Allsup Observes April As Parkinson’s Awareness Month

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Allsup offers personal financial planning tips for people with Parkinson’s

If Parkinson’s disease symptoms become so severe that working becomes impossible, applying for Social Security Disability Insurance is an important option.

Due to an aging population, the prevalence of Parkinson’s disease is expected to increase substantially in the next 20 years, according to the National Parkinson Foundation (NPF). Allsup, a nationwide provider of Social Security Disability Insurance(SSDI) representation and Medicare plan selection services, NPF, the American Parkinson Disease Association (APDA) and other Parkinson’s organizations are bringing awareness to the disease by observing April as Parkinson’s Awareness Month.    

NPF reports that more than 1 million Americans are affected by Parkinson’s disease (PD), with up to 60,000 new cases diagnosed each year.

“During Parkinson’s Awareness Month, NPF encourages people with Parkinson’s and their families to take advantage of our free online resources at Parkinson.org,” said Leilani Pearl, NPF’s director of communications. “NPF also offers a toll-free Helpline, (800) 4PD-INFO, staffed by specialists who speak English and Spanish and provide information, support and referrals for resources.”

Statistics show that men are slightly more likely to develop PD than women. The disease typically develops after age 60, with 15 percent diagnosed under age 50. Up to 10 percent of patients are diagnosed under age 40, which is called young-onset Parkinson’s disease.

An increase in young-onset Parkinson’s cases is likely to occur as well, according to Julie Sacks, director, APDA National Young Onset Center. “Not only are physicians—and patients—more knowledgeable about the condition and its potential to occur early in life, our society’s definition of ‘young’ is changing,” she explained. “Currently, the APDA National Young Onset Center helps as many people between the ages of 40 and 60 as people under the age of 40.”

Sacks added that the APDA’s Young Onset Center is the only national Parkinson’s organization of its kind. “Our programs, services and staff are dedicated to addressing the unique needs of young people with Parkinson’s disease, their family members, friends and healthcare providers,” she said. Access their resources online at http://www.youngparkinsons.org or by calling (877) 223-3801.

Approximately one-third of people living with PD are able to continue working, according to NPF. However, if PD symptoms become so severe that working becomes impossible, applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is an important option. Allsup recommends the following steps to meet financial challenges when working is no longer possible:

1. Determine SSDI eligibility. If a person with PD is under full retirement age (age 65 or older), meets the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) definition of disabled and has worked five of the last 10 years, he or she may be eligible for SSDI.

2. File immediately and get help with the initial application. Allsup helps more than half of its customers receive their benefits with the initial application. For those who have to go to a hearing, the national average wait time for a disability appeals hearing is 353 days if an initial Social Security disability claim is denied. The earlier an individual seeks help, the more likely he or she is to receive benefits with the initial application.

3. Reduce spending where possible. The long wait for benefits can cause applicants severe financial strain, including losing their savings, possessions and even their homes. Eliminating unnecessary spending and avoiding credit cards can help prepare for the long haul. Review the Personal Finance section of Allsup.com for more information and resources.

4. Maintain health insurance. With the high cost of insurance, it’s tempting to cut this expense, but be aware that even after individuals begin receiving disability benefits there is a two-year wait for Medicare eligibility. COBRA generally allows individuals and their dependents to keep employer group health plan coverage for 18 months after employment ends. An additional extension may be available when a qualified beneficiary is determined by the SSA to be disabled. Various government programs (such as Medicaid and state and local health services) also can provide health insurance coverage to people who can’t afford private insurance.

5. Locate assistance resources. Numerous public and private assistance resources are available to those with Parkinson’s and their families who have limited financial means. One resource specifically for PD patients is the Melvin Weinstein Parkinson’s Foundation, which offers assistance with medical equipment and health supplies.

SSDI operates separately from the retirement and Supplemental Security Income programs. SSDI provides monthly benefits to individuals who are under full retirement age (age 65 or older) and who can no longer work because of a severe disability expected to last for more than 12 months or is terminal.

If you have questions about SSDI eligibility or applying with Parkinson’s disease, contact the Allsup Disability Evaluation Center at (800) 678-3276 for a free evaluation.

ABOUT ALLSUP
Allsup is a nationwide provider of Social Security disability, veterans disability appeal, Medicare and Medicare Secondary Payer compliance services for individuals, employers and insurance carriers. Founded in 1984, Allsup employs more than 800 professionals who deliver specialized services supporting people with disabilities and seniors so they may lead lives that are as financially secure and as healthy as possible. The company is based in Belleville, Ill., near St. Louis. For more information, go to http://www.Allsup.com or visit Allsup on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/Allsupinc.

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Rebecca Ray
Allsup
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Tai Venuti
Allsup
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