Social Security Disability &
  Special Needs Planning News from
 Sheri R. Abrams, Attorney at Law,
 "Of Counsel" at Needham Mitnick & Pollack
Picture of Sheri Abrams
In This Issue
Social Security Recipients Are Expected to Get COLA in 2012
Social Security Expands Compassionate Allowances Conditions
New iPhone App "Wheelmap" Shows Wheelchair Access Around the World

Upcoming  Presentations:


Circle of Support----A Conference For Families of Children with Special Needs and the Professionals who Work with Them


Sheri Abrams will be speaking

about Social Security Disability & SSI benefits as part of a workshop entitled "Taking Care of Business, Legally and Financially"  from 12:45 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.


Circle of Support is being held on Saturday, November 5, 2011, from 8:00 a.m. until 3:30 p.m at Hylton High School, 14051 Spriggs Road, Woodbridge, Virginia.


Needham Mitnick & Pollack will also have an information table at this event. 


For more information, and to register, please visit the Arc of Greater Prince William County.


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Issue: # 39October 2011
Picture of Social Security Card and Dice




Welcome to the thirty-ninth edition of our newsletter.


You may have been added to our e-mail newsletter mailing list if you have been in contact with Sheri R. Abrams, Attorney at Law or the Law Firm of Needham Mitnick & Pollack PLC.


These monthly newsletters are designed to show you how not to gamble with your or your patients/clients Social Security Disability and/or SSI benefits.  We also provide you with information on Special Needs Planning.


You may unsubscribe by clicking on the link at the end of this e-mail.



Social Security Check

For the past two years those who receive Social Security Disability and Social Security Retirement have not received a cost of living increase to their benefit amount.  But in 2012 this is expected to change, when an announcement is made this week and will be effective starting this January


This increase is because for the first time in the last 2 years  the consumer price index - a measure of how much it costs consumers, on average, to buy things like food and transportation - rose considerably from a year ago. 


Social Security cost-of-living adjustment (or COLA) is calculated using this index, and payments are increased when the measure jumps from one year to the next.


Based on this index data, the raise is likely to be about 3.5%. A person who receives $10,000 from Social Security last year would receive an extra $350 in 2012. 


However, some of this increase will be lost to higher Medicare premiums, which are deducted from Social Security payments.


Medicare Part B premiums for 2012 are expected to be announced next week, and the trustees who oversee the program are projecting an increase.


Social Security Expands Compassionate Allowances Conditions


Social Security Logo

Michael J. Astrue, Commissioner of Social Security, announced 13 new Compassionate Allowances conditions involving the immune system and neurological disorders.


The Compassionate Allowances program fast-tracks disability decisions to ensure that Americans with the most serious disabilities

receive their benefit decisions within

days instead of months or years.


Commissioner Astrue made the announcement during his remarks at the U.S. Conference on Rare Diseases and Orphan Products in Washington, D.C. "Social Security handles more than three million disability applications each year and we need to keep innovating and making our work more efficient," Commissioner Astrue said. "With our Compassionate Allowances program, we quickly approved disability benefits for more than 60,000 people with severe disabilities in the past fiscal year. We have made significant improvements, but we can always do more."


The Compassionate Allowances initiative identifies claims where the nature of the applicant's disease or condition clearly meets the statutory standard for disability.  With the help of sophisticated new information technology, the agency can quickly identify potential Compassionate Allowances and then quickly make decisions. Social Security launched the Compassionate Allowances program in 2008 with a list of 50 diseases and conditions.


The announcement of 13 new conditions, effective in December, will increase the total number of Compassionate Allowances conditions to 113. The conditions include certain cancers, adult brain disorders, a number of rare genetic disorders of children, early-onset Alzheimer's disease, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, and other disorders.


In addition, the agency recently streamlined its online disability application for people who have a condition on the Compassionate Allowances list.



New Compassionate Allowances Conditions:


Malignant Multiple Sclerosis
Paraneoplastic Pemphigus
Multicentric Castleman Disease
Pulmonary Kaposi Sarcoma
Primary Central Nervous System Lymphoma
Primary Effusion Lymphoma
Angelman Syndrome
Lewy Body Dementia
Lowe Syndrome
Corticobasal Degeneration
Multiple System Atrophy
Progressive Supranuclear Palsy
The ALS/Parkinsonism Dementia Complex


New iPhone App "Wheelmap" Shows Wheelchair Access Around the World


Wheelmap, is a new iPhone app that shows wheelchair access around the world.  With Wheelmap, a person who uses a wheelchair won't be stopped by accessibility issues because the app will tell them if they can get into the building and move around freely. 


The app tags different locations on an open-source map with red, yellow or green to indicate the level of wheelchair access each location provides. Locations tagged red have no wheelchair access; yellow locations have partial wheelchair access, and green locations are totally accessible to individuals who use wheelchairs. Locations without a wheelchair access rating are gray. The easy to use application also allows users to search for locations much like other map applications for the iPhone.


The Wheelmap iPhone app is also linked to the Wheelmap website, where users from around the world can contribute to developing the app by rating locations for wheelchair accessibility.


For information on this app click here.


Sheri Abrams' Book "Don't Gamble With Your Social Security Disability Benefits--What Every Virginia Resident Needs To Know To Win A Social Security Disability Case" Is Available.

Picture of Book 
For more information please click here to see our Press Release.  
You can also download a free copy of the book at our websites:








The law firm of Needham Mitnick & Pollack, PLC, is located at:


NMP's Office Building 


400 S. Maple Avenue
Suite 210
Falls Church, VA 22046
(703) 536-7778



This is in downtown Falls Church and the office has plenty of free and accessible parking.



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If you know of someone who could use my legal services or any of the other members of the law firm of Needham Mitnick & Pollack, PLC, please forward to him/her this e-mail newsletter or give him/her our telephone number: (703) 536-7778.


We provide legal services in the areas of Social Security Disability Law , Elder Law, Wills and Trusts, Probate, Trust Administration, Powers of Attorney, Advance Medical Directives, Guardianships, Long Term Care Planning, Disability Planning, Medicaid Eligibility, Veterans Benefits and Special Needs Trusts.    
If you, or someone you know, is involved with an educational event or support group that would benefit from a presentation on any of the areas of law for which we provide legal services, please call us at (703) 536-7778.