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Biden’s Platform calls for Big Changes to Social Security

Posted November 20, 2020 by Premier Disability Services, LLC®

President-elect Joe Biden ran on a platform that included proposals to shore up Social Security benefits while extending the program’s solvency. How his administration and the next Congress take shape will help determine just how many of those changes he may be able to put through. To experts and advocates for the program, the timing could not be more crucial.

“We’re long overdue for this conversation, and it’s causing great uncertainty for people who are either on the program now or going to be on the program soon,” said Shai Akabas, director of economic policy at the Bipartisan Policy Center. “That’s not how we should be running one of the most important safety net programs in the country,” he said.

For Biden, now comes the hard part of pushing for bipartisan reform.

Biden’s Social Security platform includes key benefit increases. Eligible workers would get a guaranteed minimum benefit equal to at least 125% of the federal poverty level. People who have received benefits for at least 20 years would get a 5% bump. Widows and widowers could receive about 20% more per month.

Biden also proposes changing the measurement for annual cost-of-living increases to the Consumer Price Index for the Elderly, or CPI-E, which could more closely track the expenses retirees face.

To pay for the changes and extend the program’s solvency, Biden would apply Social Security payroll taxes to those making $400,000 and up. In 2020, only wages up to $137,700 are subject to those levies.

Other Democrats have proposals that similarly expand benefits and raise taxes without implementing cuts. Some politicians have advocated for more targeted changes to be included with upcoming legislation.

For example, Biden’s coronavirus stimulus plans call for increasing Social Security checks by $200 per month during the pandemic, an idea that has also been proposed by other politicians. Two House Democrats have separately proposed putting an emergency cost-of-living adjustment in place, which would bring next year’s benefit increase up to 3% from 1.3%.

It remains to be seen whether the presidential leadership transition will also trigger changes at the top of the Social Security Administration, which administers benefits.

Full article: https://www.cnbc.com/2020/11/12/bidens-platform-calls-for-big-changes-to-social-security.html

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®

November is COPD Awareness Month!

Posted November 13, 2020 by Premier Disability Services, LLC®

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, is a general term for several lung diseases, mainly chronic bronchitis and emphysema. These diseases are characterized by obstructed airflow through the airways in and out of the lungs. Both cause excessive inflammatory processes that eventually lead to abnormalities in lung structure and limited airflow. Both are progressive conditions that worsen over time.

COPD symptoms include shortness of breath, wheezing, and coughing. COPD also adds to the work of the heart, and can cause pulmonary heart disease. Treatment for COPD can include oxygen therapy, pulmonary rehabilitation, and various medications. The only known successful cure for emphysema is a lung transplant, but very few patients with emphysema are healthy enough to survive the surgery.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has a disability listing laying out the requirements for getting automatically approved for disability for various chronic respiratory disorders, including COPD. If you meet the requirements of this listing, you automatically qualify for benefits. If your condition isn’t severe enough to meet the requirements of the official listing, you may still be able to prove that your COPD reduces your capacity to breathe and exert yourself so much that you can’t work.

Many people who suffer from COPD have other serious medical problems as well, such as coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and/or obesity, as well as mental issues such as depression. If you have multiple medical conditions that affect your ability to work, then you will have a better chance of getting benefits.

SSA’s respiratory listings: https://www.ssa.gov/disability/professionals/bluebook/3.00-Respiratory-Adult.htm

Information about COPD: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/education-and-awareness/copd-learn-more-breathe-better/copd-awareness-month

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®

Social Security Disability for Migraine Sufferers

Posted November 6, 2020 by Premier Disability Services, LLC®

The Migraine Research Foundation reports that around 18% of women and 6% of men in the United States suffer from migraines. Approximately 90% of these individuals are unable to work during an active migraine and often for hours or even days after an attack. If you are among them, you may be entitled to Social Security disability benefits.

While most sufferers experience a migraine attack about once or twice a month, the Migraine Research Foundation reports that around 14 million Americans are affected by debilitating pain, fatigue, and other symptoms on a daily basis. As the eighth leading cause of disability in the world, according to the World Health Organization, migraines may prevent employment entirely and may erode your social life, your enjoyment of hobbies, and even your ability to care for yourself, you home, your pets, or your children.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has no set standard disability listing for migraines in their adult listings, but this doesn’t mean you can’t get approved for benefits with chronic migraines. It simply means you’ll need to prove that you’re unable to maintain a full-time job and earn a gainful living due to your limitations.

To determine your eligibility, the SSA will look at your daily limitations, consider the frequency and severity of your headaches (including associated symptoms such as nausea, fatigue, or light and noise sensitivity, etc. which may cause you to miss work), examine your employment options, and review your medical evidence.

Although there is no definitive test to diagnose migraines, the SSA will want to see in your medical records that your doctor has diagnosed you with recurrent migraine headaches. Migraines can often be diagnosed based on the patient’s reporting of their symptoms and the presence of a family history of migraines. In addition, doctors may order additional tests, such as an MRI or CAT scan to rule out other reasons for the headaches.

The SSA will also be looking for things like the following in your medical file:

  • doctors’ notes regarding the frequency and severity of your migraines
  • results of any tests done to rule out other conditions
  • list of medications and other treatments tried, and their outcomes, and
  • records from any ER visits or hospitalizations related to your migraines.

The SSA may also ask your doctor(s) to complete a report or questionnaire regarding your medical condition. In some cases, they will also seek input from family members or friends who are around you on a frequent basis. If, after taking all of these factors into account, the SSA finds that you are unable to perform the essential job duties of any job for which you are otherwise qualified, then you will be deemed medically qualified for disability benefits.

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®