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More conditions added to fast track by SSA

For those with more serious conditions that need attention quickly, the Social Security Administration announced earlier this month that they have placed 35 more medical conditions to the list of “Compassionate Allowances.” These are serious diseases and medical conditions which allows for quicker consideration for those who believe they have conditions that warrant benefits quickly. The SSA said that means there are now 200 of the most serious conditions on this fast track.

“We have achieved another milestone for the Compassionate Allowances program, reaching 200 conditions,” Michael J. Astrue, Commissioner of Social Security, said. “Nearly 200,000 people with severe disabilities nationwide have been quickly approved, usually in less than two weeks, through the program since it began in October 2008.”

While the complete list of diseases and illnesses that have been added can be viewed in full on the Social Security Administration’s website, some of those that were recently added include:
– Adult Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma
– Fatal Familial Insomnia
– Jervell and Lange-Nielsen Syndrome
– Leiomyosarcoma
– Nonketotic Hyperglycinemia

For the most part, diseases and illnesses on this list include adult brain disorders, rare disorders that may affect children and certain types of cancer.

It’s important these cases are supported by sufficient medical evidence. A memorandum should be prepared and submitted to the Social Security Administration requesting an approval on the record. Although the SSA will review the claimants cases of those who are seriously ill, our experience is that such issues must be brought to their attention by a legal brief. The Law Offices of Harold W Conick, & Associates are experts in the preparation of the appropriate legal memorandum requesting approval of disability benefits on the record, thereby avoiding the need of a hearing before a judge.

Disabled may be discriminated against more often

Dealing with trying to collect disability benefits from the Social Security Administration and living with a handicap is hard enough, but according to a recent report from the National Council on Disability, there may be another big problem. The council said disabled parents are more likely to lose their children due to discrimination, with as many as 80 people with intellectual or psychological disabilities lose custody of their children, something which the NCD said may be due to a lack of understanding of these disabilities.

According to PolicyMic, a University of Iowa History professor named Douglas Baynton said American scholars and educators talk about and teaching gender, racial and ethnic issues about inequality but do not speak about the inequalities that relate to the disabled. The website said this means many Americans are ignorant of the way disabled people live.

“A public education program on disability issues could, however, improve the problems caused by a lack of awareness,” PolicyMic said. “Just like studies on gender, race, and ethnicity improved problems for these groups, so to can a mandatory public education on disability issues improve discrimination against disabled people.”

Based on personal experience, living in a society of able bodied people presents challenges for those who suffer with a mental or physical disability. The disabled can and do experience discrimination in many forums. It is therefore important that those suffering with a disability retain counsel who understands their plight and can properly present their claim for benefits to the Social Security Administration. Attorneys at the Law Offices of Harold W. Conick and Associates have been doing just that for years.

Veteran disability backlog, wait time grows larger

Although there have been promises by the United States Department of Veterans Association to shrink the amount of backlog claims that are building up, NBC News is reporting that the average wait time has grown grown larger. Currently, the news source is saying that the wait is 262 days, or about nine months. The VA’s benefits-aspiration page shows that the process time was 223 days in October 2011, 246 days in April 2012 and 260 days in August.

NBC said VA Secretary Eric Shinseki promised to shrink the backlog to 125 days by 2015 as the agency was trying to move more to an online environment, but the backlog only seems to be getting bigger. A report from Congress shows that the backlog has in fact doubled since 2008. In a statement given to the news company by VA, it was stated that there were 1 million claims completed in the last three years, a record for VA.

“Yet too many Veterans have to wait too long to get the benefits they have earned and deserve,” VA said in the statement. “That’s unacceptable, and VA is building a strong foundation for a paperless, digital disability claims system — a lasting solution that will transform how we operate and eliminate the claims backlog. This paperless technology is being deployed to 18 regional offices in 2012, and it will reach all 56 VA Regional Offices by the end of 2013 to help deliver faster, better decisions for veterans.”

VA said there was $5 billion paid in compensation to veterans in 2011, with increased demand, more being paid for Agent Orange exposure and better outreach to benefits being the reason for the rise.

There are numerous deadlines that veterans must be aware of to maintain a claim before VA. It is always better not to wait to file a claim and to appeal an unfavorable decision well before time periods to file a claim expire.The sooner a veteran pursues their claim, the sooner the benefits will be paid. The Law Offices of Harold W. Conick & Associates are available to assist the veteran in successfully obtaining their benefits.

More premature babies surviving; may mean more disabled in future

Although more premature babies are surviving today than ever before, Reuters is reporting that a group of doctors has said that not much progress has been made in improving the long-term health of these children who are born “extremely premature.” This will likely mean that the amount of people looking to qualify for Social Security disability benefits will be on the rise as the years go on.

“A decade of advances in medicine mean more babies born at between 22 and 26 weeks gestation manage to survive, but rates of severe health complications remain as high as they were in 1995, according to research by neonatal specialists in Britain,” Reuters reported. “The findings of two separate studies published in the British Medical Journal suggest the number of children and adults with disabilities caused by premature birth will rise in coming years.”

Neil Marlow, of University College London’s Institute for Women’s Health, who worked on both of these studies said this increasing amount of people with disability is likely to have an impact on the demand for education, social care services and healthcare. Another expert said the survival rate for babies born less than 27 weeks gestation are moving in the right direction of health, but there is still much room for improvement.

The law applicable to childhood disability claims  differs from adult cases and requires the expertise of a skilled lawyer to prevail. Proper presentation of  school, as well as a child’s medical records, are critical to winning a case. The Law Offices of Harold W. Conick, & Associates are experts in representing disabled children before the Social Security Administration.