Do celebrities help raise disability awareness when they become disabled?

Disability attorneys in Arizona and across the nation know that when a Hollywood or sports celebrity is diagnosed with a disability, it provides an opportunity to educate the public about the medical condition itself, whether it is life-threatening or incurable, and what it is like to live with that disability. For many, popular actor, Michael J. Fox has become the face of Parkinson’s disease due to his decades-long battle with the debilitating neurological disease. Fundraising to research for a cure for these diseases is often spearheaded by afflicted celebrities.

Approximately four months after announcing her diagnosis with Multiple Sclerosis, actress Selma Blair attended a post-Oscar’s party in an elegant gown and fashionable cane. Admitting she didn’t think she’d get “this bad”, she said she struggles with “movement, memory dressing and… her vision” and worries if she is “hireable” now.

Multiple Sclerosis, or “MS” for short, is one of the many disabling conditions under the Social Security Administration’s fairly extensive list of conditions that satisfy the government’s definition of “disabled”. Qualifying for disability benefits requires suffering from “a physical or mental impairment that prevents engaging in substantial gainful activities and that has lasted or is expected to last for 12 months or more or result in death”.

Many people seek the assistance of a skilled Social Security disability attorney when applying for disability benefits because the process is complex and 2/3 of all initial applications are denied. Appealing the denial of disability benefits is possible but the wait time for a hearing is substantial and can be nearly 2 years. So, it is advisable to engage competent legal counsel as early in the process as possible to maximize the chance of your application being properly completed, and hence more likely to be granted.

If you need assistance with an initial application for Social Security disability benefits, or with an appeal of a denial of benefits, the disability attorneys of Arizona at Roeschke Law can help you. Contact us today for a free consultation.

From our offices in Phoenix, Tempe, and Tucson, we represent disabled individuals throughout Arizona and our practice is limited to disability law.

Can an employer make a disabled workers job description more difficult?

Walmart has historically been a company open to employing workers with disabilities, enabling many to avoid applying for Social Security disability benefits because they were gainfully employed. Many disabled employees hold the position of “store greeter” –a job that merely requires greeting customers with a friendly hello and goodbye as they enter and exit the store. But Walmart recently announced plans to change its “store greeters” policy– and its plans have unleashed an extreme backlash from the public and the disabled community.

“Store greeters” are reportedly being replaced by “customer hosts”. Unfortunately, the new position requires additional responsibilities that may be difficult or impossible for disabled individuals to handle. Rather than just greeting customers, which can be done by someone in a wheelchair, the customer host position requires employees to do additional duties including but not limited to “lift 25 pounds, clean up spills, collect carts and stand for long periods of time”. Obviously, workers with certain physical and mental disabilities will not be able to perform some or all of these additional tasks and are reportedly subject to termination.

Many of these workers struggle with physical and mental conditions that are on the government’s list of conditions that are generally recognized as qualifying for social security disability benefits—such as cerebral palsy. These workers, like many disabled people, strive to work for despite their disability if they are able to do so and may have chosen not to apply for disability benefits because of the relatively easy greeter position and the opportunities for socialization that it adds to what otherwise could be a more isolated life.

Some of these workers– at Walmarts throughout the country– have been employed for approximately 20 years and fear losing their jobs. In response to the backlash, Walmart is reportedly extending the date for the changeover in policy and will review how the new policy will affect disabled workers on a case-by-case basis.

If you or a loved one need help applying for Social Security disability benefits, appealing the denial of benefits, or have any questions regarding disability benefits law, the disability attorneys of Arizona at Roeschke Law can help you. Contact us today for a free consultation.

With offices in Phoenix, Tempe, and Tucson, Arizona we regularly represent residents in those areas in all aspects of disability law.

Why Don’t People Realize Some Disabilities Are Invisible?

The universal symbol for being handicapped is a blue and white placard with a wheelchair symbol. This designation helps disabled people locate handicap parking, handicapped bathrooms, and more. It’s also intended to put non-handicapped people on notice that such parking spaces are reserved for those displaying proper permits.

Unfortunately, this symbol is so connected to the public’s idea of “disabled” that it may be doing the disabled community a disservice and may actually be placing some of its members in harm’s way.

As those who have applied for social security disability benefits from the federal government know all too well, not all disabilities are physical in nature and not all disabilities are visible.

In fact, there is an extensive list of both physical and mental conditions that the government recognizes as qualifying for federal disability benefits. Examples of some physical conditions include Multiple sclerosis, cancer, Crohns’ disease and more. Some examples of qualifying mental conditions include PTSD, anxiety disorders, bi-polar disorder, OCD, depression, and more.

A woman suffering from multiple sclerosis since 2012 allegedly recently became a victim of which she reportedly described as a hate crime after she parked her car in a handicapped spot with her handicap permit displayed. Upon returning to her car she found it covered in feces and remembered receiving dirty looks from people nearly at the time she parked there—looks that implied she wasn’t actually handicapped because she didn’t “look” handicapped.

Not everyone who is disabled or handicapped is wheelchair-bound. This is one reason why a change in the universal handicapped symbol is being considered. Life has enough challenges for many disabled people and it’s disheartening to hear of such alleged actions against legitimately disabled people.

If you need help applying for Social Security disability benefits or appealing a denial of benefits, the disability attorneys of Arizona at Roeschke Law can help you. It’s all we do. Contact us today for a free consultation.
With offices in Phoenix, Tempe, and Tucson, Arizona, we represent disabled clients and their families in all aspects of disability law.

How Can The Disabled Get More Respect From Society?

In America, we are fortunate to have two different federal disability benefits programs to financially help those who qualify for Social Security disability benefits.

When applying for disability benefits, an applicant must satisfy the government’s definition of being “disabled” which means they must suffer from a physical or mental impairment that prevents engaging in substantial gainful activities and that has lasted or is expected to last for 12 months or more or will result in death.

There’s an extensive list of physical and mental problems that qualify as disabling conditions. But simply being diagnosed with one doesn’t guarantee that your application for benefits will be approved the first time around or even after an appeal. Two-thirds of all initial benefits applications are denied and the waiting time for an appeal is extensive. That’s why many people choose to retain a skilled Arizona disability benefits attorney to handle the initial application or subsequent appeal.

Sometimes people of extremely limited financial means are born with or acquire a disability that would qualify them for benefits under the Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”) program. Other times, at some point during their working years, someone might become disabled due to illness or injury and no longer be able to work. Provided the person satisfies the requisite number of work credits (and the government’s definition of disabled), they may be entitled to disability benefits under the Social Security Disability Insurance (“SSDI”) program which is only available to those who have worked and paid into the Social Security system through payroll tax deductions over a certain period of time. Sometimes, applicants may qualify for both federal program benefits.

Disabled people may be made by society to feel that they are somehow “less” than non-disabled people. Fortunately, this unacceptable reality has been countered in some states, namely California and New Jersey to-date, through legislation mandating the incorporation into public school curriculums of “teaching about the rich contributions and accomplishments” of those with disabilities (and LTBTQ society members). It is the hope raising generations exposed to such a curriculum will “help build more tolerant communities”. Hopefully, Arizona and other states will follow suit.

If you need assistance with an initial application for Social Security disability benefits or appealing the denial of benefits, the disability attorneys of Arizona at Roeschke Law can help you. Contact us today for a free consultation.

With offices in Phoenix, Tucson, and Tempe, we represent disabled people and their families throughout Arizona in all aspects of disability law.

Will I still get my disability benefits check during the shutdown?

People become disabled in many different ways. Some are born with a disability while others acquire one at some point during their life through an accident, illness, or injury. One of most frustrating things that those suffering from a physical or mental disability must face is the financial struggle make ends meet when you are not able to work. 

Because of this, the federal government, through the Social Security administration (“SSA”) offers two different benefit programs with different qualification requirements. There’s Social Security Disability Insurance (“SSDI”) benefits for disabled people who previously worked and paid into the Social Security system through their payroll taxes prior to becoming disabled and there’s Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”) for elderly and other disabled people very limited financial means and resources regardless of whether they ever worked. 

Qualifying for disability benefits and applying for disability benefits is a complex process which may be expedited and made easier with the help of a skilled disability benefits attorney. 

For those fortunate enough to be receiving disability benefits through the SSA, the recent federal government shut-down may have you wondering whether and how your disability benefits will be affected. Will your check continue to arrive on time during shutdown? Are your payments in jeopardy?

Fortunately, Social Security disability benefits programs are not going to be affected by the government shutdown. “A shutdown only affects funds annually appropriated by Congress, not funding that is sustained long-term” like the Social Security trust fund—comprised of a combination of taxes and long-term investments– from which disability benefits are paid. Further, “disability claims or appeals over benefits would continue to function” during the shutdown as well. 

In other good news, there is no expectation of furloughed SSA employees during this shutdown as there have been in past shutdowns due to a “full-year funding agreement for the Social Security Administration” being reached in September 2018, thereby sparing the agency during this current shut down—at least so long as it doesn’t last beyond the expiration of the funding agreement term.

If you need assistance applying for disability benefits or appealing the denial of benefits, or have any questions regarding Social Security disability benefits, the disability attorneys of Arizona at Roeschke Law can help you. Contact us today for a free consultation.
From our offices in Phoenix, Tucson, and Tempe, we represent disabled people and their families throughout Arizona. 

How can vulnerable disabled citizens be protected from nursing home abuse?

Applying for disability benefits in Arizona is a complex and time-consuming process. There are two different federal programs administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA) each with its own requirements. Gathering the required information and documentation can be overwhelming and since two-thirds of all initial disability benefits applications are denied, getting it right the first time is important. 

First, applicants must consider whether they qualify for disability benefits under either federal program – – Social Security disability insurance (“SSDI”) or Supplemental Security income (“SSI”).

At the risk of oversimplifying the two programs’ differences, SSDI is available to applicants who have worked and paid into the Social Security system through payroll deductions over a certain period of time and hours prior to becoming disabled. SSI is available to elderly or disabled individuals with extremely limited income and resources – – there is no requirement for ever having worked. Occasionally, people may qualify for both programs. 

Both federal programs define being disabled as “suffering from a physical or mental impairment that prevents engaging in substantial gainful activities and that is lasted, or is expected to last, for 12 months or more or result in death”. There are many physical and mental conditions that the government recognizes as disabilities. 

While becoming disabled and proving that disability to the government can be a devastating and frustrating experience, some people’s disabilities are evident and their benefits are awarded with little to no resistance. Unfortunately, some severely disabled people may be at risk of physical, emotional, financial, or sexual abuse because of their vulnerable condition. The abuse may come at the hands of loved ones, caretakers, or strangers. 

Recently, right in Phoenix, a young disabled woman living in a vegetative state who needed the support of feeding and breathing tubes to live gave birth to a baby boy in a skilled nursing facility. Reportedly, the staff was not aware of the pregnancy which apparently resulted from a sexual assault according to investigators. The alleged victim was reportedly incapacitated from the age of three. An investigation continues into who impregnated the woman and how the staff was unaware of the pregnancy until the baby was born. 

If you or a loved one needs help applying for Social Security disability benefits or appealing a denial of benefits, or if you have any other questions, the disability attorneys of Arizona at Roeschke Law can help you. Contact us today for a free consultation. 

From our offices in Phoenix, Tempe, and Tucson, we represent disabled people and their families throughout Arizona.

How can disabled people transition from institutions to community-based living?

Sometimes, people are born with physical or mental disabilities and in other cases, they may become disabled during their life as a result of an accident, illness, or injury. When disability strikes, hiring a skilled Social Security disability benefits attorney may expedite the process of obtaining benefits.

The federal government provides disability benefits through two different federal programs. Applying for disability benefits means navigating a complicated and time- consuming process that begins with determining which of the two programs (or sometimes both) is appropriate in your particular case.

Social Security disability insurance (“SSDI”) is available to people who have acquired sufficient work credits before becoming disabled, meaning they previously worked and paid into the Social Security system through their payroll taxes for a certain amount of work hours and years. The second program, Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”) is a means-tested program available to elderly and/or disabled people with severely limited income and resources.

