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Veterans and Mustangs

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Saturday, September 20th, Catherine Coats and Robert Todd attended the Mustang Extreme Makeover Finals in Fort Worth, Texas. The purpose of the Mustang Makeover is to showcase wild mustangs after they have been trained by professional trainers from across America in a period of only 100 days to perform amazing feats that are only seen in horses after years of training.

This event helps to support the Mustang Heritage Foundation in central Texas which is transforming the lives of Veterans who suffer with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injuries. Veterans working with mustangs experience hope for healing. Working with these horses enhances their quality of life in a way medicine never can. In working with the mustangs, Veterans also learn vocational skills should they desire to work in the horse related industry. With a Veteran suicide rate averaging 22 a day, this program can be life changing. Read more about this outstanding program that pairs Veterans and mustangs. www.mustangheritagefoundation.org/mustang-mentors.php

Last month, the Social Security Administration extended its authority to quickly decide and award claims under their compassionate allowance process and quick disability process. This was a carry-over since 2010, when State Agencies were allowed to quickly award such claims without having to order a special medical consultant opinion. However, at the time, the program was intended to be a short-term solution, and last year, it was set to expire in November 2014. Fortunately, SSA is renewing the program through November of next year.

This is good news for a lot of people with life-threatening illness, because the agnecy is known to have an otherwise norotiously long delay in awarding cases. Certain illnesses may qualify for this process, including many types of cancers such as some breast cancers or leukemia and other rare and terminal illnesses, like ALS. Whereas these patients would otherwise have to have their claim approved by a doctor (which delays the case), this rule allows the State Agency to award the claim without getting a physician's approval.

If you think you may qualify for special consideration under these programs, call our office for more information.

Access Your Social Security Information with a My Social Security Account

With a my Social Security account, people can take control of their future by accessing their online Social Security Statement, which is a great financial planning tool that provides workers age 18 and over their complete earnings history and estimates for future retirement, disability and survivors benefits. The Statement allows workers to verify the accuracy of their earnings each year. This is important since earnings are the basis for determining future retirement benefits as well as their disability benefits in the event that a person needs to file for disability. Individuals who currently receive benefits can sign up for a my Social Security account to get an instant benefit verification letter, change their address and phone number, and start or change direct deposit of their benefit payment. Over 13 million people have established an account. You can establish an account by going to www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount.

Veterans and TBI

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A 2014 study published by the journal Neurology found Veterans aged 55 and older with a diagnosis of a traumatic brain injury (TBI) had a 60 percent greater risk of developing dementia over a nine-year period. According to the research team, "Our results suggest that TBI in older Veterans may predispose [them] toward development of symptomatic dementia and raise concern about the potential long-term consequences of TBI in younger Veterans and civilians." The results of the study were covered in a number of news media outlets, includingUSA Today.
The Veterans Administration offers an Airborne and Open Pit Registry to all Veterans who served in Iraq, Afghanistan, Djibouti, or the Gulf War. Information gathered from this registry will be used to identify long term adverse health effects of exposure to burn pits and other airborne hazards. It is hoped that the information can be used to provide better health care services to the Veterans suffering from lung and other conditions that could be related to such exposure. Veterans must sign up for the registry with the Department of Defense Self Service Login.
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