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Atlanta Social Security Disability Law Blog

Willing but unable to work, millions rely on SSD & SSI benefits

An individual's ability to take in and process information, think clearly, reason and make rational decisions are critical to not only succeed in one's personal life, but also professionally. For millions of Americans living with a mental disorder, disruptive symptoms often interfere with their ability to be one time, process information, pay attention to details and make decisions; thereby making it extremely difficult to both find and keep a job.

A recent report from the National Alliance on Mental Illness reports an 80 percent unemployment rate among Americans living with a mental disorder. In many cases individuals who suffer from anxiety, major depression, bi-polar disorder or schizophrenia want to work, but are unable to do so without the assistance, guidance and support of others.

Economic assistance often vital for individuals diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's

Prior to vaccines and widespread public health initiatives, people in the U.S. frequently died at a young age from infections and illnesses that are today treatable or eradicated. As a result, many of the modern medical conditions that develop later in life are relatively new to medical researchers. One of the most prevalent and mysterious of these disorders is Alzheimer's disease.

Individuals who develop Alzheimer's experience problems with memory loss as well as loss of cognitive functioning, both which worsen over time. Eventually, the disease robs those affected of their ability to think clearly, reason and perform everyday tasks. The disease is often devastating to the lives of those afflicted as well as close family members and friends as individuals who are diagnosed with the disease only live an average of eight years after symptoms first appear.

Barring congressional action, Social Security disability will be insolvent by 2017

The quintessential American dream is heavily reliant upon an individual's ability to work and earn an income. Through the acquisition of a job, Americans are told they can move up the ladder and continue to earn, afford and spend more. What happens, however, when an individual in America isn't able to work?

In many countries, individuals who are born with a physical or mental condition, suffer a debilitating injury or are stricken with a serious illness are often forced to rely upon the kindness of family and friends or face living in total poverty. Thankfully, our U.S. government established the Social Security disability program which currently helps an estimated nine million disabled American workers afford basic life necessities like shelter, food and clothing. Unfortunately, the SSDI program is expected to become insolvent by 2017.

Acceptance of PTSD prompts more military personnel and veterans to seek treatment

While the horrors of war and combat are frequently written about, few civilians can truly understand how events participated in and witnessed during war can adversely impact one's life. Active military service members and veterans frequently suffer physically and mentally as a direct result of combat.

Imagine living in a constant state of fear and uncertainty for months or years at a time. Never feeling safe or secure, never knowing if or when an attack or explosion may occur and never knowing who may be injured or killed next. Combat situations experienced in Iraq, Afghanistan and other recent wars have resulted in a growing percentage of military service members and veterans developing a condition known as post traumatic stress disorder.

Disability stories to be recorded in Atlanta

In the next year, Atlanta residents with disabilities may have a special chance to tell their stories to a wider audience. The needs and concerns of the disability community are generally underrepresented in national conversations, and the Disability Visibility Project is working to change that by recording the stories of everyday people living with disabilities.

A major participant in the project is the nonprofit group StoryCorps, whose recordings can be heard on National Public Radio's "Morning Edition." In the lead-up to the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which will be celebrated in July 2015, StoryCorps is partnering with the Disability Visibility Project to record casual conversations with people with disabilities, and Atlanta is among the cities where recording sessions have been scheduled.

Disabled workers might face difficult working conditions

At first glance, it might seem like any worker who is disabled would want his or her employer to be aware of this fact. After all, while disabled people aren't after special treatment, there are circumstances that make it necessary to have accommodations made for them so that they can do their job at the same high level as their co-workers.

This isn't as clear-cut as it might seem, however. An employee might not to reveal a disabling condition for personal reasons -- and, sometimes, to avoid any kind of special accommodation that would make the situation seem unfair to co-workers.

Audits of VA hospitals uncover more disturbing details

The men and women who serve and have served in our nation's armed forces deserve the utmost respect and honor. These brave individuals risk life and limb to protect the U.S. and its citizens without asking for much in return. After serving in conflicts and wars and suffering debilitating physical and mental injuries, the least the federal government can do is provide veterans with free health care services.

We recently wrote a post detailing disturbing information that was recently uncovered when one VA whistleblower decided to speak out about the inadequate care provided to many veterans. As a result of this and similar reports, former VA Secretary Eric Shinseki called for audits to be conducted at 731 VA hospitals and clinics across the country.

10 to 20 percent of today's veterans suffered brain injuries

In past wars involving American armed forces, those who suffered serious injuries often died in battle. In the two most recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, advances in medical treatments and technologies are credited with saving the lives of thousands of men and women who would otherwise have died as a result of injuries caused by improvised explosive devices and mortar attacks.

Upon returning home, the physical injuries that many veterans suffered are obvious. Amputation injuries along with fractured and shattered bones are among some of the most common injuries suffered by modern U.S. veterans. While prosthesis can be fitted and bones eventually heal, it's often the injuries that aren't visible or readily apparent that are the most devastating.

Individuals with cerebral palsy may be unable to work

According to cerebralpalsy.org, more than 750,000 U.S. children and adults are currently living with cerebral palsy. An individual may be born with CP or may develop the disorder during or shortly after birth. An injury to the brain or a malformation in the brain are the major causes of CP, both which result in an individual suffering permanent brain damage. Individuals with CP have difficulty controlling their muscles which may affect and impair their physical movement and ability to speak.

In some cases, a baby may be born with CP after suffering an injury to the brain either prior to or during the birthing process. In other cases, CP is believed to be the result of improper brain development. Regardless of how CP originates, the disorder is permanent and there is no cure. Thankfully, the disorder is also typically non-life threatening and non-progressive which means individuals diagnosed with CP do not have to worry that their condition will worsen or that further brain damage will occur.

What is going on at the nation's VA hospitals?

Many people in Atlanta may be following the controversy that is unfolding around our nation's Department of Veterans Affairs. In recent months, it has been reported that veterans are dying as the result of delayed treatment and ridiculous waiting lists at VA hospitals. Many whistleblowers have come forward to report that veterans are suffering while they wait to receive appointments and care; they also allege that VA hospital officials are engaged in cover-ups to hide the scandal.

Sources affiliated with one VA hospital reported that 40 or more veterans died while waiting for care there. The sources said that the victims were on a secret waiting list, which was part of an effort by VA managers who sought to hide the fact that around 1,500 veterans were waiting months to see doctors. The VA's official policy is to provide patients with care in a reasonable time frame--generally up to 30 days.

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