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April is National Minority Health Month

Posted April 19, 2022 by Premier Disability Services, LLC®

With the nation advised to stay in and around their homes, this National Minority Health Month the Office of Minority Health (OMH) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will highlight the theme Active & Healthy and focus on safe ways all communities can stay physically active and advance mental and emotional wellness.

“Join us throughout April as we encourage everyone to take simple and creative steps to stay active and support physical, mental and emotional wellness. This year, we invite everyone to join #ActiveandHealthy, a national social media campaign that will focus on the steps the nation can take every day in and around the home to keep our minds and bodies active, consistent with the social distancing guidelines to stop the spread of COVID-19. Daily themes will highlight simple steps people can take to maintain and sustain an active and healthy lifestyle while reducing stress and anxiety.”

#ActiveandHealthy will promote and share the steps we can take each day to stay active and healthy during #NMHM2020 and throughout the year. The campaign will include creative ways to keep older adults and children safe and physically engaged, along with ideas to stay connected with friends, family and communities.

Remember—becoming active and healthy in and around your home to stay physically and mentally well, while doing your part to slow the spread of COVID-19, is possible through simple changes to your daily routine—so get involved this #NMHM2020.

See more here: https://www.minorityhealth.hhs.gov/nmhm/index.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®

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

Posted March 25, 2022 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: https://www.ssa.gov/compassionateallowances/conditions.htm

By: Joyce Trudeau of Premier Disability Services, LLC®

Social Security For Neck Pain

Posted February 25, 2022 by Premier Disability Services, LLC®

Lower back pain and neck pain are among the top contributors to chronic pain among adults. Neck pain has an annual prevalence rate exceeding 30% among adults in the US; nearly 50% of individuals will continue to experience some degree of chronic neck pain or frequent occurrences. Among adults, 20% to 70% will experience neck pain that interferes with their daily activities during their lifetime.

Neck pain and problems can be caused by many different issues: muscle strain, joints that become worn, nerve compression, injury, and disease. Many of the neck problems seen on disability applications are due to degenerative disk disease, whiplash, herniated discs, inflammatory disorders such as arthritis, slippage of a vertebra (retrolisthesis or spondylolisthesis), pinched nerves, infections such as meningitis, and certain types of cancer.

Symptoms of neck pain and problems can include sharp, shooting pain, numbness, difficulty swallowing, dizziness, headache, pains in the face and/or shoulders, and arm tingling and numbness.

In order to qualify for Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) or SSI benefits for neck pain or problems, claimants must either a) meet the requirements of one of Social Security’s official disability listings, or b) prove that they don’t have the capacity to return to work because of their neck pain or doctors’ restrictions.

Claims involving neck pain will be evaluated under Adult Listing 1.15, for disorders of the spine resulting in “compromise of a nerve root.” Compromise of a nerve root, sometimes referred to as “nerve root impingement,” is a phrase used when a physical object, such as a tumor, herniated disc, foreign body, or arthritic spur, is pushing on the nerve root as seen on imaging or during surgery. It can occur when a musculoskeletal disorder produces irritation, inflammation, or compression of the nerve root(s) as it exits the skeletal spine between the vertebrae. Related symptoms must be associated with, or follow the path of, the affected nerve root(s).

However, even if you are not found to be disabled under the listings, you may still be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits if you are found unable to return to work due to your medical impairments. Social Security will assess your limitations and how they limit your ability to do work activities using a Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) form. For example, you may have limitations regarding the use of your hands and arms to lift and/or carry objects, type a ta computer, or grasp and handle small objects.

Social Security will review your medical records and any statements from your doctor to find limitations to create your RFC. The agency will then consider your RFC, your job experience, your education, and your age to see if there are any jobs left that you can do.

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

Adult Listing 1.15 – https://www.ssa.gov/disability/professionals/bluebook/1.00-Musculoskeletal-Adult.htm#1_15 

By: Joyce Trudeau of Premier Disability Services, LLC®