in the peritoneal cavity (called ascites) or the pleural cavity (called hydrothorax)
  • spontaneous bacterial peritonitis
  • esophageal or gastrointestinal hemorrhage
  • hepatorenal syndrome
  • hepatopulmonary syndrome
  • hepatic encephalopathy, or
  • end-stage liver disease with SSA CLD scores of 22 or greater.

The details of the listing are actually quite complicated. If you’re unsure if you’ve had one of the above complications, ask your doctor to look at the listing with you (see link below).

Even if you do not meet the requirements of Listing 5.05, you may still be eligible for benefits. The SSA will assess your “residual functional capacity” (RFC) to determine whether there is any type of work you can still do given your functional limitations. For example, if you suffer from fatigue and need periods of rest, your RFC should state this. Or if your pain prevents you from walking, lifting, or carrying for more than a certain amount of time, your RFC should include this. Depending on your physical limitations, your RFC will have a sedentary, light, or medium work rating. Your RFC should also state any mental limitations caused by your disease, such as an inability to focus or remember things. If your RFC prevents you from returning to your past work and any other work available, considering your age, education, and work history, then you will be found disabled.

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!

Adult Listings: https://www.ssa.gov/disability/professionals/bluebook/5.00-Digestive-Adult.htm#5_05

By: Joyce Trudeau of Premier Disability Services, LLC®


Social Security and OIG Launch Public Service Announcement Campaign

Posted March 22, 2019 by Premier Disability Services, LLC®

The Social Security Administration (SSA) and its Office of the Inspector General (OIG) launched a joint Public Service Announcement (PSA) campaign addressing a nationwide telephone impersonation scheme. SSA and the OIG continue to receive reports from across the country about fraudulent phone calls from people falsely claiming to be Social Security employees. Calls can even spoof Social Security’s national customer service number as the incoming number on the caller ID. The new PSAs will air on TV and radio stations across the country to alert the public to remain vigilant against potential fraud.

“We urge you to always be cautious and to avoid providing sensitive information such as your Social Security number or bank account information to unknown people over the phone or Internet,” said Nancy A. Berryhill, Acting Commissioner of the SSA. “If you receive a call and are not expecting one, you must be extra careful – you can always get the caller’s information, hang up, and contact the official phone number of the business or agency the caller claims to represent. Do not reveal personal data to a stranger who calls you.”

SSA employees do occasionally contact people – generally those who have ongoing business with the agency – by telephone for business purposes. However, SSA employees will never threaten a person or promise a Social Security benefit approval, or increase, in exchange for information. In those cases, the call is fraudulent and people should not engage with the caller. If a person receives these calls, he or she should report the information to the OIG Fraud Hotline at 1-800-269-0271 or online at https://oig.ssa.gov/report.

“These calls appear to be happening across the country, so we appreciate SSA’s partnership in this national public outreach effort,” said Gail S. Ennis, the Inspector General for the Social Security Administration. “Our message to the public is simply this: If you or someone you know receives a questionable call claiming to be from SSA or the OIG, just hang up.”

The new PSA addressing the telephone impersonation scheme is available online at www.youtube.com/socialsecurity

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

Source: https://www.ssa.gov/news/press/releases/2019/#3-2019-1

By: Joyce Trudeau of Premier Disability Services, LLC®