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Columbia MO Social Security Disability Law Blog

Those with Down syndrome living longer, developing Alzheimer's

Decades ago, people with Down syndrome and their families rarely had to deal with neurological illnesses normally associated with old age, such as Alzheimer’s disease. Though it is grim to say so, the fact was that few with this intellectual disability lived long enough to face dementia.

Thanks to medical advances, people with Down syndrome are living longer than ever. But because of their genetic makeup, this means that they are at high risk of developing Alzheimer’s, Disability Scoop reports. Those with both Down syndrome and Alzheimer’s disease often lose skills and mental abilities they may have spent years learning.

9/11 first responder cleared of fraud, but can't regain benefits

Part of the horrific tragedy of the 9/11 terrorist attacks was the fate of many first responders who bravely tried to rescue victims inside the World Trade Center. Many lost their lives. Others survived, but were left with illnesses and injuries that linger to this day.

As Americans, we honor the sacrifice of these police officers, firefighters and EMTs. However, in some cases when these first responders later applied for Social Security Disability, they were accused of fraud and charged with a crime.

Senate committee: 29% of disabled Americans are in poverty

For those who accuse people who receive Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income payments of taking advantage of the system, a government report recently announced that nearly three in 10 disabled people live in poverty.

The U.S. Senate’s Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee reported the findings after receiving feedback over the summer from more than 400 people living with disabilities. The respondents painted a picture disabled people who are able and willing to work, in some cases, but cannot find adequate employment.

Aphasia can rob the ability to speak, write

With all the attention that brain injuries have received in the press in the past couple of years, most of us are aware of common symptoms of a traumatic brain injury, even if we have never experienced one ourselves. Dizziness, sensitivity to light, memory problems, nausea, confusion: these are the sorts of debilitating symptoms the average person associates with TBI.

However, there are more rare effects of brain injury that nevertheless affect a significant number of people, both in Missouri and around the country. They are often quite disabling, possibly forcing the person with the condition to quit working, at least until they can recover.

Those with depression may be able to receive disability benefits

Depression is not something to be taken lightly. Anyone who suffers from depression, also commonly referred to as clinical depression, major depressive illness or unipolar mood disorder, knows depression is more than just feeling a little sad or blue. Rather, depression can be a lifelong mental illness that greatly impacts a person's life and their ability to hold down steady employment. Because of the severity of the illness, those suffering from depression may be able to receive Social Security disability benefits. 

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, also known as NAMI, depression is something that affects between 5 and 8 percent of adults in the U.S. This means there are 25 million Americans who will have some sort of depression episode this year. 

 

How does ALS cause disability?

By now, most of our readers have probably heard of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. For those who have not, it is a fundraiser campaign, where participants donate $10 to the ALS Association and post a video online of a bucket of cold water being dumped over their head. The participant then challenges three other people to do the same within 24 hours, or donate $100 instead.

The Ice Bucket Challenge has gone viral, and become a huge sensation. The ALS Association reports that it has received $112 million in donations from the movement.

Appeal is possible after an SSD application rejection

Social Security disability applicants whose claims are denied may feel disappointed or frustrated. This is understandable. However, a denied SSD claim is not the end of the road for people who can no longer work due to a physical, mental or emotional condition.

Because the Social Security Administration denies most SSD claims, it allows applicants to appeal. In fact, people have several chances to appeal a denied claim. Many peoples’ valid claims get turned down, so they should think of their rejected application as the first step, instead of a final message from the SSA.

Link between Parkinson's and depression suggested

As Robin Williams’ fans in Missouri continue to grieve and celebrate his career, new information about his health may provide some insight into his state of mind in the days before his death. Williams’ wife said that he was in the early stages of Parkinson’s disease when he committed suicide on Aug. 11.

It is highly possible that Williams was dealing with depression before his Parkinson’s diagnosis. However, a combination of depression and Parkinson’s can be a “perfect storm” that worsens the mood disorder, according to a neurologist interviewed by NBC News.

I'm healthy now, but could I ever need SSD benefits?

People who are able-bodied and free of mental illness may not think that they will ever become disabled. It is natural to assume that such a life-changing event could possibly happen to you, but the fact is that disability is quite common. Among 20-year-olds, more than 25 percent will become disabled before they turn 67, according to the Social Security Administration.

This means that, at some point, a good percentage of today’s adult workforce will eventually have to stop working due to a physical or mental disability. Whether due to a workplace injury, unrelated accident or the worsening of an existing condition, many people may someday need Social Security Disability benefits to supplement their income. Some of our readers could be among them.

Missouri organization offers tech classes for adults with autism

As the name implies, autism spectrum disorders can affect people who have one in a wide variety of ways. Some autistic people are highly intelligent, able to hold down jobs and live independently, though they may struggle with social skills. Others are more severely disabled. They may qualify for Supplemental Security Income if they cannot work.

Many parents of autistic people find that it is difficult to find educational resources after high school. For example, the University of Missouri provides services for disabled students, but does not have any programs specifically designed for people on the autism spectrum. These students may need significant adaptations to be given the chance succeed in a university environment.

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