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Thursday, August 5, 2010

Helping PD patients apply for Social Security Disability.

We are all probably pretty familiar with assisting and supporting people with PD when they have made the decision to apply for federal disability insurance.  Each case varies, but when I assist patients and families with this usually daunting task I typically do the following things in assisting them:

  1. Interview the patient (and spouse if possible) to find out more about their occupation, their symptoms, and how their symptoms impair their ability to work.  I utilize the PAN work-related disability assessment form during this process.
  2. Provide education about the federal social security disability insurance process and timelines here in the U.S. I also discuss health insurance options.
  3. Work with the patient's neurologist to write a letter detailing what PD is and what symptoms the patient is experiencing.  I use the criteria language that the SSA uses to describe PD in their listing of conditions.
  4. If appeal is needed, refer the patient to a good, local SSDI attorney.
I'm curious to know what you all do to support patients and families in this process.  Does anyone else write letters in support?  Do you work with neurologists to ensure appropriate language is used in the chart when documenting the neurology appointments?  What have you found useful in helping patients and families with this?


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