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More than 50 million Americans live with disability
Posted August 10, 2015

In the midst of politicized talk of funding versus de-funding the Social Security Administration, it may become lost that those taking disability benefits are real people with serious problems. In fact, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control reports that one in every five people, or 50 million Americans, live with a disability.

50 million Americans live with a disability (photo By Nicolai Berntsen)

50 million Americans live with a disability (photo By Nicolai Berntsen)

“This report is a snapshot of the percent of adults with disabilities in the U.S., so we can get a better understanding of who people with disabilities are,” said researcher Elizabeth Courtney-Long, a health scientist at the CDC’s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities.

The most common disabilities include:

  • Mobility limitations which make it hard to climb stairs or walk
  • Trouble thinking or remembering
  • Inability to live independently
  • Sight
  • Self-care

The majority of those with disability tend to be 65 years or older and poor. Approximately 47 percent of people who suffered from disability made less than $15,000 annually. To compare, the median U.S. household income is about $50,500, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

For those who cannot work, it is important that they file for disability benefits as soon as possible. There is a large backlog of cases pending before the SSA and it often takes more than a year to either obtain an approval on the record or set a hearing.

The Law Offices of Harold W. Conick & Associates are experts in obtaining disability benefits for clients. We are available to effectively represent clients before the SSA. Initial consultations with our firm are free of charge.

Veterans benefits extended to same-sex married couples
Posted August 06, 2015

Gay veterans who are legally married will now have the ability to apply for and receive veterans benefits, according to The Hill.

In the wake of the ruling from Obergefell v. Hodges, a ruling which gave homosexual couples the right to marry, Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced all federal agencies will be required to give benefits to married couples.

Lynch said this will include the Social Security Administration and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Before July, the SSA and VA were still prohibited by a federal statute from fully adopting rules that would allow SSA and VA benefits to extend to same-sex couples, the Hill reported.

“Today I am proud to announce that the critical programs for veterans and elderly and disabled Americans, which previously could not give effect to the marriages of couples living in states that did not recognize those marriages, will now provide federal recognition for all marriages nationwide,” Lynch said. “The agencies are currently working towards providing guidance to implement this change in law.”

The extra costs are not yet known by either agency, but it is invaluable to be able to extend veterans benefits to those who bravely served our country, no matter their orientation.

Schizophrenia may make memory a challenge
Posted July 28, 2015

Suffering from schizophrenia can be extremely challenging, as hallucinations, delusions, trouble speaking and other physical mental health issues can make it difficult to work and live. A recent study from UC Davis School of Medicine said the disease may also impact memory, an awful side effect that likely makes it far more difficult to hold a job and carry on with life.

Schizophrenia can impact how memory works (Photo by Jordan Sanchez)

Schizophrenia can impact how memory works (Photo by Jordan Sanchez)

“People with schizophrenia have difficulty retrieving associations within a context, and this creates a pervasive loss of memory that makes everyday life a challenge,” says J. Daniel Ragland, professor of psychiatry in the UC Davis School of Medicine, according to the school’s website. “You can’t work if you can’t remember the next step in what your boss told you to do.”

Dysfunction of the frontal and temporal lobe regions of the brain may be at the heart of these medical issues, according to the researchers. Trouble will often arise when trying to form relationships between items or facts, such as putting together ingredients for a meal or trying to form an anecdote.

For those suffering from schizophrenia, it is a good idea to get treatment as early as possible and apply for disability benefits from the Social Security Administration. While this cannot make up for the loss of normalcy in life, the extra money from SSA benefits may help reduce a bit of stress and make it easier to exist.

The Law Offices of Harold W. Conick & Associates have been highly successful over the past 30 years in obtaining Social Security disability benefits for clients who are disabled from mental illnesses such as schizophrenia. Contact us today for your free consultation.

The problem with the Social Security Administration
Posted July 16, 2015
The Social Security Administration must fix the disability program.

The Social Security Administration must fix the disability program.

Anyone who has been following the Social Security Administration over the past few years can tell you how much financial trouble it is in, but few have answers to how it can be fixed.

Bloomberg’s Matthew Philips took the institute’s pending insolvency to task in a recent article, first citing President Dwight Eisenhower’s desire to have the SSA be run efficiency and effectively to help “rehabilitate the disabled so that they may return to useful employment.” These days, the SSA is a far cry from Eisenhower’s desire.

One problem the SSA has is its lack of ability to return the disabled to work. Philips noted that economists say it does more to keep some capable out of the labor force than it doe to help them back in.

There are currently 11 million people on disability, with less than 1 percent reentering the workforce in 2013. While the lack of incentive to return to work hurts, what may hurt even more is the 1 million rejected disability benefit applications waiting for appeal, causing a gigantic backlog spanning the entire United States.

Social Security disability benefits are necessary for millions across the country who cannot work, but does the current system work as it is laid out? Economically, it doesn’t seem to be working very well, as millions wait for benefits, more millions are on benefits with no incentive to get off of them, all the while the SSA is trying to figure out how it can be funded into the future.

“What is especially problematic is that [SSDI] absorbs people who might otherwise work when economic conditions improve,” Stanford economist Mark Duggan told Philips.

What can be done to help the SSA avoid disaster and insolvency? The most likely scenario is diverting part of Social Security’s payroll tax revenues to avoid disability benefit cuts, but this is not a permanent solution in and of itself. Duggan said it often takes a crisis before Congress makes meaningful reform; SSA has all the making of a crisis coming to light one day.

With case hearing dates taking far longer come to fruition and political pressure to deny claims, it is more critical than ever for a claimant to hire competent attorney to represent them as they seek SSA disability benefits. The Law Offices of Harold W. Conick & Associates has more than 30 years of experience in successfully representing clients obtain their disability benefits.

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