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Friday, September 11, 2009

A Little Financial Tip to Survive A Life-Altering Diagnosis

Hi Stuart-

I came across your blog recently and read about your non-profit providing information on MS. Thank you for being willing to share with others who find your blog of support and comfort. Recently I’ve joined efforts with Allsup (“About Us” link) in providing educational information on how others with life-altering diagnoses like MS can gain financial assistance from Social Security Disability Insurance funded through your and my payroll taxes.

Below is a little more information I thought would be helpful to you and your readers who might be considering applying for SSDI as it can be a very difficult process. Feel free to post to your blog whatever portion you think would be helpful.

Please let me know if you have any questions. Once again, thanks for your blogging! I hope this information can be of help to you or your readers and bests of luck with your new medication! Sincerely, Donelle

A Little Financial Tip to Survive A Life-Altering Diagnosis

People who’ve received a life-altering medical diagnosis aren’t alone in the trials and adjustments. The U.S. Census Bureau has recorded more than 54 million Americans who have reported a disease or injury affecting their ability to perform everyday tasks at home and responsibilities at work.

That’s why the government took notice back in the 1950s of the financial struggles Americans were facing and created Social Security Disability Insurance. SSDI is funded through mandatory payroll taxes from your and my paychecks which in return provide monthly subsidies to those impacted by long-term medical diagnosis.

While SSDI has brought relief and hope to millions, there are a few challenges to overcome in the system. In January 2009, almost 3 million individuals who have applied for SSDI are stuck in the system and will wait an average of 2-3 years for assistance!

Overwhelming? Yes. Still, applying for SSDI is one of the best financial steps you can take when a diagnosis like Multiple Sclerosis appears to have long-term impact. These benefits are rightfully yours if you qualify. From Allsup’s website, below are a few suggestions to help the SSDI process move a little quicker:

1. Determine your eligibility for SSDI. A few eligibility guidelines are 1) you’ve received your diagnosis before full-retirement age (65 to 67); 2) you are not working due for reasons like MS; and 3) you have received a taxed paycheck for five of the last 10 years. For a full list of criteria, visit this link to

2. Ask your doctor for a written medical confirmation. At the beginning of your application process, you will need a letter from your doctor confirming the diagnosis and listing the conditions that qualify you for benefits. If you don’t, this can slow the process down a month or more.

3. Meet deadlines. If benefits are denied at any stage of the process, there is only a 60 day window to file an appeal. You don’t want to miss the deadline or else the process starts over from the beginning.

Don’t give up during the application process! Get help early and be persistent. While 60 percent of first-time applicants are denied by the Social Security Administration, it’s also known that two-thirds of applicants who appeal eventual receive their financial assistance. No one could have prepared you for the day the doctor said, “It’s MS,” but there is help available and government funds to give back a little of your stability.

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