Wednesday, October 17, 2012

SSDI: approved

After learning my Social Security disability claim has been sent off for a quality assurance review, I stopped rushing to the mailbox. Then, suddenly, a chunk of money appeared in my checking account, and the next day I received a notice of approval from Social Security. So that's good.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Social Security disability: still waiting

I filed a claim for Social Secuity disability benefits last year. I'm very lucky to have been covered by disability insurance through my former employer, so I'm not in financial straits. As a practical matter, I don't have a lot at stake, as almost all of any SSDI payments I receive would be offset by a corresponding decrease in the benefits I'm currently getting. Nevertheless, I'm getting a taste of the frustrating delays in the processing of claims. My initial application was denied on the grounds that illness was not "severe." As a legal matter, this seems to be utter bullshit, and I filed a request for reconsideration.

Six months later, I was still waiting, and I contacted SSA to figure out what was going on. I was actually able to speak to the examiner who was processing my claim. He told me that he'd completed his work, but that my claim had been selected for "quality assurance review," which he said would probably be completed in a week or so. Thirty days later, and I'm still waiting. I did a few searches and found some helpful information about the quality assurance process. The bottom line seems to be that this process--for which cases are ostensibly selected at random--may be tilted toward review of decisions that grants benefits, may have a tendency to result in disability onset dates being adjusted later in time, and delays the processing of a claim by anything from days to months. Very helpful information about the process here.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

After almost 20 years of needle jabs

What are we to make of a large study concluding that interferon-beta did not affect the progress of MS patients' disability? Was Betaseron/Avonex/Rebif just making our MRIs look nicer? The jury's still out (compare this recent study on the cost effectiveness of interferon-beta), but at the tail end of a brutal summer, the news felt like a gut punch.

Medicare and You: the Ryan plan

If you're on Medicare as a result of a disability, beware the GOP plan to outsource Medicare.