Dealing with large government bureaucracies is rarely fun, especially Social Security. That makes this information provided by AARP’s article, “Discover Little-Known Social Security Benefits,” especially welcome.
Some years ago, Social Security officials saw that the long waiting time for decisions on disability applications resulted in severe hardship for the seriously ill. As a consequence, the agency established the Compassionate Allowances List.
This program’s goal is to swiftly grant disability status to those who suffer from any of the 225 serious medical conditions on the list. They include rare diseases, cancers, traumatic brain injury, stroke, early onset Alzheimer's disease and related dementias, schizophrenia, cardiovascular disease, multiple organ transplants and autoimmune diseases. The Social Security Administration says those who can show they suffer from any of these afflictions will receive approval in weeks (rather than months or years).
If you see a loved one isn’t good at managing money, Social Security can help with its Representative Payee Program. It matches people who require assistance managing their finances with people who are willing and able to help them. If you're concerned that a loved one has become incapable of managing or directing the management of his or her benefits, speak with an experienced elder law attorney. Social Security typically looks to family members or friends to serve as representative payees. If no one is available, they work with social service agencies to locate people to serve as representative payees.
Social Security also provides free interpretation services for people who don’t speak English. The agency can translate a surprisingly large number of languages—from Arabic and Armenian to Tagalog and Vietnamese. They also provide interpretation for more common languages like Spanish, French and Italian. These services are offered by phone and at local Social Security offices.
It’s important to understand what Social Security benefits you’re eligible for, but it’s even more important to plan for serious illness or diminished mental capacity while you’re still young and healthy. Diminished mental capacity can sneak up on you and you never know when a serious illness could strike. To put a plan in place now that will ensure your family is taken care of in the event of your illness, incapacity or death, you’ll want to work with an experienced elder law and estate planning attorney.
For more information on this and other elder law topics, explore our website and contact us to schedule your consultation today!
Reference: AARP (August 2016) “Discover Little-Known Social Security Benefits”