Regardless of which benefits program is appropriate in your particular case, it’s often difficult to make ends meet relying solely on these benefits. Fortunately, other federal and/or state government programs may be available to help the disabled with other living expenses.

One example is the Money Follows the Person program–which provides funds to move disabled people out of institutions and into community living settings. But the federal program is due to expire at year end and needs to be extended and funded by Congress immediately as most states have run out of federal money for their programs.

Money Follows the Person (“MFP”) is formally known as The Money Follows the Person Rebalancing Demonstration Grant. The program enables states to “re-balance their Medicaid long-term care systems”. Specifically, MFP program goals include:

  • “increase the use of home and community-based services (“HCBS”) and reduce the use of institutionally based services
  • eliminate barriers in state law, state Medicaid plans, and state budgets that restrict the use of Medicaid funds to let people get long-term care in the settings of their choice
  • strengthen the ability of Medicaid programs to provide HCBS to people who choose to transition out of institutions
  • put procedures in place to provide quality assurance and improvement of HCBS.”

If the program is not extended and refunded, disabled people across the country who are waiting to transition from nursing homes and other institutions to small apartments or group homes in their communities will have to remain institutionalized or complete their transition “on the state’s dime”.

Advocates for the MFP program encourage Congress to focus on the evaluations that have reportedly shown that the MFP program ultimately saves Medicaid “as much is 20% per Medicare beneficiary, per month” by moving the disabled out of costly institutions.

Living with a disability can be painful and stressful, especially when awaiting benefits or trying to access additional funding. Many people seek guidance from Social Security disability benefits attorneys to help them obtain the maximum benefits available through various programs.

If you or a loved one is disabled and needs assistance applying for Social Security disability benefits or appealing the denial of those benefits, the disability attorneys of Arizona at Roeschke Law can help. Contact the office today for a free consultation.

With offices in Phoenix, Tempe, and Tucson, we represent disabled clients and their families throughout Arizona.

Why are employers hiring workers with autism?

Qualifying for Social Security disability benefits means satisfying the federal government’s definition of “disabled” –which means suffering from a physical or mental impairment that prevents engaging in substantial gainful activities and that has lasted or is expected to last for 12 months or more or result in death.

The government actually maintains a list of a variety of health problems that qualify as physically or mentally disabling conditions– but the list is not exclusive. 

One of the fastest growing disabling conditions of our time is autism spectrum disorder, with statistics of its rise in prevalence increasing an alarming pace. Autism is a complex developmental disability with symptoms that “typically appear in early childhood and inhibit communication and interaction to varying degrees.”

Not long ago, the future for those with autism – – particularly regarding employment prospects and independent living – – was at best bleak and at worst nonexistent. Despite school programs that support autistic individuals improving greatly over the past two decades, there aren’t many programs or options after autistic teens age out of their school programs. This has traditionally left autistic people home on their parents’ couches without a purpose or socialization opportunities.

Fortunately, employers are learning that autistic individuals, differ from non-autistic workers in a good way. They often thrive on repetitive tasks that non-autistic peers would likely not be interested in—yet are necessary and valuable to employers. Autistic people are also often detail-oriented, focused, reliable and loyal employees.

With an estimated half-million teens with autism reaching adulthood over the next decade, workplace inclusion is becoming a priority for autistic young adults, their parents (who hope they can lead and independent and fulfilling life), and open-minded business owners who realize the value of these workers as well as tax and other incentives that come with hiring the disabled. With the support of a job coach and proper training, workers with autism can thrive on the job despite a disability. 

If you or a loved one is suffering from a disability and would like information about applying for disability benefits or appealing the denial disability benefits, or would like to know what impact a job may have on disability benefits, the disability attorneys of Arizona at Roeschke Law can help you. Contact us today for a free consultation. 

With offices in Phoenix, Tempe, and Tucson, we help disabled people and their families throughout Arizona in all aspects of disability benefits law.

Pilot Program May Offer Hope for Aging Parents of Disabled Children

What will happen to my disabled child when I get too old to care for them?

It is never easy to learn that your child has been diagnosed with a disability, especially one that is significant and lifelong and may prevent the child from ever living independently. Sometimes the diagnosis comes at birth, sometimes at a later point. After the shock wears off, many parents do the research and at some point begin applying for Social Security disability benefits and other assistance from the federal government.

Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”) is one of two federal government benefit programs available to those who meet the government’s definition of being physically or mentally “disabled”.

Unlike Social Security disability insurance benefits (“SSDI”), SSI does not require the applicant to have previously worked and paid into the Social Security system through their income taxes prior to becoming disabled. Rather, SSI is a means-tested benefit available to the disabled (or those of advanced age) with severely-limited income and resources. Even if someone qualifies for social security disability benefits, recipients– especially those with advanced needs who cannot live independently– would be challenged to survive on these benefits alone.

As most parents of disabled children and disabled adult children will admit, they fear dying because they don’t know who will take care of their disabled child after they are gone.

The toll of caring for a disabled child at home can be a financial, emotional, and physical burden to their aging parents. What will happen when the parents need someone to take care of them or need to go into assisted living themselves?

This scenario– a nightmare for many special-needs parents—may finally have a brighter solution in the future.

A pilot program to ease the burden for seniors charged with the care of a disabled person is being considered in New York. In a nutshell, the aging parent would enter an assisted living community and be able to bring their disabled adult child with them where they would share a small companion suite. Both would have access to the facility’s amenities including “housekeeping, on-staff doctors and resident nurses, laundry services, physical therapy, and more” as well as social programs in-house. Then, the disabled child will remain at the facility after the parent dies.

No doubt, the pilot program will be watched with interest by special-needs parents nationwide and may serve as a model for other states to incorporate to meet the growing need for such accommodations.

If you need help applying for disability benefits or appealing the denial of benefits, the disability attorneys of Arizona at Roeschke Law can help you. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

From our offices in Phoenix, Tempe, and Tucson, we represent clients throughout the state of Arizona in all matters of Social Security disability law.

The Social Security Disability Benefits Appeals Process

How many levels of disability benefits appeals are available to applicants?

As Arizona Social Security disability attorneys know, persistence can pay off—especially in the world of Social Security benefits appeals.

Qualifying for Social Security disability benefits is a complex, often difficult, and time-consuming process. Not only must an applicant fit the federal government’s definition of being “disabled” by suffering from a recognized physical and/or mental disability, but their application must pass muster or it will be denied. In fact, 2/3 of all initial Social Security disability benefits applications are denied, which is a primary reason many people trust their application to an attorney that specializes in these matters.

Hiring a skilled disability benefits appeals attorney is wise especially since the current wait time for an appeal hearing is averaging two years in many states. Sadly, applicants are literally exhausting their savings, becoming homeless, and even dying from their injuries or conditions while their appeals are pending. There are many levels of appeals, each more complex than the others, ending with an appeal on the federal court level.

An inspiring story that perseverance and persistence can pay off involved an Army veteran reportedly suffering from Type 2 diabetes and diabetic neuropathy and a history alcohol abuse who filed his initial disability benefits claim in November, 2012.  He filed appeals that were denied in December 2012, March 2013, and August 2014.

Undeterred, the applicant pursued an appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals on the basis that in the August hearing, the “administrative law judge failed to meet his obligations to identify, explain, and resolve an apparent conflict between the testimony of the vocational expert and the Dictionary of Occupational Titles” regarding what if any work the applicant could still perform in light of the limitations of his disability. This time, the court agreed and granted the applicant a new hearing for disability benefits.

If you or a loved one need assistance applying for Social Security disability benefits, or appealing the denial of benefits at any stage, the Arizona disability benefits attorneys at Roeschke Law can help you. Contact us today for a free consultation.

With offices in Phoenix, Tempe, and Tucson, we represent clients throughout Arizona in applying for Social Security disability benefits.

Source: https://flarecord.com/stories/511625266-army-veteran-granted-new-hearing-in-dispute-over-social-security-disability-claim