social security

Can You Work While Applying for Social Security Disability Benefits?

by Staff | August 15th, 2015

Continuing the discussion of Social Security Disability eligibility, attorney TC Newlin explains Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA), the Earned Income Test, and how working—or your capacity to do work—affects your claim for disability benefits.

New Expedited SSD Filing Process for Veterans

by Staff | May 23rd, 2014

One of the most frustrating parts of the Social Security Disability filing process is the waiting. Claims take time to process, court dates have to be set, and if you’re denied, the appeal process can take even longer. According to a recent news communiqué from the Social Security Administration (SSA), that frustration may soon be alleviated for certain veterans.

Carolyn W. Colvin, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, recently unveiled a new expedited filing process for veterans with a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) disability compensation rating of 100% Permanent & Total (P&T). Although this new policy promises to fast track such applications, it does not guarantee an approval of the claim. However, it’s still a very exciting announcement for veterans who have sacrificed so much.

“While we can never fully repay them for their sacrifices,” Colvin says. “We can be sure we provide them with the quality of service that they deserve.”

To take advantage of this fast-track initiative, veterans must show proof of their disability rating via a VA Notification Letter. However, to gain benefits, veterans will be required to meet the strict requirements that all applicants face. That’s why it’s important to have an Indiana Social Security Disability attorney on your side.

If you’ve been denied Social Security Disability benefits, call the Indiana injury lawyers at Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin today.

Wait Times for Social Security Disability Appeals Hearings Are Growing

by Staff | March 14th, 2014

March 14, 2014

It seems to be a case of taking one step forward and two steps back when it comes to the Social Security Administration (SSA) addressing the problem of it’s increasing backlog of claims awaiting a hearing for a decision.

SSA data shows that as of December of last year, there are 903,720 individuals awaiting a hearing on an appeal of their Social Security Disability (SSD) claim. This is an almost 7 percent increase from the number gathered at the end of the 2013 fiscal year and a 17 percent jump from 2011. Researchers were also able to conclude there were longer wait times for SSD hearings as well. The average wait time is now 393 days, compared with the 382-day wait period reported at the end of the 2013 fiscal year.

These numbers leave many claimants wondering what they should do when planning to file a Social Security Disability Appeal. Some actions that should be considered include:

  • Don’t Give Up- When a claim is denied, its easy to let following up fall to the wayside. However, doing so can be extremely detrimental to an individual’s claim, as waiting too long could affect vital work history.
  • Document Everything- The SSA closely examines individuals’ work histories up to the past decade and will consider all notes and medical records during an appeals hearing, which is why it is so important to have every bit of information that is available regarding your case.
  • Get Help!– The Social Security Disability Lawyers with Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin recognize how complex the process can be and are here to offer assistance to anyone who is considering applying for SSD or who has a claim that was denied in the past.

Social Security Disability applications backlogged

by lmallernee | December 7th, 2012

Millions of people are applying for disability benefits, and the Social Security Administration can’t work through the claims fast enough, reports USA Today.

Funded by workers’ payroll deductions, the Social Security disability program is intended to help people who get sick or injured and can no longer work.

Two things are causing pressure to build on the system: aging Baby Boomers are more prone to injury and illnesses as they get older, and the recession has caused many to apply for benefits when they lose their jobs.

Because they fail to supply enough evidence of a disability, most applicants are rejected in their initial written request. After two rejections, their next step is an appeal before a judge. Applicants, on average, now wait more than 10 months for those court hearings.

According to the Social Security Administration, the average wait time for those who apply for disability benefits is 316 days.

A key reason for the long delay between application and approval of benefits is a safety mechanism built into the program since its inception in the mid-1950s. To ensure applicants aren’t gaming the system, the application is complex, requiring thorough documentation and detail.

Those who have applied for benefits because of a disability describe the system as “complex and overburdened.”

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

Cutting SSDI could damage nation’s economy

by lmallernee | November 26th, 2012

A focal point of the campaign season was balancing the federal budget, and some want to cut the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program because they say that nondisabled claimants are receiving benefits.

While some may be trying to defraud the Social Security disability system, the facts are that SSDI cases are on the rise because the baby-boomer generation is getting older, and they are now more susceptible to injury and illness. Also more women in the workforce are also eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance.

Stabilizing the national budget is a priority, but it cannot be achieved by turning our backs on our country’s disabled workers, according to The Seattle Times.

If more SSDI claimants are denied the benefits that they have earned, the entire nation will experience larger societal costs such as:

1. SSDI prevents disabled workers from relying on safety-net programs like welfare, emergency-response, and healthcare systems.

2. It also prevents significant personal and societal burdens like home foreclosures, evictions, and bankruptcies. Basically, denying Social Security Disability Insurance benefits perpetuates homelessness in our nation.

If any cuts to the SSDI program are approved, people will not have access to the benefits that they contributed to while they worked.

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

Can you collect SSDI and Medicaid at the same time?

by lmallernee | November 12th, 2012

November 12, 2012

According to the Cypress Creek Mirror, a 58-year-old woman was diagnosed with stage IIIA metastatic breast cancer. She was unemployed at the time. A breast/ovarian cancer program through Texas qualified her under Medicaid. She has undergone chemotherapy and a mastectomy. Based on her work credits, she is eligible for Social Security Disability (SSDI), and the amount she can collect will be $1,535.

Her question is: “If I am put on medical disability through Social Security and I am placed on Medicare, what will happen with my Medicaid benefits? At present, I am not paying anything for my cancer treatments. I understand if I am placed on disability, I will automatically be placed on Medicare.”

To qualify for Medicaid, you must meet certain income requirements, and if you make too much, then you can lose your Medicaid benefits. The woman’s $1,535 SSDI benefit would be too much to qualify her for Medicaid.

She is just beginning her radiation treatments, and she does not have to pay for anything because she qualified with a non-profit organization. The website’s medicare columnist says that the woman should not risk her Medicaid eligibility by applying for Social Security Disability at this point.

She should wait and apply for Social Security Disability after she has finished all of her treatments.

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

Ways to make sure your COLA goes further

by lmallernee | November 9th, 2012

According to , there are some practical ways to help make sure that the small 2013 cost of living (COLA) increase can go further for you.

1. Review healthcare requirements and coverage.

For those already receiving Medicare benefits, annual enrollment season (Oct. 15 – Dec. 7) provides the opportunity to make healthcare coverage changes.

2. For those awaiting Medicare eligibility, be sure to investigate extending existing healthcare by evaluating COBRA options.

Check out healthcare resources that can help lower costs, such as prescription drug subsidy programs.

3. Reduce credit card debt.

According to TransUnion, the average credit card debt per borrower is about $4,971. “Applying even a modest extra income to credit card debt can help you pay it down and strengthen your overall financial position,” a personal  financial planning manager said.

4. Find mortgage assistance.

It might be time to get help with your mortgage. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) provides many resources to help homeowners avoid foreclosure, as well as providing a list of HUD-Approved Housing Counseling Agencies.

5. Pursue additional resources.

There are many government-sponsored programs available to low-income individuals, including assistance with heat, electricity and telephone bills; reduced public transportation fares; property tax credits; and food stamps, food pantries and free meals for children attending school.

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

12 tips to prevent identity theft

by lmallernee | September 12th, 2012

September 12, 2012

To keep someone from stealing your identity, some simple precautions and these twelve steps may be able to help you, according to

(1) Protect your PIN numbers, especially at ATMs. Try to memorize your PIN number.

(2) Change your passwords often, at least every six months.

(3) Get the mail from your mailbox promptly. If you find out that a forwarding order has been placed on your mail, go to the post office to check the signature and cancel the order.

(4) Do not give your credit card or Social Security numbers to an unsolicited caller.

(5) Tear up (or shred) credit card receipts and any other items with personal information on them before throwing them away.

(6) Check your credit report regularly for fraudulent information and report any errors to the credit bureau immediately.

(7) Report stolen credit cards immediately.

(8) Carefully review your bank and credit card statements, making sure that you can account for every transaction.

(9) Protect your Social Security number.

(10) Use pass words on your mobile technology such as smartphones, iPads, and laptops.

(11) Use a credit monitoring service, usually through one of the three major credit bureaus.

(12) If a relative dies, do not toss out his/her unused checks or other personal documents.

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

Increase in SSDI benefits criticized by some

by lmallernee | August 15th, 2012

August 15, 2012

Attacks against Social Security Disability Insurance have been on the rise lately, according to Newsday.

Among other things, some critics say that SSDI applications have increased because of laid off workers who turn to disability after their unemployment benefits ran out.

Social Security Commissioner Michael Astrue, who was appointed by President George W. Bush, made the same statement last year in an August 22 Newsday article in which discusses how the Social Security Disability program is in financial trouble as aging baby boomers and laid-off workers file large numbers of claims.

But some of the increase in SSDI applications is simply due to the aging of the population. Disability claims increase as more people near retirement age, since older workers are more likely to have medical problems that make them unable to work. SSDI applications have also increased because the U.S. population has grown.

If someone thinks that SSDI is an incentive not to work, be aware that the average monthly benefit is $1,100, or $13,200 a year. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, the poverty level for a family of three is $19,090.

When you look at those numbers, it hardly seems that Social Security Disability Insurance is providing an incentive for people to feign a disability.

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

Extraordinary people with disabilities

by lmallernee | August 1st, 2012

August 1, 2012

It’s a great achievement for any person to perform extraordinary acts, but it’s even greater when this is done despite a disability. This blog looks at two famous people with disabilities who have made a major mark on society.

Regarded as one of the greatest painters the world has ever seen, Vincent Van Gogh was a Dutch painter whose paintings have immensely contributed to the foundations of modern art.

In his 10-year painting career, he produced 900 painting and 1100 drawings. Some of his paintings today have been the most expensive ever sold to date.

But did you know that Van Gogh suffered from severe depression?

Widely regarded as one of the greatest composers in history, Ludwig van Beethoven gave his first public performance as a pianist when he was only 8 years old.

By his mid-twenties, he had earned a name for himself as a great pianist. But by then, he had also begun to go deaf. Beethoven’s finest works such as the 9th Symphony and the 5th Piano Concerto are also considered to be the finest works of their kind in all of music history.

Did you know that he achieved all of this even though he was completely deaf for the last 25 years of his life?

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