social security disability lawyer

Always Report Changes to Your Social Security Disability Status

by Staff | December 16th, 2015

When a person is awarded Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits, the amount they receive is based on several factors including income, work history, marital status, and even the number of dependents the claimant cares for. That’s why after you’re approved for SSD benefits, it’s crucial to immediately report any changes in your life to the Social Security Administration (SSA).

The law states that when Social Security beneficiary’s income or status changes, the SSA must receive notice within 10 days of the end of the month in which the change occurred. Any failure to meet this deadline could result in delays or forfeiture of benefits.

The Social Security Disability lawyers at Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin explain that some of the most common changes in life that warrant the SSA receiving an update include:

  • Changes in work or income status
  • Moving
  • Traveling longer than 30 days
  • Marriage
  • Divorce
  • The birth of a child
  • Death of a dependent
  • Approval to receive other benefits

If changes aren’t updated within 10-days, the SSA may choose to require the beneficiary to pay back a certain amount in Social Security Disability benefits. The agency may also choose to place sanctions on payments for a period of time or halt payments all together, depending on the severity of the infraction.

If you’d like to learn more about the details of reporting changes to the SSA, take a look at the agency’s What You Need To Know When You Get Social Security Disability Benefits publication.

The Evolution of the Social Security Disability Program

by Staff | November 4th, 2015

The U.S. Social Security Disability program was established in 1956 as a way to provide citizens who suffered from a disabling mental or physical condition for longer than one year with a sustainable income. Since that time, some aspects of the program have changed, while others have stayed the same. The Social Security Administration (SSA) recently took a closer look at how the program has evolved over the years, as well as which aspects remain in their original form.

While many of the requirements for receiving Social Security Disability benefits have stayed the same, such as suffering from one of many eligible disabling conditions, more workers than ever before are participating in the program. The amount each disabled worker receives has also increased over time.

A few things that have not changed over the years include the fact that most disabled workers have a long work history in our country and a majority of claimants are older.

The SSA report shows as many as 75 percent of Social Security Disability recipients had earned as many as 80 percent of the available credits towards benefits since they were 21-years-old. Also, a total of 72 percent of those participating in the program were age 50 or older.

The success of the Social Security Disability program is important to each staff member at Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin. The Social Security Disability lawyers are hopeful to see the program continue to function as it was intended in the future as well.

How to Appeal a Denied Social Security Disability Claim

by Staff | October 26th, 2015

If your claim for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits was denied, you’re not alone. As many as 70 percent of all initial claims for SSD benefits are rejected by the Social Security Administration (SSA).

A denial doesn’t mean you can’t file for a reconsideration, and the legal staff at Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin is here to explain what you’ll need to know to appeal a denied SSD claim.

First, you’ll need to gather certain documents and evidence that supports your case. The SSA outlines all of the information you’ll need to file an appeal, which includes your name, address, Social Security Number, the date you received your denial, and your medical records.

This information will be submitted with a formal request to have your case reconsidered by the SSA. An examiner will review your case and either uphold or reverse the previous decision. If your case is denied again, you can request a hearing with an administrative judge. If you still don’t receive a decision that’s in your favor, a council of judges will hear the case before it’s heard by the courts.

The policies that govern the SSD appeals process are complex, and having a Social Security Disability lawyer by your side during the claims process can help ensure your rights are protected at all times. Learn more about your options and resources that are available by visiting our website.

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.

Bill Helps Prevent Criminals from Receiving Supplemental Security Income or Disability Benefits

by Staff | July 27th, 2015

The law states that anyone who is fleeing to avoid prosecution of a felony is ineligible to receive Social Security Disability benefits or Supplemental Security Income; however, loopholes in the law that were uncovered by several recent court cases have allowed some who are fleeing prosecution to continue receiving benefits.

To help address the issue, an Indiana senator has proposed a bill that would change the language of the law in order to prevent many individuals with warrants for their arrest from receiving federal assistance.

The Social Security Act, as it stands today, states that federal benefits cannot be paid to anyone fleeing a felony arrest or conviction. Furthermore, anyone who violates the conditions of their parole or probation for a felony conviction is ineligible for Social Security programs.

Several recent cases have allowed individuals fitting these circumstances to continue receiving payments though. That’s why the bill introduced by Sen. Dan Coats would change the wording of the law to close these loopholes.

According to The Journal Gazette, the bill proposed by Sen. Coats would prevent anyone who is “the subject of an arrest warrant for the purpose of prosecution” to be prohibited from receiving benefits. The only stipulation to the rule is that the arrest warrant or violation must be for a felony.

Coats estimates that, if approved, his bill could save taxpayers as much as $4.8 billion over the course of the next decade.

Protecting the rights and benefits of the disabled is important to our Social Security Disability lawyers at Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin, and we know that Social Security regulations can be complex. Our legal staff is curious to see if Sen. Coats bill will be adopted or rejected and what effect it may have on those who receive disability payments.

How to Determine What Social Security Disability Benefits You’ve Earned

by Staff | June 22nd, 2015

Suffering from a disabling injury or illness can leave your finances tight. Luckily, many disabled Americans qualify for Social Security Disability benefits, but determining how much you should receive can be complicated.

Our Social Security Disability lawyers at Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin say one of the best ways to find out how much you could receive from Social Security Disability benefits is to sign up for a My Social Security account. Doing so will allow you to see just how much in benefits you have earned during your working career and will also allow you to track how much you will earn in the future.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) says that’s not all you can do with your account. You can also request a replacement Medicare card if your original is lost or stolen. Having an account also allows you to retrieve extra copies of your tax documents, such as a SSA-1099 or SSA-1042S.

Speaking with a legal representative can also be beneficial in determining the amount of Social Security Disability benefits you can earn. An examination of your case and history can help determine the best way to get you the maximum amount of benefits.

At Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin, we understand that figuring out how to calculate your Social Security Disability benefits can be complicated, which is why our legal staff hopes these tips help navigating through the process a little simpler for you.

When Applying for Social Security Disability, You May Face Long Waits

by Staff | June 15th, 2015

One of the most difficult aspects of applying for Social Security Disability benefits is the amount of time the process can take. In fact, it could take years for the Social Security Administration (SSA) to reach a determination about your case and issue a decision. Here’s a breakdown on the wait times you may face during the Social Security Disability application process.

When you initially submit your application, the SSA has a goal of issuing a decision on claims within three to four months. However, a massive backlog of applications has caused the wait time in many cases to be as long as a year.

If your claim is initially denied, more waiting may be in your future. SSA reports show the average wait time from the date a hearing request is submitted to the day that request is held is around 15 months.

Even after you’re approved for Social Security Disability benefits, you can expect to wait even longer before you actually begin receiving benefits. Joanne Crane, a district manager for the Social Security Administration explains to the Asbury Park Press that a disabled worker can expect to receive benefits only after the sixth full month of their case being approved for benefits by the agency.

So what does this mean for disabled workers? Our attorneys at Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin believe it shows the need to begin the application process as soon as possible if you’re unable to work due to an injury or medical condition. One of the best ways to start your benefits claim is by speaking with a qualified attorney. This can help you to better understand the processes you will face in the near future, as well as ensure all of your questions regarding those processes are answered.

Our team is available to speak with you anytime about applying for Social Security Disability. Just call (800) 477-7315 to get started.

Changes to Social Security Disability Benefits Withdrawal Policy

by Staff | April 20th, 2015

Federal lawmakers have the ability to change the regulations that govern the policies and procedures of the Social Security Disability benefits program and one such reform that was recently made could affect the amount some beneficiaries who are approaching retirement age receive.

Investment News reports that a change was made to the Social Security Program Operations Manual System this past December that rephrases the policies regarding the withdraw of disability benefits prior to them rolling into retirement benefits.

The article states that some disability recipients choose to withdraw their disability benefits prior to them being rolled into retirement benefits of the same amount strictly due to age. Doing this can allow the individual to collect spousal or survival benefits while their retirement benefits grow and mature.

Lawmakers decided to close this loophole though, by rewriting policies to state that applying for a withdrawal of disability benefits is considered a withdrawal from all benefits. The change would also require anyone making such a withdrawal to repay the benefits they have received.

The Social Security Administration stated the update to the wording of the policy was strictly made as an effort to adhere to current policies regarding the amount in benefits one can receive.

At Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin, we recognize how complex the laws surrounding Social Security Disability benefits are. Our Terre Haute personal injury attorneys are here to help clarify any of the law’s nuances that you may find yourself questioning. Feel free to give us a call anytime to discuss your legal questions at (800) 477-7315.

The Judge Could Be a Factor in Your Social Security Disability Appeal

by Staff | March 9th, 2015

If you’ve applied for Social Security Disability benefits, in all likelihood, your claim has been denied. That’s because the Social Security Administration says that up to 65 percent of initial disability claims are denied. This leaves many citizens wondering what factors come into play in deciding whether a disabled individual should receive Social Security payments.

Some experts believe the judge hearing your Social Security Disability appeal could make all the difference. Data indicates that some judges tend to approve disability applicants at a higher rate than others.

An article posted by The Wall Street Journal found judges hearing disability appeals approved 70 percent of the cases that came before them over the past decade. Approximately nine percent of judges approved more than 90 percent of cases that came across their bench. Trends also indicate that many judges approved more claims over time.

Laws were reformed over the last several years, aiming to ensure judges remain impartial. This includes limiting the number of cases each judge hears per year. This allows judges to fully focus on each new case they hear.

There are plenty of other factors that can affect whether or not your Social Security Disability appeal will be approved. Seeking legal counsel may be the best way to determine how to handle your case. The Social Security Disability lawyers with Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin are here to answer any legal questions you may have if your claim for Social Security Disability benefits has been denied. Call us to discuss your case at (800) 477-7315.

Waiting for a Social Security Disability Appeal

by Staff | March 2nd, 2015

If you’ve applied for Social Security Disability benefits, there’s a good chance your claim was denied. In fact, the Social Security Administration reports as many as 65 percent of initial claims are not approved.

There’s no need to fret if this is the case though. You have an opportunity to file a Social Security Disability appeal of the decision at several different levels; however, it’s important to know this can be a time consuming process. Data shows the wait time for a Social Security Disability hearing can be as long as a year and a half.

The Social Security Administration is working to address this issue by holding more hearings via video conferencing. The applicant simply logs in online and a hearing can be streamed between the applicant’s computer and the judge. This prevents hearings from being delayed due to problems such as transportation issues or weather.

Video conferencing is gaining popularity as well, with records from many offices showing a significantly higher number of hearings be held via this technologically advanced method as opposed to hearings that are held in person. The SSA hopes that as many as 30 percent of all appeal hearings will be held via video conferencing in the coming year.

With so much riding on the decision that is reached in each Social Security Disability hearing, having legal representation by your side during this process can be beneficial. That’s why the Social Security Disability attorneys with Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin are here to help you better understand your rights if your claim for benefits has been denied. We are available to speak with you anytime regarding your case by calling (800) 477-7315.