Every working American pays into Social Security’s Disability Insurance fund. And while you may groan at the thought of paying another tax, this one is actually beneficial. The Social Security Disability program pays benefits to people who are no longer able to work due to a severe, long-term medical condition.

However, getting disability benefits isn’t a matter of applying online and waiting for a check in the mail. The Social Security Administration uses the following five-step process to determine if applicants are eligible for benefits.

Step 1: Are you working?

While you are allowed to do some work while receiving disability benefits, the Social Security Administration wants to make sure you aren’t engaging in substantial gainful activity. If you earn more than $1,090 per month, then you are engaging in substantial gainful activity. However, if you are earning less than that amount, your application will go to step two.

Step 2: Is your condition too severe to work?

In order to receive disability benefits, your medical condition must be severe enough to keep you from working for one year or result in death. If the Social Security Administration determines that your medical condition meets these requirements, your application will proceed to step three.

Step 3: Is your condition found in the list of disabling conditions?

The Social Security Administration has a list of conditions considered so severe they automatically qualify for benefits. If your condition is on this list, you will be approved for benefits. If your condition is not on this list, your application will proceed to step four.

Step 4: Can you do the work you previously did?

If your condition is not on the list of disabling conditions or doesn’t meet the requirements of the listing, the Social Security Administration will look to see whether your condition interferes with your ability to perform past job duties. They will analyze things like your exertion limits, how well you are able to concentrate and how often you miss work. If your condition does affect your ability to do previous work, your application will move on to step five.

Step 5: Can you do any other type of work?

In the final step of the disability determination process, the Social Security Administration will evaluate your job skills, age, education, and past work experience to determine whether you could reasonably be expected to work in another position that may better accommodate your limitations. If they determine there are jobs that you could do given your condition, your application will be denied, but if they decide you would not be able to adapt to new work, you will be approved for benefits.

Social Security Disability benefits have supported millions of Americans as they go through this difficult time in their lives. While we all hope we never have to use these benefits, we will all be glad they’re available if we ever do need them.

To read more information and tips on navigating the disability application process, visit disabilityguide.com.


Different culprits for the zings of pain in teeth implies different things for different members of the family. Tooth sensitivity in families is common when members of the family eat or drink something sour, hot, cold or sweet. The pain can affect the nerve endings in the teeth and is often sudden and sharp.

Teeth become sensitive when gums pull back and the surface beneath (called dentin) gets exposed. Dentin is a soft layer making up the roots and inner part, and it has thousands of tiny tubes leading to the pulp (the nerve centers). These channels cause the trigger in the nerve of your teeth when you eat something particular, resulting in the pain felt.

Each member of the family reacts to different types of tooth sensitivity. Here are the most common ones:

Heat sensitivity: This is a sign of infected teeth. If previously your tooth was sensitive to cold but now has become sensitive to heat, the tooth’s pulp may be decayed and almost dead. Mild heat sensitivity may indicate irritation.

Cold sensitivity: Root exposure or tooth decay is the common cause of this sensitivity. Also, an individual can also have cold sensitivity of teeth after a dental treatment, but in this case the sensation goes away within a week.

Sweet sensitivity: This is an indication of damaged filling or it can be a sign of cavity that needs repair. Tooth areas with worn enamel may also be sensitive to sweets, and the most common culprit of pain to sweet sensitivity is the exposed root.

Biting sensitivity: This can be due to a number of factors, such as cracked teeth (pain comes when an individual bites in a particular way). Infection or injury can be the cause of sensitivity when the whole tooth hurts regardless of where the pressure is placed. Recent fillings can also be the cause of biting sensitivity.

Pain resulting from tooth sensitivity may disappear after a few weeks or days, but it’s important to check with a dentist if the issue persists over a long period of time. A family dentist can discuss dental discomfort of different members of the family and conduct a complete examination. The dentist can then recommend both at-home and in-office treatment options, such as crowns to improve decayed teeth, special toothpaste to avoid enamel erosion, and protective resin painted on the teeth, to name a few.

Changing your personal habits can also help in reducing tooth sensitivity. For instance, grinding teeth when tense leads to the wear and tear of enamel and exposure of tiny tubules leading to the inner nerves of the tooth, which raises a sensitivity issue. Some individuals may not even realize they’re grinding; sudden jaw pain could be a hint. Wearing a mount guard at night, or modifying the sleeping position, may help.

Sometimes you may be brushing incorrectly which is the cause of receding gums, so you may be able to reduce the pain by changing the way you brush before pursuing a restorative treatment. When it comes to diet, family members should control the intake of tea or coffee as the acid content in both can aggravate a sensitive tooth. If you can’t cut back, dilute them with water to reduce the acidic content.


A diabetes diagnosis may mean that you’ll have to change some of your familiar routines, but it doesn’t have to break the bank. Living a healthy and active lifestyle while managing diabetes is well within your reach.

1) Pack a lunch and cook dinner at home

Packing a lunch for work or school and cooking dinner at home means you can save money on eating out. Because you control what goes into the food you make, you can also avoid foods that may disrupt your blood glucose levels. The ADA has an entire section of budget-friendly recipes on their website that you can try. To save even more money, prepare food in larger batches and economize by eating leftovers.

2) Buy diabetic supplies in bulk

Many supplies used for diabetes care have a long shelf life. For those supplies that don’t expire quickly, consider buying in bulk, especially when they are on sale. You can save a lot of money by buying test strips, syringes, glucose tablets, and other such supplies in large quantities at one time. If you’re using an insulin pump you’ll have a different set of supplies to keep handy.

3) Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Try to recycle, reuse, and repurpose household items to save money when you can. For example, you can prepare a sharps container from an empty bottle of laundry detergent. Simply label the container “Sharps. Biohazard. Do not recycle,” fill the container to two-thirds full with your used syringes, and seal the container with its screw cap. You can ask your local health department about disposal options available in your area.

Using green products and devices presents savings opportunities while also being good for the environment. Many diabetes management tools offer sustainable technology, take Tandem’s t:slim insulin pump for example, which uses a rechargeable battery. You can save money on buying new batteries and feel good about keeping more waste out of landfills.

4) Join a local diabetes support group

Most metropolitan areas and some smaller communities have diabetes support groups available for you to join. These groups can be an invaluable resource for cost saving tips, and the meetings themselves can provide a valuable social outlet that comes at no cost to you. Ask your fellow members where they get their supplies. If you meet someone who uses supplies similar to yours, figure out whether he or she gets a better deal than you do, and if so, consider changing your buying practices.

5) Watch your diet

Eating a diet that allows you to regulate your blood sugar levels can save you more money than you think. That indulgent, sugary midnight snack might not seem too expensive, but if it spikes your blood sugar and requires an extra bolus of insulin, the costs can quickly add up. If your diet allows you to administer less insulin, that’s less insulin you need to buy, and less money you need to spend.

6) Look into free samples

Diabetic supply companies and doctors’ offices often have free samples on hand that you can try. Consider asking your doctor what the latest innovations are in diabetic supplies and whether he or she has any samples you might be able to test out. Similarly, you can call the manufacturers of supplies you use and ask them whether any samples are available. You won’t be able to get all of your supplies this way, but you may discover a cheaper alternative that meets your needs.


As effective as proper oral care can be to the overall well-being of an individual, if you ask the average person when their last dental visit was, chances are it’s been a while. There are of course varying reasons as to why this is such a common occurrence, but are any of them really logical? After all, taking care of your health is more than just eating right and exercising on the regular basis. It’s also about making sure that you see the appropriate medical professionals periodically to ensure that everything is working as it should. Just as missing an oil change on the car could leave you sitting on the side of the road, missing a dental appointment could leave you in poor condition.

The question still remains, what is it that keeps so many people from getting the help that they need from the dentist? More importantly, what can be done to remedy this?

  1. Dental Anxiety or Fear

According to WebMD, approximately 5-8% of individuals will skip out on the dentist altogether simply because they’re afraid. Dental anxiety is a real condition and it affects many. Whether they have a horrible experience in the past, or have simply heard stories from others, many will shy away from seeking treatment just to avoid the experience.

For Patients: There is nothing to be ashamed of in this instance. If you have a real fear of going to the dentist, you should not let this keep you from maintaining proper oral health. The best thing you can do in this scenario is talk with your dentist about your fears. Many dentists are aware of the anxieties and phobias that are out there and will do whatever they can to accommodate your fears.

For Dentists: The best thing you can do to ensure your patients’ comfort level is to treat every patient as if they have a fear or phobia. Pay attention to their needs, communicate when necessary, and celebrate them for being brave. Sensitivity training for your staff is also beneficial as your patients will feel welcomed from the moment they walk in the door.

  1. High Out of Pocket Expense

Whether insured or uninsured, the price tag for a dental procedure is often huge; something as simple as an x-ray and a cleaning can cost hundreds of dollars. Many patients, especially those without dental insurance or on a tight budget, avoid going for fear of having to pay too much to get treated. Many dental offices require large upfront payments and only offer financing to patients with stellar credit – which in many cases is not many people.

For Patients: If you are afraid that the dental costs will be too high, it is best to look around for dentists that offer flexible payment arrangements or discounted services. Many dentists have options that allow you to make monthly payments, or even sign up for preventative care insurance for a low fee which would take care of your annual cleanings and basic dental needs.

For Dentists: Of course you can’t go slashing your costs as you do need to make a living, however, finding ways to be more flexible with your patients and dental costs is beneficial to your practice. Look for low cost insurance options, dental discount programs, or even offer flexible payment arrangements for higher costing procedures.

  1. Lack of Knowledge

Another reason people stay away from the dentist is because their misinformed. Many might be under the assumption that as long as they brush their teeth and floss twice a day that they never need to set foot inside of a dentist office. Unfortunately, this is not the case as some oral conditions don’t show any symptoms and can be detrimental to your health.

For Patients: The best way to stay on top of your health is to be informed every step of the way. Talk to your dentist about providing you with information on the importance of oral health and various oral conditions that need to be treated right away. Knowing the consequences for not seeing the dentist on the regular basis can easily provoke you to schedule an appointment.

For Dentists: Solution Reach, a company that provides technological solutions for medical facilities, suggests that the best way to build patient relationships is through patient education. By providing your patients with up to date information as it pertains to their specific oral health, you will encourage them to keep their appointments.

The bottom line is that oral health is essential to overall health. Both patients and dentists play a crucial role in making sure that the best oral health is achieved. Patients must learn to communicate effectively with their dentists about their fears, anxieties, financial woes, and lack of knowledge. Dentists on the other hand need to improve their level of sensitivity, provide flexible options for all economic backgrounds, and communicate effectively in providing pertinent information to their patients. In doing this together, it is almost certain that the “dentist office visit” will no longer be taboo.