Social Security Administration fails to reduce initial claims backlog due to funding

In a report,   The Social Security Administration’s Progress in Reducing the Initial Disability Claims Backlog released on April 28, 2014, the Office of the Inspector General (“OIG”) examined the Social Security Administration’s (“SSA”) efforts to reduce its initial disability claims backlog. The OIG found that the SSA has failed to reduce its backlog to projected goals and recommended that the SSA create new goals and try to implement them.

As background, the SSA in November 2010 released a report on its strategy to reduce initial disability claims.  They outlined a four part plan:  (1) increase staffing at Disability Determination Services (“DDS”), (2) improve efficiency through automation; (3) expand the use of screening tools to streamline claims likely to be allowed, and (4) refine policies and business processes to expedite cases.

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Solano County Walk to End Alzheimer’s

On October 26, 2013,  the “Walk to End Alzheimer’s”  will be taking place at Harbor Plaza in Suisun.  This is a fundraiser organized by the Alzheimer’s Association and all money raised goes to them for research toward a cure.  The event will begin at 8:30 a.m.  Details and route information may be found on the Solano County Walk’s website.

Alzheimer’s Disease is a horrible disease.  If you know someone with it, you already know this.  According to the Alzheimer’s Association, Alzheimer’s disease is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States overall and the 5th leading cause of death for those aged 65 and older. It is the only cause of death among the top 10 in America without a way to prevent it, cure it or even slow its progression. Deaths from Alzheimer’s increased 68 percent between 2000 and 2010, while deaths from other major diseases, including the number one cause of death (heart disease), decreased.

The Alzheimer’s Association also reports that the number of Americans with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias will grow as the U.S. population age 65 and older continues to increase. By 2025, the number of people age 65 and older with Alzheimer’s disease is estimated to reach 7.1 million—a 40 percent increase from the 5 million age 65 and older currently affected. By 2050, the number of people age 65 and older with Alzheimer’s disease may nearly triple, from 5 million to a projected 13.8 million, barring the development of medical breakthroughs to prevent, slow or stop the disease.

Recognizing the severity of the disease, the Social Security Administration, has designated “early-onset of Alzheimer’s Disease,” as a condition on their list of compassionate allowances.  The list is a list of severe life threatening conditions.  If an applicant has one of the listed conditions, he or she may qualify for disability benefits and Social Security will approve the case with minimal medical evidence and process it quickly.

It is important that we find a way to cure this disease.  Hope to see you on the walk on October 26.

Alzheimer’s Caregiver support group to begin on Second Life

As I was reviewing my blog just now, I realized that I have not posted in quite a while.  I am now a caregiver for a relative with Alzheimer’s Disease and have been quite busy.  My new role has given me a personal view of what it is like to live with a permanent disability.  Unfortunately it has left me little time to post on my blog.  There has been a great deal of news in the legal world of Social Security Disability and I have many items to write about so I hope to be returning soon on a more regular basis to post.

In the meantime, I would like to mention two items of interest to people who may be caring for an individual with Alzheimer’s.  First, the Social Security Administration processes claims for an individual who has “early-onset Alzheimer’s disease” under the compassionate allowance policy.  This means that the Social Security Administration acknowledges that the individual has a serious disability and will process the claim quickly and with minimal medical evidence.  If you are caring for someone with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, you should assist him or her as soon as possible to apply.  The income will no doubt be beneficial.

Second, from personal experience, I highly recomend joining a caregiver support group.   The Alzheimer Association is a wonderful organization and can assist you in locating a group.  I am pleased that I can also recommend a new online caregiver support group on Second Life©.  On Monday, August 30, 2010 at 5:30 p.m. (SL time), Zsuzsa Tomsen (RL: Susan Toth-Cohen, PhD, OTR/L) will  discuss  best ways to manage difficult situations when caring for persons with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. Zsuzsa will first summarize and discuss key strategies found most helpful for caregivers in a research study  using examples from the best-selling book, The 36 Hour Day. Then,  participants will be asked to share their experiences about their own “best practices” for successful negotiating and managing challenging situations in caregiving.  The discussion will take place at http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Fatimas%20Cherished/232/85/26

I hope you will join us.  If you have any questions about how to log onto Second Life and finding our group, please feel free to contact me.