social security attorneys

Salem Improves Streets To Assist The Disabled With Their Commute

by Staff | May 29th, 2013

May 29, 2013

For many who receive Social Security Disability, their conditions leave them with limited mobility that can make long treks extremely difficult. Many are unable to drive and depend on bus routes not only because of this lack of mobility, but also a lack of money to afford a vehicle. So, imagine the frustration of many disabled citizens of Salem, Oregon, when a new Social Security office was built approximately 1,000 feet from the nearest bus stop.

According to an article from the Statesman Journal, the placement of the building required those utilizing a bus to visit the facility to cross a set of train tracks and then follow a dirt path along a congested street. The safety hazards were brought to the attention of government officials and now a construction project is underway to ease the dangers of the journey from the bus stop to the building.

Peter Fernandez, Director for the city’s Public Works Department, explained that the new pathway will be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act and will feature a new crosswalk and sidewalk. The improvements will also include curbs, curb ramps for wheelchairs, and better street markings.

The Social Security Attorneys with Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin applaud the efforts to ease the commute for the disabled in the Salem area. The firm is hopeful the project’s completion will be successful in better protecting recipients from the dangers of traffic during their commute to the Social Security office.

Will Social Security Benefits Increase Next Year?

by Staff | May 15th, 2013

May 15, 2013

Each year, the Social Security Administration evaluates the cost of everyday items deemed as staples to survival and adjusts the amount of money Social Security beneficiaries receive based on the fluctuations. This leaves many recipients already wondering if they are going to receive a raise in benefits in 2014.

An article from PBS NewsHour explains several new factors may come into play in figuring next year’s Cost Of Living Adjustment (COLA). Currently, the COLA is figured based off of an average inflation rate on certain services and products. Now, President Barack Obama has proposed a “chained” Consumer Product Index (CPI) that takes into account the fact that most citizens will substitute these products and services for cheaper options if the price becomes too high.

Under the old system, inflation rates over the last 12 months have been figured to be hovering around a 1.5 percent increase. If Obama’s new system is used in calculating next year’s figures, the inflation rate is around 1.4 percent.

This means that while recipients of Social Security Disability can expect a raise, it may not be as high as previously expected.

Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin and their team of Social Security Disability Attorneys recognize just how complex the laws surrounding receiving assistance through Social Security can be. That’s why the firm suggests an individual discuss their legal options with an attorney if they are considering applying for benefits or have had a claim denied in the past.

Social Security Attorneys Explain Common Program Misconceptions

by Staff | April 17th, 2013

April 17, 2013

The laws surrounding how Social Security Benefits are distributed are quite complex. These complexities can often lead to citizens becoming confused about the regulations of the program, which can lead to misinformation being spread. An article in The Wall Street Journal recently discussed and put to rest five common misconceptions people have about the way Social Security is distributed.

One of the most common errors is that many believe the amount they will receive in benefits is based off their last ten-years of work. This simply isn’t true. In fact, payments are based on an individual’s best 35-years of work history and are adjusted for inflation rates.

Many also believe they must die before their family can collect their Social Security benefits; however, family members may be eligible to collect benefits at the time the a worker beings receiving benefits.

Another common myth is that if a recipient works and earns more than $15,000 while receiving Social Security, their payments will cease. A person who is over full retirement age can work and collect income at no penalty for up to $15, 120. For every $2 earned after that, and individual only loses $1 of benefits. This means an individual would need to be making around $50,000 to lose their benefits.

The Social Security Attorneys with Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin are knowledgeable in the many laws surrounding Social Security and may be able to help if you are considering applying for benefits.

Alabama Woman Pleads Guilty to Social Security Disability Fraud

by Staff | September 12th, 2011

The jig is up for a Birmingham, Alabama, woman who falsely applied for and collected Social Security Disability payments for nine years using her former daughter-in-law’s name and Social Security number. On Monday, September 12, she plead guilty to mail fraud and aggravated identity theft.

By the time the woman’s scheme was discovered—in March of this year—she had already received nearly $68K from the Social Security Administration.

The woman’s hearing occurred today at the Hugo L. Black U.S. Courthouse where the accused made her plea before U.S. District Court Judge Karon Bowdre. Using the information of her former daughter-in-law, the woman claimed disability beginning in March 2002 and continued receiving checks until March 2011. The indictment states that the woman’s daughter-in-law was not actually disabled and that she married the woman’s son in 2001 and divorced him in 2010.

