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Stroke Risks Among Younger Persons Increasing

December 9, 2013

According to a new study, younger persons are at an increasingly higher risk of suffering a stroke.

The research was recently conducted by researchers at the Loyola University Medical Center, and the findings have been reported in the American Academy of Neurology. According to the study, approximately 15% of the most common types of strokes in the United States now occur in young adults. Even more worrying is the fact that many young people who were not considered a high-risk category for strokes earlier are now showing risk factors for such strokes.

Approximately 85% of all strokes reported in the United States every year are ischemic strokes, caused by a block of blood flow to the brain. The number of young people who now show risk factors for ischemic strokes has increased, including diabetes, obesity, hypertension or high blood pressure, and high cholesterol levels. In addition, younger persons often times engage in unhealthy activities such as smoking, which can also increase the risk.

The physical impact of stroke can be devastating. But the financial costs are frequently just as challenging, especially when they affect a younger person. This is partly the result of young workers being in their prime earning years, and also because they are more likely to have dependents who rely on them for necessary living expenses.

Regardless of their age, if you have a loved one that is unable to work due to a medical condition, contact our office today at (404) 255-9838. We can help them take the next best step to receiving social security disability benefits.

Patients Push for Recognition of Trigeminal Neuralgia

November 25, 2013

According to the National Institutes of Health, approximately 12 out of every 100,000 people suffer from a debilitating pain condition called Trigeminal Neuralgia (TN). These victims' frustration is compounded by two additional problems. First, many doctors have a difficult time understanding and diagnosing the condition because of its rarity. Second, TN is not recognized as a condition for which social security disability benefits are available.

Trigeminal neuralgia is a condition in which a person suffers from a type of shooting or stabbing pain sensation in the face. It's believed that the pain is caused by the Trigeminal Nerve, a nerve responsible for carrying sensation from the brain to the face. Little is known about what causes of the disorder, but it can lead to severely debilitating pain. Even small stimuli, such as a slight breeze, can trigger a flash of pain. Unfortunately, there is no cure for the condition.

Currently, Trigeminal Neuralgia is not mentioned as a condition eligible for Social Security Disability benefits, but this could change as awareness grows among the medical profession and government agencies that make disability laws. The most important thing to do when facing a disability that prevents you from working is make certain you receive the best available medical care. Next, talk with an attorney familiar with disability benefits law. This is a field that changes constantly. Just because benefits may not have been available previously doesn't mean they won't be in the future.

Scientists Report Progress in Stem Cell Treatment for Parkinson's Disease

November 7, 2013

Scientists at Cambridge University's Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research have announced the identification of a compound that they believe can help reverse the toxicity found in central nervous system cells of a person suffering from Parkinson's Disease.

The results of the research were published recently in the journal Science, with scientists cautioning that there is still a lot of work to be done. The results are very preliminary, and the study is still in its early stages. In fact, the scientists are not even using the word "drug" to refer to the molecule that they identified while analyzing more than 200,000 compounds. In other words, it will still be a long while before the molecule is actually converted into an ingredient that human beings who suffer from Parkinson's Disease can take safely.

The molecule was tested on persons who suffer from a form of Parkinson's Disease. The scientists created stem cells from the samples, and from those stem cells, they generated neurons that are affected in a person who suffers from Parkinson's. They found that the special molecule managed to reverse the signs of disease in nerve cells. The researchers say that they will now focus on modifying the compound, so that they can move on to the next stage, which is testing in animals.

Many individuals with Parkinson's are still able to work in the early stages, and may be able to earn an acceptable income. Because of this, social security disability benefits applications are often denied at the early stages. However, as the disease progresses, and more severe symptoms set in, applications are more likely to be successful, especially if the disability has existed for at least 12 months.

It's important to seek the help of a qualified Atlanta disability attorney after you've been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. This will ensure you and your family take all the best steps for ensuring your treatment and your finances are in order, and also account for the backlog that exists in the SSD system.

Late Treatment Often Delays Return-to-Work for Heart Attack Patients

October 29, 2013

When persons who suffer a heart attack do not receive treatment immediately, they are much more likely to return to work later, and also frequently must enter into an early retirement. Those findings come from research that was recently presented at the Acute Cardiac Care Congress.

According to the Congress, delays from the time a call has been made to emergency medical services to when treatment is received, can lead to an increase in mortality and heart failure after a myocardial infarction.

Until now, researchers have not been able to tell whether delayed treatment had any real and tangible effect on return to work after treatment. The researchers decided to investigate this particular area because a delayed return to work, or a premature retirement after heart attack, is often financially disastrous for patients.

In the analysis, researchers found that a large proportion of people who did suffer from myocardial infarction managed to return to their job within four years. However, as many as 40% of the patients had their return to work delayed. After eight years, people who suffered from a long system delay, and had delayed treatment for their condition, had a 21% increase in retirement rate.

These data emphasize the need for social security disability benefits after a heart attack or other injury that precludes a person from working. And more importantly, it illustrates that disability benefits should be filed for as soon as possible.

Study Finds Stroke, Disability Risks Increased by Traumatic Brain Injury

October 10, 2013

According to research recently published by the University of Michigan Health System, persons who have suffered a traumatic brain injury are at a much greater risk of suffering a stroke later in life, compared to those who have no history of brain injury.

The research was conducted on people with an average age of 49.2 years. Researchers found that persons who had suffered a traumatic brain injury earlier in life had a much higher risk of suffering an ischemic stroke, which occurs when there is a severe lack of blood flow to the brain. Ischemic strokes can leave a person with devastating and lifelong health issues, and even permanent disability. In fact, stroke is one of the major causes of long-term disability among American adults.

The outlook after a stroke is not entirely bleak, and as many as 70% of survivors of a stroke can expect to regain some degree of functional independence. However, roughly 30% of persons who suffer a stroke remain permanently disabled, and may suffer symptoms such as full or partial paralysis, language problems, cognitive difficulties, and sensory disturbances.

Most importantly, these people may be unable to return to their jobs after the stroke, often resulting in very serious financial problems for these patients as well as their families.

Social security disability benefits for a stroke are often times available to individuals, and can provide regular monthly income to cover living expenses and those for dependents. If you or a loved one has suffered a stroke, and are unable to return to work, contact our law office to discuss whether you quality for disability benefits.

People with Disability at Greater Risk of Obesity

October 1, 2013

According to new research, people who suffer from a disability are at a much higher risk of obesity than non-disabled persons. This indicates that obesity may be a much greater physical health challenge for the disabled than earlier believed.

The study found that approximately 42% of American adults who suffer from a disability also suffer from obesity. About 9% also suffer from extreme obesity. In comparison, among adults who did not suffer from any disabilities, nearly 29% were found to be obese, and 3.9% were found to be extremely obese.

The results of the findings were published recently in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. This is believed to be the very first time that obesity has been strongly linked to disability.

Earlier research has also tried to link disability to obesity, but there had been deficiencies in those studies, and the findings were based on an obesity prevalence among people with a disability that was at just between 39% and 31%. The new study put that number closer to 42%.

Data for the study came from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which includes data collected from physical examinations of Americans as well as interviews about diet and nutrition. Obesity rates, as well as health information from more than 11,000 American adults who suffer from a disability, were compiled as part of the research, and then compared to data involving more than 20,000 people without disabilities.

Apart from the higher risk of obesity, disabled persons were also found to be much more likely to suffer from chronic illnesses like diabetes, high cholesterol levels as well as hypertension. In addition, many were likely to be on high blood pressure medication, as well as medications to lower lipid levels.

Our law firm helps clients receive disability benefits, as well as work through other health challenges such as obesity and high blood pressure.

Young Cerebral Palsy Patients May Suffer Chronic Pain

August 14, 2013

Young patients with cerebral palsy may suffer from chronic severe pain, and may also be unable to verbalize their symptoms. According to new research, doctors and parents need to look out for signs of pain, because patients often begin to believe that the pain is normal.

In most cases, the pain is due to dystonia or a hip dislocation. Dystonia is a condition that is linked to excessive muscle tone. According to the research, 25% of young people who were diagnosed with cerebral palsy suffered from moderate to severe chronic pain. The pain was severe enough for it to restrict the person's activities.

The study, which was conducted by the Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital in Toronto, was based on an analysis of more than 250 individuals who suffered from cerebral palsy. These patients were between the ages of three and 19. The research data were collected in the form of questionnaires, and also from physicians, caregivers and parents.

It is important for parents, caregivers and doctors to frequently ask patients with cerebral palsy about pain levels. This can be difficult because a cerebral palsy patient may struggle with communication, especially verbal communication. Additionally, diagnosing pain is likely to be difficult because there may be a number of different triggers that set off pain for different patients.
Persons who suffer from cerebral palsy may be eligible for disability benefits under the Social Security disability benefits program. In cases of severe cerebral palsy, if the person is no longer able to talk, walk on his own, or has vision difficulties, the person may be eligible for benefits.

How Social Security Evaluates Your Claim

April 8, 2013

For many Atlantans with a disability who file for Social Security disability benefits, the workings of the Social Security Administration can often be a mystery. The Administration does reject a large number of claims every year, and an applicant can often be left wondering at the procedures that are followed in the processing of claims.
When you file for Social Security disability benefits, the Social Security Administration will kick off the process of evaluating your claim to determine whether you're eligible for benefits. This is a long, arduous and complicated process.

First of all, the agency will determine whether you are working too much to actually be eligible for benefits. This is one of those cases, where if you're working and earning an income, it could actually hinder your claim.

The Administration will also determine the severity of your medical condition. Just because you believe that your condition is extremely severe, and that you qualify for benefits, doesn't mean that the agency will believe the same. Your illness or medical condition must not only meet the criteria defined by the Social Security Administration, but must also be included in the list of conditions that is eligible for Social Security benefits.

Just because your symptoms do not meet any of the conditions or impairments that are listed by Social Security Administration, does not automatically disqualify you for benefits. A Social Security disability benefits lawyer can prove that your symptoms are very similar to the symptoms of a condition already on the list.

The Social Security Administration will also evaluate if you're currently capable of performing the work that you were performing before you applied for the benefits, as well as any other work that you can possibly perform to gain an income.

All of these are extremely complicated procedures, and can take months to complete. A disability attorney can help you navigate the complicated process
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Social Security's New Personalized Online Account Services

February 18, 2013


The Social Security Administration recently announced the expansion of services available to applicants who have a my Social Security account. This is a personalized account that persons can use to log in online, and track their activity right from the time that they began working, to the time that they received Social Security benefits.

The Social Security Administration estimates that more than 60 million beneficiaries as well as supplementary beneficiaries like family members are now accessing their account information online. The account can also be used to make important changes like changing addresses.

The agency has announced a number of new services that have been attached to the my Social Security account service. For example, with the new service, people can conduct business with Social Security Administration without having to make a telephone call, or visit the office, or wait for a Social Security letter to arrive in the mail. People can simply log on to Social Security from a smart phone or computer, without having to leave their home.

According to the Social Security Administration, it is currently also working on other ways that it can increase efficiency to benefit applicants. Even more importantly, the expanded use of personalized online accounts will free Social Security employees from frequent interactions with applicants to focus on other duties.

Anybody who is above the age of 18 can sign up for a my Social Security account. Users are required to submit their personal information when they sign up for their personal account.

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Numbers of Workers Collecting Disability Benefits Hits Record High in December

January 21, 2013


The number of American workers collecting Social Security Disability benefits hit record highs in December, even as the Social Security Disability program ran a deficit of close to $40 billion in 2012.

According to statistics published by the Social Security Administration, the Social Security Program ran a $47.8 billion deficit in 2012. The program brought in about $725.42 billion in cash, and paid $773.24 billion in benefits and overhead expenses.
In December 2012, the number of American workers collecting Social Security disability benefits hit 8,827,795. That was an increase from 8,805,353 workers in November.

Approximately 50% of the applicants who applied for benefits were approved. This was the highest approval percentage of any month in the 2012 calendar year. The average monthly pay award was $1130.34. The average award was $1184.92.

The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office attributed the increases to the aging Baby Boomer population, increase of women in the work force and an economy that cannot assimilate the disabled worker.

There was also an increase in the overall number of beneficiaries in the Social Security program. These numbers hit record highs of 56,758,185 people in December, an increase from 56,658,978 workers in November. These beneficiaries include retired workers, their dependents including spouses and children, as well as disabled workers and their dependent family members.

Under the law, a person who suffers an injury or medical condition that leaves him in a position where he cannot work anymore, may be eligible for Social Security disability benefits. However, it isn't as simple as that. Merely getting a certificate from a doctor certifying that you are disabled does not automatically qualify you for benefits. You will need the expertise of a lawyer who can build your disability benefits claim for you so that your claim can be approved by the Social Security Administration.


Increase in Unemployment among Disabled Americans

December 19, 2012

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The number of disabled Americans who applied for Social Security disability insurance during the 3rd quarter of 2012 remained the same compared to last year, even as data from insurer Allsup revealed that the unemployment rate for disabled Americans increased.

During the 3rd quarter of 2012, the rate of unemployment for Americans with disabilities increased to 13.7% from 12.9% during the 2nd quarter of 2012. However, that did not necessarily translate into an increase in Social Security disability insurance applications. Those numbers stayed somewhat the same. In the 2nd quarter of 2012, 731,817 people had applied for Social Security disability insurance. That number dropped slightly to 726,026 people in the 3rd quarter of this year.

Allsup has released a report titled, Allsup Disability Study: Income at Risk. According to the report, in 2012, close to 2.2 million individuals who are currently unable to work because of a disability, applied for Social Security disability insurance. Out of these, 31.8 million Social Security disability insurance claims are believed to be pending. Average wait times for claims processing now stand at more than 800 days.

Considering that Americans who suffer from a disability and are unemployed can only rely on their Social Security disability insurance payments for their daily expenses, this long waiting period can be extremely frustrating and traumatic. Social Security disability insurance payments can provide a disabled person a regular income to support himself and his family. When such workers have their claims delayed due to long waiting periods, they may be put through unimaginable financial hardship. Claimants must exhaust all available funds, depend on friends or family for help or depend upon government assistance programs and/or non-profit shelters for housing.

Lisa Siegel is a Social Security disability lawyer helping persons with disabilities in the metro Atlanta region recover their rightful disability benefits. If you are eligible for Social Security, and have had a claim denied, speak with us to learn your rights.

CLAIMANTS FACE HARDSHIPS WHILE WAITING ON SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFITS

July 23, 2012

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To receive disability benefits, an individual must first file an application with the Social Security Administration (SSA). An SSA field officer determines whether the individual meets the non-disability criteria for benefits. If so, the field office forwards the claim to the state Disability Determination Services (DDS) for a disability review. Once DDS makes a determination, it sends the claim back to an SSA field office for final processing.

Even though Social Security Disability (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are federal programs, a state agency actually decides whether an applicant is disabled for purposes of collecting these benefits. In Georgia, the state agency is called Disability Adjudication Services (DAS). The Georgia DAS approves just over 29% of claims at the initial level. That means that over 70% of claims filed at the initial level are denied.

If an applicant disagrees with an initial disability determination, he or she can file an appeal within 60 days. If an appeal of a denial is filed, the claim then goes to the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR) which is part of the Social Security Administration. In Georgia, it takes an average 365 from date of application until an administrative law judge (ALJ) rules on your application. In 2011, over fifty percent of the ALJ's decisions were fully favorable.

In 2008, the Social Security Administration (SSA) did a study on the hardships claimants face while waiting on benefits. The study showed that some beneficiaries had no income or insufficient income to meet food, clothing or shelter needs due to the waiting period.

In this study, 231 out of 340 cases reviewed, beneficiaries had to obtain assistance from friends, family and/or charities while waiting for benefits. Some accrued debt, used up savings, continued to work, and sold personal belongings. For some beneficiaries, they could no longer afford a home, became homeless, filed for bankruptcy, and/or had their utilities cut off.

For those who qualify for and have applied for SSI benefits, they may qualify for interim assistance from the Georgia Department of Human Services Individuals will be approved for interim assistance only if there is a strong likelihood that their SSI benefit will be approved. Also, the receipt of interim assistance also comes with a promise to repay the state with the back pay benefits awarded under SSI

If you have an advocate for your social security disability claim, your attorney can direct you to public assistance programs that may help in this interim period. Also, an attorney can write a "dire need" letter on your behalf to Social Security. Contact our office at 404 255 9838 for a free Social Security Disability consultation.

HOW GEORGIA RESIDENTS APPLY FOR SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILTY BENEFITS

May 14, 2012


If you are wondering whether you are eligible to apply for disability benefits through the Social Security Administration, you may want to check out the information contained in the Social Security Administration's website. You may be eligible for disability benefits if:


  • You are a disabled worker and have earned enough credits to become "insured." This usually means that you have worked 5 out of the last ten years prior to the onset of your disability. You may be disabled if you have a mental or physical condition that keeps you from working for 12 months or more or will result in death

  • You are a disabled widow or widower and your deceased spouse earned enough credits to become "insured"

  • You became disabled before age 22 and either of your parents is disabled or deceased and earned enough credits to become "insured

The amount of your disability benefit will be based upon your earnings record with SSA. You can determine this at the Social Security administration website. . Once you are approved for disability benefits for two years, then you will be eligible for Medicare coverage.

If you are not "insured" under the requirements of the Social Security Disability Insurance program (SSDI), you may qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) if you are disabled and meet the financial need requirements.

For SSDI, you may apply online, over the telephone at 1 800 872 1212, or you may make an appointment at your local Social Security Administration office. Applications for SSI may not yet be made online.

Applicants often get discouraged due to the length of time it takes for applications to be reviewed. Also, approximately fifty percent of applications are denied at the initial stage.

Many disabled applicants want to know if they should hire an attorney. You may always hire representation by an attorney. Attorneys can help you with your application, although the attorney cannot electronically file it without your signature. Attorneys can help you gather medical documents and evidence; may attend a meeting with SSA with you; and may help collect witnesses for you case. Many applicants do not hire an attorney until they receive a denial of benefits. At that point, an attorney may help you file an appeal and represent you before an administrative law judge. An attorney may also help you with further appeals if necessary.

You can expect an attorney to do the following for you:


  • Obtain and update your medical records

  • Obtain and update any other necessary documents such as work history or school

records

  • Analyze the medical records and work history

  • Prepare you and any witnesses for the hearing before the administrative law judge

  • Write any necessary briefs on the case on your behalf

  • Cross-examine the government's witnesses such as vocational experts

Attorneys may not charge a fee without the approval of SSA. Contingent attorneys' fees are set by statute which is twenty-five percent of the back pay benefits awarded, up to a cap of $6000.00. This is contingent upon a recovery. Attorney fees may also be awarded on an hourly basis in an amount approved by SSA.

Finally, do not make these common mistakes:


  • Giving up without exhausting all your appeals

  • Failing to hire an attorney at the hearing level

  • Failing to timely file for an appeal


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