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The good

life Beat the

winter blues 5 great getaway ideas New cruise adventures

Sunday, January 27, 2019


2 |  January 27, 2019

THE GOOD LIFE

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THE GOOD LIFE

 January 27, 2019 | 3

TRAVEL

Combat the winter blues LYNN O’ROURKER HAYES

FamilyTravel.comTribune News Service ‌

‌If winter’s dreary weather has you down, take action. Here are five ideas to consider.

1. Make a plan

We all like to look forward to an adventure. And research shows that by planning ahead, more families will actually take much-need vacations and thus reap a multitude of personal and professional benefits. By crafting a strategy in advance you’ll have your pick of departures, the best cabins on a cruise ship and more options in popular resort areas. While you are at it, scan the year ahead and be the first to claim va-

cation days. Knowing good times www.Vail.com. are on the horizon will help wash the winter blues away. 3. Connect with family

2. Embrace a new winter sport Expand your winter sports experiences. Lace up the skates, strap on the snowshoes, learn how mushers round up their sled dogs or consider an ice climb. Go downhill, cross-country, into the back country and then warm up in a steaming hot spring. Skate ski to dinner served in a yurt or ride aboard a horse-drawn sleigh headed to a cozy cabin where you and your family can savor supper served fireside. Contact: www.SunValley.com;

and friends Geographic spread, busy careers and schedules make it more difficult than ever to spend time with the people who matter most. Check in with your clan and craft a plan to celebrate an upcoming birthday, anniversary, or to honor a family member’s special achievement, acknowledging the kind of touchstones that can be a meaningful part of a family’s legacy. At the same time, who needs an official Please see BLUES, Page S6

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4. Seek the sun

"Our Way Of Life Since 1901" SHUTTERSTOCK PHOTO‌

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THE GOOD LIFE

4 |  January 27, 2019

TRAVEL

FULL SPEED AHEAD into new cruise adventures

A cruise ship in Antarctica. SHUTTERSTOCK PHOTO ‌

FRAN GOLDEN

Bloomberg‌

‌F

or cruise passengers, 2019 is shoring up to be a particularly exciting year. Not only are ships returning to places that have been perceived as politically sensitive in recent years-such as Turkey and Egypt — they’re also heading on increasingly remote voyages, to places that feel like the ends of the Earth. Here, the seafaring trips to prioritize in 2019.

Antarctica

Receding glaciers may add a sense of urgency for travelers who wish to explore the seventh continent. For a firsthand

look at what’s going on-and to understand the much broader potential global threat from the melting-cruise lines explore Antarctica’s icy waters from November to March. You’ll approach icebergs and glaciers, where the only sound you hear may be cracking ice. Sightings of orca and sperm whales, elephant seals, and human-size penguins are part of the scene. This year, so are new expedition ships with lots of toys, such as the 200-passenger Scenic Eclipse, equipped with a seven-seat submarine and two seven-seat helicopters for exclusive remote explorations of the white continent. Scenic Eclipse sailings, from $18,095 for 11 days

Egypt‌

While the country is rebounding from a tourism slump that began with 2011’s Arab Spring, and this year luxury lines are returning to Egypt, meaning your World Cruise or Middle East itinerary will actually stop there rather than just pass through via the Suez Canal. Ocean lines such as Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Oceania Cruises, and Silversea will call on Safaga, with access to Luxor and the Valley of the Kings-albeit on a dusty 124mile bus transfer from the Red Sea through the desert-in the spring and fall. River lines are exploring farther afield, stopping not just in

Cairo and Luxor, but in archaeologically spectacular Aswan as well. Book a top suite on the 42-passenger Oberoi Philae, a steamwheeler replica that’s chartered by companies such as Lindblad Expeditions, and you can lounge in your own openair whirlpool while pretending you’re Cleopatra on the Nile. Passage through Egypt sailing with Lindblad Expeditions/National Geographic on the Oberoi Philae, from $8,480 (top suites from $13,260) for 13 days

Greenland

One of the most remote places on Earth, Arctic Greenland will be a hot spot with cruisers in 2019. Until recently

it’s only been possible to explore the area’s untouched fjords, glaciers, colorful towns, and Viking sites on basic expedition ships. Now, new ships are being purpose-built to serve as base camps in icy waters. Among them, Norway-based Hurtigruten’s hybrid electric, 500-passenger Roald Amundsen, has a nifty underwater drone delivering video from down below and an infinity pool up on top. From either of those vantages-or even closer-up on excursions-you’ll be able to spot humpbacks and other whales, or see the northern lights high above. Viking Heritage Cruise, from $7,305 for 14 days


THE GOOD LIFE

 January 27, 2019 | 5

Galápagos

Cruising has always been the best way to see these remote islands, where you can snorkel and kayak with sea lions, get up close to sea iguanas, and go eye-to-eye with blue-footed boobies-all animals that are seemingly unfazed by your presence. And while there’s no need to rough it, this year will see the introduction of several ultrasmall ships to make the trips even more intimate. Most notable is the 100-passenger, all-suite Celebrity Flora, which premieres in June with special cabanas for overnight glamping. If you want to go even smaller, check out the new 16- to 20-passenger yachts available from Adventure Life. Celebrity Flora sailings, from $8,999 for seven days

Alaska

A record-breaking 1.36 million cruisers are expected to arrive in Alaska from April to October this year-up from 1 million in 2017. Don’t let occasional crowds scare you away, though. Seeing and hearing a glacier calve a house-size chunk into the sea is an experience that never gets old, and those increased tourism numbers simply

mean there are more ways to do it than ever. Princess Cruises is celebrating 50 years of bringing guests to see the flowing ice; Cunard returns after 20 years away; and Viking Ocean and Azamara Club Cruises are both making their debut in the Last Frontier State. (Pick Viking if you want more inclusions in your fare, Azamara if you’re looking for an intimate sailing experience, Cunard for its old-world glamour.) Alaska-bound fans of giant ships with whiz-bang amenities will find two new options this season, as well: the Norwegian Joy, with its top-deck racetrack, and the Ovation of the Seas, complete with robot bartenders. Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth sailings, from $1,549 ($9,304 for the luxurious Queens Grill suites) for 10 days

which now run from $25 to $45 per passenger, according to ports operator Global Ports Holding. See the impressive Blue Mosque and Roman Hippodrome with all-inclusive luxury line Regent Seven Seas (offering overnight stays beginning in June), and you’ll still have time to go on a shopping spree at the Grand Bazaar. Or try voyages on Regent, Holland America Line, or Royal Caribbean, which are all adding back stops in Kusadasi; it’s where you’ll get to see the Greco-Roman city of Ephesus and walk the same marble streets as Roman General Mark Antony. Athens to Venice on Seven Seas Voyager in June, from $8,999 for 11 days

Turkey

Even for travelers who feel they’ve seen it all, the prospect of sailing the remote far west Pacific sounds like a thrilling opportunity to encounter communities far removed from the modern world. Australian small-ship line Coral Expeditions will make that prospect a reality when it unveils its

After an attempted military coup in 2016, most cruise companies diverted their ships from Turkey to Greece. That pattern is slowly being reversed as tourism to Turkey picks back up. On the cruising front, that may have something to do with Turkish government financial incentives,

120-passenger expedition ship Coral Adventurer in May, sailing from Darwin to West Papua, Indonesia. The route is identical to the one Dutch explorer Abel Janszoon Tasman took 375 years ago, on his second great voyage. Additional itineraries add Papua New Guinea, the other half of the jungle-covered island, where you can learn about spirit masks and dip in hot springs

before retreating to the tasteful comforts of the ship, whose wine cellar includes vintage Australian reds. Coral Expeditions isn’t the only company showcasing the archipelago: French yacht line Ponant will sail the region in May with its swanky new vessel, La Laperouse. (You know it as the ship with an underwater bar and lounge.)

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Papua New Guinea and West Papua, Indonesia

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THE GOOD LIFE

6 |  January 27, 2019

TRAVEL

Guide reviews restaurants on value, not just food THE WASHINGTON POST

‌Remember the “Portlandia” sketch where Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein ask the most patient server on earth about the provenance of Colin the chicken? (Was he raised locally, organically, happily?) Now there’s a comprehensive guide for diners who want to tick those boxes long before they get to the table. “Truth, Love & Clean Cutlery,” published by New Zealand’s Blackwell & Ruth, is an ambitious project: Four simultaneous guides (covering Australia, United Kingdom, United States and the world), enlisting the assistance of 57 top food writers and restaurant critics from more than 45 countries. Said experts weighed in with their recommendations on places to dine that — along with passing the taste test — source ingredients locally and sustain-

Blues From 3

event to enjoy the company and support of your loved ones? Take advantage of last minute travel deals and vow to focus on the joys of winter together. Contact: www.HotelTonight. com

4. Seek the sun

Visit Curtain Bluff, a laid-back but luxurious, family-owned resort in Antigua for an all-inclusive experience that offers extensive water sports including water skiing, deep sea fishing, snorkeling, paddle-boating, tennis, yoga and sailing. As the kids burn off energy with the Cee Bee kids club, relax in a hammock you’ll find tucked within the palm trees. Spend an afternoon at the spa where open air massages provide a perfect end to a sports-filled day. Closer to home, consider Southern California’s iconic

BLACKWELL & RUTH‌

Four international editions of ‘Truth, Love and Clean Cutlery.’ ably, consider the impacts of their business on the environment, treat workers fairly and ethically, and engage in civic activities in their communities. New York-based associ-

ate editor Gabriella Gershenson gathered 14 prominent food writers covering all 50 states for the project. Armed with a mission statement and a self-reporting survey, each

contributor was tasked to find restaurants and food experiences that embody the guide’s ethos of serving good food with care. The survey informed the review process for auditing

each restaurant’s practices and its suitability for inclusion in the guide. Every entry includes a nod to signature dishes, and many include third-party capsule reviews.

Hotel Del Coronado, nestled on a wide stretch of sand with easy access to the water and a host of seaside activities. Get out your boogie board, take surfing lessons or watch Navy seamen from the nearby Coronado Island base train along the beach. Contact: www.CurtainBluff. com; www.HotelDel.com

5. Unplug

According to a recent survey commissioned by Enterprise Rent-A-Car, an increasing number of travelers plan to completely disconnect and turn their time off into an escape from the pressures of their jobs and other responsibilities. Whether you stay close to home or plan an exotic family getaway, taking a vacation from news reports, social media alerts and a never ending stream of emails can reduce stress and provide more time to pursue activities you enjoy. TELLURIDE SKI RESORT/BRETT SCHRECKENGOST PHOTO VIA AP‌ Contact: www.Enterprise. As skier heads down a mountain at the resort in Telluride, Colo. com/pursuits


THE GOOD LIFE

 January 27, 2019 | 7

Allen Hospital NICU Cuddlers

help babies, staff META HEMENWAY-FORBES

meta.hemenway-forbes @wcfcourier.com

‌WATERLOO — As a grandmother of six, Connie Meyer knows a thing or two about cuddling babies. She’s using those skills, along with some extra training, to help sick babies in UnityPoint Health-Allen Hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. The hospital debuted its NICU Cuddlers program in early December, and Meyer is one of eight volunteers who spend time snuggling some of the hospital’s tiniest and most vulnerable patients. “This is my retirement dream job. Can I even call it a job? I’m tickled pink,” Meyer said. So are the NICU staff. “It’s all about human touch,” said Dr. Sussan Ndakor Mbi, a neonatologist in the Allen NICU. “Babies get to full feeds faster so they gain weight faster, maintain their temperature better and the length of their stay decreases.” Cuddler programs have popped up at hospitals across the country, born of research on the power of human touch for healing and development. The tactile, or touch system, begins to develop at just over seven weeks gestation and is fully developed by 24 weeks, according to research at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston, making it “the most developed of the senses in the early neonatal period.” Mbi was inspired to begin Allen’s NICU Cuddler program after one day seeing a baby alone in a room while nurses tended to other tiny patients there and the parents couldn’t be there. “I thought that is not optimal for development. We have to do something about that,” Mbi said. “Nurses are very good at

KELLY WENZEL, COURIER STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER‌

Volunteer Connie Meyer holds a sleeping Kree Keller on Jan. 8 as part of the NICU Cuddler program at UnityPoint Health-Allen Hospital. holding babies, but we are very busy in the NICU, and a parent might have to go to work.” Mbi enlisted the help of Jenny Thorson, an OB/NICU clinical nurse educator. Thorson contacted two other UnityPoint hospitals with similar cuddler programs and got the ball rolling at Allen. Through Allen’s volunteer services coordinator, Thorson found eight volunteers — four of them former nurses — to jumpstart the program. Cuddler program volunteers go through a strict screening process. Immunizations must be up to date, a weekly time commitment is required and volunteers must attend an orientation to learn how preemies differ from full-term babies. “We are teaching them baby body language so they can read the cues,” Mbi said. “Is the baby

frowning? Are they extending their arms or legs to push away? They must be held a certain way.” Cuddler volunteers must scrub up before entering the NICU and wear special gowns while holding babies. A NICU nurse then gently hands a baby to a seated volunteer, who is not allowed to stand up or walk around while holding a baby. Recently, Meyer, of Dunkerton, sat for several hours in the NICU holding twins. “I volunteer about eight hours a week but I may consider more,” she said. Thorson said the volunteer cuddlers have proved invaluable to the babies and the NICU staff. “These are our babies and we want the best for them,” she said. “The nurses are thankful. It allows them time to move on to critical things.”


THE GOOD LIFE

8 |  January 27, 2019

Use these tips to

AVOID YOGA INJURIES GABRIELLA BOSTON

Special to the Washington Post ‌

‌Y

oga is known for its many mind-body benefits: It releases tension, prevents injury, creates more flexibility, adds strength and balance, and calms the mind. So, it’s hardly surprising that yoga practice among American adults increased 50 percent between 2012 and 2017, according to a report released this month by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Despite its reputation as a gentle, low-impact practice, yoga carries risks, as with any exercise routine. The practice can exacerbate carpal tunnel syndrome, add instability to joints, and contribute to strains, sprains and tendinitis. A study published in 2016 in the Orthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine reported that there were close to 30,000 yoga-related injuries seen in emergency rooms from 2001 to 2014, and that injuries per 100,000 participants grew from a rate of 9.6 percent to 17 percent. Most injuries were to the upper body and constituted strains and sprains. The greatest injury increase was in people age 65 and older. That doesn’t mean older adults, or anyone, should steer clear of yoga. But before you try downward-facing dog pose, which looks like a canine stretching, you need to know the risks of yoga, the appropriate types of yoga for you and ways to stay injury-free. “I see quite a bit of yoga-related injuries,” says Bobby Chhabra, an orthopedic surgeon with the University of Virginia Health System. “Mostly it’s overuse injuries like tendinitis

and sprains. It’s rare for patients to have traumatic injuries from yoga.” When it comes to overuse, yoga usually doesn’t cause the injury but can exacerbate it, Chhabra says. For example, wrists that spend the day in an extended position at a keyboard and then are forced to extend even further in positions such as downward dog, upward dog and chaturanga (a type of pushup) can be particularly vulnerable to tendinitis and carpal tunnel. People with arthritis also need to be extra cautious when it comes to yoga, because arthritic joints “can really flare up during yoga and result in a week to 10 days of pain,” he says. Yogis with arthritis could consider a gentler form of the practice or at least avoid overloading arthritic joints to prevent further inflammation. People with osteoporosis should avoid forward bends and twists. And another group that should be extra cautious are yogis with hyper-mobililty, which means their joints are very flexible. “You don’t want to have mobility without stability,” says

Chris Estafanous, a physical therapist in the District. “That increases your risk for injury.” This particular group needs to work on the strength part of yoga, not the deep stretching, he says. This doesn’t mean yoga is out for these groups. It does mean you should be careful about choosing a class and teacher. Alyson Shade, who owns Realignment Studio in Washington, D.C., recommends that anyone who is new to yoga or who has injuries and other limitations talk to the teacher before class. “Having that one-on-one conversation is important,” she says. “If someone has restrictions in their joints, then power yoga or flow would not be recommended.” Experts agree that to get the benefits but not the injuries after finding the right type of yoga, you need to listen to your body. “You have to be smart about it. If a pose bothers you, don’t do it,” Chabbra says. For wrist health, Estafanous recommends taking frequent breaks from putting weight into the hands and skipping poses such as wheel (which looks like a reverse table top, except with an arched back) and upward dog (in which you push up from a prone position, keeping arms straight and back arched), which require an extreme extension in the wrist. The focus on how you feel rather than how you look, especially compared with more experienced students, is also helpful in setting an appropriate effort level for your practice. Yoga shouldn’t be competitive — especially if you want to stay injury-free.

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THE GOOD LIFE

 January 27, 2019 | 9

One-pan chili starts with toasted rice Chipotle Beef Chili Bowls with Lime-Cilantro Crema ‌

AMERICA’S TEST KITCHEN

‌L

ooking to make enough chili for one night’s dinner without hauling out a heavy pot, we turned to our trusty skillet. We would use it to make both the chili and the rice, cooking in stages, for a one-pan meal with maximum flavor and minimal fuss. We started by toasting and simmering the rice, flavoring it with lime zest and juice to brighten it up. We then transferred it to individual serving bowls, which we kept warm in a low oven. While the rice cooked, we prepared our ingredients for a quick but flavorful chili. We found that treating ground beef with salt and baking soda ensured that it would remain moist and tender, even with a short cooking time. Blooming ground cumin, minced garlic and chipotle chile powder boosted their potency, which contributed complex flavor to the finished chili. We also whipped up a simple lime-cilantro crema (made from sour cream, cilantro, lime zest and juice, and salt); when our chili bowls were ready to serve, we topped them with the crema for an authentic finish. You will need a 12-inch nonstick skillet with a tight-fitting lid for this recipe. Serve with pickled jalapenos, shredded cheese, and diced avocado.

„„ 1/2 cup sour cream „„ 1/4 cup minced fresh

cilantro

stemmed, seeded, and chopped zest plus 3 tablespoons „„ 1 tablespoon ground juice (2 limes) cumin „„ Salt and pepper „„ 2 garlic cloves, minced „„ 1 pound, 90 percent „„ 2 teaspoons chipotle lean ground beef chile powder „„ 2 tablespoons plus 2 „„ 1 (15-ounce) can tomato cups water sauce „„ 1/4 teaspoon baking soda „„ 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed „„ 2 tablespoons vegetable oil „„ 1 cup frozen corn, thawed „„ 1 cup long-grain white rice Adjust oven rack to middle position, place 4 individual serving bowls on rack, and heat oven to 200 F. Whisk sour cream, 2 tablespoons cilantro, 1 teaspoon lime zest, 1 tablespoon lime juice, and 1/4 teaspoon salt together in bowl; cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Toss beef with 2 tablespoons water, baking soda, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and pinch pepper in bowl until thoroughly combined; let sit for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add rice and cook, stirring often, until edges begin to turn translucent, about 2 minutes. Add remaining 2 cups water and 1/2 teaspoon salt and bring to boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender, about 20 minutes. Off heat, add remaining 1 teaspoon lime zest and remaining 2 tablespoons lime juice and fluff gently with fork to incorporate. Divide cooked rice among warmed bowls, cover with aluminum foil, and keep warm in oven. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in now-empty skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion and bell pepper and cook until just beginning to brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Add beef mixture, breaking up meat with wooden spoon, and cook until no longer pink, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in cumin, garlic, and chili powder and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in tomato sauce, beans, corn, and 1 teaspoon salt and cook until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes. Spoon chili over rice in bowls, sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons cilantro, and serve with lime-cilantro crema. Serves 4. Nutrition information per serving: 565 calories; 137 calories from fat; 15 g fat (6 g saturated; 1 g trans fats); 68 mg cholesterol; mg sodium; 77 g carbohydrate; 13 g fiber; 10 g sugar; 31 g protein. For more recipes, cooking tips and ingredient and product reviews, visit https://www.americastestkitchen. com. Find more recipes like Chipotle Beef Chili Bowls in “One-Pan Wonders .” „„ 2 teaspoons grated lime

Chipotle Beef Chili Bowls

„„ 1 onion, chopped fine „„ 1 red bell pepper,


THE GOOD LIFE

10 |  January 27, 2019

SOCIAL SECURITY

Retire online, quickly and easily JERRY NELSON

District Manager ‌

‌The idea of applying for Social Security retirement benefits might seem daunting, but it’s not. There’s no need to visit an office. You don’t have to use the phone. We have an online retirement application that you can complete in as little as 15 minutes and from the comfort of your home or office. In most cases, once your application is submitted electronically, you’re done. There are no forms to sign and usually no documentation is required. Social Security will process your application and contact you if any further information is needed. It’s as simple as that. You can start your application now at www.socialsecurity.gov/ benefits/retirement You can apply online for retirement benefits or benefits as

a spouse if you: „„ are at least 61 years and 9 months old; „„ are not currently receiving benefits on your own Social Security record; „„ have not already applied for retirement benefits; and „„ want your benefits to start no more than 4 months in the future. (We cannot process your application if you apply for benefits more than 4 months in advance.) You’ll have to create or sign into your my Social Security account as part of your application. If you don’t have an account yet, this is a perfect time to create one. Just as important, this is where you will be able to check your application for benefits. Like our other online services, my Social Security is available

on your time and there’s no waiting in line or on the phone. You can see your entire work history going back to your first job to make sure we have all of your wages correctly tallied. Create or sign into your account at www.socialsecurity. gov/myaccount Are you curious about how much your retirement benefits will be? You can get an idea of what your benefits will be using our Retirement Estimator at www.socialsecurity.gov/benefits/ retirement/estimator.html Social Security provides services for millions of people, but we also want to make your experience with us as simple and easy as possible. Our many online services, including retiring online, are part of that mission. You can access more at www. socialsecurity.gov/onlineservices

Understanding survivor benefits JERRY NELSON

District Manager‌

Unfortunately, tragedy can ‌ strike without any warning. The loss of the family wage earner can be devastating both emotionally and financially. Social Security helps by providing income for the families of workers who die. Some of the Social Security taxes you pay go toward survivors benefits for workers and their families. The value of the survivors benefits you have under Social Security may even be more than the value of your individual life insurance. When you die, certain members of your family may be eligible for survivors benefits. These include widows and widowers (and divorced widows and widowers), children, and dependent parents. Here are the people who can

get survivors benefits based on your work: „„ Your widow or widower may be able to get full benefits at full retirement age. The full retirement age for survivors is age 66 for people born in 19451956, with the full retirement age gradually increasing to age 67 for people born in 1962 or later. Your widow or widower can get reduced benefits as early as age 60. If your surviving spouse is disabled, benefits can begin as early as age 50. „„ Your widow or widower can get benefits at any age if they take care of your child younger than age 16 or disabled, who is receiving Social Security benefits. „„ Your unmarried children, younger than age 18 (or up to age 19 if they’re attending elementary or secondary school full time), can also get benefits.

Your children can get benefits at any age if they were disabled before age 22. Under certain circumstances, we can also pay benefits to your stepchildren, grandchildren, step grandchildren, or adopted children. „„ Your dependent parents can get benefits if they’re age 62 or older. (For your parents to qualify as dependents, you must have provided at least half of their support.) You can read more about Survivors Benefits at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/EN-05-10084. pdf. How much your family can get from Social Security depends on your average lifetime earnings. The more you earned, the more their benefits will be. For more information on widows, widowers, and other survivors, visit www.socialsecurity. gov/planners/survivors.

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THE GOOD LIFE

 January 27, 2019 | 11

SOCIAL SECURITY

Disagree with disability decision? Social Security will take another look JERRY NELSON

District manager ‌

‌Social Security is here to help secure today and tomorrow by providing benefits and financial protection for millions of people. This assistance allows people with severe disabilities and health conditions to take care of the necessities of living, such as food, shelter, and medications. It is imperative that we continue to protect the integrity of the disability program for everyone by ensuring we make the correct decision on each claim. However, if you do not agree with our decision, you can ask us to take another look by filing an appeal. Generally, there are four appeal levels: 1) Reconsideration, 2) Hearing, 3) Appeals Council Review, and 4) Federal Court Review. At the Reconsideration level, someone who did not make the first decision on your claim will conduct a review and accept any additional evidence. Please note, in some states, appeals may proceed directly to the next step — the hearing. If you disagree with the reconsideration decision, you can file another appeal and your case will go to the hearing level. You, and any witnesses you bring, may present your case in front of an administrative law judge during this stage. The judge will then make a decision based on the information. If you disagree with the hearing decision, you can ask for a review by the Social Security Appeals Council. The Appeals Council can either make a decision or return your case to the judge for further review. If you disagree with the Appeals Council’s decision or they decide not to review your case, the last step in the appeals process is filing a lawsuit in a federal district’s court. You will be noti-

fied of our decision in every step of the process and the notice will have the information needed should you decide to appeal the decision. If you receive a denial notice, you have 60 days from that date to file an appeal. There are several ways to obtain the proper appeal forms. The easiest and quickest way is filing online by visiting www.socialsecurity. gov/benefits/disability/appeal.

html. You will be able to submit documents electronically to associate with your appeal request. You can also call us at 1-800-772-1213 or visit your local Social Security office to obtain the forms. Many people wonder if they need a lawyer when filing and appealing disability benefits. Whether you choose to appoint an attorney or authorized representative is completely up to

you. However, it is not required that you have one in any part of the process or in conducting business with Social Security. If you decide to appoint a representative, be sure to complete the necessary documents to authorize us to speak to them on your behalf. You can also read our publication Your Right to Representation at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/EN-0510075.pdf.

Social Security takes considerable pride in administering program benefits timely and accurately. The disability program is no exception. This is why we encourage you to contact us as soon as possible if you disagree with our decision. Give us a call, visit the local office, or go online at www.socialsecurity.gov/ benefits/disability/appeal.html so we can take another look at your claim.


12 |  January 27, 2019

THE GOOD LIFE

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The Good Life - January 2019  

The Good Life - January 2019  

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