Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Invisible disabilities and fools

This reminds me so much of the very many idiots who think their neighbors are committing Social Security fraud simply because these idiots don't see their neighbors confined to wheelchairs. To these legions of idiots, most medical conditions are not overtly obvious to the eye, and this is doubly so with individuals who have zero medical training (meaning practically everyone).

From the article:

"I was diagnosed with a chronic joint disease in high school that has progressively worsened over the years, causing a major health issue for my right leg. I’ve had a series of invasive, painful medical procedures, but the exterior signs of my trauma are reduced to a series of scars on my ankle. When I’m wearing long pants, it’s impossible to distinguish me from anyone else — which is why I get horrible looks, and even overt hostility, from onlookers when I use my handicap placard. The battle between disabled and non-disabled people is one that is not highly publicized. But the manner in which general society perceives disabled people, specifically people who show no visual signs of their disability, is an ongoing issue that needs addressing."

To read the article and comments by others on the facebook page: Invisible disabilities

Social Security Video hearings

This is a post from attorney Charles Hall's blog. It leads off with the statement "In an effort to make it more difficult for claimants to object to video hearings..." Video hearings are conducted because SSA is trying to deal with the issue of hearing backlogs and how long it takes to get a hearing in each state (and it can vary considerably between states as well as between hearings offices within states) without adding more judges to the payroll. Of course, the budget of SSA is left to the discretion of Congress, not the agency and not the executive administration (the White House) which can only submit budget proposals. Purse string powers belong to Congress.

Claimants need to understand that it is their right to have an in-person hearing if they so choose and that means they can reject a video hearing. In an earlier post this from Mr. Hall's blog, he stated "over 220,000 claimants opted out of video hearings when they were given the chance in October and November of 2014. That's more than one in five pending requests for hearing. I'm surprised that the number opting out isn't even higher. Some claimants and attorneys are more willing than others to tolerate video hearings but nobody likes them."

What's interesting is what a couple commenters on that particular blog post had to say.

Commenter 1: "the VTC (video hearing) is the lesser of two evils when compared to the harm of even more months for the claimant waiting for a hearing".

Commenter 2: " is my opinion that VTC hearings are wholly detrimental to my claimant simply because of the impersonal and removed nature of the things".

Looks Like This Plan Didn't Work

Thursday, November 19, 2015

New entries on the SSDRC facebook page

Postings on the SSDRC facebook page

On this page, I'll list recent and older posting for the Facebook page for, the Social Security Disability Resource Center. For those who are unaware, I am a former disability examiner who worked at the DDS agency in Raleigh NC and who made decisions on SSD and SSI claims.

Here is an excerpt from my "about me" page on "As a disability examiner, I adjudicated Social Security Disability and SSI claims, which is simply another way of saying that I reviewed the medical and vocational evidence of a case in order to determine whether it should be approved or denied. This background gave me particular insight into how cases are determined, how the system actually works at the ground level, as well as certain commonly made mistakes that are often made and which should be avoided.

Finally, I have taken and passed the federal written examination that is administered by the Social Security Administration and which is authorized under Public Law No. 111-142, "The Social Security Disability Applicants' Access to Professional Representation Act of 2010". The purpose of this exam is to test knowledge of the relevant provisions of the Social Security Act and also knowlege of the most recent developments in SSA including court decisions that affect titles II and XVI of the Social Security Act."

Individuals who have questions about filing for disability benefits, or have filed and have questions about the process, appeals, or specific issues may want to visit or the facebook page ( where they can ask questions and share their experiences with other individuals. My hope is that, over time, that page will become a community where individuals can support each other in their fight for disability benefits.

Social Security disability requirements

Qualifying for disability with anxiety and panic attacks

When should you check on your disability case

Do you automatically get Medicare with Social Security disability?

Why and when does Social Security send you to a medical exam?

Getting a statement from the doctor for a disability claim

How to file for disability

Judges and decisions on disability claims

The Social Security disability DDS doctor

The chances of winning disability benefits

Social Security disability reconsideration appeal

Getting a disability lawyer or representative

How hard is it to get disability?

Applying for disability with carpal Tunnel

A statement from a doctor for Social security disability or SSI

What your doctor needs to state to help you win disability

How severe must your condition be to get disability?

About Social Security Mental Exams

The Social Security definition of disability

Social Security Disability and Pain

What to prove to qualify for disability benefits

Social Security Disability and Fibromyalgia

Texas disability hearings

Bad Social Security Disability Advice

Social Security Disability SSI and contacting your congressman to speed things up

You may apply for Social Security disability for any medical condition

When should you file for disability

Social Security Disability and Continuing to Work

Are Social Security Disability Exams Bogus?

Social Security Disability, SSI, and Traumatic Brain injury

You can certainly apply for disability with no history of treatment

What can I expect from a Social Security Mental Examination or Evaluation?

Why does Social Security send people to medical exams?

Will Social Security decide you can do your old job?

Why does Social Security send people to medical exams?

