Social Security Benefits

What Social Security Benefits Are Available for Same-Sex Couples?

by Staff | November 21st, 2014

Most Americans pay into the Social Security program throughout their entire working careers, but what happens to a person’s benefits if they pass away unexpectedly? The attorneys with Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin explain that if the deceased individual was married or had children, their next of kin would receive survivor benefits.

Several recent changes to the law allowing same-sex marriage has created some issues as to who this particular type of benefit should be awarded to. Several states have made it legal for two individuals of the same gender to become bound in matrimony.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has ruled it will recognize same sex marriages when it comes to awarding survivor benefits, but only in states where the practice is legal.

These aren’t the only benefits same-sex couples may qualify for under the same rules. In fact, a story from Investment News states the Social Security Administration is currently processing claims for both spousal and children’s benefits for same sex couples living in states where the practice has been made legal.

Like most processes overseen by the SSA though, applying for any of these benefits can be a long and complex task. Hiring an attorney to help you with your case can help eliminate any questions you may have and make collecting the necessary paperwork and documentation easier.

At Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin, we’re available to speak with you anytime about questions you have regarding Social Security benefits. Call our team of Social Security Lawyers today at (800) 477-7315.

Social Security Common Conditions: Speech Disorders

by Staff | August 27th, 2014

Speech disorders affect roughly 7.5 million United States citizens. Many of those with speech disorder disabilities may qualify for Social Security Disability benefits, but it’s important to understand the eligibility requirements before applying.

For example, most children begin to develop speech patterns by six-months of age and have mastered articulating full sentences between ages 3-5. However, those who suffer from an articulation deficiency may never gain this ability, and the Social Security Administration will evaluate each case based on a patient’s ability to produce speech by any means necessary, including the use of mechanical or electronic devices. Speech impairments may also be evaluated as symptoms of other underlying disorders.

This just goes to show that proving a speech disability can be complex. That’s why most experts suggest speaking with a Social Security Disability attorney if you’re considering applying for benefits because of a speech disorder or if you’ve had a claim denied in the past.

At Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin, we know what it takes to successfully file a Social Security Disability claim, and we want to help you understand the process. Learn more about how we can assist you be giving us a call at (800) 477-7315.

Same-Sex Couples May Now Qualify for Supplemental Security Income

by Staff | June 30th, 2014

Proving to Social Security Administration that you’re in need of assistance through Supplemental Security Income (SSI) can be a difficult process, but it can be even more frustrating when you’re denied access to the program based on a lifestyle choice.

In the past, individuals involved in same-sex marriages or relationships could not have their relationship status recognized by the Social Security Administration. This is because federal policy prohibited same-sex couples from being able to jointly file for benefits.

This has changed with a recent decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act. According to Investment News, the SSA will now not only recognize a married couple of the same sex when an application is submitted, but will also use a spouse of the same sex’s information when making a decision in a disability or Supplemental Security Income case.

In order for a couple to qualify for Social Security spousal benefits, the pair must have been married for at least one year and also be residents of a state that recognizes same-sex marriages.

Many U.S. citizens have seen this change in policy as the beginning of a new age for equality and the Supplemental Security Income Lawyers with Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos and Newlin are here to help if you or your loved one are seeking Social Security benefits.

What You Don’t Know About Social Security Benefits Can Affect Your Claim

by Staff | June 23rd, 2014

A portion of most workers’ paychecks go towards their Social Security benefits. But while millions of Americans are paying into this program, very few understand the policies that regulate it. Knowing the subtleties of these rules can add hundreds of dollars per month in benefits.

An article from The Wall Street Journal explains there are several things about the Social Security program that can have serious effects on many Americans’ ability to collect Social Security benefits. One of the biggest problems with the program is its complexity. In fact, the Social Security Administration’s handbook states there is too much information for them to include it all in the publication.

Other areas of concern within the Social Security program are their current lack of manpower available to process the growing number of claims and appeals.

Each of these issues plays a significant role in Social Security workers’ inability to provide applicants with guidance and direction about how to get the maximum benefits available.

At Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin, our Social Security Disability Attorneys can help you understand the steps to to file a successful Social Security claim. So call us anytime to discuss your claim.

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.

Social Security Administration Begins Processing Claims For Same Sex Couples

by Staff | September 11th, 2013

September 11, 2013

The laws that oversee how and to who Social Security Benefits are offered can be quite complex. With the federal government acknowledging the legitimacy of same sex marriages, many citizens questioned if homosexual couples would be allowed to qualify for government benefits.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) recently responded by saying it is now beginning to process claims for same-sex couples and are also issuing payments in cases that are approved.

The Supreme Court recently ruled on the Defense of Marriage Act and found that marriages between individuals of the same sex should be recognized with the same rights as marriages of heterosexual couples.

This means spouses of the same sex may now be entitled to a portion of a partner’s Social Security Benefits at retirement or death.

The SSA is currently working to ensure all policies and procedures are in place to process these claims. The agency also encourages citizens who believe they may be entitled to an award from a claim to begin the application process immediately to ensure they do not lose any potential benefits. When the Department of Justice releases final instructions on how to proceed, claims will be processed.

The Social Security Benefit Lawyers with Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin recognize how complicated the process and regulations for receiving benefits can be. That is why the firm suggests discussing your legal options with an attorney if you are considering applying for benefits or have a claim that was denied in the past.

Social Security Benefits A Lifeline For Millions Of Americans

by Staff | August 30th, 2013

August 30, 2013

While much of the recent media attention surrounding Social Security Benefits has focused on cases of fraud and dwindling program funding, it is important to remember how vital the program is for many Americans.

Without the Social Security Administration (SSA) and the programs it supports, millions of United States citizens would be living in poverty. The SSA estimates the median total income for married couples and non-married individuals ages 65 or older have increased significantly since 1962, when the SSA began tracking such data. Even with inflation adjustments, median incomes have risen between 114 and 122 percent.

This rise in median income can be directly attributed to the Social Security Administration and its programs, considering 87 percent of married couples and 85 percent of non-married individuals in this particular age demographic are Social Security recipients. These benefits make up an average of two-thirds of these individuals total income.

More than 56 million citizens are currently receiving benefits from the SSA, with an increasing number of women collecting payments. This number is only expected to rise in the coming years.

The Social Security Benefits Lawyers with Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin recognize how vital benefits for retirees and the disabled coming from the SSA can be to having income resources that provide everyday necessities. The firm is here to help anyone who is considering applying for such benefits or who has a claim that was denied in the past.

2013 Social Security Report Highlights Financial Struggles

by Staff | June 3rd, 2013

June 3, 2013

Last week, the Social Security Administration (SSA) released its report on the financial status of its trust funds. The report highlighted several areas of concern for citizens who depend on the Social Security Disability (SSD) program for benefits.

One area that has garnered a great amount of attention is the financial stability of SSD. The new report indicated that the trust fund supporting the program is sustainable only until the year 2020. At that point, the costs associated with the benefits given to recipients will outweigh the program’s income. By 2033, funding for the program will have run dry unless the government makes adjustments.

The financial struggles of the program mean that adjustments will likely be made in the coming years; however, the problem with using adjustments and cuts as a solution is that those who already depend on the meager payouts as their main source of income will be left receiving less money as the value of the American dollar continues to inflate. So, beneficiaries will not only be receiving less money, but the value of the money they receive will also continue to decline.

The Social Security Attorneys with Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin recognize the financial struggles the program is facing may make it more difficult for an applicant to receive approval for benefits. The firm may be able to help though, if an individual is considering applying for benefits or has been 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.

Senate Blocks Changes To The Way Disability COLAs Are Figured

by Staff | April 15th, 2013

April 15, 2013

The United States Senate recently voted against a proposed bill that would have significantly changed the way increases in payments to those receiving Social Security Disability Benefits would be figured.

Current law allows for disability payments to be reevaluated and adjusted each year to compensate for increased costs for everyday living expenses such as food, utilities, transportation, housing, etc. These costs are based on a consumer price index that averages similar expenses occurred across the country.

President Obama proposed that Cost-Of-Living-Adjustments (COLAs) now be figured using a “chained” consumer price index that assumes if the prices for a certain commodity rise, Americans will seek alternative products.

An Article from VT Digger stated using the new “Chained” consumer price index would significantly cut benefits increases to the roughly 58 million current disability recipients. Social Security recipients who are 65-years-old or over could see a loss of as much a $650 annually over the next decade and more than $1,000 annually by the time they are 85-years-old.

Senators blocked the bill last month, claiming taking from those who are most in need of assistance is not the way to solve the nation’s budgetary issues.

The law firm of Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin and their team of Social Security Disability Attorneys have an understanding of the complexities that can be associated with receiving government assistance. The firm encourages anyone who is considering filing a claim for benefits to discuss their legal options with an attorney.