social security disability

Social Security Act Celebrates 80th Anniversary

by Staff | August 18th, 2015

President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act into law on August 14, 1935. In the eighty years that have passed since the bill’s inception, it has undergone many changes and it will likely undergo many more as time goes on.

Our Social Security Disability Lawyers at Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin explain the Act was originally created to offer financial assistance to American workers who had become too old to continue performing the daily duties of their jobs. Experts credit the act with helping cut poverty rates amongst seniors from around 50 percent during the Great Depression to around 10 percent today.

These successes prompted an expansion of the program to include those who aren’t able to work due to a disabling condition or illness; however, the program is continuing to evolve and an article from U.S. News & World Report outlines a few of the latest policies governing the program.

The Social Security Administration is considering including more qualifying conditions for Social Security Disability benefits and changing the standards of eligibility for certain qualifying conditions. Furthermore, the Social Security Administration—the federal agency charged with overseeing the Social Security programs—deliberates whether or not an increase in benefit payments should be implemented due to inflation rates.

Our legal staff at Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin understands the need for change in order to keep Social Security Disability laws relevant to the times and we are hopeful any reforms that are made are successful in improving the longevity of this very important program.

Previous Projections of Social Security Disability Benefits Trust Fund Depletion May Be Flawed

by Staff | May 12th, 2015

Studies Show Projection Data Is Flawed

New research indicates projections about the financial status of our nation’s retirement and disability trust funds may not be accurate. Currently, estimates show the funds for retirement and Social Security Disability benefits will be depleted by the year 2033; however, studies conducted by Harvard and Dartmouth universities found the funds could be depleted sooner.

There seem to be two reasons for the discrepancy. An article from Forbes explains that workers in the United States are living longer than they did in past decades. The other contributing factor is a miscalculation of birth rates that inflated the estimated number of future workers who will contribute to the program.

What This Means for U.S. Workers

Disabled Americans have many concerns in response to these findings. Considering the financial shortfalls Social Security programs are facing, many people worry that applying for Social Security Disability benefits could become more and more difficult as funds deplete, and that it could become much more difficult to get approved.

Those considering applying for Social Security Disability are also concerned about getting the maximum amount of benefits possible. There are worries that trust fund depletion could lead to cuts in benefit payments, making it difficult to receive every penny for which a disabled worker is currently eligible.

Get Help

At Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin, our team of Social Security Disability lawyers is standing by to answer any questions you may have regarding your legal rights to Social Security Disability benefits. Feel free to give us a call anytime at (800) 477-7315 to get the answers you need.

Kidney Disease a Common Social Security Condition

by Staff | November 12th, 2014

The body needs to be able to excrete waste in order to properly function. If this cannot be achieved, it can lead to an individual developing any of several conditions—including kidney disease.

What Is Kidney Disease?

The kidneys are the organs in the body that are responsible for helping to filter the fluids and blood in the body. If these organs fail, deadly toxins can build up, which can eventually cause death if not treated. This often leaves Kidney disease patients unable to work and in need of extensive medical treatment.

What Help Is Available To Those With Kidney Disease?

To help with the expenses associated with costly medical bills and lost wages, the Social Security Administration considers Kidney disease to be a condition that may qualify for Social Security Disability benefits; however, it’s important to understand the rules associated with Social Security Disability eligibility as it pertains to this particular condition, especially since they recently underwent changes.

What Are Social Security’s eligibility Rules For Those with Kidney Disease?

Officials recently altered the wording of the law to provide more clarification as to what determines when a genitourinary disorder is considered to be “frequent” or “interferes” with another aspect of daily life. Furthermore, the documentation requirements for hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis were updated.

Let Us Assist You

These changes can bring up questions amongst many Kidney disease sufferers regarding their legal right to Social Security Disability benefits and our team of attorneys at Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin are here to help. To speak with one of our Social Security Disability attorneys about your case, call us at (800) 477-7315.

Social Security Common Conditions: Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

by Staff | October 15th, 2014

About 2.3 million people are afflicted with multiple sclerosis (MS), which impairs the ability to speak and move their bodies.

What Is MS?

MS is a disease of the central nervous system that causes a disruption in the flow of information between the brain and the rest of the body. The breakdown occurs when the myelin surrounding the nerve fibers in our body is damaged. This not only leads to a lack of control of the muscles and limbs, but also to trouble speaking in as many as 40 percent of patients who are diagnosed with MS.

Getting Assistance For An MS Disability

The condition leaves many people unable to work and without a resource for income. Luckily, the condition is one of many that can often qualify for Social Security Disability benefits. However, the patient’s condition must meet certain eligibility standards.

The Social Security Administration’s policies state that in order to be awarded disability benefits for an MS diagnosis, the patient must suffer from the following:

  • Disorganization of motor function
  • Visual or mental impairment
  • Significant, reproducible fatigue and muscle weakness
  • Condition lasting longer than a year.

The last standard is often the most difficult for patients to meet due to the episodic nature of MS, which is why it’s important to have a Social Security Disability Lawyer by your side when filing a Social Security Disability claim for benefits.

We Can Help

At Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin, we can help by answering any questions you have regarding a claim that’s been denied in the past or that you’re preparing to file. Call us today at (800) 477-7315 to speak with a member of our legal team about your legal rights.

2013 Brings Changes To Social Security System And Payments

by Staff | January 21st, 2013

January 21, 2013

The New Year has brought several significant changes to not only the way Social Security Disability benefits are being paid, but how much each recipient is set to receive as well. An article from The Logan Banner discussed some of these changes and how they will affect each citizen.

One of the changes that will probably be most recognized is the Cost-Of-Living-Adjustment (COLA) that took effect on January’s payments to recipients of Social Security, Social Security Disability, and Supplemental Security Income. Recipients saw an increase of 1.7 percent in their payments as of December 31, 2012, which bumped the average amount of each payment by a little more than $20.

Another major change was the amount of income workers are required to pay income tax on. Citizens are now required to pay the tax on any amount of money made that is under $113,700. This was a slight increase from the 2012 income ceiling of $110,100.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) also announced that it would be switching to paperless electronic payments of benefits beginning in March.

The Social Security Disability Lawyers at Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin have an understanding of how these changes may affect a person’s ability to have their claim for benefits approved and suggest discussing your legal options with an attorney if you have a claim you need to file or that has been denied in the past.

Number Of Social Security Disability Claims Growing

by Staff | January 18th, 2013

January 18, 2013

In recent years, claims for Social Security Disability benefits have skyrocketed. According to Forbes, the number of Social Security Disability recipients has hit an all-time high in recent years with one in fourteen workers now receiving benefits.

The growing number of claims being filed is compounded by a small percentage of recipients returning to work. Statistics from the program show that in 2011, of the 653,877 individuals who stopped receiving benefits that year, 36 percent had died and 52 percent had reached retirement age and switched to other benefits, while only 6 percent returned to work and 3.6 percent left due to medical improvements.

Experts attribute the growing number of claimants to hard economic times, while others say it is a lack of understanding that returning to work doesn’t necessarily mean a person will stop receiving benefits. In fact, the Social security Administration (SSA) clearly states that a worker can attempt to return to work for up to nine-months without seeing a decrease in payments. Even then, a worker can still receive partial payments after that nine-month period to help make ends meet.

The Social Security Disability Lawyers with Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin recognize that the growing number of claims being filed being compounded by a lack of funding can make getting your claim for Social Security Disability benefits more difficult than ever before. That is why the firm suggests discussing your legal options with an attorney if you have a claim you are preparing to file or have a claim that was denied in the past.

Data Shows Record Number Of Social Security Disability Recipients In 2012

by Staff | January 4th, 2013

January 4, 2012

The Social Security Administration (SSA) recently announced that in 2012, the number of individuals who receive Social Security Disability Benefits hit an all-time high. According to NewsMax, an estimated 8.82 million Americans, including disabled workers and their dependent family members, received benefits last year alone. This means that for every 1.67 people who are employed in the private sector, there is one person who is collecting Social Security Disability benefits.

The Social Security program was only able to bring in a total of $725.4 billion in revenue last year, though, and considering the program paid out $773.2 billion in benefits to recipients, the country was left with a $47.8 billion deficit for the last year.

The growth in the number of claimants and those receiving Social Security Disability benefits has been attributed to a poor economy. Experts say that historically, when the economy is bad, the number of individuals who claim they are unable to work rises.

The program’s debt has forced the system to the brink of collapse. The Social Security Disability Lawyers with Fleschner, stark, Tanoos & Newlin recognize that factors such as a high number of claims and the program’s debt could add to the difficulty of having a claim approved. That is why the firm suggests discussing your case with an attorney if you have a claim you are preparing to file or have a claim that has been denied in the past.

Changes To Social Security Payments Coming Next Year

by Staff | November 14th, 2012

November 14, 2012

Each year, a cost of living adjustment (COLA) is made to the amount of benefits offered by Social Security Disability. However, many people are struggling to make ends meet on the 1.7 percent increase that went into effect this year.

Forbes explains the COLAs are calculated by examining trends in prices of everyday living expenses such as homes, utilities, food, fuel, and clothing. The maximum amount of benefits that can be received is based on age and the amount of money put into the system by the worker.

Based on these figures, the COLA for Social Security Disability benefit recipients for 2013 will average out to around a $20 increase in payments per month. With Medicare announcing a roughly $7 increase per month in premiums, a large majority of the COLA has already been claimed.

These problems have lawmakers in Washington considering several solutions that would not only freeze COLAs from occurring in the future, but may also decrease the amount of payments to beneficiaries.

The Indiana Disability Lawyers with Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin understand the tight budgets of the Social Security system can make it more difficult than ever for people to have their benefits claims approved. That’s why the firm is here to answer any questions you may have regarding your legal rights to a claim you’re preparing to file or that has been denied.

Minnesota Man Accused of Social Security Disability Theft

by Staff | June 6th, 2011

A Perham, Minnesota, man allegedly lied to the Social Security Administration to illegally collection Social Security Disability benefits, reports the Detroit Lakes Tribune.

A special agent discovered that the 54-year-old man, who initially filed for disability on June 15, 1995, in fact returned to work from August of 2005 to August of 2008—during which time he and another man made $254,150. On a work act form, the man claimed that he had not worked since filing for disability.

A representative from the company he worked for as an independent construction contractor said he’d never made mention of any disability.

The man collected $24,285 in Disability benefits during the three years that he worked as a contractor. He admits not reporting this work to the SSA.

He now faces two counts of felony theft. Each count holds the possibility of 10 years in prison or a $20,000 fine.

Were you aware that such substantial punishment was doled out for Social Security fraud?

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

Tucson Brothers Plead Guilty to Social Security Fraud

by Staff | May 13th, 2011

A pair of Tucson, Arizona, brothers plead guilty this week to Conspiracy, Mail Fraud, and Conversion of Social Security Payee Funds for orchestrating a $1.3 million embezzlement scheme with their non-profit entity.

The brothers’ non-profit purported to represent hundreds of beneficiaries of Supplemental Social Security Income, Social Security Disability, and other federal benefits.

From 1994 to 2008, the brothers, aged 57 and 42, used the non-profit to create false records in the beneficiary accounts, submit false reports to the Social Security Administration, and misuse beneficiary funds—stealing $1.3 million from at least 774 elderly and disabled beneficiaries.

“These defendants callously took advantage of more than 770 elderly and disabled people for their own gain,” said U.S. Attorney Dennis K. Burke. “They were entrusted to hold onto money for some of the most vulnerable people in our society, and instead misused more than $1.3 million.”

The brothers’ sister has also been indicted and will face a jury on June 20, 2011. The brothers will face sentencing on the morning of August 10, 2011.

Why do you think it’s easy for some to commit Social Security fraud, but hard for others to receive Social Security benefits when they qualify?

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