What can I expect from a Social Security Mental Examination or Evaluation?

Filing for Social Security Disability or SSI with Multiple Sclerosis MS

Social Security Disability and Statements from Doctors

Why do you have to go to a Social Security Doctor?

Social Security Disability approval rate

Social Security uses mental consultative examinations to evaluate a variety of mental disorders and conditions

Does everyone need an attorney or non attorney to win a disability case?

Stroke is often listed on a disability application

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Ruby's Bequest - A story-telling Project

I was recently contacted by Patrick Tutwiler of United Cerebral Palsy. He mentioned a site I might be interested in, and, as it turns out, I am. I have an aging parent myself and I also recognize that all of us are inevitably headed toward some degree of disability. It's simply the nature of the human condition. However, I told Patrick that I really couldn't explain the site, Ruby's Bequest, better than he already did in his email. So, with his permission, I have reposted his email here:


So I’ve been reading your blog for a bit here, and I think I have a project you might be interested in posting about. Basically it’s a virtual-reality project called Ruby’s Bequest, sponsored by United Cerebral Palsy (UCP), AARP, and the Institute for the Future (IFTF) which seeks to develop solutions to the imminent care-giving crisis.

I’m sure you and your readership are familiar with the problem:

There will be, in the near future, shortages of paid care-givers and direct service providers, shortages in government resources to assist people who use care services, and an influx of people who will need said services as more Boomers with disabilities start aging, and as more Boomers start aging into disability.

Ruby’s Bequest is a story-telling project which aims to provoke a massive brainstorming session amongst all its participants. During the course of the project, participants will be presented with various future scenarios containing various care-giving related problems. They will then have to put their heads together and imagine creative solutions to those problems.

The end result of the project will be a compendium of novel ideas and solutions to the near-term problems associated with care-giving and caring in general.

Hopefully it also serves as the beginning of a conversation about a new, more holistic and sustainable way to look at the role of caring in society.

Anyway, thanks for looking it over and let me know if you have any questions.


Return to the Social Security Disability SSI Benefits Blog

Friday, February 02, 2007

We move along

The GoldFish gave me permission to quote from her disability blog and so I'd like to present a few lines (quite a few actually) from one of her recent posts. Her post concerned moving, leaving a place...but so much more than that.

The post made me think of a few things and reminded me of others. Things I've read. Things I've thought. Places I've left. And people I've known who, living or not, have become inexorably removed from me as I am carried along, not always willingly, on the conveyor we call linear time.

I can see these people and places in my mind, as a still picture, or, in very reflective moments, as a short, personal movie clip. If the moment is right, I can hear sounds from long ago, and if I conjure hard enough I can grasp shadowy incarnations of an old scent or a past touch.

Any post on any blog that evokes such feeling is one that I highly recommend.

Here's the quote, followed by a link to the full post---

"I am fine, somewhat tearful. No reason; we have nothing to lose. I think there are only a handful of things in life anyone can claim that they have actually lost. We have both had a great time in this place and nothing can ever take that away from us. Only it moves into the past tense and can only be revisited in the imagination. We never get to revisit the great times in any case; even if their locations have been frozen in time, we have not. And that's not a bad thing. There are other great times, new adventures to be had ahead of us, new places which will become special to us further along the road. There are friends out there who we don't even know yet, perhaps a few who are not yet born, let alone all those who exist who we are only going to get to know and love better with time.

Nobody has died; nothing to mourn.

But saying goodbye, even to a place, even when you know that it's time to go..."

That was then

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Sometimes the pages outlast us - An Internet journal on caring for an Alzheimer's parent

In the last few weeks, I've come across at least 2, perhaps 3, websites that are still operating despite the fact that their creators have passed away (yes, I prefer the euphemism, passed away, to die, though I will use die occasionally). And each time I do, I get the same feeling accompanied by my own staring off into the window behind my desktop monitor. What is that feeling? Well, as with so many feelings, it's difficult to translate. But...I just find it really neat that webpages that have expressed the feelings, thoughts, opinions, and sentiments of their creators can continue to live on the net, providing valuable information and sometimes needed insights to those who find them. And when that happens, the experience is not only a testament to the webpage writer, but a way for that writer's life experiences to be transmitted to others and passed on.

Unfortunately, it's not always the case that a person's pages will continue after they're gone. For most sites (some free sites may not fall into this category), hosting fees need to be paid every now and then and there's also the issue of domain registrations that need to be kept up. So, I would suggest to those who are aware of a family member's writings online, try to keep them going if you can after the person is gone.

In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if, oneday, someone decides that this is a good business idea; that is, for a small fee, ensuring that someone's pages will be maintained on the net. Though, this may already exist at the site, (however, there is no guarantee that will always be around).

Here's a link to one of the three sites I found recently. Her name was Denise Cooper and according to a short message at the top of the screen, she died in 2002. The journal she kept may be helpful to anyone caring for a parent with Alzheimer's disease.

Coping with Alzheimer's disease by Denise Cooper

(It's sites like this that show the real potential of the web)