social security

Online Social Security statements big success

by lmallernee | August 10th, 2012

August 10, 2012

In less than two months, one million people have gone online and created a My Social Security account to view their Social Security statements, reports Wausau Daily Herald.

Social Security added this new service to its electronic services on May 1. It allows people to access their Social Security earnings and benefits information and provides estimates for retirement, disability, and survivors’ benefits.

“The online Social Security statement is a huge success,” the commissioner of Social Security said. “The online statement meets our commitment to provide Americans with an easy, efficient process to obtain an estimate of their potential Social Security benefits. I recommend that everyone get in the habit of checking their online statement each year, around their birthday, for example.”

The American Customer Satisfaction Index (ASCI), which tracks trends in customers’ satisfaction, said that users are giving the online Social Security statement a score of 89, making it consistent with Social Security’s other online services, such as the online retirement application.

The new online statements also provide workers a way to determine whether their earnings are accurately recorded, which was not possible when the agency mailed paper statements.

To access your online statement, you must be at least 18 years old, have a Social Security number, a valid email address, and a U.S. mailing address.

If you or someone you know needs help with disability benefits, contact the Social Security lawyers at Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin.

New book on Social Security

by lmallernee | July 26th, 2012

July 25, 2012

The People’s Pension: the Struggle to Defend Social Security by Eric Laursen is a new book that discusses the top ten threats to America’s national retirement system, according to Infoshop News. Laursen is an independent financial journalist, activist, and commentator.

The book also discusses what is needed to keep Social Security healthy for future generations of retirees.

In his book, Laursen opines that a powerful, well-funded movement to phase out Social Security or to privatize it has been gathering strength since the election of Ronald Reagan.

Tracing the success of grassroots labor organizers who have fought off attempts to dismantle the program, the book offers an in-depth history of the ideological clashes over this vital program since it became a lively issue in the early 1980s.

With language that is clear and understandable, The People’s Pension probes the complex arguments on both sides, and it asks fundamental questions such as “Why is the most popular and successful social program in American history, responsible for lifting generations out of poverty, now under continual assault?” and “What has changed in American society and economics to make this possible?”

The People’s Pension finds the answers in a surprising place: in the bureaucratic structure that originally molded Social Security during the New Deal era.

If you or someone you know needs help with a social security benefits claim, contact the disability lawyers at Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin.

Well-known people with disabilities

by lmallernee | July 23rd, 2012

July 23, 2012

Do you have a disability or medical condition which limits what you can do? Many ordinary people, as well as many actors, politicians, and writers, have disabilities, according to the website Disabled World.

One of the most obvious types of disability is a physical impairment such as an amputation. Amputation is the removal of a body extremity by trauma or surgery. Sometimes a prosthesis may replace the missing body part.

Some famous people who have overcome the so-called amputee disability barrier include the following:

Heather Mills, estranged wife of Paul McCartney, was hit by a police motorcycle while crossing the road and sustained a severe injury to her left leg, which was then amputated below the knee. An activist who campaigns for the disarming of land mines and for animal rights, she wears a prosthetic leg and was showcased on Dancing with the Stars.

Tom Whittaker was the first disabled person to climb to the summit of Mount Everest. His right foot was amputated following a car accident. He founded the Cooperative Wilderness Handicapped outdoor group.

Ted Kennedy, Jr., lost his right leg to cancer when he was 22.  Since then, he has received  a master’s degree from Yale University and a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Connecticut School of Law.

If you or someone you know needs help with disability benefits, contact the disability lawyers at Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin.

What are your employment options while receiving SSDI?

by lmallernee | July 18th, 2012

July 18, 2012

People on Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) are provided incentives to return to work, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Under the Social Security rules, you can work while maintaining SSDI benefits by:

(1) Earning less than $720 a month.

(2) Undertaking a trial work period for at least nine months in a consecutive 60-month period and earn a least $720 per month.

(3) Participating in extended eligibility period by working for 36 months if your earnings are not “substantial” or $1010 or more.

Even after SSDI benefits stop, you still have five years to have your benefits reinstated if you stop working without having to reapply.

There is also the Ticket to Work program, offered by the Social Security Administration, which provides free job related employment supports such as vocational rehabilitation, training, and job referrals.

If you or someone you know needs help with Social Security benefits, contact the disability lawyers at Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin.

Woman illegally receives SSDI benefits for 15 years

by lmallernee | July 11th, 2012

July 11, 2012

A 69-year-old woman of Bridgeport, Connecticut, was sentenced yesterday by a United States district judge to three years’ probation for her illegal receipt of more than $93,000 in Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) benefits, reports The Bridgeport News.

When the Social Security Administration determined that she was disabled and unable to work in 1993, the woman began to receive Social Security Disability Income benefits.

In 1994, the woman went back to work, using another name, but still she collected the disability income benefits even though she was no longer eligible for them.

She received a total of $93,358 in government benefits for fifteen years between 1993 and 2009 that she wasn’t entitled to.

The woman pled guilty to one count of theft of government property on April 26, and she has been ordered to make a full restitution to the government.

So far, the Social Security Administration has recovered approximately $51,000 from her.

The judge has scheduled her sentencing for July 16, at which time the woman faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years and a fine of up to $250,000.

This matter has been investigated by the Social Security Administration, Office of Inspector General. The case is being prosecuted by the Assistant United States Attorney.

If you or someone you know needs help with Supplemental Security Income, contact the disability lawyers at Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin.

Social Security: not the young against old

by lmallernee | July 9th, 2012

July 9, 2012

Some young people believe Social Security benefits will be gone by the time they are of age to use the program. However, others believe this belief is a myth used to support privatization of Social Security, according to The Commercial Appeal.

“Generational conflict messaging is incredibly potent right now,” observes Alex Lawson, 32, executive director of the Washington advocacy group Social Security Works. He thinks that it’s time for young activists to push back against this myth.

When young people raise doubts about whether Social Security will be around for their retirement, it requires a firm answer, according to Kathryn Anne Edwards, 27, co-author of A Young Person’s Guide to Social Security, a 60-page book published last year by the nonpartisan Economic Policy Institute and available for free.

“I tell them that if it’s not there for you, it’s because someone has chosen to take it away from you,” she said. “When I explain that to people my age, it really does resonate with them. They’re under the assumption that it’s some kind of mayfly, that it’s only a matter of time before it gets put to bed. But if you explain that ‘no, it’s meant to last forever,’ it resonates with them that it’s a political issue and a political decision.”

If you or someone you know needs help with benefits, contact the Social Security lawyers at Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin.

SSDI benefits for severe depression

by lmallernee | July 6th, 2012

Clinical depression is a serious medical condition that can be profoundly disabling. For that reason, many people with severe depression may qualify for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits to help them financially, according to the Digital Journal.

Since medical evidence is needed to obtain SSD benefits for clinical depression and it can sometimes be difficult to prove a depression-related disability claim, it’s wise to seek help from a Social Security Disability lawyer.

Applicants with severe depression must show that their condition impairs their ability to work and that it is expected to last continuously for at least a year.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) will look at the applicant’s ability to perform “activities of daily living,” such a cooking, shopping, and paying bills. The applicant’s ability to function in a social group and to focus on common work tasks will also be reviewed by the SSA.

SSD application for depression must include medical records and documents that show how the applicant’s depression affects him or her at home and at work.

To maintain eligibility for SSD benefits for depression, ongoing medical treatment is required, such as therapy and medications.

If you are experiencing debilitating depression, you can talk to an attorney who can help you take care of your financial needs so that you can focus on getting better.

If you or someone you know needs help Filing for SSD benefits, contact the lawyers at Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin.

Supreme Court approves Affordable Care Act

by lmallernee | July 2nd, 2012

July 2, 2012

The Affordable Care Act was passed by the United States Supreme Court Thursday in a 5-4 decision, reports the Tucson Citizen.

The act requires almost everyone to obtain health care and guarantees it will be available to those previously uninsured or uninsurable.

The Affordable Care Act has rewritten the Social Security Act of 1935 and the amendment to the Social Security Act that created Medicare and Medicaid in 1965. Each of these acts added or altered social protections for large groups of Americans.

Lawrence Jacobs, a political science professor at the University of Minnesota, said that this health-care law “will have implications for tens of millions, including 30 million who will get access to health insurance and many more millions that will be affected by insurance-regulation reforms.”

Though no one knows for sure how this historical move will impact the country, historians and legal scholars said if the past is a guide, the legislation will eventually become an accepted part of American society.

“The Supreme Court has signed off on a piece of legislation that is as sweeping and perhaps more sweeping than any social-welfare legislation in half a century and perhaps since the New Deal,” said Jacobs, the co-author of the 2010 book Health Care Reform and American Politics: What Everyone Needs to Know.

If you or someone you know needs help with disability benefits, contact the disability lawyers at Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin.

Social Security Disability claims increase

by lmallernee | June 21st, 2012

By the end of 2013, the Social Security Administration expects Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) claims to reach 1.1 million, according to timesunion.com.

SSDI provides monthly benefits to those under retirement age that can no longer work because of severe disability. The increase in initial claims highlights the need for an expert to help improve the likelihood of receiving SSDI benefits.

“In light of these levels of pending Social Security disability claims, it’s extremely important to be sure you qualify for SSDI benefits before applying,” said an assistant vice president of claims. “Then, it’s crucial to have all the necessary medical documentation and a treating physician’s support for your claim. One of the best ways to improve your chances earlier in the process is seeking professional SSDI representation.”

These five tips from timesunion.com may also help you:

(1) Be prepared. There are requirements based on age, work history, and disability.

(2) Know your claim. Medical records and documentation are key to all SSDI applications.

(3) Be consistent. Repeat the same information from form to form.

(4) Be patient. The SSDI process typically takes several months for the initial application to be reviewed.

(5) Consider getting help. Get a professional to help you with the forms, documentation, filings, calls, appointments, appeals, and interviews to produce a successful claim.

If you or someone you know needs help with Getting Your SSD Claim Approved, contact the Social Security Disability Lawyers at Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin.

Social Security Disability and Medicare prescription costs

by lmallernee | June 13th, 2012

If you’ve ever wondered if there’s a time limit on collecting Social Security Disability benefits, The Sacramento Bee has the answer.

According to the newspaper’s Q&A section, if a medical review finds that your medical condition hasn’t improved and you remain unable to work, your Social Security Disability benefits will continue.

When you reach full retirement age, if you’re still receiving disability benefits, they will automatically convert to Social Security retirement benefits.

Another question posed to the newspaper is: If you’re interested in getting extra help with your prescription costs, but you have $10,000 in the bank, would you still qualify?

Under Medicare Part D, factors other than just your bank balance are taken into account. These factors include your income, the value of the things that you own, such as real estate (other than the place you live), cash, stocks, bonds, and retirement accounts such as IRAs or 401ks.

The resource limits shown on the application include a $1,500 per person exclusion for burial purposes.

In most cases this year, a person’s total resources are limited to $13,070 (or $26,120 if you are married and living with your spouse) to qualify for assistance with your Medicare prescription drug costs. There are some exceptions, however.

If you have more questions concerning disability benefits or if you or someone you know needs help with Social Security Disability benefits, contact a Social Security disability attorney at Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin.