Daily COVID19 Updates & Social Security Disability Q&A

If you have questions or concerns as it relates to Social Security disability, SSI or Long-Term disability cases, please contact us by phone (866-49-BALIN) or email.

March 31, 2020 COVID-19 Update:

Dr. Amy Acton Takeaways:

  • In Ohio- ~2,200 cases, 585 hospitalizations, 55 deaths.Still dealing with the scarcity of testing. Age range from <1 to 99 years old with a median age of 53 years old.
  • Dr. Acton says it’s important to know that we do have beds available in our hospital systems and that it’s the calm before the storm. Encourages every one of use to look at what is essential. Think about being out very strategically as it’s important to maintain social distancing and only go out when it’s absolutely essential. It’s lifesaving to practice this.
  • Dr. Acton issuing a statewide order to collect data on inventory for ventilators and other breathing assistance devices. Also working to secure more ventilators.

Lt. Gov. John Husted Takeaways:

  • Lt. Gov. Husted has two key announcements:
    • 1. the unemployment system: says they have to do more to add more capacity to add more people to take more phone calls so more people are being added. Husted wants the public to know that the public’s voices are being heard about not being able to get through to file unemployment.
    • 2. For insurance, a 60 grace period for the insured of 60 days was ordered. Out of care network must still provide same rates as in-network. Insurance companies are required to pay for COVID-19 testing.

Gov. Mike DeWine Takeaways:

  • A statewide order is signed to maintain public water service during this crisis. It prevents a water system from shutting off. Call water utilities to request reinstatement (without fees) if your water has been shut off. If water has been shut off, you must flush your water first.
  • Battelle worked with Ohio State University to come up with a new rapid test for coronavirus for faster results. Can take up to 200 tests per day currently, but as infrastructure is built up, more than 1,000 tests will able to be tested per day.

Lori Criss, Director of the Department Mental Health and Addiction Services, Takeaways:

  • Mental Health is a concern. The DeWine administration and local partners are working hard to make sure every Ohio family has a safe place to live and be well to reduce homelessness during this time. Acknowledges those living alone is a difficult time as well. Strategies to help with mental health are having meals at normal times, showering and waking up with a routine. Create a space for leisure time. If you’re alone, reach out to friends and family if you can.
  • Checking on friends, family and neighbors is important right now. Check in with each other.
  • If you’re not living in a safe environment or don’t have food, reach out to local food pantries and domestic violence agencies. Stay in touch with your primary care doctor for other health issues and mental health and addiction counselors to keep up with treatment plans. Ask about connecting through Telehealth services or ways to come in if you need to.
  • Try and get outside in nature if you can and take in the environment around you. This can be very helpful for mental health.
  • For people in recovery, this is a tough time and you can do tough things. It’s vitally important to stay connected to your peer recovery support group. There are online and phone meeting groups.
    Ohio Citizen Advocates for Addiction Recovery – OCAAR has some resources on their Facebook page.
  • NAMI Greater Cleveland has many resources for mental health services.

March 30, 2020 COVID-19 Update:

  • In Ohio: 1,900+ confirmed cases. 475 hospitalizations, 39 deaths. Schools closed until May 1.
  • Battelle deal is approved. This will help decontaminate critical PPE. Up to 80,000 masks can be decontaminated each day starting out.

March 28, 2020 COVID-19 Update:

  • Interpreters were not on screen today. Ohio Governor Mike DeWine lets deaf community know they can see interpreters on Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities Facebook page.
  • DeWine team says they have called health insurance providers and told them not to deny any claims due to coronavirus. This is an emergency and no one should be turned away if they don’t have a doctor.
  • Ohio: 1,406 confirmed cases from age <1-96 with a median age range of 52 years old. 25 confirmed deaths. Our thoughts are with all those families ❤️💙
  • DeWine asks for manufacturers to help. Asks for 10 most wanted items: surgical gowns (all sizes), face & surgical masks (adult & pediatric), gloves (nitrile, vinyl or butyl gloves), N-95 particulate respirators, isolation gowns, face shields, Tyvek coveralls, thermometers, foot coverings, ventilator tubing — send email to Matt Damschroeder: together@governor.ohio.gov
  • DeWine advises churches to not congregate and encourages using technology. Says several people came down with the coronavirus from congregating together in groups.
  • DeWine makes a public appeal to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to approve mask sterilization process. This sterilization, if approved by the FDA, will allow for up to 160,000 masks to be sterilized each day, in Ohio alone. Says this is a matter of life and death. DeWine also makes a public appeal to private lab testing companies to get test results back to the state ASAP.
  • A report is received from The Cleveland Clinic that we may not hit our peak until mid-May.

March 22, 2020 COVID-19 Update:

Key Takeaways:

  • “Stay at Home” is ordered effective Monday 3/23/20 at 11:59pm until at least April 6, 2020.
  • Essential businesses will be allowed to stay open, but must follow health and safety guidelines
  • All daycares must operate on a temporary pandemic childcare license and have a maximum of 6 children per room
  • Limits are set on chloroquine and hydroxycholoroquine (not proven medication for COVID-19)

March 21, 2020 COVID 19 Update:

Key Takeaways:

  • Adult day services for people with disabilities is ordered to close
  • Health insurance premium payments can be deferred to Dept. Of Insurance for up to 60 days.
  • Telehealth therapy services are allowed. If you’ve been going to a mental health provider, please reach out to your therapist or provider about teletherapy services.
  • Businesses can forgo payments to the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) from March through May and defer through June 1, 2020.
  • To keep supply chain in tact, waivers are being granted on truck weight limits to allow for larger loads to grocery stores and medical facilities.
  • Mental health tips during this time:
    • Maintain a routine if you can
    • Stay connected if you can through email, social media, writing letters, a phone call, etc.
    • Reach out if you need help. Other resources for coping are here.

March 19 & 20, 2020 COVID19 Update:

Key Takeaways:

  • Courts must be open to address urgent matters
    • Latest press release on on 3/18/20 for Services During COVID-19 Pandemic from Andrew Saul, Commissioner of Social Security.
  • Senior citizen/adult day cares to close on 3/20/19
  • 169 confirmed cases: ages 1 to 90 years old on 3/20/19
  • People are encouraged to call mortgage, credit card, utilities companies to see about forbearance or temporarily suspending payments/options.
  • Emergency rules implemented for access to Telehealth services

March 18, 2020 COVID19 Update:

Key Takeaways:

  • Hair salons, spas, tattoo parlors, barbershops, nail salons all close temporarily today.
  • All BMVs closed (except 5 locations for commercial drivers (CDLs)).
  • Businesses requiring employees to remain on premise are asked to take employee temperatures every day.
  • Banks will not close (your money is safe and it’s important not to panic).
  • COVID19 cases continue to rise. Please practice social distancing and do not go anywhere unless very urgent.

March 17, 2020 COVID19 Update:

“If you have a hearing scheduled, we will call you to discuss alternatives for continuing with your hearing, including offering a telephonic hearing. Our call may come from a PRIVATE number and not from a U.S. Government phone. Please remember that our employees will not threaten you or ask for any form of payment.”

Full press release from the Social Security Administration: https://www.ssa.gov/news/press/releases/2020/#3-2020-2

The lawyers at Balin Law will need to determine on a case-by-case basis whether it is in a client’s best interest to proceed with a phone hearing or request a postponement of the hearing in light of COVID-19. A postponed hearing is normally rescheduled within 2-3 months, but we are not operating under normal circumstances.

As such, it is difficult to determine what sort of delay we would be looking at if we request a postponement. So why postpone? Often an in-person hearing is necessary to allow an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) to observe your symptoms in person. For example, reading about an essential tremor in somebody’s medical records is an altogether different experience than actually seeing their hands and arms shake secondary to a neurological disorder or a side effect of medications.

You hired us not just to represent you but to WIN your case. Balin Law will continue to advise you on the best course of action to maximize the likelihood of WINNING your case during these challenging times. For now, Ohioans should practice social distancing and stay home if possible.

March 16, 2020 COVID19 Update Q&A:

Q: Will Social Security disability cases be affected by COVID-19?

A: SSA is operating as business as usual with one important exception – the judges are allowing claimants to request a telephonic appearance instead of an in-person appearance at hearings.

Q: Is Balin Law open during this time?

A: We are business as usual with the exception that:

1. Client meetings and interviews are occurring solely over the phone and not in person for the foreseeable future.

2. Our business hours remain the same.

3. We are setting up telecommuting for staff to abide by the CDC’s recommendations.

4. We are disinfecting all common areas regularly and at the end of every workday.

In Summary:

There has been no interruption to the processing of any Social Security or Long-Term Disability cases to report. If that changes, we will let clients know. Follow and Like our page to keep up with updates.

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