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Columbia MO Social Security Disability Law Blog

Epilepsy can disrupt your life, career

While around one in 26 Americans will develop a form of epilepsy during their lives, this disorder remains poorly understood by much of the public. Epilepsy is a neurological disorder that is treatable most of the time, but is a chronic problem for some people.

The Mayo Clinic’s website explains that seizures occur when nerve cell activity in the brain becomes disrupted. If a person experiences more than one unprovoked seizure, he or she may become diagnosed with epilepsy. A seizure can range from a brief blank stare to uncontrolled jerking of the limbs and loss of consciousness.

Study pinpoints 1 genetic source for many schizophrenia symptoms

For years, doctors have known that there is a genetic component to schizophrenia. Research has identified hundreds of genetic variants that may increase the risk of developing this form of mental illness, but no definitive triggers have been found.

Now, a new study suggests that a single gene variant may be linked to several symptoms of schizophrenia, not just the hallucinations and delusions that the general public is familiar with. Other common symptoms include agitation and memory problems.

Reflections on the ADA's 25th year

This year marks 25 years since the Americans With Disabilities Act became federal law. The law requires schools, employers and other entities that people with disabilities encounter to provide reasonable accommodations, such as wheelchair ramps. Many consider the ADA to be one of the most important pieces of legislation ever passed by Congress.

They credit the law with removing barriers that prevented otherwise capable people from going to school, living independently, and possibly pursuing a career. Beyond that, it changed how society views disabled people, and how those with disabilities identified themselves and others within the disabled community, according to a speaker at a recent panel discussion on the ADA.

Disney updates its ride scheduling for disabled patrons

Fans of Disney’s theme parks likely know that in 2013, the company changed its policy toward disabled visitors. Until then, patrons with disabilities were often allowed to move to the front of the line at various rides, using a Guest Assistance Card.

Then, starting in 2013, Disney announced that it would no longer offer this accommodation. Instead, disabled visitors and the people they are travelling with would make an appointment at the ride to return later on.

High school graduation rate for disabled students rising

While they once may have been institutionalized or put in special education, young people in Missouri with disabilities increasingly go through mainstream education. Though their graduation rates lag behind able-bodied students, the graduation rate of disabled students is climbing upward in recent years.

The U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics recently announced that nearly 62 percent of high school seniors with disabilities graduated during the 2012-13 school year. That was 3 percent higher than two years prior, though it was well behind the country’s overall high school graduation rate of 81 percent in 2012-13, a record high.

How diabetes can lead to disability

Diabetes is one of the most common chronic diseases in the world, but those who are not living with the disease may not understand what it is, and why it is so dangerous. In today’s post, we will provide a brief overview of diabetes, and why many patients eventually become unable to work because of it.

According to the Mayo Clinic’s website, diabetes mellitus is an umbrella term for a group of diseases affecting how your body absorbs glucose, or blood sugar. Glucose is a source of energy, but diabetes causes glucose to build up in your body, potentially causing serious health problems.

Rural Missourians often have little access to mental health care

Getting access to mental health care can be a challenge for anyone who needs it, but this is especially the case for people in rural parts of Missouri. And you do not have travel far away from a city to run into an area with a small handful of professionals providing mental health services to the local population.

For example, KWMU-FM recently compared the numbers of providers in Warren, Franklin and Jefferson counties versus in St. Louis City. While the St. Louis has 789 psychiatrists, counselors and therapists in a city of about 318,400, Jefferson County has 221,400 residents but just 150 mental health providers. Franklin County has 85 providers for 101,800 residents, and in Warren County, there are just 11 providers for its population of 33,000.

Are my SSD benefits taxable income?

April 15 is just around the corner. Hopefully, all of our readers have filed their income tax returns with the IRS, are ready to file now, or have filed for an extension if necessary.

The IRS considers many sources of funds as taxable income -- including most benefits provided by the Social Security Administration. This could have serious tax implications for households that receive Social Security Disability benefits (SSD). However, Supplemental Security Income payments, which are need-based disability benefits, are not taxed, according to the IRS.

Rheumatoid arthritis affects young women more than men

Memories of your grandparents from your childhood may lead you to conclude that arthritis is primarily a condition for older, retired people. But at least one form of the disease can affect people as young as 30.

Rheumatoid arthritis, or RA, is an autoimmune disorder that affects nearly 1.5 million people in the United States. It can cause pain, joint stiffness, swollen joints and fatigue. Symptoms can change from day to day, with flare-ups often lasting days or even months. RA often affects people symmetrically; if a joint on one side of the body is affected, usually its corresponding joint on the other side is also.

Man born without cerebellum taught his brain to do without

Though much about the human brain remains mysterious, medical experts know that the effects of a brain injury can depend on which part of the brain is damaged. Different regions of the brain perform different functions, so an injury to a particular part of this vital organ can affect you differently than a blow to another region.

Instead of a brain injury, some people are born with brains that are different from the norm. Some of them have profound mental disabilities. Others are able to function, after their brains adapt in interesting ways.

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