Posts in:Blog

June is Scoliosis Awareness Month

Posted June 12, 2020 by Premier Disability Services, LLC®

Scoliosis is a condition in which the spine curves abnormally. Scoliosis can be caused by many factors, including congenital birth defects or nervous system disorders, such as cerebral palsy or muscular dystrophy. However, in most cases, the cause of scoliosis is not known. Symptoms associated with scoliosis can range from minor pain to severe deformation and inability to effectively ambulate.

There are four main kinds of scoliosis that can be diagnosed:

  • Idiopathic – this is the most common form, and it is believed to be hereditary.
  • Congenital – a curvature that is present at birth.
  • Degenerative – this can result after a bone collapse following osteoporosis or a traumatic injury. It can also develop after major back surgeries.
  • Neuromuscular – This stems from muscle or nerve abnormalities, and can accompany spina bifida and other conditions that impact the neuromuscular junction.

Severe cases of scoliosis can cause the spine to form an “S” shape and cause physical limitations, reducing breathing functions and lung capacity. The curvature of the spine can also cause additional pressure on the nerves, causing functioning that is slower. Sometimes the condition does not progress beyond the initial curving.

Most often, scoliosis occurs and is diagnosed as a child is in his or her growth spurt before he or she hits puberty. During the screening process, doctors look for uneven hips and differences in arm or leg lengths. Scoliosis may not have a negative impact on many people, but there are some people who are severely impacted by the spine curvature.

If you have been diagnosed with scoliosis and it impacts you enough that you are unable to work, you may be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits. To determine whether you meet their definition of being disabled, Social Security relies on a variety of factors, including the severity of your symptoms, the effectiveness of treatment options, the strength of your medical evidence, your age, your education level and the type of work you have done in the past. To be approved, your scoliosis must be supported with objective medical evidence such as X-rays, MRIs, and CT scans.

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®

Applying for Disability When You Cannot Afford Treatment

Posted June 5, 2020 by Premier Disability Services, LLC®

If you have been unable to see a doctor for your medical condition, or if you are not taking medication or receiving treatment, it could be much more difficult to get approval for disability benefits. Part of the application and evaluation process involves providing medical records and documentation to convince the Social Security Administration (SSA) that your condition is serious. However, you could still potentially receive disability benefits even if you have not recently visited a doctor.

Unfortunately, not everyone can afford to visit a doctor regularly, and the SSA is well aware of this. The cost of health care insurance is not financially possible for many disabled persons and their families. This can prevent those with low incomes from getting the medical treatment they need.

Recent medical evidence is required to increase your chances of getting an approval for disability benefits. Without being able to see a doctor to get medical tests done, get a treatment plan, and get prescribed medications for your condition, it will be harder to prove that your condition is severe and your application will likely be denied. However, the SSA cannot deny claimants simply because they have not seen a doctor. In fact, it is the duty of the agency to ensure that the record is fully developed.

The SSA has certain measures in place for those unable to afford medical care. While applying for disability, the SSA may offer a consultative examination (CE) to have your medical condition examined by one of their approved doctors free of charge. This would help show the severity of your condition and provide the medical evidence required to support your claim. The claims examiner will then take the consultative examination into consideration to determine whether to approve or deny your application.

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 Sleep Disorders

Posted May 29, 2020 by Premier Disability Services, LLC®

If you have a sleep disorder, you may be eligible for Social Security disability benefits. The most common sleep disorders are insomnia and sleep related breathing disorders such as sleep apnea.

Insomnia is a condition characterized by an inability to sleep. In some cases, people with insomnia have trouble falling sleep at all. In others, they are unable to sleep long enough to get adequate rest. Chronic insomnia is insomnia which lasts more than one month, whether there is an outside cause or the insomnia itself is the primary disorder. Common causes of chronic insomnia are stress, drug use (including some prescription drugs), chronic pain and hormonal imbalances. One common effect of insomnia is the sensation of seeing things in slow motion. Some of the other common effects of insomnia are:

  • Double vision
  • Blurry vision
  • Muscle fatigue
  • Mental fatigue
  • Hallucinations
  • Memory problems
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Tiredness and fatigue
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Headaches
  • Digestive problems

There are a wide variety of treatment options available, depending on the cause of insomnia. Treatment options include medications, psychotherapy, and relaxation techniques. Chronic insomnia is often accompanied by other mental disorders such as ADHD, clinical depression, PTSD, OCD, dementia, and bipolar disorder.

Sleep related breathing disorders, the most common of which is sleep apnea, are disorders which cause breathing problems while a person is sleeping. In the case of sleep apnea, a person can actually stop breathing for as long as a minute or two, hundreds of times per night. This results in broken sleep and all of the side effects associated with lack of sleep. More importantly, especially in the most severe cases, it can lead to hypoxemia, the lack of oxygen in the arterial blood. Some common work-related symptoms and effects of sleep related breathing disorders include:

  • Lack of memory
  • Disorientation
  • Negative effects on personality
  • Hypertension
  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Disturbance of cognitive abilities due to fatigue

Often, sleep related breathing disorders can be treated. The results are mixed, but the more effective treatment methods include surgery and the use of constant positive air pressure (CPAP) masks for sleeping. Surgery is designed to remove obstructing tissue in order to ensure that the airway remains clear and open. The use of CPAP is designed to keep the airway open by using a constant stream of positive air pressure blown into the airway (usually through the nose).

To qualify for benefits, you must show that your residual functioning capacity (in other words, your ability to work or engage in gainful activity) is diminished to such a point by your sleep disorder and any other disabling conditions which you have that you cannot reasonably be expected to work in any available job which your education, experience, and training qualify you for or for which you could be trained.

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®