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Adults with disabilities would prefer to work
Posted June 08, 2015

As Social Security Administration disability benefits have become politicized in the media and by politicians, there has been a popular, yet unfounded, belief that many who receive disability just want to sit at home and not work. A recent report from the Kessler Foundation sets the record straight, finding that more than two-thirds of adults with disabilities are “striving to work” and many are working despite their health troubles.

This, of course, makes complete sense. It’s very rare to encounter a human being who simply wants to sit at home and collect checks. But as this issue has been debated in the open, many politicians have seen fit to cut benefits from those who truly need it due to a perception that some benefit recipients may be just in it for the money.

The Kessler Foundation interviewed 3,000 people and found that fewer than 6 percent of those with disabilities have never worked, while approximately 43 percent are fighting through and continuing to work. Another 9 percent are looking for work and 17 percent have worked since the onset of their disability.

People suffering from disabilities who are currently employed average 35.5 hours of work per week, with more than have working more than 40 hours per week and another 40 stating that they would be willing to work more hours over the course of the week.

Kessler Foundation President Rodger DeRose told The Associated Press that he hopes these results will help the development of better strategies and programs for those with disabilities, such as a fresh look at SSA disability benefits from Congress.

“If you look 10 years into the future, as baby boomers have gone out of the job force … people with disabilities are going to be a population that will finally be recognized as a workforce that can make the transition into the workplace and be successful in overcoming barriers,” DeRose told AP. “This workforce — the disability community — and business have not made the connection yet.”

The Social Security disability benefits program allows for people to successfully transition from benefits to work over a nine month period. Contrary to the belief of many, the program encourages claimants to become employed again as soon as possible. The Law Offices of Harold W. Conick and Associates has helped many attain the disability benefits they deserve; as we have seen time and again, most can and will go back to work as soon as they can.

Surviving the tough financial times of a disability
Posted June 01, 2015

It’s never easy to be kept out of work by a disability, especially if your family depends on you for income. However, with some planning and a little bit of help, all is not lost.

Kimberly Palmer of U.S. News and World Report wrote about Debra and Dennis Muth, a couple who dealt with the fallout after a disability forced Dennis to stop working. His pay went from about $1,000 per week to $1,200 per month; Debra had to take a second job and the couple had to cut down on their spending. She called it “a huge challenge.”

For those who are really suffering, it may be a good idea to apply for social security disability benefits through the Social Security Administration. With the assistance of a good attorney, the application and decision process can be made easier. While this may not be much, in Dennis’ case it meant $1,200 per month that he would not otherwise have.

The Council for Disability Awareness said 1-in-4 20 year olds will suffer a disability at some point of their lives, so planning with an emergency fund may be the best way to weather the storm. Set aside a “rainy day” emergency fund that could come in very handy if you’re out of work for an extended period of time. Get disability insurance. Don’t let yourself get down, out and unhealthily out of shape.

Those applying for disability benefits should be aware it can take a year or longer, depending on the local SSA office’s efficiency and backlog, to obtain a favorable decision in a disability case. The SSA is taking longer to decide cases and and more cases are being decided unfavorably. This should not discourage people from pursuing their claims, as the income and medical  benefits can be vital for those who cannot work.

Young veterans suffering from PTSD may also have sleep apnea
Posted May 26, 2015

Those who have served our country may have a lot more to deal with upon returning home. Veterans of all ages should ensure they get the best possible veterans benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs, as early treatment of any disease or illness is essential. A recent study showed that problems can compound as well, as young U.S veterans with post traumatic stress disorder have a higher chance of suffering from obstructive sleep apnea.

Medical Xpress reported on a recent study of nearly 200 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans who visited a PTSD clinic; 69.2 percent of these participants were at high risk for sleep apnea, a risk that increased with the severity of PTSD symptoms.

Co-principal investigator for the study Sonya Norman, a researcher at the San Diego VA, director of the PTSD Consultation Program at the National Center for PTSD, said younger veterans need to be screened for obstructive sleep apnea, especially those already suffering from PTSD.

“This is critical information because sleep apnea is a risk factor for a long list of health problems such as hypertension, cardiovascular disease and diabetes, and psychological problems including depression, worsening PTSD and anxiety,” Normal said.

The Mayo Clinic said obstructed sleep apnea can cause cardiovascular problems, loss of sleep and eye problems, among other issues. Those who suffer should seek treatment as soon as possible to try and fight the ailment early.

It behooves veterans to take advantage of their VA medical benefits to obtain the treatment they require. The Law Offices of Harold W. Conick and Associates can help make sure veterans get the full amount of benefits they deserve.

Social Security finances may be worse than believed
Posted May 18, 2015

There have been plenty of money issues at the Social Security Administration over the past decade, but it may actually be worse than the agency is letting on, according to new studies.

A report from two Harvard and one Dartmouth academic printed in the Journal of Economic Perspectives found that the Social Security Administration’s Office of the Chief Actuary has underestimated retirees’ life expectancy and made other errors to make the system look better than it actually is.

Another paper from Political Analysis, authored by political scientist and director of Harvard’s Institute for Quantitative Social Science Gary King, said predictions since 2000 have been less than spot-on. This is thanks to civil servants within the agency responding to political polarization of the SSA by resisting outside pressures, including technical experts.

“While they’re insulating themselves from the politics, they also insulate themselves from the data and this big change in the world –people started living longer lives,’’ King said in the report. “They need to take that into account and change the forecast as a result of that.”

The actuary for the SSA has underestimated declines in mortality for those 65 and older, as well as overestimating the birth rate and thereby the number of new workers who will be able to pay for benefits in the next two decades. With both SSA’s retirement arm and SSA disability arm already in dire financial straits, this could end very poorly for the agency if it is not fixed quickly.

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