Make a Difference During Parkinson’s Awareness Month in April

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Allsup helps individuals with Parkinson’s disease understand options, access benefits.

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If the impairments brought about by Parkinson’s disease render you unable to work for 12 months or longer, then you can and should apply for SSDI as soon as possible

The Parkinson’s Disease Foundation (PDF) is calling on individuals, support groups and healthcare professionals to make a difference during Parkinson’s Awareness month this April. Allsup is making a difference by educating individuals on their disability benefits and Medicare options. This is especially relevant for those affected by Parkinson’s during their working years. Allsup is a nationwide company specializing in Social Security Disability insurance (SSDI) representation, Medicare plan selection and disability life planning services.

According to the PDF, Parkinson’s is a progressive neurological disorder that affects nearly one million people in the U.S. There is no cure for or definitive cause of Parkinson’s disease. The incidence of Parkinson’s increases with age, but an estimated 4 percent of people with Parkinson’s are diagnosed before age 50. A diagnosis of young onset Parkinson’s disease does not necessarily mean an individual cannot continue working, but for some, continued full-time employment eventually becomes impossible.

These people and their families should be aware of and understand their available options, so they can make well-informed decisions as they plan for and meet the challenges of decreased income and increased healthcare costs.

Allsup offers the following advice:

Determine your eligibility for SSDI benefits. If you are under full retirement age (65-67) and meet the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) definition of disabled and have worked and paid into the program for five of the last 10 years, you may be eligible for SSDI. Parkinson's disease is in the SSA’s diagnostic group, ““neurological disorders.”. This group includes epilepsy, cerebral palsy and multiple sclerosis. About 9 percent of current SSDI beneficiaries are in this diagnostic category. Allsup offers a free SSDI eligibility screening and can contact the SSA on your behalf to help you determine your eligibility.

File immediately. “If the impairments brought about by Parkinson’s disease render you unable to work for 12 months or longer, then you can and should apply for SSDI as soon as possible,” said Ed Swierczek, Allsup senior claimant representative. “Many people make the mistake of thinking they need to wait until some specific time period has passed. This simply isn’t true.”

Filing quickly can protect retirement savings and guard against lapses in income in the event other benefits are exhausted while waiting for SSDI benefits.

Get expert help with your initial application. A 2010 SSA report found that Parkinson’s is among the top conditions denied at the initial application but subsequently approved at the hearing level (where about 78 percent of individuals have representation). That means individuals with PD may wait an additional 500 days to receive their SSDI benefits. The earlier you seek help, the more likely you are to receive benefits with your initial application.

Make sure your doctors are aware of your filing for SSDI. Ask them to document your symptoms and limitations thoroughly. Many doctors are willing to draft supportive letters for their patients, which can lead to quicker awards. According to the SSA medical listing (11.06) for Parkinson’s disease, SSA considers you disabled if you exhibit:

  •     Significant rigidity
  •     Bradykinesia
  •     Tremor in two extremities, which, singly or in combination, result in disturbance of gross and dexterous movements, or gait and station

“The impact of your medication is also considered in evaluating a disability claim,” said Swierczek. “The side effects of certain drugs may improve your ability to function day-to-day, but makes it impossible to work.”

The PDF encourages individuals to educate themselves and others about Parkinson’s disease this April. Allsup recommends making SSDI literacy part of that education. For more information on SSDI literacy, visit AllsupAlliances.com. For a free disability eligibility screening, call (888) 841-2126, or visit Expert.Allsup.com.

To view the webcast “Social Security Disability Insurance: Understanding the Process,”
presented at the National Parkinson Foundation and American Parkinson Disease Association’s 2011 Northeast Young Onset Parkinson’s Conference, go to http://shows.implex.tv/Qwikcast/Root/NationalParkinsonFoundation/5025/player_5979.htm

ABOUT ALLSUP
Allsup is a nationwide provider of Social Security disability, Medicare plan selection and disability life planning services. 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, visit AllsupAlliances.com.
Contact:
Tai Venuti
(800) 854-1418, ext. 68573
t.venuti(at)allsupinc(dot)com

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Tai Venuti
Allsup
800-854-1418 ext 8573
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