The Birmingham News reports that the woman’s dishonesty was discovered when she applied for food stamps and a background check revealed that she was receiving’s Social Security payments.

The woman will be sentenced January 13.

Read more.

What do you think can be done to lessen the prevalence of Social Security fraud?

If you need help with your Social Security Disability benefits, contact the Social Security Disability lawyers at Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin.

Social Security Advocates Fight Against COLA Cut Proposals

by Staff | July 1st, 2011

Plenty of Social Security advocates are up in arms over news that the Obama administration is considering switching to a “chained” Consumer Price Index when making cost-of-living adjustments (COLA) for Social Security beneficiaries, according to HuffingtonPost.com.

The consideration comes as lawmakers debate about which budget cuts to make to keep the United States from exceeding the federal debt limit, which is set to occur the first week of August.

As it stands, the Social Security Administration typically makes near-annual COLA adjustments.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics explains that the chained CPI formula would estimate a lower cost-of-living for Social Security beneficiaries because it takes recessions into account, figuring that Americans buy less during tough economic periods.

In a recent news release, Joan Entmacher, director of family economic security at the National Women’s Law Center, said, “The proposal to shift to the chained-CPI is actually a stealth attack on Social Security.”

Likewise, a report from the Economic Policy Institute asserts that the chained CPI formula would be inappropriate for calculating Social Security COLAs because the 65-and-older population typically spend three times as much on healthcare than the general population.

Read more.

Do you think the chained-CPI would be a fair way to look at cost-of-living for Social Security beneficiaries? Do you think Social Security should be taken out of the debt ceiling reduction discussion?

If you need help with your Social Security Disability benefits, contact the Social Security Disability lawyers at Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin.

Federal Prosecutors Nab 9 Kent, WA, Residents for Elaborate Disability Scam

by Staff | June 27th, 2011

Nine auto-dealers from Kent, Washington, were arrested Friday on charges of fraud and theft after allegedly scamming the Social Security Administration out of more than $700,000. The accused, each of whom worked in auto sales, falsely claimed that mental impairments left them unable to work.

The indictments state that the defendants variously faked disabilites during interviews, misrepresented their work histories and assets, and registered for and used multiple Social Security numbers and driver’s license numbers.

One accused man, aged 50, originally applied for Social Security Disability in 1990, while a 45-year-old woman concurrently collected payments as his purported caregiver. Four others are accused of committing fraud for as long as 31 years by using second identities and claiming disability even as they ran a used car lot.

“These Social Security dollars provide a critical safety net for those who really need the assistance,” said U.S.  Attorney Jenny A. Durkan in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. “This kind of fraud tears at that safety net and betrays taxpayers who expect their hard earned dollars to go to the truly needy.”

Read more.

Why do you think that it’s so difficult for some people to have their disability benefits approved while others easily obtain disabilities fraudulently?

If you need help with your Social Security Disability benefits, contact the Social Security Disability lawyers at Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin.

How to Get Social Security Benefits from an Ex-Spouse

by Staff | June 3rd, 2011

An article published today on CBSMoneyWatch.com addresses how to access additional Social Security monies based on the earnings of an ex-husband or ex-wife.

CBS financial blogger Steve Vernon lays out the ground rules about how this works:

1) If you were married for at least 10 years and then got divorced, you are eligible to collect Social Security on 50 percent of your ex-spouse’s benefits. If you were married even one day shy of 10 years, you will not be eligible for spouse’s benefits.

2) The amount of your benefits will depend on the age at which you start to collect Social Security.  You’ll maximize your benefits by waiting until Full Retirement Age—66. But you can start collecting them as early as age 62. However, you’d receive about 30 percent less if collection begins at 62.

3) You cannot collect your own benefits and your spouse’s benefits. If your wage earnings produce a larger benefit than your ex-spouse’s then you’ll want to collect your own benefit.

4) Collecting a spouse’s benefit because of your ex’s earnings won’t impact his or her benefit. Even if he or she remarries, their new spouse can also receive a spouse’s income.

Read more.

Did you know people could collect Social Security money based on the existence of an ex-husband or wife?

If you need help with your Social Security benefits, contact the Social Security Disability lawyers at Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin.