Homeless In America

December 6, 2017

The Huffington Post recently posted a great article on the importance of Social Security benefits to people who are homeless.  It’s a good read and I could not do it justice by attempting to summarize it.

So here is a link for you:

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/homeless-in-america-a-case-study-in-the-importance_us_5a0a62e4e4b060fb7e59d36b

Advertisements

SSA Hold Times

December 6, 2017

In other discouraging news, the hold time to talk to someone at the Social Security Administration has risen from 3 minutes in 2010 to over 16 minutes in 2017.

On the upside, they do let you leave a call back number and are remarkably reliable about returning a call.

As many of you know, have a personal connection to MS, I work closely with the North Florida MS Society and many of my clients have MS.  So, it was with with interest that I read the recent article in the New York Times Science Section that shows that concussions in adolescents (aged 11 to 20) has been shown to have a link to a later MS diagnosis.

 

Specifically, adolescents who had experienced one concussion were about 22% more likely to later develop MS than those who had not had such a head trauma.  The risk rose by about 150% of a young person and sustained multiple concussions.

 

For the full article, written by Gretchen Reynolds, go here

 

Happy Thanksgiving!

November 22, 2017

Once again, the year has flown by and I am thankful for the opportunity my clients give me to assist them.  Filing for disability benefits is a difficult decision to make.  The process is typically long and needlessly complicated.  I am happy that so many individuals trust me to guide them through this process.

 

I am also grateful to the many helpful people within the Social Security Administration, physicians’ offices and other attorneys from whom I seek advice.

 

I hope everyone takes a much-needed break to enjoy the holiday with friends and family.

The Backlog

November 15, 2017

A favorite topic of all Social Security attorneys is the hearing backlog.  Right now, it is taking upwards of 20 months to move from a Request for a Hearing to a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge.  Recent information from SSA suggests that part of the problem is that funding to SSA has been cut at the same time there are more applications being filed.

 

Specifically, the core operating budget is down 11% and the SSA staff has been cut by 10%.  Disability insurance beneficiaries are up by 5% and Retirement and Survivor insurance beneficiaries are up by 17%.  That is not a formula that will help decrease the wait time for a hearing.

Nancy A. Berryhill, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, announced a new collaboration to access medical records electronically from Johns Hopkins Medicine. Headquartered in Baltimore, MD, it is one of the leading health care systems in the United States and serves over 2.8 million outpatient visitors annually.

Johns Hopkins Medicine will transmit complete secure medical records for Social Security disability applicants, with the appropriate patient consent. Social Security will receive medical records within minutes or hours, as compared to weeks through the traditional manual process (mail, fax, or secure website). The electronic process saves time and money.

“This fast, safe, and secure method for receiving medical records will significantly shorten the time it takes to make a disability decision and makes the process more efficient,” Acting Commissioner Berryhill said.

Over the last several years, Social Security has entered into similar relationships. In late June, Social Security began receiving electronic medical records from Stormont Vail Health, based in Topeka, KS, and University of Utah Health, based in Salt Lake City, UT. Social Security plans to continue expanding health IT partners with new high volume organizations, as well as additional facilities with existing partners.

Bike MS!

November 1, 2017

This month, my family and I undertook Bike MS! for the third year in a row.  It was difficult to corral two (always sleepy) teenagers for the 36 mile ride from MarineLand to Daytona Beach but we did.  There was a difficult headwind along A1A coming in off of the Atlantic, which my brilliant daughter helped us avoid by rerouting us on a different road.  My son fell off of his bike once, although to be fair, he says the bike fell and he was on it, but he actually stayed on the bike and didn’t technically fall off (that’s the lawyer-to-be).  No major harm was done and we cruised into Daytona with time to spare.

 

It was, once again, a great family project and we were happy to support the MS Society.

%d bloggers like this: