Posts Tagged ‘disabled’

Think You’re Disabled from Diabetes? Think Again.

February 11, 2010

The Social Security Administration has proposed a change in the regulations governing disability claims that would eliminate the “listing” for diabetes.  Essentially, the Listing of Impairments is a catalog of medical conditions that Social Security uses as a guide to determine when a claimant should be considered disabled irrespective of age, education, or work history.  If your condition is severe enough to meet or equal a listing, you are considered to be unable to perform any work, and you qualify for disability benefits.

Each listing requires specific criteria, not just a diagnosis of a certain disease or condition.  For example, if you broke your leg and the fracture never healed properly, you would meet a listing only if you couldn’t walk effectively, which is generally defined as needing a walker, two crutches or two canes.

So as you can see, it’s not easy to meet a listing.  Social Security wants to eliminate the listing for diabetes because “medical science has made significant advances in detecting endocrine disorders at earlier stages, and newer treatments have resulted in better management of these conditions.”  Although that is true, it doesn’t change the fact that many people still get very sick from diabetes!

Social Security’s reasoning is that experts say “adequate glucose regulation is achievable with improved treatment options, such as a wider range of insulin products.”  Again, this is true, but only for people who can afford treatment and medications.

I’ve seen many clients with uncontrolled diabetes because they could not afford regular medical treatment and/or the necessary medications.  Sometimes, even clients with insurance can’t afford these things because the co-payments required are too much.

Once again, the rules are being designed to cover those lucky enough to have access to regular, good quality medical care.  The rest are left to their own devices.  Ironically, these are the people who need disability benefits the most.

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Disabled Continue to Wait for Medicare Coverage

January 18, 2010

A news article from Associated Press reports today that the newly-proposed health care legislation does not eliminate the rule that people awarded Social Security disability (SSDI) benefits have to wait two years to get Medicare coverage, a change that disabled people and disability advocates were pushing for. Such a change would certainly benefit our clients, and I’m sorry to find out that it won’t be part of the new bill.

Typically, people apply for disability benefits right after they get sick or injured, because they’re unable to work. Even if their prior job provided health insurance, most people can’t afford the cost of COBRA. Some lucky people have access to health insurance through a spouse, but the rest are left to their own devices while their disability application is processed through the Social Security Administration.  This long, torturous adventure full of red tape can take up to two years (sometimes even longer).  In the meantime, many applicants have trouble getting access to health care.  They have no income (or they’re relying on one income instead of two) and no insurance. Then, when they are finally awarded benefits, they still have to wait for Medicare to kick in. They still have to wait to see a doctor! Meanwhile, their conditions get worse because they haven’t been able to afford treatment and medications.

These hard-working people, through no fault of their own, don’t have the “luxury” of access to health care during a time when it’s critically important. Should access to health care be a luxury reserved for the lucky and the affluent? I don’t think so.