Social Security: Gateway to Medicaid

August 6, 2013

Once you can prove that your adult child is a single head of household, you should apply for SSI or Supplemental Security Income.  This is an important gateway to Medicaid, a doorway to a plethora of services.  The income is not much on a monthly benefit but the doors it can open is key to providing services to your adult child with significant disabilities. An adult living at home will get anywhere between $474 and $710 per month based on need.

Like all services, there is an application.  The application asks numerous questions about the applicant’s ability to perform tasks independently.  The key is not to lie but to show the level of dependence.  Can they function without help from another adult, most often a parent?  What can and can’t they do on their own?  These skills range from Activities of Daily Living, to use of transportation services to paying one’s own bills.  Don’t sugar coat the answers but don’t downplay the level of dependence so that you are caught in a lie.

The next step after the application is an interview.  This is where the fact checking comes in.  Let the interviewer meet with your adult child. Let them see how the adult child functions.  This is often where the truth is found out. For example, when they ask your child do you pay your bills, let them answer…no my mom/dad/caregiver does it for me.

Then there is a waiting period while the decision is being made….patience is key but remember, “the squeaky wheel gets the oil.”. Call to check on the progress.  You are not being a pain.  You are doing your job, you are advocating.

If the answer is no, appeal. What can it hurt?  If the answer is yes, bravo, you are one step closer to getting Medicaid which will open all kinds of doors. That will be discussed in my next blog; stay tuned.

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Social Security To Drop ‘Mental Retardation’

August 2, 2013

 

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The Social Security Administration will become the latest federal agency to start using the term “intellectual disability” in lieu of “mental retardation.”

In a final rule published in the Federal Register on Thursday, Social Security officials said they approved the change in terminology citing “widespread adoption” of the term “intellectual disability.”

“Advocates for individuals with intellectual disability have rightfully asserted that the term ‘mental retardation’ has negative connotations, has become offensive to many people, and often results in misunderstandings about the nature of the disorder and those who have it,” Social Security indicated.

Under the rule, all references to “mental retardation” and “mentally retarded children” will be replaced with “intellectual disability” and “children with intellectual disability” within Social Security’s Listing of Impairments and other agency rules. The change will not impact how claims are evaluated for those with the developmental disability.

The move this week finalizes a proposal issued in January. Of 76 public comments submitted on the matter, 71 supported replacing the term “mental retardation.” Most commenters favored adopting “intellectual disability,” but some preferred the existing terminology arguing that it’s more precise while others suggested terms like “developmental disability” or “cognitively impaired.”

Ultimately, Social Security opted to finalize its proposal as is and said the new rule will take effect in 30 days.

In making the update, agency officials said they were looking to align with other government entities even though they were not mandated to do so by law.

Nearly three years ago, President Barack Obama signed legislation known as Rosa’s Law replacing references to “mental retardation” with “intellectual disability” in federal health, education and labor policy following a switch that already occurred in many states. And earlier this year, the terminology update was included in the newly-released fifth edition of psychiatry’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.